Apr. 05, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Supporting Our First Responders

With fire and ambulance organizations across the state struggling due to a lack of volunteers and financial resources, the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees held an informational meeting this week to discuss recommendations to address these challenges.

According to testifiers, the decline of volunteers is having a significant impact on municipalities’ ability to reliably and safely provide public safety services to their citizens. Much of the decline can be attributed to societal and economic changes, such as longer working hours and longer commutes. Lawmakers were encouraged to consider incentives such as tax credits or college loan forgiveness programs to help recruit new volunteers. Affordable and accessible training was also encouraged to remove barriers to volunteering.

These were among more than two dozen broad recommendations offered late last year by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission, which was charged with studying issues such as recruitment and retention, government support, innovation, training and operations, and more. You can read the commission’s report here.

One of the recommendations, which requires insurers to reimburse ambulance companies for services provided even if no transport takes place, was signed into law last year. Lawmakers plan to build on that success this year as they prepare to introduce legislation implementing some additional recommendations.

Two bills I have introduced that would help fire and ambulance companies by distributing state funding more fairly are already under consideration in the House. House Bill 802 would mandate that a fire company is not eligible for a loan under the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program if that company already receives local share funding from a casino in the same county. House Bill 803 would ensure that a certain number of these organizations are prioritized when local share grants from expanded gaming are awarded.  
Economic Outlook

General Fund revenue collections for March were $4.55 billion, which was $76 million more than the Department of Revenue’s official estimate. So far this fiscal year, General Fund collections total $24.7 billion, which is 1.5 percent higher than expected. Learn more here.
New License Plates for Veterans

PennDOT has added several new license plates to its collection honoring veterans and their service to our country.

The Honoring Our Women Veterans plate costs $35, of which $15 goes to the Veterans Trust Fund to be used for programs and resources that assist women veterans.

The Soldiers Medal, Presidential Service Badge and Legion of Merit plates each recognize veterans’ specific contributions during their service. These plates are available for a fee of $20. Veterans must be able to show that they are recipients of the respective awards.

Veterans from other countries can apply for a Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country plate, also available for a fee of $20.

The above plates may only be used on passenger vehicles and trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds.

Motorcycle owners can now get the Purple Heart Medal Motorcycle plate, which displays the words “Combat Wounded Veteran” across the bottom. To get the plate, applicants must be able to prove they received a Purple Heart Medal and pay the $11 fee.

Another new one is the Historic Military Vehicle plate, which is available for antique or classic vehicles manufactured for use in any country’s military forces. The vehicles must be maintained to represent their original military design and markings. This plate is available for both historic military vehicles and historic military motorcycles for $75.

For more information about plates for veterans and how to apply for them, visit www.dmv.state.pa.us, click on “Vehicle Services” and look under “Registration Plates.”
How Much Do My Prescriptions Cost?

The state Department of Aging maintains a database to help consumers compare the cost of frequently used medications.

The online tool updates prices weekly, lists prices by ZIP code or distance from location, includes pharmacy store details, and lists pharmacies with low-cost generics and those that match lower prices.

You can learn more about the tool by clicking here or calling 1-800-835-4080.
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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
Room 105 , Ryan Office Building, PO Box 202086. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2086 | Tel: 717-783-1593
Email: mkeller@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614