Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • The results from latest legislative survey are in!
  • Why Senate Bill 2 puts YOU in the driver’s seat
  • COVID-19 relief bill signed into law
  • House State Government Committee reviews election audit process as part of ongoing hearing series on election issues
  • Supporting much-needed health care reforms to lower costs, cut red tape
  • Senate receives update on redesign of state-owned university system (PASSHE)
  • New state platform makes licensing more convenient for hunters, anglers and boaters
  • State offices closed on Presidents Day

The results from latest legislative survey are in!

Thank you to the more than 800 local residents who participated in my latest legislative survey seeking feedback on a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the Primary Election ballot this spring (May 18, 2021).

Here are the results to my latest legislative survey:

Do you support limiting a governor’s emergency declaration to 21 days and mandating the governor seek legislative approval to extend that declaration?

Yes                         673         83.8%

No                          117         14.6%

Undecided          13           1.6%

If you did not get a chance to weigh in on this issue, I have good news for you.

Not only can you let me know by emailing me, but you will be able to state your opinion at the ballot box this spring!

Stay tuned for my next legislative survey seeking your feedback on the governor’s proposed budget for the upcoming 2021-2022 Fiscal Year.

Why Senate Bill 2 puts YOU in the driver’s seat 

Following up to the previous story, I laid out the reasons why Senate Bill 2 is a good option no matter where you stand on the governor’s unilateral decisions.

The fact remains that the constitutional amendment process in Pennsylvania gives YOU get the ultimate say. You can read my op-ed, which appeared in the York Daily Record, here.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read my reasoning for supporting this measure. And based on the feedback to my latest survey, many of you also support this effort.

COVID-19 relief bill signed into law 

 

The Senate and House unanimously approved a $912 million relief package aimed at helping industries most adversely affected by the prolonged economic shutdown in Pennsylvania.

Last Friday evening, Governor Wolf signed this bill into law. The funding comes mostly from federally approved COVID-19 relief dollars, coupled with fund transfers from state funding sources to provide much-needed relief.

Specifically, the new law allocates:

$569.8 million for Rental and Utility Assistance.

$197 million for education programs, including our trade and career readiness programs.

$145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling hospitality industry.

The law also exempts PPP and stimulus checks from being subject to the state’s Personal Income Tax.

You can learn more about this new law here.

House State Government Committee reviews election audit process as part of ongoing hearing series on election issues

The House State Government Committee continued their series on election reforms in Pennsylvania.

The hearing’s focus was on the election audit process, which featured Auditor General Timothy DeFoor, along with state and county elections officials.

You can watch the hearing here.

You can view the full schedule of election hearings the House State Government Committee is conducting here. 

Supporting much-needed health care reforms to lower cost, cut red tape 

I recently unveiled legislation to address a major issue I continue to hear about from York County healthcare professionals and patients related to the current outdated system of “fail first” treatment plans suggested by insurers.

Here is an excerpt from our announcement earlier this week:
“A practice that started as a method to control costs for experimental or new procedures, prior authorization requires physicians to obtain approval from insurers before prescribing medication or moving forward with a specific treatment. Step therapy requires patients to try, and fail, on one or more prescription drug, test, or treatment option chosen by their insurance company before gaining access to the drug, test, or treatment option that was recommended by their physician.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many states and insurers have temporarily lifted these restrictions in an effort to provide greater access to care. However, patient advocates are warning the issue goes much deeper than our present environment.”

My bill will improve transparency, accessibility and consistent application of prior authorization by including a standard definition. It will also significantly streamline the process by requiring insurers to make available an electronic communications network that permits prior authorization requests to be submitted electronically, and authorizations and adverse determinations to likewise be returned electronically.

You can watch the press conference in its entirety, which features Dr. Suzette Song of York OSS, who spoke in support of this legislation, below.

2/9/21 - Prior Authorization Introduction

Read more about my legislation here.

Please know I introduced or circulated memos announcing my intentions to introduce over 40 bills so far (our session began last month). You can see my entire legislative agenda by visiting my website, selecting “Legislation” and choosing “Sponsored Legislation.”

I continue to look for ways to make YOUR state Senate more transparent and accessible to you!

Senate receives update on redesign of state-owned university system (PASSHE) 

 

The General Assembly approved a bill last year that allows the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to modernize its operations in the face of declining enrollment and new financial pressures. The Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing  with PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein this week to discuss changes to the system, including integrating several universities and leveraging their collective strengths to boost career readiness for system graduates.

While the 28th District does not contain a state-owned university (Shippensburg University and Millersville University are close), the state system receives close to half a billion in taxpayer dollars each year.

PASSHE is expected to present its system redesign proposal in April of this year, to be followed by a public comment period and phased implementation set for fall of 2022. The changes are expected to include uniting several universities within geographic regions, while keeping all campuses open, retaining programs and accreditation for students, and expanding learning opportunities for students.

New state platform makes licensing more convenient for hunters, anglers and boaters 

Hunters, anglers and boaters will have a new way to purchase licenses, report harvests and more with the launch of the new HuntFishPA licensing platform. Visitors to www.HuntFish.pa.gov can purchase hunting and fishing licenses, permits, boat renewals and more from any device at any time and benefit from 24/7 call center support and new instructional videos.

The new platform replaces the previous licensing system known as The Outdoor Shop. All profile, purchase and user information was transferred to the new system, so prior users should be able to log in using their existing credentials.

State offices closed on Presidents Day

Please be advised that our Senate offices will be closed on Monday, February 15 in observance of Presidents Day. We will reopen on Tuesday, February 16 at 9 a.m.

I also want to let you know that PennDOT announced all driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, February 13, through Monday, February 15.

Motorists may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.

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