Feb. 28, 2019

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The Rothman Report


 The latest news from the State Capitol

In the Community
Residents Learn About Concealed Carry Safety and Castle Doctrine
On February 13, I hosted a Concealed Carry Seminar alongside Representative Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland). Residents of Cumberland County had the opportunity to learn from law enforcement officers and legal experts about concealed carry laws in Pennsylvania. We had a strong turnout. Well over 100 people attended the event!
Thank you to the Mechanicsburg Sportsman Association for hosting our seminar. They not only opened their doors to the seminar but their kitchen, too. I also want to thank Cumberland County Sheriff Ron Anderson, Silver Spring Township Police Chief Chris Raubenstine, and Timothy M. Barrouk, Esquire, Senior Litigation Associate with the McShane Firm Law Offices for their participation in the panel.

Resolution Recognizing FIRST Tech Challenge and Javengers Robotics Team
On February 20, I introduced a resolution recognizing the immense value of robotics and STEM education. It passed unanimously. The efforts of Cumberland County's FIRST Tech Challenge team, the Javengers, were applauded for their outreach to the underserved community to advance interest in robotics and STEM education. Keep up the great work, Javengers!

You’re Invited to Attend a Lyme Disease Townhall
On Thursday, March 21, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) and I will be hosting a Lyme Disease Townhall at Central Penn Business College. It will be located at 600 College Hill Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 in the college Conference Center’s Susquehanna and Yellow Breeches Room.

Pennsylvania ranks number one in Lyme disease diagnosis. Learn more from experts including:

Nicole Chinnici, M.S., C.W.F.S. - East Stroudsburg University Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab Director;
Leah Lind, M.P.H. - Bureau of Epidemiology Pennsylvania Department of Health;
Holly Ahern, Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Microbiology SUNY Adirondack and member of the Federal Tick-borne Disease Working Group;
Julia Wagner - PA Lyme Resource Network Chair;
Garth Ehrlich, Ph.D - Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Drexel University; and
Robert Mauss, D.O. - Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health Center.

Registration is requested.

To register, call the district office at (717) 975-2235 or fill out the form on RepRothman.com.
State Government News
Streamlining Medication Process for Patients and Seniors
House Republicans are making it easier for senior citizens and patients with chronic conditions to adhere to their medical schedules, promoting health and welfare.

On February 4, the House passed House Bill 195, which ensures patients can synchronize their medications in order to receive refills on the same day each month instead of having to make multiple visits to the pharmacy.

This commonsense legislation would put Pennsylvania in line with Medicaid Part D, the PACE Program, and 35 other states that allow medication synchronization.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Good Jobs for PA: Focusing on Careers, Not Minimum Wage
A key to the economic success of Pennsylvania is to ensure our students and workers are adequately prepared to occupy well-paying jobs, both now and in the future.

House Republicans launched our #GoodJobs4PA initiative this month, focusing on efforts to help students, under-and-unemployed adults, returning military veterans, and many others enter fulfilling, family-sustaining careers.

The bills aim to address skill gaps and labor shortages faced by industries across the state, as well as enhance educational programs and access to opportunities for workers of all ages.

The launch coincided with Governor Wolf signing an executive order to create the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The center is charged with addressing barriers to employment and enhancing cooperation among education and workforce development entities.

Preparing PA Students for Careers
As a foundational part of the #GoodJobs4PA initiative, the House Education Committee unveiled a package of bills aimed at improving career and technical education (CTE) in Pennsylvania.

The package of bills includes:
o House Bill 265, which would expand the online database that allows students and potential students to plan where courses, programs, certificates and diplomas transfer among public schools and institutions of higher education.
o House Bill 297, which would direct the State Department of Education to develop materials outlining workforce needs, including training opportunities and future earning potential.
o House Bill 334, which would expedite the approval of important educational programs to respond better to industry and workforce demands.
o House Bill 393 (to be introduced soon), which would create an online career resource center.
o House Bill 394 (to be introduced soon), which would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to inventory workforce development programs offered at secondary and postsecondary institutions.
o House Bill 395 (to be introduced soon), which would require CTE programs to establish occupational advisory committees.
o House Bill 396 (to be introduced soon), which would add at least one member from a Career and Technical Center to each Workforce Development Board.
o House Bill 522, which would create a CTE investment incentive program, including tax credits for contributions to support CTE programs and enrollment expansion programs.

