Nov. 15, 2021

Mehaffie Message
 
House Focuses on Bills Benefitting PA Veterans

The House today is expected to pass a package of bills supporting Pennsylvania’s veterans and their families. Earlier this week, Rep. Karen Boback from the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee highlighted the bills during a press event in Soldiers’ Grove across from the Capitol fountain.

House Bills 1055, 1220, 1612 and 1868; House Resolution 153; and Senate Bills 248 and 500 comprise the package of legislation. These measures would improve professional licensure provisions for service members and their families, increase the monthly pension payments to blind and paralyzed veterans; create further protections for military discharge records and the care of veterans’ graves; and establish recognition days for veterans of the Persian Gulf War and Global War on Terrorism.

For more information about programs and benefits to support our veterans in Pennsylvania, click here.
 
 
House Advances Bill to Expand Prescription Assistance Program

The House has approved legislation to expand availability of prescription drug assistance to more of the state’s senior citizens.

House Bill 1260 would expand the PACENET program, which provides life-sustaining medications to more than 300,000 older Pennsylvanians, by raising income eligibility limits to $33,500 for single individuals and $41,500 for married couples. The current PACENET eligibility requirement is $27,500 for single individuals and $35,500 for married couples.

The bill also would eliminate the requirement for PACENET cardholders not enrolled in Medicare Part D to pay a monthly benchmark premium. Instead, the bill would require the program pay this monthly premium.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Open Enrollment Begins for State Insurance Exchange

The 2022 open enrollment period for health care coverage through Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-based health insurance marketplace, is now underway.

Pennsylvanians have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage that will begin on New Year’s Day.

Created by the Legislature through Act 42 of 2019, Pennie aims to improve access to health care for all state residents, lower health care costs and premiums and ensure excellent customer assistance throughout the enrollment process.

For more information or to enroll, visit www.pennie.com or call customer care at 1-844-844-8040.
 
 
L&I Announces $1.5 Million Available to Enhance Digital Literacy Skills for Job Seekers, Increase Access to Family-Sustaining Jobs

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jennifer Berrier recently announced the availability of an additional $1.53 million in Digital Literacy and Workforce Development Grants (DLWDG) to support local programs across Pennsylvania that enhance foundational digital literacy skills for job seekers and help provide increased access to employment opportunities.

L&I will provide approximately $1.5 million for a second round of grants of up to $45,000 each to promote digital competency, which also includes the ability to search and apply for online jobs, upload and submit a résumé via email, and the ability to develop and maintain a professional profile on networking sites. These funds are in addition to the $1.3 million in funding awarded earlier this year.

New for this round of the grants, expanded eligible applicants include local workforce development boards, public libraries, library systems, district library centers, non-profit agencies (community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, etc.) or small businesses meeting certain criteria. Grant applications are due December 21, 2021, and the 2021 DLWDG will operate from May 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023. Awardees from the first round of DLWDG funds are not eligible to apply for this grant.

Additional details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website. The deadline to apply is Dec. 21, 2021.
 
 
Committee Supports House Bill 777


The House State Government Committee this week sent to the full House my bill to designate amethyst as the official state gemstone. House Bill 777 would also make celestite the state mineral of Pennsylvania. I introduced this measure in cooperation with Rep. Tina Pickett.

Pennsylvania is well known for its vast mineral deposits. The official symbols of Pennsylvania are important because they help to differentiate our state from others. On the same day that the bill passed committee, I had a chance to chat with Miss Pennsylvania Meghan Sinisi and our conversation reinforced for me the importance of titles – like the state gemstone!
 
 

At Hope Springs Farm last week, I got to see firsthand the work being done on the farm. The organization in Hershey provides skills training and meaningful interactions for adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
 
 

Last Sunday, the Swatara Township Police Department held its 5K Hero Run at the Harrisburg Mall. There was also a 100-yard dash for small children. The event is a fundraiser for the police’s K9 unit as well as Cops for the K.O.P.S. charity, Keystone Wounded Warriors and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. It was an awesome day to support these important causes.
 
 

Thanks to everyone who came out to my drive-through veterans recognition event last Friday. I really enjoyed talking to everyone who participated. My thanks to staff members, fire police, volunteers and the Lower Swatara Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary for all their hard work in helping to make this event such a success.
 
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