Oct. 19, 2018

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

Two More Gun Law Seminars Coming Up Next Week
Thank you to all those that came to the first gun law seminar of the month that Rep. Jeff Wheeland and I hosted. The last two seminars will be held Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Old Lycoming Township Volunteer Fire Co., and Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Hughesville Volunteer Fire Co. If you haven’t already signed up for one of the last two seminars, please click here to register

The informative events include presentations from Lycoming County Judge Marc Lovecchio, who will discuss Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws; Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk, who will explain rules and regulations surrounding licenses to carry firearms; a police officer, who will discuss how to safely interact with the police when carrying a firearm; and an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who will discuss firearm carry laws as they relate to hunting seasons. 

To RSVP, click here, or contact the district office by calling (570) 321-1270 or emailing Kristi Marshall at kmarshall@pahousegop.com

Guardian of Small Business Award Recipient

Last month, in recognition of the A rating I received from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Federal of Independent Business for my small business voting record, I was honored with another Guardian of Small Business Award.

During the past three years I’ve been in public office, I have fully supported small businesses on a wide variety of key economic issues, including my recent votes against the governor’s proposed tax increases.

Small businesses are without question the economic engine that drives our economy, comprising 98 percent of all Commonwealth employers and accounting for half of all private sector jobs.

Promoting and protecting private sector job creation by small business through reduced spending, taxation and regulations is the real economic stimulus plan. I will always fight to protect your jobs and paychecks.

Resolution Recognizes November as “Infant Safe Sleep Month”
This week, the House unanimously passed Rep. Garth Everett’s resolution that designates the month of November 2018 as “Infant Safe Sleep Month” in Pennsylvania.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has said there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among American babies each year. To combat this, the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force released a report recommending infants be placed on their backs for sleep, and that the safest environment for sleep consists of babies sleeping alone in an empty crib with a tightly fitted sheet and sufficient sleepwear.

House Resolution 1156 ensures the Commonwealth is providing families and day-care providers with the greatest amount of information to help prevent unnecessary infant deaths. Rep. Everett has worked together with Lycoming County Coroner Chuck Kiessling for several years on raising awareness about safe sleep practices for infants, and we are happy to see this resolution finally pass. Because of their efforts to spread the word about the Cribs for Kids program, Coroner Kiessling has said that we have seen a drop in the number of infant deaths from unsafe sleep environments in Lycoming County.

You can find The Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for Safe Sleep for Babies here.

Senate Passes House Bill Aimed at Reducing the State’s Debt Obligation
House Republicans successfully fought for the passage of Legislation that aims to have Pennsylvania’s debt payed back more responsibly. House Bill 83 is now being considered by the governor.

This legislation will require the principal for new issuances of state debt to be repaid in equal amounts over the (generally) 20-year term of the bond. Currently, the state uses a repayment scheme with lower principal payments in the first few years, with much higher principal payments as the loan matures. This forces difficult budgeting decisions farther into the future.

The legislation will require the Commonwealth to use the more responsible, Equal Annual Maturities Plan method on all new debt obligations incurred under the Capital Facilities Debt Enabling Act. This simple change will reduce the debt we pass on to future generations and end one of the “buy it now, pay for it (much) later” policies that have been negatively impacting Pennsylvania’s credit rating for years.
With a recent study published by the Cato Institute giving the governor an F rating on fiscal responsibility, this legislation is ever-more pressing and would allow Pennsylvania to partake in the nationwide economic revival.

Giving the Gift of Life
Legislation that would help encourage organ and tissue donation in Pennsylvania is now on the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 180, which unanimously passed the House last week, would expand the list of those persons authorized to decide on behalf of a decedent whether his or her organs are donated.

Among other provisions, it would also permit a minimally invasive blood or tissue test to be conducted to determine the suitability of a donor; call for education regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation for high school students, as well as nursing and medical students; and increase the voluntary contribution made by citizens from $1 to $3 for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.

Currently, more than 800 Pennsylvanians are waiting for an organ transplant.

More information about organ donation in Pennsylvania is available here.

Prescription Drug Coverage Expansion to Cover 17,000 More Seniors
Legislation to expand eligibility for the state’s PACENET prescription drug coverage program passed the House last week and is moving through the state Senate. Up to 17,000 Pennsylvania seniors are expected to benefit from this expansion.

House Bill 270 would increase the annual maximum income limits in the PACENET program to $27,500 for a single person and to $35,500 for a married couple. Current maximum income requirements for the PACENET program, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, are $23,500 for a single individual and $31,500 for a married couple annually.

Additionally, the bill would allow two new pharmacy-based programs to be developed under the PACE program to assist seniors in monitoring their prescription drug usage.

This eligibility expansion would be the first since 2004, and it is funded by proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery.

PennDOT Improves Customer Care Website
To make it easier to report concerns on state roads, PennDOT has modernized its online customer care center.

The new website will include new mapping capabilities, optional photo uploads and a mobile-friendly interface.

Concerns are sorted into several categories: road or bridge conditions; removing debris from a roadway; traffic, signs or signals; ongoing roadwork or projects; or general questions and concerns.

Motorists are asked to be as specific as possible when providing locations of concerns. Motorists should report the county, municipality, street name and state route number, which can be found on small black and white signs posted along state highways. In addition, a description of any familiar landmarks are helpful for PennDOT to locate the problem area.

As of Sept. 30, the previous Customer Care Center had nearly 45,000 concerns submitted this year, according to PennDOT, with more than 96 percent of those concerns being resolved.

Poster Contest Encourages Youth to Know When, Know How
As part of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s 27th annual Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest, this year’s theme is based on the agency’s new alcohol education campaign “Know When, Know How.” This campaign teaches parents how to start a conversation with their children about the dangers of underage drinking.

The contest is open to all Pennsylvania students in kindergarten through 12th grade, including those who are homeschooled or in private or parochial schools. Students may enter through their schools, clubs, Scout troops or individually.

Entries must feature a clear no-use message about underage drinking and may be created using any artistic medium. Students are encouraged to use positive messages and images, such as the benefits of being alcohol free or alternatives to underage drinking.

Several students with winning entries will receive $50, and one student from each grade (K-12) will receive $25. Some of the winning designs may be reproduced in various formats and distributed across Pennsylvania.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, Nov. 16. For additional information about submission dates, guidelines and prizes, review the contest guidelines and entry form available at lcb.pa.gov under “Education,” then “Poster Contest.”
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Office Locations                                                                                                                                                                      
349 Pine St. Suite 1, Williamsport, PA 17701 I Phone: (570) 321-1270  
Room 415, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202083, Harrisburg PA 17120-2083 | Phone: (717) 787-2885 
Email: jwheeland@pahousegop.com