Dec. 09, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong#  The latest news from the State Capitol
Putting PA on the Path to Better Health

With the goal of building a #HealthierPA, I was pleased to join my fellow lawmakers in supporting several bills designed to remove barriers to treatment and better assess behavioral health and other needs.

When dealing with cancer, time is of the essence. We passed the Fair Access to Treatment Act (House Bill 427) to give Stage IV cancer patients easier access to alternative, innovative treatment options. Under current law, patients have to first fail on one FDA-approved drug consistent with best practices for Stage IV metastatic cancer treatment before another would be covered by their insurance.

To help people in need of addiction treatment, House Bill 1024 would prohibit facilities from denying treatment to an individual based solely on a negative drug test.

To better understand our capacity to address behavioral health needs, House Resolution 268 would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study the impact of behavioral health treatment needs and behavioral health care system capacity on hospital emergency departments and patient health.

Finally, House Bill 1662 would require suboxone/buprenorphine-related deaths to be included in the Medication Death and Incident Review Act so any deeper issues can be addressed, such as a pill-pushing doctor or treatment facility.

Each of these bills is pending action in the Senate. Learn more about our #HealthierPA initiative here.
On the Road to D.C.

My legislative staff, my family and I had a wonderful time in Washington, D.C., last week. Our first stop on Tuesday was the White House, which is beautifully decorated for Christmas. We also visited the U.S. Capitol, where we met with Congressman Dan Meuser and his staff, who then took us on a tour of the building. Our two staffs work together on many local issues and the trip helped us get to know each other a little better.
‘Tis the Season

The Capitol Christmas tree is on display in the Rotunda, in advance of Monday’s lighting ceremony with the governor, which will take place at noon. The 18-foot Douglas Fir is decorated with more than 800 LED lights and 500 ornaments created by senior citizens and preschoolers.

The tree is donated each year by the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association. I’m proud to report that this year’s evergreen comes from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton.
Thanks for Your Service!

I recently had the honor of presenting a House citation to Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein in recognition of 50 years of volunteer service to the Lehighton Fire Department. Congratulations, Wayne, and thank you!
Improving Student Access to Healthy, Local Foods

Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program authorized by the General Assembly to help ensure the future growth of Pennsylvania’s agricultural industry.

The Farm to School Grant program will provide schools with funding to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

We want to help our children grow up with an understanding of the importance of fresh, healthy food, and an appreciation for the hard-working men and women who produce it.

Any school district, charter school or private school with pre-kindergarten classes, kindergarten or elementary through fifth grade is eligible to apply for up to $15,000. Learn more here.
Give the Gift of Fishing!

Just in time for the holiday season, 2020 fishing licenses, permits and gift vouchers are now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2019 through Dec. 31, 2020. Licenses and permits can be purchased at, or from any of more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and all PFBC regional offices. Vouchers are also available to give as gifts that can be redeemed for a license or various permits, such as trout/salmon or Lake Erie permits.

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in three-, five- and 10-year increments. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit. A collectible fishing license button is available for $10.

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the season. This includes the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur the week before the opening of the regional and statewide openers in each area.

For more information, visit
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