Feb. 07, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
FFA Week Starts Feb. 22

Click here to view video. 

 I introduced a resolution to designate Feb. 22 to 29 “FFA Week in Pennsylvania.” That resolution unanimously passed the House this week.

It is important we recognize FFA for the role it plays in developing leadership in our youths. Student membership in FFA hit an all-time high in 2019, which is a great achievement. The organization boasts more than 700,000 members in 8,612 chapters.

                                     
 
2020-21 Budget Season Underway

Before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2020-21 state budget with a price tag of more than $36 billion, an increase of $2 billion over the current year’s enacted budget.

I am very concerned about this proposed level of spending and how it would impact our taxpayers and employers. The budget also reflects nearly $600 million in overspending in the current year’s budget. It is important that the governor and his administration abide by the enacted budget he agreed to.

The governor wants to cut agricultural programs created just last year, like the Livestock and Consumer Health Protection initiative and the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission. He is proposing these cuts while at the same time incorporating a 9% increase for his own office.

Fortunately, the governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, to delve into the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding.

For a schedule and live streaming of the hearings, click here.
   
 
Anti-Human-Trafficking Initiative Signed into Law

One of several human trafficking bills championed in the House last month was signed into law this week.

Senate Bill 60 is designed to better protect victims of human trafficking and ensure justice is served by imposing stricter penalties on criminals involved in this heinous crime.

The new law raises the grading of the offense to a first-degree felony and imposes increased fines and jail time. Specifically, the law will raise the additional fine amount to at least $1,000 for a first offense; $5,000 to $25,000 for a second offense; $10,000 to $50,000 for a third or subsequent offense; or $10,000 to $50,000 where the victim of sexual servitude was a minor at the time of the offense. Jail time could be as much as 20-40 years.

To learn more about additional legislation approved by the House to combat human trafficking, click here. 
 
 
Bill to Boost Cancer Treatment Options Awaits Governor’s Signature

Continuing our commitment to a HealthierPA, legislation to improve cancer treatment options for patients is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. 

House Bill 427 would provide Stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medication and treatments prescribed by their doctors, regardless of what their insurance plan typically covers.

Under current law, insurance companies have the ability to set coverage guidelines that govern how and when treatments are approved. Sometimes those guidelines require Stage IV patients to “fail first,” meaning they must first try an insurance-mandated series of medications that fail to improve the condition before being granted access to the oncology medication and treatments prescribed by their doctor.

Time is of the essence for patients fighting cancer. They should not have to get sicker and sicker before being allowed to try something their doctor is recommending that could extend the length and quality of their lives.
 
 

Kathy Bentley, executive director of Perry County Literacy Council, was on the House floor Tuesday for the governor’s budget address. It was great to see her.
 
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Perry County Office, 18 West Main Street, PO Box 9. New Bloomfield PA 17068 | Tel: 717-582-8119
Cumberland County Office, 81 Walnut Bottom Road, P.O. Box 705, Shippensburg, PA 17257 | Tel: 717-477-0905
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Email: mkeller@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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