Feb. 14, 2022 / Press Release

Mehaffie Message
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Governor’s Spending Levels Unsustainable for Long-Term Fiscal Health

Gov. Tom Wolf this week proposed spending 16.6% more in 2022-23 than the current fiscal year, which is untenable for the future.

The governor talked about spending much more for education, human services and other worthy programs, but the amounts he put forward are simply not realistic. The budget address is a starting point. We now turn to the hard work of crafting a budget with spending levels that don’t overburden the Commonwealth.

Budget hearings are set to begin on Tuesday, Feb. 15. For a full schedule, visit www.PAHouseGOP.com/budgethearings.
House Passes Better Access to Treatment Act

In support of adults and children with medical conditions like autism, the House of Representatives this week passed my legislation, House Bill 19, to create professional licensure for those practicing applied behavior analysis.

Thirty-one states already offer licensing for board-certified behavior analysts.

Applied behavior analysis techniques are used to help children and adults with a variety of diagnosed conditions, including substance abuse disorder, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

I joined with Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland/Snyder) to introduce House Bill 19 because I am passionate about helping patients when they are most vulnerable. I have heard from so many families who have benefited from ABA because the impacts are felt throughout the entire household. Licensing providers recognizes the academic and training requirements they have fulfilled, it reduces the likelihood of fraud, and it protects Pennsylvanians who are seeking to ensure their behavior analyst is the person he or she claims to be.

Rep. Culver and I urge swift review of House Bill 19 in the Senate.
$25 Million to Support Emergency Medical Services Statewide

Continuing the effort started two weeks ago to support the state’s health care heroes, the House and Senate have approved legislation to provide $25 million in funding for an Emergency Medical Services COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program. The governor signed the measure into law as Act 10 of 2022.

The funding may be used for recruitment and retention; construction or renovation of an EMS company’s facilities; purchase or repair of equipment; debt reduction; training and certification; public education; or revenue loss. EMS companies that qualified for similar grants in the 2019-20 fiscal year would be eligible for these funds through the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. The funding would be divided evenly amongst all applicants.

In late January, the General Assembly voted to provide $225 million in funding to support the state’s health care workers and encourage new nurses to enter the field. A total of $210 million is being directed to hospitals and behavioral health providers to provide recruitment and retention payments to nurses and other employees, while an additional $15 million is being invested in nurse student loan forgiveness.
New Law Aims to Help Solve Missing Persons Cases

The loved ones of Pennsylvania’s more than 400 missing persons will soon have a new tool available to aid in their search under a new state law.

Act 4 of 2022 requires the Pennsylvania State Police to turn over DNA samples of missing persons and unidentified decedents to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS), a nationwide clearinghouse that went online in 2008.

The secure and centralized database, which can be used by law enforcement and members of the public for free, promotes information sharing, case management, automatic matching tools and advanced searching tools to expedite case associations and resolutions. In addition, NAMUS offers numerous law enforcement investigative services and in 2019 added victim services to provide information and support to individuals and families impacted by the loss or disappearance of a loved one.

The law will take effect in early April.
New Law to Promote Early Detection, Diagnosis of Dementia

Legislation aimed at improving the early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias was signed into law by the governor after unanimous approval by both the House and Senate this week.

Act 9 of 2022 calls on the Department of Health to establish and maintain a toolkit of resources to help educate primary care providers on the importance of early detection. Detecting and diagnosing Alzheimer’s and other dementias promptly allows for better care and treatment, and empowers affected individuals to participate in decision-making about their future care at a time when their cognition is least impacted.

The law will take effect in early April.

This week, Verizon presented St. Joan of Arc Catholic School with a check for scholarships through the educational improvement tax credit program. Thanks to Verizon for supporting the children. We had so much fun with them at the presentation.

What a privilege. I met World War II veteran Raymond Wallace this week. Wallace is a Lancaster County resident who served in the 82nd Airborne in Normandy.

The Great American Outdoor Show continues through Sunday at the Farm Show Complex. I stopped by last weekend for the ribbon cutting that launched the show, which has a multitude of features for hunting and fishing enthusiasts. The NRA Foundation presented a generous contribution to the Dauphin County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit as part of the show's launch.