Oct. 19, 2018

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Harrisburg Update

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

Debt Reduction Measure Headed to Governor’s Desk
This week, the House passed legislation aimed at reducing Pennsylvania’s debt burden. House Bill 83 is on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting his signature.

The bill would require the administration to use responsible debt management practices by repaying new capital debt using a level principal payment approach, which saves taxpayer dollars by reducing the amount spent on interest.

An analysis by House Appropriations Committee staff estimates that this one reform would reduce outstanding general obligation debt by $1 billion over 20 years.

This is an important bill to help protect taxpayer dollars. It provides commonsense reform that saves taxpayers significantly over the life of state-issued bonds. 

Legislation Addressing License Suspensions for Non-Driving Convictions Awaiting Governor’s Signature
Legislation which would remove the driver’s license suspensions for non-driving-related drug convictions and six other crimes is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

This bill is critical for people with a license suspension for non-driving offenses to maintain gainful employment, pursue education, keep doctor’s appointments and take care of a family member. With a valid driver’s license in their pocket, their job possibilities expand tremendously.

House Bill 163 would not remove the mandatory license suspensions for crimes that occur while an individual is operating a vehicle, such as driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. This bill would remove the state-imposed driver’s license suspension for the following crimes:

• Non-driving-related state or federal drug convictions.
• Underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor, malt or brewed beverages in a licensed facility.
• Purchase of tobacco by a minor.
• Misrepresentation of age to secure liquor, malt or brewed beverages by any person under 21 years of age.
• Underage purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor, malt or brewed beverages.
• Carrying a false identification card.

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.

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 now on the governor’s desk. 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 $35,000 for a married couple.

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.

Designation to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence
To raise awareness of domestic violence and encourage victims to seek help, House Resolution 1046 passed the House to designate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

Domestic violence – a pattern of abusive behavior used to establish power and control over an intimate partner – affects men and women in all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds. It takes many forms, whereby victims are often subjected to abuse, harassment, threats, vandalism, trespassing, burglary, theft and stalking.

Last year, 117 people were killed in Pennsylvania by someone who was supposed to love them. More information about domestic violence is available here dvscp.org

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.

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.

Americans for Prosperity Award

This week at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, it was my honor to accept an award from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in recognition of the outstanding rating they gave my voting record on issues such as budgets and spending, corporate welfare, criminal justice reform and labor.

Pictured with me (from left) are AFP-PA Deputy State Director Anna McCauslin and State Director Beth Anne Mumford.
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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
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Email: mtobash@pahousegop.com
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