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The Rothman Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
|Residents Learn About Lyme Disease and Treatment and Prevention Efforts
On March 21, I hosted a Lyme Disease Town Hall alongside Senator Mike Regan (R – Cumberland/York) at Central Penn College in Summerdale. Residents from across Pennsylvania had the opportunity to learn from experts on ticks and Lyme disease. Attendees learned about what they are, what to do if bitten, and how to treat it and protect oneself. This event demonstrated the widespread interest in Lyme across the Commonwealth; we had over 2,500 individuals watch the livestream of the seminar, and individuals came from as far as Pittsburg to attend the town hall in person. I am gratified that so many people joined us in addressing the prevalence of this disease in Pennsylvania.
Special thanks go to Central Penn College for allowing us the use of their beautiful facilities. I also wish to honor our panelists: Nicole Chinnici, Northeast Wildlife DNA Lab; Julia Wagner, PA Lyme Resource Network; Dr. Garth Ehrlich, Drexel University; Dr. Robert Mauss, Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health; Holly Ahearn, SUNY Adirondack; Leah Lind, Pennsylvania Department of Health; and April Hutcheson, PA Department of Health. They did an outstanding job of communicating their vast knowledge of Lyme disease to us. Well done and thank you.
Local Boy Scouts Honored with House Citations
I had the privilege of attending the Eagle Scout Honor Courts of Stephen Lange and Grayson Cantor this month. My staffer, Nathan Wood, attended ceremonies for Patrick Smith and Mason Kellinger in my stead. Each of these young men received one of my challenge coins and a citation from the House of Representatives honoring them for their steadfast commitment to community, service, and self-betterment. Congratulations to you all!
Carlisle Pike Family Dentistry Ribbon Cutting
I attended a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Carlisle Pike Family Dentistry in Hampden Township on March 15, 2019. Dr. Indu Kosuri has opened the door to a well-designed facility. Her commitment to caring for her patients is obvious upon speaking with her. The tour of the renovations revealed her dedication to new dental technology and procedure. Her philosophy is: “Prevention is better than cure.” I wish her establishment much success.
PA Future Farmers of America Association Legislative Day
On March 19, Cumberland Valley students in the Pennsylvania Future Farmers of America (FFA) Association were welcomed on the House floor for FFA Legislative Day. They were joined by hundreds of fellow students dedicated to the profession of farming to speak with lawmakers about the importance of agriculture. I enjoyed meeting with them and hearing about their experiences in the program.
Pictured are FFA students with Rep. Barb Gleim and myself. See more photos from the day HERE.
Miss Pennsylvania, a Resident of Camp Hill, Honored on the House Floor
Miss Pennsylvania, Kailyn Perez, was my guest on the House floor on March 19 and we both gave remarks about the future of women in politics. Miss. Perez is passionate about encouraging young women to get involved in student and state government. She and her family are immigrants from Cuba and now reside in Camp Hill.
Local Schools Visit the Capitol
The 7th grade class of Eagle View Middle School came to visit myself and Representative Barb Gleim on March 5.
Students from East Pennsboro Elementary School came to visit myself and Senator Mike Regan March 13.
Students from Harrisburg Academy Elementary School visited the Capitol for a tour March 14.
Students from Shaull Elementary School visited the Capitol for a tour March 25
|In the News: Volpe Report Interview on the Governor’s Proposed Budget
I appeared on Fox56 for an interview with the Volpe Report on March 13 to discuss the governor’s proposed budget. Check it out HERE.
Budget Hearings Conclude
Making sure every dollar of state tax money is used to its maximum benefit, the House Appropriations Committee wrapped up its three-week series of budget hearings this month, with the committee looking into all aspects of the governor’s budget proposal.
During House Appropriations budget hearings March 5, I questioned Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding about dairy exports which would benefit Pennsylvania farmers.
During House Appropriations budget hearings March 6, I questioned Budget Secretary Jen Swails about the effectiveness of job tax credits.
Fighting to End Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Convicted Public Officials
The House this week gave overwhelming approval to a bill that would ensure public officials or employees who commit felony crimes related to their jobs will not collect a taxpayer-funded pension.
Senate Bill 113 would expand the types of convictions that require officials or employees to forfeit their pensions to include any felony conviction, guilty plea or no contest plea related to an official’s job.
The measure would also put a stop to the practice of a person pleading guilty to lesser crimes to avoid losing their pension and close several other loopholes that have been exploited by officials to continue to collect pensions from the state after breaking the law and violating the public trust.
The bill is now on its way to the governor for his signature.
Bill to Save on State Pensions
This month, House Republicans passed House Bill 60 to prohibit future hires of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which serves three states, from participating in the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).
The SRBC was created by federal law in 1970 that also was adopted by the legislatures of Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.
According to the Independent Fiscal Office – a non-partisan entity created to provide unbiased information to the state Legislature – there were 65 employees of the SRBC who were active, contributing members of SERS in 2017.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Protecting Workers’ Free Speech Rights
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that public employees cannot be required to pay money to a union, the House could soon consider a bill to ensure public sector employees are notified of their rights under the First Amendment and state law.
