Cutting Through the Red Tape
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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Cutting Through the Red Tape

This week, state lawmakers and business leaders from across the Commonwealth announced a multi-bill package specifically designed to rein in state government overregulation.

The bills include giving the Legislature the ability to initiate the repeal of any state regulation in effect; establishing the Independent Office of the Repealer to undertake an ongoing review of existing regulations; requiring legislative approval of an economically significant regulation; making the permitting process more transparent; requiring each agency to better educate the regulated community regarding implementation of any new regulation and its requirements; and improving the regulatory culture so the application of existing laws is collaborative and not punitive.

Also announced was a Regulatory Overreach Report, which showed that Pennsylvania’s restrictive regulatory environment kills family-sustaining jobs, strangles opportunity and cripples economic growth.

Pennsylvania currently has more than 153,000 regulatory restrictions that stretch across every industry in the Commonwealth.

Opioid Emergency Shouldn’t Impact Second Amendment

To help ensure that residents’ Second Amendment rights are not inadvertently impacted by the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in the fight against opioid addiction, new legislation has been unveiled to protect that right.

With the emergency declaration, the governor activated an automatic trigger in the Crimes Code dealing with the Second Amendment. While this may make sense in the context of a natural disaster, it could cause problems for law-abiding citizens now. Never before has a disaster emergency been declared for a public health reason.

Under state law, an emergency declaration criminalizes the open carrying in public or on public property of any firearm – whether a handgun, rifle or shotgun. The intent of this prohibition is to protect communities from looting and criminal behavior in the time of a natural disaster, and would last for the full duration of the declared disaster.

While the declaration of disaster for the opioid crisis gives the state tools to use to help Pennsylvania citizens in this public health crisis, the issue regarding the Second Amendment is not necessary and should not be in effect.

The legislation would simply clarify that the prohibition against open carrying of an otherwise lawful firearm only applies if the disaster declaration expressly declares that such a prohibition is required to maintain public safety. Because the governor’s recent disaster declaration made no such declaration, upon enactment of this bill, Second Amendment rights would once again be secure in Pennsylvania.

2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Forms to be Available Online Monday
Forms for the state’s 2017 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program will be available for download from the Department of Revenue’s website starting Monday, Jan. 22. Paper forms and instruction booklets will be available in the coming weeks.

Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2017. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

Residents do not need to pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at no cost at my district offices; however, applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of many initiatives supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs for older Pennsylvanians.

For more information, visit my website at or click here.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, a good time to raise awareness of cervical cancer and learn more about Pennsylvania’s HealthyWoman Program, which is a free breast and cervical cancer early detection program for those who are not insured or whose insurance doesn’t cover the screenings.

Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening.

Among the services offered are pelvic exams, Pap smears and follow-up diagnostic tests for an abnormal screening result. Cervical cancer screenings are recommended for women beginning at age 21.

For more information, call the HealthyWoman hotline at 1-800-215-7494 or click here.
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