Apr. 12, 2019

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Legislative Report
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

My Bill Protecting Victims of Crime with Disabilities
 
As a part of the House Republican Caucus legislative package to protect crime victims, I have introduced House Bill 503, which aims to help crime victims with disabilities to confront their abusers in court. I am pleased to report that the House passed HB503 this week and it now heads to the Senate.

My bill would extend Pennsylvania’s Tender Years Hearsay Exception to also apply to those with intellectual disabilities or autism. Hearsay, or testimony in court to the statements of another person, is generally inadmissible in criminal courts, but an exception currently exists for children younger than age 12.

With this legislation, I hope we can help those victims who are often marginalized or singled out by criminals due to their conditions.


Republican Caucus Bills Protect Crime Victims
 
Other bills in the Republican crime victims package passed this week by the House include measures to shield rape victims from being re-victimized by irrelevant cross examination; legislation expanding the types of crimes for which an out-of-court statement can be accepted; and legislation allowing crime victims to attend any proceeding relating to their cases, unless attending would materially alter the victims’ testimony.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

Learn more about efforts to protect crime victims in Pennsylvania here
 

Expanding the Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse
As the Commonwealth marks April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the House passed a two-bill package known as the Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act to help empower victims of child sexual abuse.

House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), would change the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing childhood victims until age 55 to file suit, and provide for waivers of sovereign and governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse. It would also abolish the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse moving forward.

House Bill 963, sponsored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.

These bills are important in the effort to ensure justice for victims of past abuse.

Reporting suspected abuse is the best way to protect children. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you can call the Department of Health’s toll-free ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
 

Lycoming Director of Elections and Registration Testifies
This week, Forrest K. Lehman, the Director of Elections and Registration Office of Voter Services for Lycoming County, came and testified to the House State Government Committee. Lehman informed the committee about the voting system replacement process and shared his concerns about the timeline established by the governor’s directive.

Lehman also noted that counties are making progress toward compliance and the Department of State (DOS) has provided valuable assistance to counties, but the voting system replacement process has damaged counties’ policy planning and capital budgeting and is NOT going smoothly.

The director also raised the concern that beyond the current replacement cycle, there are long-term problems in the Election Code that need to be addressed.
 

Trout Season Open Statewide
This Saturday, April 13, marks the statewide opening day of trout season. Fishing begins at 8 a.m.

To participate, anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a Trout/Salmon Permit, both available at www.gonefishingpa.com or at more than 700 issuing agents. Multi-year licenses are also available in 3-year, 5-year and 10-year increments. Prices for licenses and permits remain the same as last year. Youth anglers ages 15 and under do not require licenses or permits.

To locate stocked trout fishing waters near you, select the 2019 Trout Stocking Schedule at www.fishandboat.com. Waterways on this list are searchable by county, organized in alphabetical order and provide the date, time and meeting place for each stocking event.

The FREE Fish Boat PA Mobile App is the most useful tool in an angler’s tackle box. Download the app from the Apple App or Google Play stores to locate stocked waterways or wild trout streams, use the fish identification tool, and view fishing and boating regulations.
 

PA Game Commission Important Votes
In voting on Tuesday to adopt seasons and bag limits for the 2019-20 license year, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners established a firearms deer season to begin Saturday, Nov. 30. Moving the opening day to Saturday will create an expanded, 13-day season that includes three Saturdays.

The board also gave final approval to a measure that simplifies requirements to wear fluorescent orange material while hunting. There are no changes to the requirements that apply in many seasons. And the use of orange continues to be highly recommended for all seasons, whether required or not. The changes will become effective in the 2019-20 license year to begin July 1.

Read more about the updated regulations HERE.
 

Helping Small Businesses in Rural Communities

 
On Thursday, I joined the PA House GOP Policy Committee at a roundtable discussion on issues affecting small businesses in rural communities. We talked about possible solutions to increasing broadband access and the benefits for our economy, as well as the success our businesses have been seeing by connecting with our local schools to create career and technical education programs. We found that by connecting businesses with our education centers in rural Pennsylvania, our students are more likely to succeed in the workforce.
 

