May. 17, 2019

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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...

House Committee Approves Legislation to Fight Opioid Epidemic

This week, the House Health Committee approved legislation that would help health care professionals identify and treat patients who previously overdosed on opioids.

House Bill 1005 would require first responders and hospital personnel to record the use of Narcan, Naloxone or any other opioid overdose agent in the patient’s record in a state database.

Pennsylvania in 2014 enacted a law creating a state database to track opioid prescriptions. This bill would ensure the use of Narcan and Naloxone would show up on a patient’s record in that database. Knowing a patient’s history can mean the difference between life and death.

The legislation now heads to the full House for consideration.

Honoring the Best!

It was a pleasure for my office to participate in this year’s Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association Awards Dinner held at the Schuylkill County Country Club. The purpose of this event was to honor manufacturers and employers who have demonstrated excellence during the past year.

The Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers & Employers Association is a private, non-profit, membership-based organization that currently serves more than 345 member companies in 20 counties. Its mission is to provide information and services to help member companies remain competitive in today’s business world.

Bill Ending Child Marriage in Pennsylvania Advances to the Full House

Legislation that would prohibit child marriage in Pennsylvania before the age of 18 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee this week.

Child marriages are often coercive and exploitative and increase the risk of domestic violence while undermining the child’s long-term educational, health and economic opportunities.

Under current law, a marriage license may be issued to an applicant younger than 16 with court approval. A marriage license also may be issued where an applicant is older than 16 but younger than 18 with the consent of a parent or guardian.

If House Bill 360 is passed and signed into law, Pennsylvania will be the third state to ban child marriage. Delaware and New Jersey passed similar laws in 2018.

Increasing Lottery Profits for Seniors

This week, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee unanimously passed legislation to increase lottery profits by lowering the rate of return of lottery games. The increased profits would go to programs for seniors that are funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery.

Act 201 of 2014 reduced the mandated rate of return from 27% to 25%. This relief gave the lottery the ability to update products in order to meet consumer demand and maximize profits for programs benefiting older Pennsylvanians. As the lottery system continues to try to increase ticket sales to increase revenues available for senior programs, it has requested an additional reduction of the statutorily mandated rate of return beginning in Fiscal Year 2019.

House Bill 956 would temporarily reduce the rate to 23% for the next three fiscal years until June 30, 2022.

By changing the mandated rate of return now, it provides the lottery with the ability to prepare the future games portfolio to maximize profits.

Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families

Recognizing the sacrifices made by the families of Pennsylvania National Guard members, the House approved legislation to provide them with education benefits.

House Bill 1324 would extend our current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program.

The benefit would pay for 10 semesters/quarters, or five years equivalent, at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education tuition rate. The Guard member could earn these educational benefits for his or her spouse and/or children by committing to a second obligation of six years with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Fish for Free Next Weekend

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will host the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days next Sunday, May 26.

On Fish for Free Days, anyone – resident or non-resident – can legally fish on all Pennsylvania waterways without a license. All other fishing regulations will still apply.

For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.

The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Thursday, July 4, 2019.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Working to support people struggling with depression or other mental health conditions, the House recently designated May as “Mental Health Awareness Month” in the Commonwealth.

Mental illness is not always visible, but it affects Pennsylvanians from all walks of life. This invisibility can make people feel isolated and unable to share their experiences.

It is important that all Pennsylvanians understand mental illness is a biologically based disorder that requires medical attention.

You can learn more about mental health and services available in Pennsylvania by clicking here.
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Office Locations
988 Route 61 South, East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 | Phone (toll free) (855) 271-9384
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown, PA  Phone (717) 647-7208
4B East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2147 
TTY: 855-282-0614