Jun. 09, 2023

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#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Bills Advance to Improve Care for Patients and Seniors, Update Keystone STARS Program

This week, I had three of my bills advance through their respective committees and will now come before the full House for a vote.

House Bill 106 would establish safe patient limits under the care of an individual nurse in Pennsylvania hospitals, to be known as the Patient Safety Act. Nurses across the state are being assigned an increasing number of patients as staffing levels continue to decline, resulting in nearly 300 surgical patient deaths per year in Pennsylvania. The Patient Safety Act legislation would set appropriate ratios for Pennsylvania hospitals dependent upon the acuity of the unit’s patient needs. This legislation is an important part of keeping hospital patients safe and ensuring they receive the best care possible. You can watch my comments about the bill here.
House Bill 1300 would add a member of the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office to the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council. Pennsylvania Ombudsmen are federally mandated, legally based and state certified to actively advocate and give voice to older consumers of long-term care services. The issue of COVID-19 in our state long-term care facilities heightened the need for stronger advocacy of our older adult community. I believe adding the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman to the Long-Term Care Commission would help enhance the coordination and care of our senior citizens.

The STARS program ranks Pennsylvania’s child care centers. House Bill 1020 would require the Department of Human Services to update its Keystone STARS program guidance to provide a pathway for child care employees and providers to receive “credit” for years of experience. This change would reward on-the-job experience, which benefits the children and families these providers serve. It would also encourage child care providers to educate families about the Keystone STARS program by advertising their “STAR Status” on their front doors and website. You can watch my comments about the bill given before the committee here.    
Best Wishes, Linda

This week, I had the honor of presenting a citation from the PA House of Representatives to Linda Kreiser. Linda is retiring as head coach of the Lower Dauphin High School Varsity Field Hockey Team after 45 years of service. She has led the Falcons to seven state championships and 16 District III titles, and earned an overall career record of 876 wins, 126 losses and 43 ties. She has been a driving force of the Lower Dauphin Field Hockey program for nearly five decades as a player and coach and will be truly missed.
Route 322 Intersection Project to Begin Next Week in Dauphin County

PennDOT has announced that work to clear an area along Route 322 and Grayson Road (SR 2019) is scheduled to begin next week on an intersection reconstruction project in Swatara Township.

Over the next month, crews will be clearing brush, installing erosion and sedimentation measures, and removing some billboards along Route 322, Milroy Road, Witmer Drive and Grayson Road.

Following the Independence Day holiday, workers will begin setting regular short-term nighttime traffic restrictions, starting at 9 p.m., to reconstruct the roadway shoulders for a future long-term traffic shift.

The Route 322 signalized intersection with Grayson Road and Chambers Hill Road (SR 3006) is being reconstructed to four approaches with left-turn lanes removed from Route 322.

One through lane will be added in each direction of Route 322. Eastbound Route 322 left turns will be replaced with a new jug handle and signal at Witmer Road. Westbound Route 322 left turns will be replaced with a new roundabout and bypass lanes at the intersection with Milroy Road and Grayson Road.

Construction of three retaining walls will accommodate the widening and geometry, as well as the addition of dynamic message signs, stormwater management basins, drainage, guiderail, barrier, signs and upgraded pavement markings, and other miscellaneous construction.

This project is expected to be completed by Aug. 18, 2027.
Reminders about Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Act

With summer break having started for most area schools, many of our youth are looking for summer employment opportunities. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry is reminding workers under the age of 18 of the protections afforded to them by law and is encouraging employers across Pennsylvania to familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Act to ensure they are in full compliance.

Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Act protects the health, safety and welfare of minors employed in the Commonwealth by limiting employment in certain establishments and occupations, restricting the hours of work, regulating work conditions, and requiring work permits for children hired to fill a position. The Fair Labor Standards Act, also known as the federal child labor law, also applies in Pennsylvania. Where the laws overlap, the most protective standard applies.

Pennsylvania's Child Labor Act has distinct provisions for minors in three age categories: under 14, 14-15 and 16-17. All minors under 16 must have a written statement from the minor’s parent or guardian acknowledging the duties and hours of employment and granting permission to work. Minors are also required to obtain a work permit from their school district’s issuing officer.

Anyone who suspects violations of the Child Labor Act, or other Pennsylvania labor laws, can file a complaint here.
What Pennsylvanians Need to Do to Stay Covered Under Medicaid, CHIP

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is reminding people what they can do to prepare for and complete their required Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) annual renewals. A federal pandemic-response policy that provided continuous coverage through most of the public health emergency has ended, and nationwide, all people who are enrolled in their state’s Medicaid or CHIP programs must once again complete their annual renewal in order to stay covered.

In Pennsylvania, DHS is working in close coordination with Pennie® – Pennsylvania’s official health insurance marketplace – to help people stay connected to life-sustaining health coverage, no matter where it comes from. DHS and Pennie are committed to helping Pennsylvanians through the renewal period and keeping people covered.

To read a recently published op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer covering everything you need to know, click here.
Attention Students: House Fellowship Program Taking Applications

The Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship Program is accepting applications for its fall 2023 semester. The 13-week program is based at Pennsylvania’s Capitol Building in Harrisburg where fellows are placed in committee chair and House leadership offices.

Qualified applicants must be:  
  •   Undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students or law school students.
  •   Enrolled in a Pennsylvania college/university or a Pennsylvania resident enrolled in an out-of-state institution.
  •   Students of any major with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

For more information or to apply, visit www.pahousefellowship.us. Applications can be submitted via email to pahousefellowship@pabmc.net. The deadline to apply is July 1.