Dec. 06, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampShort# 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.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Reminder

Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until Dec. 31 to apply for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. Remember, assistance through my office is always free. You need not pay a private firm for assistance.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

For additional information and applications, click here.  
Protect Your Personal, Financial Data

In recognition of National Tax Security Awareness Week, the state Department of Revenue outlined several tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves:

  •   Shop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  •   Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  •   Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  •   Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  •   Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  •   Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  •   Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  •   Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

You should also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams in your email. Identity thieves sometimes pose as companies or government agencies you know, such as the IRS or state Department of Revenue. Other phishing emails may tell an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or attachment that ultimately adds a virus or spyware onto your computer.

Finally, the IRS or Department of Revenue will never call to demand a tax payment on a gift card.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or

For more information on ways to protect yourself, click here.
Farm to School Grant Program Accepting Applications

Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program authorized by the General Assembly to help ensure the future growth of our agriculture 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. Eligible applications should include:

  •   A list of Pennsylvania farmers who have agreed to supply products from their farms.
  •   Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects.
  •   Training of teachers and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education.
  •   Inclusion of parents, caregivers and community groups in educational activities.
  •   Field trips to Pennsylvania farms or other direct agricultural experiences which teach children about sources of food and Pennsylvania agriculture.

For additional information, click here.
Steer Clear of Fraudulent Dog License Website

Attention dog owners! As you look to license your dog for the 2020 calendar year, watch out for a fraudulent website selling licenses online.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued the warning after identifying as selling fake Pennsylvania dog licenses and even paying search engines to appear at the top of search results pages for common terms, like “Pennsylvania dog license” or “renew PA dog license.” If you’d like to purchase a license online, type directly into your browser’s address bar.

You may also purchase your license from the county treasurer. Each county treasurer has a different process, and while most offer an online option, some do not and require a paper form to be dropped off or mailed.

For more information about the state’s Dog Law and licensing requirements, click here.
Give the Gift of Fishing!

Just in time for the holiday season, fishing licenses for 2020 are now on sale. All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, and can be purchased at, or from any of more than 700 issuing agents, at more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and at all Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) regional offices.

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in 3, 5-and 10-year increments. While youth anglers under age 16 are not required to have a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License 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.
Tis the Season

It's time to get into the holiday spirit.

The Capitol Christmas tree was put into position and decorated in the Main Rotunda, where it will be on display throughout the holiday season.

The 18-foot tall Douglas Fir tree is donated each year by the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association.

This year's tree comes from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Carbon County.

It was decorated with more than 800 LED lights and 500 ornaments created by senior citizens and preschoolers, in advance of the official tree-lighting ceremony on Monday, Dec. 9, at noon.
Let's Get Connected

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Office Locations
202 East Broad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252 | Phone: 570-668-1240
61 North Third Street, Hamburg, PA 19526-1501 | Phone: 610-562-3411
314C Main Capitol, PO Box 202124, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2124 | Phone: 717-787-9029
TTY: 855-282-0614