House Bill 785, which was approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee this week, would require public employers to notify their employees who are not union members annually that they are not required to pay any money to the union unless they agree to do so.
The bill would also require public employers to inform job applicants of their right to choose whether or not to join the union – and of their First Amendment right to not pay any funds to an organization they did not consent to support.
The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the full House.
Matching Good-Paying Jobs with the Right Training
House Republicans are focusing on good jobs and careers for all Pennsylvanians, working to improve our workforce development and career and technical education opportunities, and advancing policies to help transition people from minimum wage jobs to family-sustaining careers.
This month, a package of bills that will help us achieve these goals earned committee approval and will now advance to the full House for a vote.
This package includes bills that would boost awareness of workforce needs and increase the flexibility for secondary CTE programs. Bills would also create a comprehensive online CTE resource center and coordinate a state-level career exploration and workforce development opportunities.
Improving the way CTE works in Pennsylvania also would include putting at least one K-12 career and technical center administrator on each Workforce Development Board and creating a database with information on where courses, programs, certificates, and diplomas transfer among public schools and institutions of higher education.
Learn more about #GoodJobs4PA here.
Setting Up Students for Career Success
Working to ensure Pennsylvania students have a diverse array of career paths from which to choose, the state House overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan package of bills designed to boost career and technical education (CTE) at schools across the Commonwealth.
The initiatives are a cornerstone of the House Republican Caucus’ #GoodJobs4PA initiative aimed at ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to good-paying jobs and careers.
To help students plot their path to success, there are bills that would allow technical schools to recruit students like colleges do; make it easier for students to see where credits transfer; create a database of workforce development programs at secondary and post-secondary institutions; create an online career resource center; and allow students who complete classes in STEM education to apply the credits to a course through a vocational-technical school, technical institution or vocational school.
The package is also aimed at improving business and education partnerships by creating a CTE investment incentive program, requiring CTE programs to establish advisory committees and having at least once administrator from a CTE center on each of the state’s Workforce Development Boards.
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims
Understanding the struggle many crime victims face when seeking justice, lawmakers have been working to advance a package of bills designed to protect the rights of crime victims.
This month, the House Judiciary Committee approved five bills for consideration by the full House. The package includes:
o House Bill 276, a joint resolution known as Marsy’s Law, would add a victims bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
o House Bill 502 would ensure victims can attend proceedings against their abusers.
o House Bill 503 would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
o House Bill 504 would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
o House Bill 505 would strengthen protections for young abuse victims.
Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, House Republicans are ensuring crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire criminal justice process.
Should Pennsylvania Scrap Daylight Saving Time?
PA State Rep. Russ Diamond has recently proposed legislation that would eliminate the practice of daylight saving time in the Commonwealth. What do you think? Should Pennsylvania leave Daylight Saving Time behind? Take my poll HERE!
|Programs, Services, Opportunities
|DEP Starts Statewide Surveillance of Ticks
The Department of Environmental Protection is beginning a five-year environmental surveillance of ticks to assess the risk of tickborne illnesses across Pennsylvania.
The study is taking place in every county in Pennsylvania to track ticks’ habitats, life stages and peak activity levels and to test them for human pathogenic diseases.
The surveillance will focus on collecting three tick species: the blacklegged tick in its immature nymphal stage, when it most often infects humans with Lyme disease, as well as human babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis; the adult American dog (Dermacentor variabilis) tick, which transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia; and the adult lone star (Amblyomma americanum) tick, which transmits ehrlichiosis and tularemia.
The project is being funded through the Department of Health.
Lots of New License Plate Options for PA Veterans
PennDOT is adding several new license plates to its collection honoring veterans and their service to our country. Plate options include Honoring Our Women Veterans, plates recognizing badges and medals, plates recognizing wounded veterans and more. For more information about license plates for veterans and applying for these plates, click here.
Supporting PA National Guard Families
Ensuring a better future for our Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families is the driving force behind a first-of-its-kind Military Family Education Program.
The proposal builds on the state’s existing National Guard Military Education Program by extending benefits to a guard member’s spouse or children in exchange for the guard member committing to a second obligation of six years in the Guard.
The initiative not only recognizes the sacrifices made by Guard families but also helps retain current National Guard members and attract transitioning military service members to Pennsylvania.
The program would provide for 10 semesters of tuition-free education for family member(s).
The benefit must be used at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency approved educational institution, and at the tuition rate set by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Report Potholes to PennDOT
To help combat potholes and prevent them from becoming a danger to vehicles and drivers on the road, you can report potholes to PennDOT.
You can report potholes by calling 1-800-FIX-ROAD or by clicking here to file a report online.
Have an Issue or Concern?
If you are a resident of the 87th District and need assistance with a state agency, please feel free to contact my Camp Hill office at 717-975-2235. One of my staff members will be more than happy to assist you.
Stay in Touch with Me on Social Media
You can stay up to date on my latest news and activities by visiting my House website, reprothman.com, or my official Facebook page. You can watch my House floor speeches and press interviews at my YouTube channel HERE.
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