Dec. 20, 2018

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The Rothman Report


 The latest news from the State Capitol

In the Community
Pearl Harbor Remembered
It was an honor to attend the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony at the Capitol on December 7 and speak to survivors of the attack that occurred 77 years ago. I am always impressed by what these brave men share with me.

To see more photos of the ceremony, visit the photo gallery on my website.


New Tax Threatens PA’s Growing Craft Brew Scene
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is now home to 282 craft or small breweries, which is the sixth most in the country. According to the Brewers Association, Pennsylvania craft brewers make more barrels of beer than any other state – more than 3.7 million barrels in 2017.

Considering that Pennsylvania still has a Prohibition-era bureaucracy in place for regulating and price-controlling the liquor industry, this is impressive.

Imagine how prosperous Pennsylvania brewers and the Commonwealth would be if this antiquated regulatory system was ended tomorrow.

Read more from my latest column in PennLive about the new six percent tax on beer sold directly to consumers from breweries, starting July 1, which was instituted without approval from elected lawmakers.

Asian Indian Americans of Central PA Celebrates 25 Years
Congratulations to the Asian Indian Americans of Central PA on 25 years of service to the South Central Pennsylvania community! I am proud to support the AIACPA, which has helped to build a stronger community by bringing rich Indian culture to the Central Pennsylvania region, including the 87th legislative district. Our local area is extremely fortunate to have the AIACPA organization and its members working to better our region. We are truly a better place because of it, and I look forward to the many years ahead of furthering our community partnership. More than 600 people attended the AIACPA annual gala at the Radisson Hotel. Representative Sheryl Delozier and I had the honor of attending and presenting the group with a citation from the House of Representatives.

Penn State Transportation Engineering & Safety Conference
I was invited to participate on a panel at the Penn State Transportation Engineering & Safety Conference at the Penn State Hotel and Conference Center in State College. We discussed past transportation priorities from the 2017-18 legislative session, the autonomous vehicle bill, Act 117, formerly HB 1958 that was signed into law in October, and further alternatives to transportation funding other than gas tax revenue. I look forward to more opportunities to discuss transportation in the Commonwealth.

Kennedy Addiction Recovery Center to Open
From left, Allen Rhinehart, Michael Patrick Kennedy Sr., and Tim Weber are the founders of the Kennedy Addiction Recovery Center.
The new Kennedy Addiction Recovery Center on Trindle Road in Mechanicsburg held an open house this month prior to its official opening.

Once operational, the center will offer services to help individuals and their families move from addiction to recovery and sober living. The program is structured similar to the organizations developed by co-founder Tim Weber in Westminster, Maryland. Weber also served as the Drug Treatment and Education Coordinator for Maryland’s Carroll County State Attorney’s Office before partnering with Michael Patrick Kennedy Sr. and Allen Rhinehart to establish the Kennedy Addiction Recover Center here in the 87th District.

Reminder: Christmas Tree Collection Updates
Here are the collection dates for Christmas trees from your local township:
Camp Hill Borough – Week of January 12, 2019
East Pennsboro Township – Between January 2, 2019 and January 16, 2019
Hampden Township – Between January 2, 2019 and January 12, 2019
Silver Spring Township – Week of January 7, 2019

Robotics Team
Senator Regan and I had the pleasure of meeting with members of The Javengers in December. These young students use their extracurricular time to compete at First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics tournaments. The Javengers is part of Pennsylvania Capital Area Robotics (PCAR), which raises awareness of STEM and Robotics in the Capital Area community through demos, workshops and visits. Team members Jordan Shopp, Rushil Negandhi, Vishnu Jayaprakash, and Kumar Ganesan met with us at Senator Regan’s office and gave us an impressive demonstration of their robotic work.

Capitol Visits

Green Ridge Elementary  
Fourth grade classes visited the Capitol this month, with two classes from Green Ridge Elementary and two from Eisenhower Elementary. It is always a joy to meet with students and encourage them to be civically engaged.

Eisenhower Elementary  

Visit with Cub Scout Troop 180
One of the highlights of my job is the chance to visit young people and share with them the importance of being civic-minded citizens. I enjoyed my time with Cub Scout Troop 180, relating what it means to be a state representative and how the House of Representatives operates. There are always enlightening questions from the boys and girls, which I encourage and appreciate.

State Government News
PA Fire, Emergency Services Need Our Help
With fire and ambulance services continuing to struggle across the Commonwealth, a 39-member commission created by lawmakers to study the situation issued dozens of recommendations.

Statistics show the number of volunteer firefighters has shrunk from about 300,000 in the 1980s to 38,000 today, according to the Pennsylvania Fire and Emergency Services Institute. Ambulance services are facing similar challenges for both volunteers and paid staff, leaving communities potentially vulnerable in emergency situations.

To reverse this trend, the commission suggests several strategies to boost recruitment and retention, including providing Length of Service Award Payments (LOSAP) and other benefit programs, funding basic fire and EMS training at the state level, and offering incentives to employers to permit trainees to attend fire and EMS training.

To further enhance training accessibility, the commission recommends including public safety as a trade/career preparatory program at career and technical education centers across the state and restoring funding for public safety training courses at community colleges.

