Feb. 07, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
 
2020-21 Budget Season Underway


Before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2020-21 state budget with a price tag of more than $36 billion, an increase of $2 billion over the current year’s enacted budget.

I am very concerned about this proposed level of spending and how it would impact our taxpayers and employers. The budget also reflects nearly $600 million in overspending in the current year’s budget. It is important that the governor and his administration abide by the enacted budget he agreed to.

Fortunately, the governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, to delve into the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding.

For a schedule and live streaming of the hearings, click here.
   
 
Trout Stocking Schedules Available


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced this week its 2020 trout stocking schedules are now available online and the FishBoatPA mobile app.

The schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates and the species of trout that will be stocked. The commission plans to once again stock approximately 3.2 million trout in 707 streams and 130 lakes open to public angling. PFBC plans to double the amount of trophy-sized trout being stocked to approximately 60,000 fish, 70% of which are slated to be stocked during the preseason.

The 2020 trout season will officially open Saturday, March 28, with the Regional Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day program in 18 southeastern counties, including: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill and York. The following weekend – Saturday, April 4 – kicks off the Regional Opening Day of Trout Season in the same 18 southeastern counties.

A second Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Day will be held on April 11, the Saturday before the April 18 regular statewide opening day of trout season.

For more information on trout stocking, trout season and how to obtain a 2020 fishing license, visit www.fishandboat.com.
 
 
Commonwealth Ramps Up Litter Prevention Efforts


This week, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Department of Transportation (PennDOT), and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful released the results of the first statewide comprehensive research on litter, the cost of cleaning it up, and attitudes toward litter and announced the formation of a state-led workgroup to shift Pennsylvania’s strategy from cleanup to prevention.

Field research results indicate more than 502 million pieces of litter on Pennsylvania’s roads. The most common items are cigarette butts (37 percent) and plastics (30 percent), with plastic film and beverage containers most prevalent. There are an estimated 29.3 million beverage containers alone on the roads. Motorists and pedestrians are leading sources of litter, followed by improperly secured truck loads.

DEP, PennDOT, and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will form a workgroup of state government agencies, local governments, and industry and community leaders to use the research results to develop and carry out a plan of actions to reduce littering in Pennsylvania.

The goal is to build the action plan around four behavior change strategies, including infrastructure, such as waste and recycling facilities and trash cans; public and school-based education; laws and ordinances; and incentives and enforcement.

Learn more about the state litter research results and littering reduction initiative on the DEP’s website. 
 
 
Bill to Boost Cancer Treatment Options Awaits Governor’s Signature


Continuing our commitment to a HealthierPA, legislation to improve cancer treatment options for patients is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

House Bill 427 would provide Stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medication and treatments prescribed by their doctors, regardless of what their insurance plan typically covers.

Under current law, insurance companies have the ability to set coverage guidelines that govern how and when treatments are approved. Sometimes those guidelines require Stage IV patients to “fail first,” meaning they must first try an insurance-mandated series of medications that fail to improve the condition before being granted access to the oncology medication and treatments prescribed by their doctor.

Time is of the essence for patients fighting cancer. They should not have to get sicker and sicker before being allowed to try something their doctor is recommending that could extend the length and quality of their lives.
 
 
Reminder: REAL ID Enforcement to Begin Oct. 1


Effective Oct. 1, the federal government will require all citizens to use a REAL ID or other federally accepted form of identification to board a commercial flight (including domestic flights) or visit a secure federal building that requires ID at the door.

REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvanians, but if you plan to fly or visit a secure federal building and choose not to obtain a REAL ID, you will need another form of federally accepted identification, such as a U.S. passport or passport card or a military ID.

To date, more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians have chosen to get a REAL ID-compliant product. Based on data from other states with optional REAL ID programs, PennDOT anticipates that approximately 1.3 million of its customers will get a REAL ID before the federal enforcement deadline of Oct. 1.

Federal regulations require that to be issued a REAL ID-compliant product, PennDOT must verify documents that ensure proof of identity; Social Security number; current, physical Pennsylvania address; and all legal name changes. Customers can bring the required documents to any PennDOT Driver License Center. A list of accepted documents for verification may be found here.

More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions, can be found at www.penndot.gov/REALID.
 
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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
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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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