Jan. 27, 2017

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

Getting to Work with House Committee Assignments

Members of the House of Representatives this week received their committee assignments for the 2017-18 legislative session. I have been assigned to the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, State Government Committee, and Aging and Older Adult Services Committee. These assignments are a good fit for the 101st District and my legislative priorities.

Many people are aware that the No.1 fiscal issue facing our Commonwealth is the more than $70 billion in unfunded pension liability for state workers and education employees. If action is not taken soon, that number will rapidly grow to $121 billion. I have a plan to deal with this is a holistic and fair way, and the State Government Committee is the legislative panel through which pension reform will be considered.
I also asked leadership to consider appointing me to the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee so that I would have the ability to raise key issues and the opportunity to help make sure our veterans are treated fairly. I am very pleased leadership granted this request.

Along with veterans issues, folks seeking assistance at my district office are often retirees having trouble with benefits or paperwork. Being able to address those issues on the legislative level in the committee of jurisdiction is an important component to permanently fixing some of the problems that seem to repeat themselves unnecessarily.
Eagle Scout

I recently attended the Court of Honor Eagle Scout ceremony at Trinity Church in Palmyra for Tyler Lee Bates of Troop 456. Brenda Pera, assistant manager of Palmyra Borough was also in attendance. In this picture, I am with Tyler and his parents.
Lebanon School District Meeting

I recently attended a regular meeting of the Lebanon School District. The board asked to have an opportunity to speak with me about property tax elimination. It was an open and candid discussion. I urge residents to attend school board meetings. These are public officials who work for the We The People. If you aren’t there to let them know how your money should be spent and what your kids should be taught, they won’t hear it.

I also had a meeting the following day with school board officials and a superintendent from around the state asking for their views and guidance about how to reform spending, which we must do if we are ever going to have budgets that don’t spend more that the government takes in.
Storm Water Regulations

I recently attended the MS-4 briefing with Ron Fouche who heads up the Lebanon County Township and a local borough group. About 80 elected officials attended.

The MS-4 is concerning the groundwater runoff and DEP/EPA Phase 3 requirements which are expected to be quite costly to Lebanon Borough and township. How did we get here? Basically, at the direction of President Obama several years ago the Environmental Protection Agency just made a new rule that greatly expanded the “Waters of the United States” clause in the 1972 Clean Water Act. This new interpretation gives the federal government the ability to regulate private property and municipal governments without the consent of Congress.

Hopefully, the Trump administration will roll back these draconian rules, but it will take time. Also, Rep. Russ Diamond and I have agreed to work with the DEP to investigate alternatives.
Semper Fi!

I presented a 101st District Coin to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) to thank him for the work he did for our Marines of Echo Company, Second Battalion, 25th Marines who were deployed to Iraq several years ago. It was a delayed presentation, but a well-deserved one.
Pennsylvania Granted Extension for REAL ID

Pennsylvania has been granted an extension by the federal government to comply with the requirements of the REAL ID Act until June 5, 2017. This will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings through June. The extension gives state leaders more time to work cooperatively to fix state law to allow for federal REAL ID compliance and to ensure that it’s done in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.

Without the extension, residents would have needed additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to federal buildings starting on Jan. 30. The air travel restriction is still in place for 2018, unless additional extensions are granted or the issue is addressed legislatively. Over the years, the General Assembly and PennDOT have worked to enhance the security of Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, but federal law requires additional improvements.

For more information on the extension, click here
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Applications Available

Forms for the state’s 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program are now available for download from the Department of Revenue’s website. Paper forms 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 2016. 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 office(s); 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 click here
Website Offers Families Help to Save for Disability Expenses

A new website about the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program website is now available at paable.gov to offer essential information on the upcoming program.

The ABLE Savings Program gives individuals with qualified disabilities a tax-free way to save for future disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The site also has a short quiz to help determine eligibility, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question section and allows users to sign up to receive updates on the program, including when accounts open for enrollment.

Modeled after college 529 savings accounts, PA ABLE accounts allow eligible individuals with qualifying disabilities and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical and other expenses without jeopardizing government benefits. The federal tax-free savings and investment options are offered to encourage individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support health, independence and quality of life.

The Pennsylvania Treasury, which operates the site, has also opened an ABLE Call Center at (855) 529-2253 which operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Veterans Registry Helps Put Vets in Touch with Services

Thousands of Pennsylvania veterans have been better connected to benefits, programs and services, thanks to an online registry launched a year ago by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).

Registration is conveniently available by using a computer or mobile device and visiting register.dmva.pa.gov. The process takes just a couple of minutes and includes the registrant providing basic information such as name, age, home address, email address, etc.

Registrants can choose to have their information shared with their county director for veterans affairs and other relevant state agencies. They can also opt in to receive timely, informative emails regarding local, state and national news; program updates; community events; and employment opportunities available specifically for veterans.

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 900,000 veterans.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

As a way to promote good cervical health, Pennsylvania operates the 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
Rescuing the Rescuers: Helping Save Our Volunteer Fire, EMS Companies

This week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate unveiled a 16-bill package to support fire and ambulance services across the Commonwealth.

The legislation is designed to address growing financial costs faced by companies, the shortage of volunteers and the lack of affordable and easily accessible training options.

On the funding side, measures within the package seek to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates, increase surcharges on moving violations to support the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund, and provide new billing options for fire departments and EMS organizations.

To address the volunteer shortage, the package includes bills to promote recruitment and retention by offering online training to make the process more convenient, provide loan forgiveness to attract volunteers, develop a pilot program to offer firefighter training in secondary schools, and offer tax credits to businesses that excuse their employees when they need to respond to emergencies or undergo training.
Wear Red Feb. 3 to Raise Awareness of Women’s Heart Disease

Women across the country are encouraged to wear red on Friday, Feb. 3, as part of the “Go Red for Women” campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart disease. Legislative efforts over the years have made the official designation in Pennsylvania as a way to remind women of the risks of heart disease.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women each year, causing one in three deaths each year, or about one per minute. According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood. By increasing awareness, speaking up about heart disease and empowering women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, we can save thousands of lives each year.
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1044 East Main Street, Palmyra, PA 17078 | Phone: (717)838-3823
149A East Wing, PO Box 202101 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2101 | (717) 783-1815
Email Address: FRyan@pahousegop.com