2020-21 Budget Season Underway
2/11/2020
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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
2020-21 Budget Season Underway


Before a joint session of the General Assembly last 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.

The governor proposed a budget without a tax increase. However, I am concerned that there is a multibillion-dollar increase in the spending plan and no real way to pay for that.

I am very concerned about this proposed level of spending and how it would impact both 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.

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 recently signed into law.

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 and as much as $50,000 for a third or subsequent offense or 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. This is not acceptable.

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.
                  
         
Recognizing Soccer Champions

Click here to view video. 
                                   
Rep. Sue Helm, Rep. Andrew Lewis and I recognized Lower Dauphin High School’s boys soccer team on the House floor last week. The team won its third PIAA Championship in four years during a game against Strath Haven High School.

I very much enjoyed having the coaches and players join us in the House. Congratulations to this team on its achievements.
 
         
Welcome, Sen. Arnold


I would like to congratulate Dave Arnold, who was sworn in last month as the state senator for the 48th District. I was happy to be able to attend the ceremony and look forward to working with Dave.
 
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