Mar. 02, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Health Committee Examines Prescription Drug Pricing

 Click here to view video.

Recognizing the importance of making health care costs in Pennsylvania more transparent, more competitive and more affordable, the House Health Committee held a public hearing Tuesday to examine the impact of prescription drug pricing on patients.

In the above video, I questioned the general price, rebates and discounts of particular drugs.

The hearing featured testimony from Sarah Edmond, executive vice president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review; Jane Horvath, senior fellow at the National Academy for State Health Policy; Lauren Neves, director of policy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA); and Antonio Ciaccia, CEO of 46 Brooklyn Research, which studies prescription drug pricing.

To watch the hearing in its entirety, click here.
Lawmakers Continue Study of Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal

The House Appropriations Committee continued its work to dissect the governor’s $36 billion budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year with an eye toward assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs, eliminating waste and standing up for the taxpayers who foot the bill for the state’s spending.

Several departments with major impacts on the budget and the lives of all Pennsylvanians appeared before the committee last week, including the departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, Health, and Community and Economic Development.

The final week of hearings is focused primarily on education and human services, the two biggest state agencies in terms of funding. The hearings begin at 10 a.m. Monday with the Department of Education, followed by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Tuesday brings the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and state-related universities. The Department of Human Services hearing will be held all day on Wednesday, and hearings close on Thursday with the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association and the state budget secretary. To watch live streams or archived video of the hearings, click here.

Additional information about the 2020-21 state budget proposal may be found here.
Look for Me on FOX43

I’ll be on FOX43’s Capitol Beat show later this week to discuss various issues we are addressing in Harrisburg. I hope you can tune in at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday to watch the taped show.

It will also be streamed live on the station’s Facebook page during the taping at 10 a.m. today. You can watch the stream by clicking here.
Yes, Counties Without Gas Drilling Get Impact Fee Money

Click here to view video.

Despite a claim by the Wolf administration, counties, including York and Cumberland, that aren’t in the Marcellus Shale region do in fact receive a portion of the impact fee, a tax charged to gas drillers.

Since the fee was imposed in 2011, York County has received $3.1 million and Cumberland County has received $1.7 million.

Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin erroneously stated counties outside of the region don’t see any financial impact from the tax. It’s unfortunate the Wolf administration doesn’t even know how the money it gets now from the Impact Fee is distributed but yet it wants more money through a severance tax.
Turnpike Summer Employment for Students

Applications for the 2020 Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Summer Employment Program are now being accepted. All applications MUST be submitted online here, and applications should select “SUMMER WORK” in the first step of the registration process. Copies of online applications should be sent to my Harrisburg office by Friday, April 15.

To be eligible, applicants must also be currently enrolled in, or accepted to, a post-secondary educational program, such as college or trade school for the summer or fall of 2020, or must be entering into basic training fort he United States Armed Services during the summer or fall of 2020.

Details of the summer program are as follows:

  •   All eligible applicants must be at least l8 years of age and have completed a secondary education program such as high school or GED at the time of hiring.
  •   Toll collectors must be available to work any of the three shifts over a 24-hour period including weekends and holidays on the basis of a 40-hour week.
  •   The pay is $12 per hour for toll collectors, maintenance and clerk positions. It is $14.50 per hour for engineering and information technology positions.
  •   The summer employment program runs between May l and Sept. 30.
Website Helps Voters Learn New County Voting Systems

With the Commonwealth’s April 28 primary election about two months away, the Department of State has launched 67 new webpages – one for each county – where voters can learn specifics about their county’s voting system and how to use it.

Each webpage includes a description of a county’s voting system along with photos and videos that guide voters through a step-by-step process of how to use it. The webpages also include accessibility information for voters with disabilities and contact information for county election offices if voters have additional questions.

The county webpages are part of the Department of State’s Ready to Vote 2020 initiative, which aims to educate voters about new voting systems and other changes enacted by the Legislature under Act 77 of 2019. Those changes include:

  •   Vote by mail-in ballot.
  •   Extended periods of time to submit absentee ballots and applications.
  •   Extended periods of time to register to vote.

For more information on voting in Pennsylvania, including key dates for upcoming elections, visit the Department of State’s website at
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