Madison Wertz Petition Drive
Last year, 11-year-old Madison Wertz and her father, Michael Wertz told me she was creating a petition drive to raise awareness of and promote funding to help rape victims in Pennsylvania through getting untested rape kits processed.
Her efforts are impressive and bring added attention to an issue that we are continuing to address legislatively in the General Assembly.
Last year, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a report indicating there were more than 3,000 untested rape kits in the Commonwealth, with more than 1,850 kits that spent more than a year awaiting action.
In addition to coming legislative action in the new session, Madison is taking her petition nationwide to help rape victims in every state.
I am pleased to help in this effort. I encourage you to sign the petition and help this worthy cause.
To read about and sign the petition click here.
Madison Wertz meets the media in Harrisburg.
Getting to Work with House Committee Assignments
This week, the House Committee on Committees met to finalize assignments for the 27 standing committees to cover the 2017-18 legislative session.
This term, I will be returning to the vital House Appropriations Committee, where we will begin budget hearings on Tuesday, Feb. 21. In addition, I will also serve on the Environmental Resources and Energy, Game and Fisheries, and Judiciary committees
These assignments allow me to have a greater insight into the legislation and issues discussed and help me better represent our district.
All bills are assigned to a standing committee to undergo review. Committees may hold hearings on legislation, consider amendments to pending bills and report them to the full House for a vote.
Protecting Consumers from Telemarketers
I have joined in a legislative effort aimed at giving consumers the ability to sign up for the telemarketing "do-not-call" list without requiring them to re-register every five years. This bill being crafted would remove the time period completely, allowing consumers to register only once for as long as they hold the number they register. The bill would also prohibit telemarketing on legal holidays and calls initiated by computerized auto dialers (robocalls).
This legislation passed the House with a unanimous vote in 2015, but was not acted upon by the Senate prior to the close of session.
I will keep you informed as this legislation develops.
To register for the do-not-call list, click here.
Pennsylvania Game Commissioners Meeting Begins Jan. 29
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will hold its first quarterly meeting of 2017, from Jan. 29 - 31 at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters, located at 2001 Elmerton Ave., just off the Progress Ave. exit of Interstate 81, in Harrisburg.
On Sunday, Jan. 29, beginning at 1 p.m., the commissioners will hear public recommendations for 2017-18 hunting and furtaking seasons and bag limits. Doors will open at noon. Individuals interested in offering public testimony – limited to five minutes – may register on a first-come, first-to-speak basis.
On Monday, Jan. 30, the board will gather any additional public comments and hear Game Commission staff reports beginning at 8:30 a.m. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. Registration for those interested in offering public testimony, limited to five minutes, also will begin at that time.
PowerPoint presentations are not permitted during the public comment period.
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, beginning at 8:30 a.m., the board will take up its prepared agenda to give preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2017-18. The board also could vote preliminarily to create a pheasant-hunting permit, and could cast a preliminary vote to allow semiautomatic rifles and air rifles for some hunting purposes. Doors open at 7:45 a.m.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can watch much of it from home.
The meeting is scheduled to be live-streamed beginning Monday morning, immediately following the conclusion of public comments. The livestream can be accessed through the agency’s website, pgc.pa.gov, though you will need to log in to a free account to access the stream. In addition, the full board meeting on Tuesday is to be live-streamed beginning at 8:30 a.m.
Rescuing the Rescuers: Helping Save Our Volunteer Fire, EMS Companies
This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate unveiled a 16-bill package to support fire and ambulance services across the Commonwealth.
The legislation is designed to address growing financial costs faced by companies, the shortage of volunteers and the lack of affordable and easily accessible training options.
On the funding side, measures within the package seek to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates, increase surcharges on moving violations to support the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, and provide new billing options for fire departments and EMS organizations.
To address the volunteer shortage, the package includes bills to promote recruitment and retention by offering online training to make the process more convenient, provide loan forgiveness to attract volunteers, develop a pilot program to offer firefighter training in secondary schools, and offer tax credits to businesses that excuse their employees when they need to respond to emergencies or undergo training.
Special Veterans Assistance Hours Feb. 27
If you are a veteran or a family member of one, I encourage you to take advantage of free assistance at Penn Hills Plaza, Suite 1, Muncy.
Dan Falls, department service officer with the Pennsylvania American Legion, will be available by appointment on Monday, Feb. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., to help with issues such as compensation, pension, death benefits, education, health care and general veterans’ benefits. Veterans do not need to be a member of the legion to participate.
To schedule an appointment, call my district office at (570) 546-2084.
Road Maintenance Info Available Online
To make your travels easier, the weekly road maintenance schedule isavailable at the PennDOT Regional Office website here. For statewide information, visit 511pa.com.