Jun. 11, 2018

Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
No Welfare for Drug Dealers

To help ensure public assistance benefits are dedicated to those truly in need, the House endorsed legislation to prevent convicted drug dealers from receiving welfare.

House Bill 129, which I voted for, would prohibit individuals convicted of violating the Controlled Substance Act from eligibility for public assistance. The applicable sections of the Controlled Substance Act are the so-called “kingpin” provisions which relate to a specific set of offenders who sell and deliver large quantities of illegal drugs.

When individuals are arrested for drug trafficking crimes, a subsequent search by law enforcement often reveals large sums of money and information indicating that the individual was receiving welfare benefits.

The bill now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Police Service Turns 50!

Congratulations to the Fairview Township Police Department for 50 years of service!

It was my privilege to honor the department with a House citation to commemorate its 50th anniversary. The department celebrated by hosting an open house at its new facility last week.

In the above picture, I presented Chief Jason Loper with the House citation.
Column: The Math Does Add Up

Thanks to the York Sunday News for publishing my latest column. Read an excerpt of it below. Click here to read it in full.

Gov. Tom Wolf has issued the same doom-and-gloom forecast in each of his four budget proposals: The General Assembly must raise and/or introduce new taxes or Pennsylvania will be in an apocalyptic fiscal state.

For years, we’ve heard Wolf say “The math doesn’t add up” as he called for more and more taxes. Each year, House Republicans have refuted the governor’s calculations and held firm in protecting taxpayers from unnecessary and burdensome taxes.

Since Wolf took office, he has wanted to increase or impose new taxes totaling $7.8 billion. Every time a municipality or school district increases taxes, the added impact is broken down to show an individual how much additional tax he or she will be paying. So, here’s how much money state government did not take from every Pennsylvanian over the past three years: $601.36. That’s a nice bit of change but for a family of four, the savings obviously grows, and is $2,405.40, which is enough money to fund a beach vacation or a down payment on a car.

Giving Riders a Choice

On Monday, I took part in an Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education rally at the Capitol in Harrisburg. It was great addressing this group of experienced riders as they advocate for their freedom of choice for trained and experienced riders to use helmets if they so choose.  

Keeping Dangerous Drugs off the Streets

Legislation designed to help keep unused prescription drugs from finding their way to the streets was approved by the state House and sent to the state Senate for review.

House Bill 2152, which I voted for, would allow hospice staff to properly destroy unused drugs following a patient’s death.

According to the Department of Health, 13 individuals are dying every day in the Commonwealth due to an opioid or heroin overdose. In 2016 alone, 4,812 Pennsylvanians died from an overdose of opioid drugs.

This legislation is a follow-up to a federal regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that encourages hospice staff to help families destroy leftover medications. However, those staff members are prohibited from destroying the medications themselves unless permitted by state law. Several surrounding states, including Ohio, Delaware and New Jersey, have already enacted similar laws.
Ensuring Justice, Safety for Crime Victims

In an effort to help ensure justice and safety for crime victims, the House Judiciary Committee this week reported out several bills to empower victims and safeguard them from being penalized or ignored by the justice system

Among the bills in the package are those designed to give child victims of crimes safe harbor protections, particularly so they can get the crucial help and services they need; prevent young children and those with intellectual disabilities and autism from feeling victimized all over again by testifying against their abuser; exclude evidence of past sexual victimization from trials; and amend the state Constitution to include a Victim’s Bill of Rights (Marsy’s Law).

Additionally, the package includes a comprehensive rewrite of the state’s anti-hazing laws. Of note, the bill would encourage students to seek emergency assistance for those who have been hazed, and individuals would be immune from prosecution for hazing and underage drinking if they call 911 or law enforcement, believe they’re the first to call for help, and remain with the victim until emergency personnel arrive.
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