Jun. 28, 2019

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Harrisburg Update

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

I Voted ‘Yes’ on 2019-20 State Budget

This week, I joined a majority of my House colleagues by voting in favor of the 2019-20 state budget.

House Bill 790 features no new taxes, no tax increases and no additional fees, continuing a multi-year effort that has resulted in increased revenues for the Commonwealth.

The nearly $34 billion spending plan increases education funding to historic levels. I have spearheaded legislation that builds on career and technical education passed by the House. In this budget, career and technical education would receive a $10 million increase. PreK-12 education would be increased by $432 million to the highest level in state history.

This is a very realistic revenue plan. Because we are good financial stewards, we do not have to borrow money from outside investors or tax consumers. We are now able to put some money away in the Rainy Day Fund. Overall, this revenue plan is the same way that a household or small business in Pennsylvania would handle a pinch – they use their savings because that is what savings are for.

The budget package is expected to be finalized before the June 30 deadline.

Growing Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Industry

Agriculture is the number one industry in Pennsylvania. The revenue from agriculture alone makes our support of the industry and our commitment to its growth and prosperity important to both the economy and Pennsylvania’s position as a leader among states.

The General Assembly has approved a comprehensive package of bills that will help Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry grow and thrive.

The initiatives, which are now awaiting the governor’s signature to become law, aim to protect the Commonwealth’s food supply and animal health, and combat threats to both crops and livestock; assist farmers with the cost and expertise to further implement best management practices on their farms; support the dairy industry; educate young people about the importance of agriculture; and prepare the next generation of farmers.

Click here for more information on this package of bills.

Our state budget proposal will see additional increases in agriculture funding by $19.5 million or 12.7%. Recognizing the importance of animal health, new line items devote $2 million to the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and $1 million to livestock and consumer health. Also, the state budget proposal restores funding for programs eliminated by the governor’s proposal, including agricultural research; agricultural promotion, education and exports; hardwoods research and promotion; and the livestock and open dairy shows.

House Approves Additional Legislation to Help Fight Opioid Epidemic

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

The bill 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.

Narcan and Naloxone are medications designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

In 2014, Pennsylvania 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.

House Bill 1005 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Protecting Infants from Choking Deaths

In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and deaths of Pennsylvania infants, the House approved legislation this week which would increase education about infant CPR to expectant and new mothers.

House Bill 783 would establish the infant CPR and Choking Education and Prevention Program in Pennsylvania. The program would provide expectant and new mothers with information about the proper infant CPR techniques and choking rescue technique.

Choking is the leading cause of all injury deaths for infants under one year of age. According to the American Heart Association, parents are among the most important people who need to learn how to provide choking relief and CPR to their children.

House Bill 783 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Increasing Lottery Profits for Seniors

This week, the House approved legislation to increase lottery profits by lowering the rate of return of lottery games. The increased profits would go to the 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.

House Bill 956 would temporarily reduce the rate of return to 20% for the next five fiscal years until June 30, 2024.

The lottery sets the game payouts based on the statutorily mandated rate of return months in advance. By changing the mandated rate of return now, it provides the lottery with the ability to prepare the future game portfolio to maximize profits.

House Bill 956 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Protecting Charities and Donors

Recognizing the valuable role of charitable organizations and the people who support them, the House approved legislation to simplify and consolidate the laws governing charities.

House Bill 1222 moves the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act and the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act into the consolidated act that governs charities.

The Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act addresses proper registration of charitable organizations, professional fundraisers and professional solicitors.

The Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act aims to eliminate any inconsistent application of eligibility standards for charitable tax exemptions.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Fish for Free on Independence Day

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is hosting the second of its two annual Fish for Free Days on Independence Day, Thursday, July 4.
This is a great opportunity to try your hand at fishing in any of Pennsylvania’s waterways, even if you don’t have a license.

Both residents and non-residents are eligible. Just make sure you follow all other fishing regulations. 

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
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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 
Email: mtobash@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614