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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Don’t Miss These Free Events This Week

Financial Aid Seminar
Thursday, Sept. 26, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Meyersdale High School Auditorium, 1349 Shaw Mines Road, Meyersdale

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and local schools, including vocational schools and institutions of higher education, will be on hand to help students with financial aid questions. The seminars are open to high school juniors and seniors, as well as non-traditional students and their families.

Senior Safe Driving Course
Friday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meyersdale American Legion, 413 Grant St., Meyersdale

Seniors for Safe Driving will provide a PennDOT-approved course for Mature Driver Improvement. The course is designed for drivers 55 years of age and older to become safer and more confident on the road. Upon completion of the course, participants may receive a minimum 5% discount on their auto insurance premium for three years, as mandated by Pennsylvania State Law. Registration is required, and the cost for the course is $21.25. Participants must register at www.seniorsforsafedriving.com  or 1-800-559-4880.

Click here for a full listing of upcoming events.
Preserving the Rights of Law-Abiding Citizens

The House Judiciary Committee approved two bills I drafted to preserve the rights of Pennsylvania’s law-abiding citizens. The first would protect Second Amendment rights during emergencies, and the second would permit possession of a taser without device instructions.

House Bill 1747 would repeal the portion of the state’s Crimes Code that currently prohibits possession of an otherwise lawful firearm on public streets or on any public property during an emergency declared by a state or municipal government.

There’s no reason that our law-abiding citizens should be stripped of their rights during a state of emergency, especially when we’ve been in a state of emergency for more than a year and a half. The rights our forefathers bestowed upon us via the Constitution should never be overridden.

Gov. Tom Wolf originally declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic in January 2018. The seventh 90-day renewal was signed on Sept. 10.

Also calling for an update of the Crimes Code, House Bill 1805 would allow possession and use of a taser, even if the device’s instruction label has worn off or if the instructions of use do not accompany the taser. The owner would still need to be a law-abiding citizen to legally own the device.

After receiving support from the House committee, both bills move to the full House for consideration.
No Public Assistance Funds for Tobacco

The House recently approved legislation that would prohibit the purchase of tobacco products using public assistance funds on electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

Such benefits are intended to help Pennsylvanians who cannot afford life’s essentials, not unnecessary items such as tobacco.

House Bill 847 would forbid the use of EBT cards, issued by the Department of Human Services (DHS) to administer public assistance benefits, to purchase tobacco or tobacco-related products. Personal funds on EBT cards, such as child support that is in arrears, would be exempt. The Human Services Code already prohibits the purchase of liquor and alcohol with EBT cards.

The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.
Supporting PA’s Helpers and Heroes

Working to support the Commonwealth’s fire and ambulance services, the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week approved several bills designed to address staffing and funding challenges facing these vital public safety organizations.

The committee approved bills to expand and increase the maximum loan amounts available through the Volunteer Loan Assistance Program, as well as to reauthorize the Fire and EMS Grant Program administered by the Office of State Fire Commissioner. ( House Bills 1448 , 1816 and 1834)

Two other measures aim to address stress management and post-traumatic stress injuries for first responders. (House Bills 432 and 1459)

House Bill 1839 would authorize counties to offer a property tax credit for volunteer first responders as an incentive to get more people involved in the emergency services.

To help rural EMS providers, House Bill 1869 would allow the Department of Health to grant waivers for staffing requirements on a Basic Life Support (BLS) service ambulance in sixth- through eighth-class counties.

Finally, House Bill 1838 would increase funding for the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund and require 30% of the funds to be used to provide training to underserved rural areas and 10% of the funds to be used for medical equipment for ambulances.

The bills are awaiting action in the full House.
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65 West Main Street/Suite 22, Uniontown PA 15401 (717) 438-6100
53B East Wing, PO Box 202051, Harrisburg PA 17120-2051 | (717) 783-5173
District Offices: Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building, 65 West Main Street, Suite 200, Uniontown, PA 15401
Telephone: 724-438-6100
Meyersdale Community Center, 215 Main Street, Meyersdale, PA 15552. Telephone: 814-634-4390
Confluence Community Center, 711 Logan Place, Confluence, PA 15424, Telephone: 814-634-4390
Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center, 15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470, Telephone: 814-634-4390
Email Address: MDowling@pahousegop.com