New VA Benefits for Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans
 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit extended the presumption of exposure to herbicides to cover veterans who served in the territorial sea of the Republic of Vietnam. I encourage veterans who may have been exposed and their spouses in Lycoming and Union counties to reach out to our office for more information.

Those whose health was compromised by exposure to herbicides while serving in Vietnam have waited long enough to receive help from the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat their ailments, especially our Blue Water Navy veterans.
On Jan. 29, the court expanded the definition of “served in the territorial sea of the Republic of Vietnam” to 12 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam. On March 26, 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs decided not to appeal the ruling and began processing claims within this mandate.

The presumptive conditions for exposure to herbicides used in Vietnam are:

• Diabetes Mellitus – Type 2
• Prostate cancer
• Respiratory cancers
• Hodgkins disease
• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Ischemic heart disease, including coronary artery disease
• Chronic b-cell leukemia
• Chloracne
• AL amyloidosis
• Multiple myeloma
• Parkinson’s disease
• Peripheral neuropathy (early onset)
• Soft tissue sarcoma
 

DMVA Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Program
During National Limb Loss Awareness Month, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is reminding veterans about its Amputee and Paralyzed Veterans Pension Program. This pension program is one of the many ways that the DMVA continues to assist veterans who have served our nation.

Through this program, eligible Pennsylvania veterans receive a pension of $150 per month. Currently, there are 1,900 veterans enrolled in the program.

To learn more and see if you are eligible, click HERE.
 

Project on I-180 in Lycoming County Continues Next Week
An 8.6-mile resurfacing project on Interstate 180 from Cemetery Road in Fairfield Township to the Muncy Creek bridge in Muncy Creek Township continues next week.

On Monday, April 15, there will be shoulder closures on the I-180 westbound off- and on-ramps at the Route 405 Interchange (Muncy/Hughesville). The shoulder closures will be implemented from approximately 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily so a subcontractor can construct a new highway lighting system at the interchange.
 

Help for Lyme Disease Treatment
 
To help those affected by this disease and other related tick-borne illnesses, this week the Pennsylvania House approved legislation, which I co-sponsored, that would require health insurers to cover treatment plans prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment.

House Bill 629 now advances to the Senate for consideration.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and how to protect yourself from tick bites, click here.
 

Veterans Outreach Hours at My Office
I want to remind the veterans in the 84th District that American Legion Service Officer Dan Falls is available at my Muncy office to meet with them. Dan stops by every fourth Tuesday of the month, or by appointment.

Call (570) 546-2084 to schedule an appointment in advance.

Veterans in the 84th Legislative District can also contact retired MSGT George W. Heiges, Jr., director of Lycoming County Office of Veterans Affairs at (570) 320-2101 or (570) 327-2365. In Union County, contact Director J.D. Kerstetter, Union County Office of Veterans Affairs at, (570) 524-8677.

Services to veterans and their dependents include assistance with:
• Compensation, pension, and death benefits.
• Education and health care.
• Veterans benefits.

Veterans do not need to be a member of the American Legion to receive services.
 

Have an Issue or Concern?
If you are a resident of the 84th District and need assistance with a state agency, please feel free to contact my Muncy office at 570-546-2084. One of my staff members will be more than happy to assist you.
 

Stay in Touch with Me on Social Media
You can stay up to date on my latest news and activities by visiting my House website, repeverett.com, or my official Facebook page. You can watch my House floor speeches and press interviews at my YouTube channel HERE.
 
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Office Locations
Penn Hills Plaza, Halls Station, 21 Kristi Road, Suite 1, Muncy, PA 17756 | Phone: (570) 546-2084
Tiadaghton Valley Mall, Room 105, 701 Allegheny Street, Box 4. Jersey Shore, PA 17740 | Phone: (570) 398-4476               
401 Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202084, Harrisburg PA 17120-2084 | Phone: (717) 787-5270
Email: geverett@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
     
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