Action on recommendations in the report would build on two important initiatives enacted earlier this year to boost funding for the state’s ambulance services: increasing Medicaid reimbursements for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support services and requiring both private insurers and Medicaid to reimburse for treatment provided, regardless of whether transport takes place.

Clean Slate Law Taking Effect – PA Has First in the Nation
Pennsylvanians with low-level offenses on their records who have gone 10 years without a subsequent arrest, prosecution or conviction will have their records automatically sealed under a new law taking effect this month.

Act 56 of 2018 allows records of second- and third-degree misdemeanor criminal convictions to be automatically sealed after a 10-year period without subsequent offenses. The law does not apply to violent offenses or those committed with a firearm or other dangerous item; sexual offenses; cruelty to animals; or corruption of minors.

This legislation balances the opportunity for low-level, nonviolent offenders to move forward, while at the same time not shielding the records of violent criminals.

Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to enact this “clean slate” legislation.

Requiring Notification of Right to Leave Public-Sector Union
I believe that allowing public sector union members to resign at any time ensures their constitutional rights with respect to freedom of speech and freedom of association. These rights were recently reinforced for non-members of public sector unions by the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME with respect to payment of compulsory fair share fees levied on non-union workers.

That is why I will be proposing legislation that eliminates the ability of public sector unions to negotiate “maintenance of membership” clauses in collective bargaining agreements. The elimination of such clauses effectively allows union members to resign their membership at any time.

Let’s Eliminate the Pa. Inheritance Tax!
Legislation I sponsored would eliminate the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax from the Tax Reform Code. The elimination of this harmful tax at the state level will protect against double taxation, ensure that inheritance goes to the family or heirs it was meant to go to, and help preserve individuals who receive an inheritance from ending up with a tax bill at a time when they are also grieving.

Ensuring Health Care Transparency in Pricing
I plan to put forward legislation that would require health care providers to publish the cost of health care procedures. My legislation would be a first step in bringing market forces to the health care industry. It is a reasonable request, as in most market transactions, for the consumers to be aware of and consent to the cost of a health care procedure.

Empowering Pa. Veterans and Reservists to Become Entrepreneurs
I plan to reintroduce a bill that would establish the Veterans and Reservists Entrepreneurial Training and Support Program within the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The program would provide small business and entrepreneurial-focused training to veterans and reservists so that they can pursue the American dream to start a business, create jobs and generate growth in our economy.

Programs, Services, and Opportunities
New Tool to Fight Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Building on the work of lawmakers to develop policies to combat the opioid crisis, the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Human Services recently unveiled a Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and support services for themselves or a loved one.

DART is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs. It is designed to assist people who are looking for services but are not sure where to begin. Users get the results based off their answers to survey questions. They can skip a question at any point.

After completing the questionnaire, people are able to email, download, and/or print their results. The tool does not ask any identifying information and does not save answers after the tool is closed.

The tool is a free, anonymous resource.

Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool

Renew Dog Licenses Now
Pet owners are reminded to renew their dog’s license for 2019. All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed in Pennsylvania, either on an annual basis or with a lifetime license.

Annual licenses are $8.50, while lifetime licenses are $51.50. Dogs that are spayed or neutered can be licensed for $6.50 for the year, or $31.50 for a lifetime license. Discounts are available for senior citizens and those owners with disabilities.

Applications for license renewals must be returned to the owner’s county treasurer’s office.

Under Pennsylvania state law, owners who fail to license and/or immunize their dogs could face fines up to $300 per violation for each dog three months of age or older. In addition, owners of non-vaccinated pets may be fined up to $300 plus court costs

Applications for 2019 Pennsylvania House Scholarships Now Available
High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship.

Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing for post-secondary education. The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. It is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need.

The application is available through the foundation’s website. Once on the site, click on the “Scholarship” tab at the top of the page. Then click on any of the counties listed underneath or the link entitled “any other county in the state of Pennsylvania” to access the scholarship information. The application deadline is March 1, 2019.

Governor’s School Program Accepting Applications
The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences, a five-week, summer residential program for talented math and science students, is now taking applications. Hosted by Carnegie Mellon University, the PGSS offers an enriching experience for juniors interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career fields. PGSS applicants must be Pennsylvania residents in their junior year of high school. More information and application.                                   

Apply for Your Property Tax Rent Rebate
Older adults and Pennsylvanians with disabilities have until December 31, 2018, to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. Find an application on the Department of Revenue’s website.

Holiday Office Hours
I wish you a happy and safe holiday with your family and friends!

My district office hours will be as follows:
Christmas Eve, Monday, December 24 – closed
Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25 – closed
Wednesday-Friday, December 26-December 28 – 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31 – closed
New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1 – closed
Wednesday, January 2, regular hours resume, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
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Office Locations
1200 Camp Hill Bypass, Suite 202, Camp Hill, PA 17011 | Phone: 717-975-2235
163A East Wing, Capitol Complex, PO Box 202087, Harrisburg, PA 17120 | Phone: 717-783-2063
TTY: 855-282-0614