Feb. 21, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Budget Hearings Focus on Spending, Mismanagement


Citing concerns with overspending and mismanagement in the current year’s budget, my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee and I kicked off this year’s budget hearings by grilling administration officials about their actual funding needs for the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year.

Earlier this month, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $36 billion budget, which represents a spending increase of more than $2 billion over the current year’s enacted budget. Nearly $1 billion of that increase is the result of the administration’s overspending in this year’s budget. The committee met with officials from the departments of Revenue, Aging, State, Military and Veterans Affairs, Corrections, and Labor and Industry.

Several major state agencies are on next week’s agenda, beginning with the Department of Environmental Protection at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24. Other state agencies scheduled to appear include the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, Health, and Community and Economic Development.

For a full schedule of these and other remaining hearings, or to watch live streams or archived video of the hearings, click here.                                     
 
 
HealthierPA Initiatives Signed into Law

Two measures advanced by the House earlier this year as part of our HealthierPA Initiative are now law.

Act 6 of 2020 will help improve cancer treatment options for patients with Stage IV metastatic cancer by requiring insurance companies to cover the medication and treatments prescribed by the patient’s doctor, regardless of what their insurance plan typically covers.

The law recognizes 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.
                                    
Act 7 of 2020 will help protect infants who receive donated breast milk through milk banks. Banked donor milk is used in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and by outpatients with medical issues. When a mother’s own milk is unavailable in the NICU, the use of banked donor milk has been shown to decrease mortality rates and the incidence of serious complications.

The new law will require the state Department of Health to regulate milk banks, which are entities that gather, process and distribute mothers’ milk for medically fragile newborns. It also does not regulate breast milk donors or affect informal milk sharing that may occur.
 
 
 
 
 
Refinance that Student Loan

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is offering borrowers a more streamlined way to manage their debt by combining all of their federal and private student loans into a single monthly payment.

The PA Forward Student Loan Refinance Program offers competitive fixed interest rates, currently as low as 3.72% APR, which is significantly lower than the average private student loan rate of 8.86% and the average Federal PLUS loan rate of 6.97%.

Eligible federal loans include Stafford, PLUS, Graduate PLUS, Consolidation and Perkins loans. Borrowers should be aware that refinancing federal student loans will result in the loss of current or future federal loan-specific benefits. Eligible private loans include any student loan used for qualified postsecondary education expenses.

For more information, visit www.PHEAA.org/refi. For specific questions, call 844-PAFORWD (844-723-6793).
 
 
Deadline Nears for 2020 PA House Scholarship Applications

High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college have until Sunday, March 1, to apply for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Scholarship.

Each year the program awards a four-year scholarship to two students preparing for post-secondary education. It is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

The scholarship program is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and is privately funded. The scholarship application is available here.
                                      
 
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RepHeffley.com
Office Locations
204B Bridge St., Weissport, PA 18235 | (610) 377-6363
2681 State Route 903, Unit 3, Albrightsville, PA 18210 | (570) 722-8700
Room 420 Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202122, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2122 | (717) 260-6139
Email: dheffley@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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