Jun. 17, 2021 / Press Release

Honoring Those Who Served

Recognizing the dedication of the state’s veterans, the House last week approved a package of bills supporting those who served us and our country.

The “For Those Who Served” package of bills would: 
  •   increase the daily pay from $150 to $250 for the Veteran Service Organization Honor Guard Burial Details at our three national cemeteries (House Bill 1421)
  •   urge Congress to pass H.R. 1656, which would establish the “Treatment and Relief Through Emerging and Accessible Therapy for PTSD Act” (House Resolution 103); require funeral entities to notify the County Veterans Affairs director, within 96 hours, of the death of a veteran (House Bill 164)
  •   authorize veterans and their family members to be charged the in-state tuition rate for colleges and universities on the date of their deposit, confirming their intent to enroll or on the date of enrollment (House Bill 941)
  •   establish the Veterans Outreach and Support Network Program House Bill 995; add the Navy Club of the United States of America as a voting member of the PA State Veterans Commission (House Bill 1057); and designate the 45-mile portion in Pennsylvania of US Route 20 as the Pennsylvania Medal of Honor Highway (House Bill 1091) would establish the Veterans Outreach and Support Network Program.

The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
COVID-19 Disaster Declaration Terminated

Responding to the will of the voters, the House last week voted to fully terminate the governor’s COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration. The measure was also approved by the Senate and is effective immediately.

The COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration has been in place since March 6, 2020, and has been renewed five times. At the May 18 primary election, a majority of voters supported amending the state Constitution to limit the duration of a governor’s emergency declaration without input of the General Assembly and to authorize the Legislature to terminate (or extend) a governor’s emergency declaration by majority vote and without the governor’s signature.

With the emergency declaration behind us, we are focused on reviewing the hundreds of regulations that have been waived or suspended during the pandemic. We passed legislation to keep those regulatory suspensions in place through no later than Sept. 30 so things like fully reimbursable telehealth appointments will remain in effect while we determine what changes should be made permanent.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Application Deadline Extended

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue extended the deadline for property tax/rent rebate applications to be submitted. It is now Dec. 31, 2021.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians ages 65 and older; widows and widowers ages 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may also file rebate claims on behalf of claimants who lived at least one day in 2020 and meet all other eligibility criteria.

The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

Visit www.revenue.pa.gov to learn more. Call my office at 717-534-1323 to receive a property tax/rent rebate application.
Helping the Fight Against Lyme Disease

Pennsylvania has one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country. The House recently approved legislation to help aid in the treatment of this potentially debilitating disease.

House Bill 1033 would require health insurers to provide coverage for long-term antibiotic and antimicrobial therapy for a patient with Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses when ordered by a health care practitioner. The health care practitioner could order the treatment after making a thorough evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, diagnostic test results or response to treatment, and would be required to disclose to the patient all risks and benefits associated with the recommended treatment options.

Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics when caught and treated early. If untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling, cardiac or neurologic complications. The most severe cases can be debilitating. To learn more about Lyme disease, click here.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Fighting for Victims of the Opioid Epidemic

The Commonwealth’s ongoing opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on children born to parents with substance abuse disorders. Last week, the House passed legislation that would identify strategies to support both the affected children and their families.

House Bill 253 would establish a task force to address the impact of the opioid abuse epidemic, focusing on ways to improve the safety, well-being and permanency of substance-exposed infants and other young children adversely affected by their parents’ substance abuse disorders.

The task force would be directed to identify strategies and make short- and long-term recommendations to prioritize the prevention of substance-exposed infants; to improve outcomes for pregnant and parenting women striving to recover from addiction; and to promote the health, safety and permanency of substance-exposed infants and other young children at risk of child abuse and neglect, or placement in foster care due to parental alcohol and drug abuse.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Hunting Licenses Available Monday

Pennsylvania’s 2021-22 hunting licenses go on sale on this Monday, June 14. Licenses may be purchased in person from authorized license issuing agents  or online at www.huntfish.pa.gov.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters will have three Sunday hunting opportunities this year which now include more species:
  •   Sunday, Nov. 14, is open for: Pennsylvania’s statewide deer archery season; black bear archery season in WMUs 2b, 5b, 5c and 5d; statewide squirrel, pheasant, rabbit, grouse, bobwhite quail, crow and woodchuck season; AND to hunt coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, striped skunks, weasels and porcupines.
  •   Sunday, Nov. 21, is open for: Pennsylvania’s statewide black bear regular firearms season; black bear archery season in WMUs 2b, 5c and 5d; deer archery season in WMUs 2b, 5c and 5d; statewide squirrel, pheasant, rabbit, grouse, bobwhite quail, crow and woodchuck season; AND to hunt coyotes, raccoons, foxes, opossums, striped skunks, weasels and porcupines.
  •   Sunday, Nov. 28, is open for: Pennsylvania’s statewide regular deer firearms season; extended bear season in specific WMUs AND to hunt coyotes, raccoons and foxes.

Please note, Sunday hunting opportunities were expanded to include small game and furbearer opportunities but does not include turkey or migratory bird species. More information about this year’s hunting and trapping seasons is available here.

On Monday, I visited with students from Milton Hershey School when they toured the Capitol. Speaker Bryan Cutler recognized the girls on the House floor.

The 46th annual Middletown Arts and Crafts Fair held last Saturday drew 136 artisans and 12 food vendors. The weather was fantastic for this popular event at Hoffer Park. My thanks to the organizers for allowing me to speak at the fair’s opening.

Congratulations to the 22nd District's newest senator, Marty Flynn (pictured right), who is a former representative. We both ran into my friend Bernard Hopkins Jr., a great boxer and Pennsylvanian.

Rep. Sue Helm and I were among the people with the honor of attending the swearing-in ceremony for the 48th District's newest state senator, Chris Gebhard. It's great to have Sen. Gebhard in the legislature.

Congratulations to Chad Saylor, who is the newest Dauphin County Commissioner. I look forward to continuing to work with the commissioners on behalf of the 106th Legislative District.

The ABA in PA Initiative surprised Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver and me last week with awards for our support of House Bill 19, which would create licensure for applied behavior analysts. These professionals support people with a range of diagnoses, including, but not limited to, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. I'm thankful for the recognition and the partnership with Rep. Schlegel Culver.