These bills are designed to increase awareness of job-training opportunities and high-demand careers for students.

Supreme Court Responds to House Pressure, Delays Venue Rule Change
Seeking to prevent a health care crisis in Pennsylvania, physicians, administrators, attorneys and industry professionals told members of the House Majority Policy Committee during a public hearing on February 12 that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should not change a rule dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits. Shortly after the hearing concluded, the Supreme Court decided to postpone its consideration until a study on the impact of the rule change is conducted later this year.

The pending proposal would reverse a rule that requires malpractice cases be brought in the county where the malpractice occurred, thereby prohibiting “shopping” for venues such as Philadelphia, where jury awards tend to be higher.

Reversing the rule would also counteract progress that has been made to ensure access to quality health care for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of ZIP code. Prior to the rule’s implementation, skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates forced many doctors and specialists to retire early or move their practices out of state. Rural areas were hit especially hard, and a reversal of this rule could again create a health care crisis.

Residents can continue to do their part to ensure their voices are heard by visiting  PAGOPPolicy.com and sharing with the court how such a rule change could impact their health care.

Improving the Do-Not-Call List
House Bill 318, which was passed the House February 20, aims to help Pennsylvanians cut down on the number of telemarketing calls they receive.

The bill gives Pennsylvanians the ability to sign up for the state’s telemarketing "do-not-call" list without requiring them to re-register every five years.

The bill also aims to cut down on the annoyance of telemarketing calls by banning telemarketing calls on federal holidays. It would also ban the use of calls from computerized auto-dialers (robocalls).

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Budget Hearings Focus on Accountability in Tax Dollar Spending
The House Appropriations Committee held its first series of 2019-20 state budget hearings this month. The hearings are designed to give members the opportunity to question state officials about their funding requests and ensure state government is accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars. Members will also focus on ensuring the budget supports policies that improve the state’s economic climate and promote the creation of private sector jobs.

The first set of hearings included appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the departments of Revenue, Aging, and Conservation and Natural Resources.

The next week of hearings began Monday, February 25, featuring the departments of Corrections, General Services, Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Transportation, along with the Liquor Control Board and the Gaming Control Board.

The full schedule is available here. The site also includes video of the archived hearings once available.

Ensuring Victims’ Rights
In support of crime victims, House Republicans are out front, taking action to strengthen protections for victims of crime. Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, we need to ensure crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire criminal justice process.

House Republicans authored a number of bills that have been passed out of the House Judiciary Committee aimed at strengthening the rights of crime victims. We support efforts to allow victims of crime to participate in the criminal justice system.
House Bill 276 – A joint resolution, known as Marsy’s Law, which would add a victim’s bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
House Bill 502 – Would ensure victims can attend proceedings against their abusers.
House Bill 503 – Would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
House Bill 504 – Would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
House Bill 505 -- Would strengthen protections for young abuse victims.

Victims are not just pieces of evidence. They should not be treated as criminals. They deserve the protection of our criminal justice system and the tools to help them confront and testify against their abusers.
Program, Services, and Opportunities
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Applications Available
Applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available on my website, and at my district office.

The program is designed to help eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older to receive up to a $650 rebate from the property taxes or rent they paid last year.

To be eligible, homeowners must earn less than $35,000 a year and renters less than $15,000 with half of Social Security income excluded.

Certain supplemental rebates can boost homeowner rebates up to $975. The supplemental rebates are automatically calculated by the Department of Revenue for qualifying homeowners.

Residents should not pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available for free at my office.

Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.

Helping Our Veterans

Ensuring Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans get all of the benefits they have earned is an important mission of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and state lawmakers.

Veterans are encouraged to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry at register.dmva.pa.gov to get timely information about state benefits, programs and services.

DMVA also offers two Mobile Veterans Outreach Vans that travel the Commonwealth to give veterans one-on-one assistance, so they can learn about and apply for the benefits they have earned.

Each van is staffed with accredited veterans service officers and is wheelchair-accessible. Last year the vans visited 107 community events helping 1,500 veterans.

To learn more about the vans, and schedule one for a community event, click here. This page also includes a calendar of upcoming events.
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Office Locations
1200 Camp Hill Bypass, Suite 202, Camp Hill, PA 17011 | Phone: 717-975-2235
163A East Wing, Capitol Complex, PO Box 202087, Harrisburg, PA 17120 | Phone: 717-783-2063
TTY: 855-282-0614