Feb. 08, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Hearing to Save Our Health Care Set for Next Week
In an effort to help save our health care, I will be co-chairing a public hearing next week of the House Majority Policy Committee. The hearing, to be held at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Bethlehem, will allow us to examine the negative impact that could result from the state court system looking to repeal one of its rules on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Our agenda will include physicians who faced skyrocketing insurance premiums in the early 2000s and the effect that had on health care for their patients, medical facilities that would face resulting hardships and experts in the field of medical malpractice insurance.

You can watch the hearing LIVE at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at PAGOPPolicy. You can also click here if you would like to submit your own comments to the court’s rules committee. To read more about the issue, click here.

State Budget Address Starts the Process
Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his budget proposal for the 2019-20 fiscal year before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

House Republicans have been, and will continue to be, leaders when it comes to education funding, having increased funding for PreK-12 education by $3.4 billion since 2011.

We will also continue our commitment to building the economy through a better tax and regulatory climate, as well as ensuring our students are trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We are equally committed to removing the barriers to employment and self-sufficiency.

The budget process continues next week with the first in a series of House Appropriations Committee hearings to delve into the details of the governor’s plan. For a schedule and live streaming of the hearings, visit pahousegop.com.

Gathering Community Input

Earlier this week, I attended North Catasauqua Borough’s Planning Open House for the community. The event provided updates on the status of several projects in the planning stages, solicited feedback on the initial plans presented and provided information on the role that North Catasauqua plays in the greater Lehigh Valley. Pictured with me (from left) are Becky Bradley, executive director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission; and Christine Weaver, member of the Catasauqua Borough Council.

Free Tax Assistance Available

Certified AARP TaxAide volunteers are available again this year to provide free tax form assistance to middle- and low-income taxpayers, with special attention to those ages 60 and older.

To receive help filing your 2018 federal, state and local tax returns or your Pennsylvania Property Tax and Rent Rebate applications, taxpayers must bring copies of their 2017 tax returns plus all income information, real estate tax receipts, any deduction information and health care enrollment information pertaining to 2018. Taxpayers must also bring photo identification, Social Security cards, and if a direct deposit of refund is desired, a bank check to ensure correct account numbers.

Tax help will be available in the 183rd Legislative District during the times and days listed below. For other TaxAide sites, please call 1-888-AARPNOW (1-888-227-7669).

• Faith Lutheran Church, 3355 MacArthur Road, Whitehall, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Walk-in appointments only.
• Slatington Vigilant Fire Co. Hall, East Church St and South Walnut St, Slatington, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. On site appointments can be made during operations.
• Northampton Recreation Center, 1 Lerchenmiller Drive, Northampton, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. by appointment on Mondays. Appointments can be made at the Rec Center.

Record-Setting Year for PA 529 College and Career Savings Program

As the House begins its budgeting process for next year, including higher education funding, Pennsylvania families are saving more than ever to ensure their children can afford college or other post-secondary options.

In 2018, Pennsylvania families set a record by saving over $585 million to use toward future education expenses in the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program.

Through PA 529, families can choose from two plans. The PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) allows families to save for post-secondary education at today’s rate, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) allows families to choose how their contributions are invested from a list of 16 options.

You can learn more about the 529 program at pa529.com or call 1-800-440-4000.

Streamlining Medication Process for Patients and Seniors
House Republicans are continuing their commitment to ensuring the health and welfare of seniors and patients with chronic conditions by making it easier to adhere to their medication schedules.

This week lawmakers passed House Bill 195, which ensures patients can synchronize their medications in order to receive refills on the same day each month, instead of having to make multiple visits to the pharmacy.

This commonsense legislation would put Pennsylvania in line with Medicaid Part D, the PACE Program, and 35 other states that allow medication synchronization.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Trout Stocking Schedule Now Available
Start planning for this year’s fishing season with the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s 2019 Trout Stocking Schedule.

More than 700 streams and 120 lakes will be stocked with nearly 3.2 million adult trout in Pennsylvania rivers and streams that are open to the public for fishing.

About 53 percent of the trout are stocked prior to opening day, 43 percent are stocked between opening day and the end of May, and the remaining 4 percent are stocked from October through February of the following year.

Opening Day of trout season will be Saturday, March 30, for Pennsylvania’s southeastern counties. The rest of the state will open on Saturday, April 13.

Copies of the trout stocking schedules, including a searchable database, can be found online at PFBC website or the PFBC’s “FishBoatPA” mobile app. A limited number of hard copies of the trout stocking schedules are available in my district offices.
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Office Locations
2030 Center Street, Northampton, PA 18067 | Phone: 610-502-2701
Slatington Borough Hall, 125 S. Walnut Street, First Floor, Slatington, PA 18080 | Phone: 610-760-9805
402A Irvis Office, PO Box 202183. Harrisburg, PA 17120-2183 | (717) 772-5398
Email Address: ZMako@pahousegop.com