Contact Information 
District Offices
21 N. Main Street, Unit 9
Coopersburg, PA 18036

Phone: (610) 282-0160
Fax: (610) 282-3955

191 Main St., Suite 104
Emmaus, PA 18049
Phone: (610) 965-5830
Fax: (610) 282-3955

56 W. Fourth St., 2nd Floor
Red Hill Borough Building
Red Hill, PA 18076
Phone: (215) 679-3152
Fax: (215) 679-3155
 
Capitol Office
5 East Wing
PO Box 202131
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2131
Phone: (717) 783-1673
Fax: (717) 705-7012
State Budget Update
10/20/2017
The Weekly Roundup
 The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
I Voted “No” on Budget Revenue Plan

In seeking to close out the 2017-18 state budget process, the House this week voted on part of a revenue package to fund the spending plan.

House Bill 542 would raise the bulk of revenue needed to close the budget gap by securitizing the Tobacco Settlement Fund, ensuring third-party online sellers remit the sales tax and applying the sales tax to fireworks. The bill now goes to the Senate.

I was one of 88 House members who voted against the proposal. I simply cannot support the $1.5 billion in new borrowing that it includes. Borrowing against tomorrow to spend on today’s bills is unfair to taxpayers and future generations.

Additional measures still need to be passed on gaming reforms and reinvesting excessive balances from dormant state funds, and the fiscal code bills to finalize the budget package.
                
         
Governor Vetoes Welfare Reform Bill                                  

This week, House members urged Gov. Tom Wolf to sign House Bill 59, the Human Services code part of the 2017-18 state budget package. Unfortunately, he ignored our arguments and vetoed the legislation on Thursday.

The measure was designed to contain escalating costs for the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program by starting a process to implement work or work-search requirements for able-bodied individuals receiving MA benefits. Those requirements would not have applied to those who have a qualifying disability, are pregnant or are elderly.

Work requirements are already in place for food stamp and cash assistance programs. Learn more here.
                                                                  
         
Changing State Government

Lawmakers this week unveiled a bicameral proposal which would give Pennsylvania voters the ability to change state government. The legislation, which I am co-sponsoring, calls for the formation of a limited constitutional convention, specifically addressing the size of the Legislature, and the budgeting and redistricting processes, as well as other areas. Safeguards would be in place to prevent modifications to individual rights, such as the Second Amendment.

If the legislation is approved by the General Assembly and the governor, voters would first be asked via a ballot referendum whether or not there should be a constitutional convention. If approved, a 163-member convention would be formed of elected citizen delegates and lawmakers. Any recommendations that come out of the convention would then be placed on the ballot for final approval or rejection by voters, giving Pennsylvania citizens an opportunity to take a very direct role in historic government change.
                  
         
Ag Committees Discuss Spotted Lanternfly

The House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees held a joint informational meeting this week to discuss the threat of Spotted Lanternfly, a non-native species with the potential to impact several facets of the state’s agriculture industry, including the hardwood industry.

Since it was first discovered in Berks County three years ago, the pest has spread to a few other counties in the southeastern part of the state, including Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with local and federal officials and property owners, is working hard in an attempt to contain the spread of Spotted Lanternfly by issuing a quarantine in the affected counties, promoting early detection, and engaging in practices to kill the pest through tree banding and egg mass scraping.

I am encouraged by the aggressive response from the department, as spread of Spotted Lanternfly poses a significant threat to the state’s more than $20.5 million grape, nearly $134 million apple, and more than $24 million stone fruit industries, as well as the hardwood industry, which accounts for $12 billion in sales.

To view video of the meeting and read submitted testimony, click here.
                  
         
Dispose Your Expired Drugs Safely on Oct. 28

To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 28. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal. Find a drop off location near you here.
                  
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