Apr. 05, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Supporting First Responders in PA
With fire and emergency medical service organizations across the state struggling due to a lack of volunteers and financial resources, the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees held an informational meeting to discuss recommendations put forth late last year to address these challenges.

According to testimony offered at the meeting, the decline of volunteers in fire and EMS services across the state is having a significant impact on municipalities’ ability to reliably and safely provide public safety services to their citizens.

Much of the decline in volunteers can be attributed to societal and economic changes, such as longer working hours and longer commutes. However, lawmakers were encouraged to consider incentives such as tax credits or college loan forgiveness programs to help recruit new volunteers. Affordable and accessible training was also encouraged as a way to remove barriers to volunteering.

These were among more than two dozen broad recommendations offered by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, which was charged with studying issues such as recruitment and retention, government support, innovation, training and operations, and more.

One of the report’s recommendations, which requires insurers to reimburse ambulance companies for services provided even if no transport takes place, was signed into law last year. Lawmakers plan to build on that success this year as they prepare to introduce legislation implementing some additional recommendations.

View the full report HERE.

You can also see the footage of Monday’s joint House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee hearing HERE.

Help for Lyme Disease Treatment
Pennsylvania has consistently ranked among the highest in the country in confirmed cases of Lyme disease.

To help those affected by this disease and other related tick-borne illnesses, the House Health Committee approved legislation that would require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment.

Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics when caught and treated early. If untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling, cardiac or neurologic complications. The most severe cases can be debilitating.

House Bill 629 now moves to the full House for consideration.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and how to protect yourself from tick bites, click here.

House Republicans Release March 2019 Economic Brief
The major news to come from the March economic brief is that the state brought in $4.55 billion in revenue collections, which was $76 million more than the Department of Revenue’s Official Estimate.

The brief also noted that the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) examined the potential impact of the governor’s minimum wage proposal and found that the Commonwealth would lose approximately 34,000 jobs if it was implemented. It also found that the policy could result in an additional $50 million in tax revenue for the state government.

You can read the full brief HERE.

Lane Restriction on Warrensville Road
Motorists in Lycoming County are advised a lane restriction was implemented this week on Route 2039 (Warrensville Road) due to an embankment failure just north of Lick Run Road at the Eldred Township/Loyalsock Township line.

Traffic will be controlled by stop signs. Motorists should be alert and drive with caution through the area.

PennDot officials are expecting the single lane condition on Warrensville Road to be a long-term procedure.

Project on I-180 in Lycoming County Resumes Next Week
An 8.6-mile resurfacing project on Interstate 180 from Cemetery Road in Fairfield Township to the Muncy Creek bridge in Muncy Creek Township is set to resume next week.

On Monday, April 8, there will be shoulder closures on the I-180 westbound off- and on-ramps at the Route 405 Interchange (Muncy/Hughesville). The shoulder closures will be implemented from approximately 7 AM to 5 PM daily so a subcontractor can construct a new highway lighting system at the interchange.

There will be shoulder closures during the same hours along I-180 westbound from E. Lime Bluff Road overpass to Halls Station for stump grinding operations.

Lycoming Supply to Start Slate Run Road Construction

Lycoming Supply was awarded a construction bid by the Bureau of Forestry Actions to begin work on Slate Run Road, which has been closed since September 2018, on April 18. The work is estimated to finish during mid-summer.

Tiadaghton State Forest District staff is working with residents and local businesses to keep the public informed regarding the status of the road and recent developments. The district is also offering a guided tour of the site in the Spring of 2019.

For more information, please contact the staff of Tiadaghton State Forest at 570-753-5409 or FD12@pa.gov, or visit the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry website at dcnr.state.pa.us.

PennDOT Anticipates 127 Projects in North Central PA
PennDOT announced that 127 highway and bridge projects are anticipated to begin or continue across the nine-county north central region during this construction season. Additionally, preservation work will be performed on 57 bridges. In 2013, during the Corbett Administration, the General Assembly passed Act 89 which allowed for the use of turnpike funds to cover the costs of such transportation projects. You can read more about the upcoming projects HERE.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
We are fortunate to have so many selfless Pennsylvanians working hard to raise awareness and keep kids safe. Find out more about what you can do to help protect children from abuse HERE. #ProtectPAKids

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, DHS offers an around-the-clock, toll-free hotline, ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. For more information on critical components impacting child protection, visit KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov. To learn more about the #ProtectPAKids campaign, visit pablueribbonchampion.org.

Time to Dig Out the Rod and Reel!
Spring has arrived and fishing season is not far behind! The statewide opening day of trout season is coming up on Saturday, April 13.

Of course, before you can fish anywhere, be sure to purchase your fishing license. They are available at more than 700 issuing agents across the state and at county treasurers’ offices. The price of a resident fishing license this year is $22.90. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon stamp and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit.

New this year are several voluntary permits anglers can purchase to provide financial support to specific programs or projects. The voluntary permits include: bass ($11.90); musky ($11.90); habitat/waterways conservation permit ($11.90); and wild trout and enhanced waters permit ($26.90). The prices listed are for annual permits; however, the voluntary permits may also be purchased for a period of three years, five years or 10 years. Click here for details about how funds generated by the sale of the permits will be used.

For more information about fishing in PA, visit fishandboat.com.

Take Your Little Ones Fishing! April 6 is Youth Fishing Day
Youth anglers and their adult mentors can get an early start fishing on the statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day on ALL Commission-stocked waters managed under Commonwealth inland regulations on Saturday, April 6.

For more information on Mentored Youth Trout Days and to obtain a license or permit, visit the PFBC webpage on the youth program HERE.

Adult Trout Stocking by County on FBC Website
You can find the dates for all available stockings throughout the state on the Fish and Boat Commission website HERE.

Tax Day Approaching
The Monday, April 15, deadline to file your federal, state and local taxes is fast approaching.

If you received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2018, you must file a Pennsylvania Personal Income Tax return by midnight on April 15.

You can file online for free through PAdirectfile, a secure, state-only electronic income tax filing system by clicking here.

If you want to use an online tax preparing service, Pennsylvania has deals with certain providers for free e-filing. You can learn more about these services by clicking here.

Income tax assistance is available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center, or by calling 717-787-8201 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Pennsylvanians can also visit a Department of Revenue district office for basic state personal income tax filing assistance. Assistance at these offices is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How Much Do My Prescriptions Cost?
The state Department of Aging maintains a database to help consumers compare the cost of frequently used medications. The online tool updates prices weekly, lists prices by ZIP code or distance from location, includes pharmacy store details, and lists pharmacies with low-cost generics and those that match lower prices. You can learn more about the tool by clicking here or calling 1-800-835-4080.

Have an Issue or Concern?
If you are a resident of the 83rd District and need assistance with a state agency, please feel free to contact my Williamsport office at 570-321-1270. One of my staff members will be more than happy to assist you.

Stay in Touch with Me on Social Media
You can stay up to date on my latest news and activities by visiting my House website, repwheeland.com, or my official Facebook page. You can watch my House floor speeches and press interviews at my YouTube channel HERE.
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Office Locations                                                                                                                                                                      
349 Pine St. Suite 1, Williamsport, PA 17701 I Phone: (570) 321-1270  
Room 427, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202083, Harrisburg PA 17120-2083 | Phone: (717) 787-2885 
Email: jwheeland@pahousegop.com