Apr. 23, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
House OKs Work Requirements for Able-Bodied MA Recipients

Click here to view video.
On Tuesday, the House approved legislation to implement work requirements for able-bodied recipients of Medical Assistance (MA) program benefits. This bill promotes work or community engagement for those who have the ability to work. According to the Department of Human Services, there are currently 495,719 individuals who are on Medicaid and capable of working while reporting zero income. This equals to almost 70 percent of Gov. Tom Wolf’s unilateral expansion of Medicaid and 20 percent of the total Medicaid population.

Under the House Bill 2138, able-bodied MA recipients would have to work 20 hours a week or complete 12 job training-related activities a month. These requirements are very similar to those imposed on residents who receive benefits through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance programs. These requirements were originally implemented under President Bill Clinton and have bipartisan support.

The bill also outlines numerous exemptions to ensure our most vulnerable residents aren’t negatively impacted by this legislation. The exemptions include:
  • Those who are physically disabled.
  • Those who have a mental disability.
  • An individual who is under 19 years of age.
  • Seniors 65 years or older.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Those who are primary caregivers to a dependent child under 6 years of age.
  • Social Security beneficiaries.
  • An individual who experiences a crisis, serious medical condition or temporary condition which prohibits employment, such as domestic violence or a substance use disorder.
  • Those who are the primary caregiver for a person who is permanently disabled or in hospice.
For more information about the bill, click here.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Site Unveiled

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro unveiled a new website to make it easier and clearer for citizens to learn at-a-glance whether another state has concealed carry reciprocity with Pennsylvania and vice versa. The website was created after the attorney general conducted an exhaustive review of concealed carry reciprocity agreements with all 49 other states, as required under Pennsylvania law.
Cutting Red Tape

I recently took part in a National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) discussion on cutting back on restrictive regulations.

Known as the Pennsylvania REINS Act, my House Bill 1237 would establish an enhanced review process for major regulations that impose a substantial cost burden on communities, businesses and/or the Commonwealth.

Under the bill, the Independent Fiscal Office would need to verify the cost of the regulations and then provide the House and Senate with 30 calendar days or 10 legislative days to vote on the proposal. If a vote is not taken in that time or the regulation is voted down in either chamber, it would not be implemented.

Additionally, if the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved the regulation, or an agency has decided to implement the regulation without the commission’s approval, a concurrent resolution must be introduced in the Legislature and be passed by the House and Senate.

The bill is before the full House for a vote.

House Moves to Protect Babies with Down Syndrome

Legislation, which I voted for, to prohibit the abortion of a child due solely to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome was approved by the House.

Under current law, a woman can obtain an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestational age for any reason, except if the woman’s reason is to select the sex of the child. House Bill 2050 expands the exception to prohibit aborting a child due solely to a prenatal diagnosis the unborn child has Down syndrome. This would have no restrictions on a mother obtaining an abortion in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment.
Filling In-Demand Jobs Now and in the Future

To help job creators fill in-demand jobs now and in the future, the House is considering a nine-bill bipartisan package this week seeking to improve career and technical education opportunities and enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

The package includes measures to promote public-private partnerships; remove barriers for qualified career and technical educators; expand awareness of training opportunities and future earning potential; increase flexibility for innovative secondary career and technical programs; enhance and promote articulation agreements; develop and maintain a comprehensive online career resource center; coordinate state-level career exploration and workforce development opportunities; improve local and occupational advisory committees; and add K-12 teachers to the membership of the Workforce Development Board.

The package was developed following recommendations made by the House Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness, which was created to study and review the Commonwealth’s career and technical education policy.

The bills are expected to receive a final vote in the House the week of April 30. More information is available at http://www.pahousegop.com/ctefocus.aspx.
Upcoming Bike Derby to Encourage Safe Cycling

I will team up with the American Trauma Society, PA Division, to help children learn about bicycle safety during the popular Dillsburg PickleFest on Mother’s Day weekend. The bike derby will be held in the parking lot of Jack Panas Insurance, located at 300 N. Baltimore St., on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to noon. The parking lot is located just off Greenbriar Lane, where PickleFest will be held.

In 2015, there were almost 467,000 bicycle-related injuries in the United States. Children (those aged 5-14) and adolescents (15-19 years of age) accounted for one-third of the injured riders, the highest of all age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ensuring a child has a helmet that fits properly is one of the easiest ways to reduce to the risk of brain and head injuries, as well as fatalities. Children who attend will also have the opportunity to ride through a bicycle safety course, receive information on bike safety laws and have their helmets fitted properly. All children must bring his or her own bike, helmet and proper shoes, such as sneakers.

For more information, call my office at (717) 432-0792.
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12 North Baltimore Street,Dillsburg, PA 17019 | 717-432-0792
422 Irvis Office, PO Box 202092, Harrisburg PA 17120-2092 | (717) 783-8783 / 3-8783
Email Address: DKeefer@pahousegop.com