Nov. 22, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Upper Saucon Township Receives Transportation Grant


My office is proud to announce that a project in Upper Saucon Township has been awarded funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA

Upper Saucon was awarded $1,000,000 for improvements to the intersection of Passer Road and Route 309. This will include the construction of new turning lanes, widening, upgraded traffic signals, and ADA compliant sidewalk installation. These improvements will allow for the eventual construction of a new Wawa gas station and other development.

I am tremendously pleased to have helped secure the funding for this important project. As your State Representative, I am committed to advocating for local projects like this that will improve life in the district and promote job creation and economic growth for years to come.
 
 
Working Toward a Healthier PA


Continuing our commitment to delivering affordable and accessible health care options for Pennsylvania families regardless of where they live, the House advanced several health-related initiatives this week.

With prescription drugs playing an important role in both treatment and preventive care, we approved bills addressing the Commonwealth’s use of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The measures aim to remove gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from advising their patients of options to save money on their prescriptions by bypassing insurance and ensure fair pricing and accountability regarding the use of PBMs for the state’s Medicaid program.

Other measures adopted by the House include additions to the state’s newborn screening procedures and requiring patients being prescribed opioids to have a treatment agreement with a prescriber to ensure they understand the risk of addiction, dangers of overdose and their responsibility regarding treatment.

Learn more about the #HealthierPA initiative here.
 
 
Wildlands Conservancy Receives DCNR Grant


I’m also very pleased to announce that the Wildlands Conservancy in Lehigh County has received a grant of $500,000 from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). These funds will go toward the acquisition of approximately 168 acres in Salisbury and Upper Saucon townships for the creation of a new preserve; and the protection of approximately 19 acres in Upper Saucon Township in the form of a land donation.
   
 
New Law Supports #GoodJobs4PA


Following through on our commitment to improve career and technical education (CTE) through our #GoodJobs4PA legislative package, a new state law will make the most significant reforms to our CTE laws in more than three decades.

Act 76 of 2019, which was signed into law this month, will help ensure our students are better prepared for success in the workforce while at the same time attracting employers and economic development to the Commonwealth.

To ensure students are well informed about their choices, the law expands an online database of articulation agreements so students know what courses may transfer between higher education institutions and requires schools to give equal opportunity to both college and career presenters at career fairs. The measure also requires the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, with assistance from the Department of Education, to conduct a survey to determine the number and types of workforce development programs offered at secondary and postsecondary institutions.

To support CTE programs financially, Act 76 sets into law guidelines for CTE equipment grants and establishes the Schools-to-Work Program within the Department of Labor and Industry to provide grants to pre-apprenticeship programs for the purpose of establishing or enhancing workforce development partnerships between schools, employers, organizations or associations to create employment and training pathways.
 
 
Protecting Our Energy Producers and Consumers


Legislation introduced in the House and Senate this week would require legislative authorization before Pennsylvania could impose a carbon tax on employers engaged in energy generation, manufacturing or other industries operating in the Commonwealth, or enter into any multi-state program, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that would impose such a tax.

On Oct. 3, the governor issued an executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to commence RGGI regulations. RGGI would establish a regional cap on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution that power plants can emit by establishing a trading system. Each unit of trade, known as an allowance, would represent authorization for a power plant to emit one short ton (2,000 pounds) of CO2. Power plants in RGGI-member states can trade allowances, preventing the total amount of CO2 emissions in the region from increasing. RGGI would also establish a carbon tax on fossil fuel users for the resulting CO2 emissions.

House Bill 2025 contends that the authority to make such a decision lies with the General Assembly, not with the governor’s office.

Legislators and industry union members in attendance stated that Pennsylvania’s entrance into RGGI would force energy producers to close and/or move out of state as well as cut hundreds of jobs, drastically increase the price of energy and severely damage Pennsylvania’s economy.

More information on the press conference as well as the two bills can be found here.
 
 
Department of Aging Warns Seniors of Genetic Testing Scam


The Department of Aging is warning Pennsylvania seniors, their families and caregivers about a new scam targeting older adults.

Scammers are offering “free” genetic testing, claiming it is covered through Medicare, as a means for the senior to avoid disease or to find the right medications. This is simply an effort to gain access to a senior’s personal Medicare information, which can lead to access to financial information and more.

The Administration for Community Living suggests the following tips to avoid being scammed: Do not accept genetic testing services, including a cheek swab, from someone at a community event; always be cautious about giving out your personal information, including your Medicare number; don’t accept a genetic testing kit through the mail unless it was ordered by your physician; and always review your Medicare Summary Notice or Explanation of Benefits, watching for words such as “gene analysis” or “molecular pathology.”

If you or a loved one have already received a genetic testing cheek swab or screening that was not ordered by a trusted provider, or have any concerns about possible fraud, find and contact your local Senior Medicare Patrol here  or call 1-877-808-2468.
 
 
Ag and Youth Grant Program to Boost Industry’s Future


A grant program aimed at securing the future of the state’s agriculture industry is now accepting applications.

The Ag and Youth Grant Program, created by the General Assembly under Act 40 of 2019, provides direct and matching grants to help fund eligible projects, programs and equipment purchases conducted or made by organizations composed mainly of youth and organized to promote development in agriculture, community leadership, vocational training and peer fellowship.

Eligible projects include education or workforce development seminars or field trips; agricultural safety training programs; and capital projects or equipment purchases.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 29. Click here for additional information.
 
 
Deadline Nears for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program



Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Remember, assistance through my offices is always free. You need not pay a private firm for assistance.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 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.

For additional information and applications, click here, or contact my office for assistance.
 
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21 N. Main Street, Unit 9, Coopersburg, PA 18036 | Phone: (610) 282-0160
191 Main St., Suite 104, Emmaus, PA 18049 I Phone: (610) 965-5830
56 W. Fourth St., Second Floor, Red Hill, PA 18076 I Phone: (215) 679-3152
5 East Wing, PO Box 202131, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2131 | (717) 783-1673
Email: jsimmons@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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