In this update:
Gov. Wolf vetoes legislation that would keep violent inmates in jail longer
I am extremely disappointed that Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation supported by Republicans and Democrats that would tighten the parole process for violent offenders.
House Bill 146, or Markie’s Law, was named after Markie Mason, an 8-year-old Lawrence County boy who was brutally stabbed to death by a man who was paroled at the end of his minimum sentence for homicide, even after being convicted of committing two separate assaults of other inmates while in prison.
Please know that this bill passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support in the Senate. The vote was 41-9!
The bill would have postponed consideration of a violent inmate’s parole an additional two years following the inmate’s minimum release date for each conviction of a violent offense while incarcerated.
This was a rational, responsible response to a horrific crime and Gov. Wolf’s veto is indefensible.
Medicare open enrollment begins Oct. 15, free insurance counseling available
The annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries begins Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7.
Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI) provides free and objective information about Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement plans to help Medicare beneficiaries compare plans and determine what best meets their needs. This work is done with the help of nearly 650 volunteers across the commonwealth.
You can learn more about PA MEDI counseling or becoming a volunteer on the Department of Aging’s website or by calling the PA MEDI Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Older adults can also call the York County Area Agency on Aging at 717-771-9610 or visiting http://www.ycaaa.org/.
Landmark health care bill reviewed
This week, I joined the “The Confluence,” a talk radio program out of Pittsburgh, to discuss my Senate Bill 225, which would overhaul the prior authorization and step therapy processes to better improve health care and patient outcomes.
You can listen to my discussion here.
In addition to that interview, Spotlight PA covered the measure, as well.
In the story, Dr. Mark Lopatin, a retired rheumatologist and board member at the Pennsylvania Medical Society said the current process is equated to a plumbing malfunction in your home.
“It would be like having a pipe burst in your home, and being told that you can’t call a plumber and try to mop first,” he said in the interview.
You can read the full story here. I am hopeful that progress continues to occur in the House of Representatives and that we can get this to the governor’s desk before the end of session.
Program providing help with water, sewer bills ends Oct. 28
Pennsylvanians who may need help with water bills or wastewater service costs have until Oct. 28 to apply for assistance.
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program provides assistance for families who have past-due water bills, had their water service terminated or received a notice indicating their service will be terminated in the next 60 days. LIHWAP is a temporary federal assistance program. Households can receive grants for both drinking water service and sewer service. Grants are issued directly to water service providers, and families must meet income requirements.
Applications for LIHWAP, as well as other public assistance programs, can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. County Assistance Offices are available for in-person support if clients cannot access online services or need assistance or information that is not on the COMPASS website or the myCOMPASS PA mobile app.
Manufacturing Week in PA
Starting today, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will celebrate our innovative and cutting-edge manufacturing sector. As the chair of the Manufacturing Caucus, I was pleased to attend the SMART Manufacturing Conference in York this week.
The conference featured keynote speaker David Beurle, who provided his insight on the future of manufacturing given his extensive background and expertise in data and technology, as well as his thoughts on workforce development and skilled labor shortages.
We continue to find ways to grow and support this important sector of our local, state and national economy. Thank you to everyone who works and continues to innovate in this critical industry.
Meet new Eagle Scout Ben Wise
Congratulations to Benjamin Wise of Troop 155 in Red Lion on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor to present him with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania in recognition of his significant achievement!
Ben, the son of Daniel and Danyiel Wise, landscaped the grounds of Chapel Church Daycare playground for his Eagle project. Well done, Ben!
Conservation and Natural Resources grants available
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recreation and conservation grants program is accepting applications from municipal entities and non-profit organizations for a special fall funding round through Oct. 27.
Because of its unique funding source, the supplemental fall funding round has some differences from typical DCNR grant rounds. The primary difference is that for municipalities with populations under 5,000 people, the match requirement is 20% of the grant amount with no cap on project size.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – schedule your mammogram
An important message for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is that screening for signs can greatly improve survival rates. The Pennsylvania Capitol Fountain (above) is dyed pink in observance of this important month.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. It is important to schedule your mammogram.
In recent years, the General Assembly enacted laws to provide a new screening and reporting system for patients determined to have dense breasts, which can disguise cancer and delay its detection. It also expanded MRI coverage for patients and implemented a driver license check-off for breast cancer research funding.
Last month, I supported two bills as a member of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on this issue that will remove out-of-pocket costs for life-saving genetic testing and breast cancer screenings. You can learn more about this effort here.
Sign up for my upcoming veterans email update
If you or someone you know is interested in receiving veteran-specific updates from me on a monthly basis, please sign up for my Veterans Email Update here. I will be sending out my next update on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Local job openings
Upcoming PennDOT maintenance projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below.
Office closed on Columbus Day
Please be advised that our offices will be closed in observance of Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 10). We will reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 9 a.m.
You can access many state resources on my online office, which is open 24/7, here.
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.