Finding Beds for Drug Treatment
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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

Finding Beds for Drug Treatment

Important legislation I am sponsoring to create a statewide drug treatment bed registry was passed unanimously by the House this week. House Bill 596 now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Under my proposal, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs would develop and administer an online registry of all the beds in licensed drug detoxification and rehabilitation facilities across Pennsylvania. By doing this, we can more quickly and systematically provide addiction treatment when an individual is ready to seek help.
Helping Municipalities Fight Blight

Legislation I am sponsoring to assist municipalities in identifying the owners of blighted properties, was approved by the House Urban Affairs Committee this week.

House Bill 1559 would create a pre-registration requirement for potential bidders at tax sales. Registration requires providing contact information and a signed affidavit stating they are not delinquent in any taxes or municipal utility bills or engaged in any unsafe property management activity.

The legislation will next be considered by the full House.
My Bill Would Help to Control Prescription Costs

Also this week, the House Health Committee unanimously approved our legislation to bring much-needed transparency in the pricing practices of middleman companies, or pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), that are hired to manage prescription drug benefit plans.

PBMs have been undercutting reimbursements to community pharmacies for medications sold to patients on Medicaid, creating significant financial difficulties for these local drug stores.

I’m co-sponsoring House Bill 941 with Rep. Rob Matzie (D-Beaver/Allegheny), who joined me at the committee meeting to speak about it. The proposal now moves to the full House for consideration.
Lowering Health Insurance Costs

Pennsylvanians who buy their health insurance on the federal exchange could see lower prices under legislation adopted by the House this week.

House Bill 3 would establish a state-based health insurance exchange and reinsurance program, an option offered by the Trump administration and supported by the Wolf administration as a means for helping make health care more affordable for Commonwealth citizens.

The proposal is also expected to save taxpayer dollars, as the cost of the state running its own exchange is expected to be about half the cost of fees currently being paid to the federal government to run it for us.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Animals Under the Dome

Wednesday was “Zoo Day” at the Capitol and I got to meet Disco, a special visitor from the National Aviary in Pittsburgh!
Deadline Extended for State Rebate Program

Older adults and individuals with disabilities now have until Dec. 31, 2019, to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The original deadline was June 30.

The rebate program benefits eligible residents 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. The maximum standard rebate is $650.

Eligibility information and forms are available on my website at or by contacting one of my district offices, where assistance in filling out the applications is available free of charge. There is no need to pay a private firm for help. Learn more about the rebate program here.
In the District

Congratulations to Ralph Clay for being named 2018-19 Teacher of the Year in the Jim Thorpe Area School District. He’s been a teacher for 16 years and currently teaches fourth grade at Penn Kidder Elementary School. It was my pleasure to present Mr. Clay with a certificate of appreciation from our office.

Congratulations to Sarah Laible of Lehighton for winning the 2019 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. I recently presented Sarah with a House citation in recognition of her outstanding achievement. Prudential Financial partners with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to single out young people who have an extraordinary commitment to their community.
Beware of Financial Aid Scams Targeting Students

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency is warning students and borrowers to be wary of financial aid scams that could expose them to identity theft and significant financial loss.

The most effective way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to be alert and vigilant when asked to provide any form of personal information or when engaging in financial transactions.

Recent scams include:
  • Student loan forgiveness scams in which complete forgiveness is guaranteed in exchange for a fee.
  • Tuition scams in which someone claiming to work for your school’s administrative office calls to warn you that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. Hang up and contact your school directly.
  • Students and borrowers are also commonly targeted with unnecessary fees for services that can be easily accessed for free.
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2681 State Route 903, Unit 3, Albrightsville, PA 18210 | (570) 722-8700
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