Aug. 04, 2017

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

Fiscal Responsibility Measures Move Forward, But into Headwinds
The state Senate on July 27 voted 40-10 to approve House Bill 453, legislation I authored that would will require any agency receiving funds to respond within 120 business days of an audit by the state Auditor General with their response or funding will be suspended.

The Senate altered my bill and amended it to include it within the entire Fiscal Code which authorizes the spending from the budget. Unfortunately, these amendments include three wasteful spending items to which, as a fiscal conservative, I am strongly opposed:

1. Supplemental funding for the Erie School District in excess of $13 Million per year going forward. Originally the House had agreed to a one-time payment of $13 million to the financially distressed school. My preference would be that the Legislature amend the entire school fiscal code so that all schools receive funding from the state consistent with the changes in the demographics of the area.
2. A First Chance Fund which required contracts to the Department of Corrections in excess of $5 million to rebate one percent back to the Department of Corrections to provide scholarships for children of criminals. My concern is two-fold: the children of the victims receive no such scholarships; the funding for this type of grant should not be outside the control of the Legislature and the Department of Education.
3. A taxi cab fee increase for the City of Philadelphia.

Fortunately, the main thrust of my House Bill 453 was not altered by the Senate. The Act of April 9, 1929, empowers the Auditor General to audit the agencies receiving state funding yet the same act provides no recourse for the failure by the agencies receiving funds from responding to and potentially implementing the recommendations.

I originally introduced House Bill 453 because in my examination of the Auditor General’s audit reports, I have been stunned to find the amount of times that audit recommendations are ignored and/or not responded to. The lack of response, which exposes the Commonwealth to millions and potentially billions in wasted funds annually, occurs because the Act of 1929 does not provide for any penalties for failing to correct these deficiencies.

I will be amending the ACT of April 9, 1929(P.L.343, No.176), known as The Fiscal Code, by implementing legislation language that will require any agency receiving funds to respond within 120 days of an audit with their response or funding will be suspended by Appropriations

Harrisburg has become too accustomed to spending money the state does not have and that needs to change before the state and its taxpayers become bankrupt.

Taxes and PA’s Fiscal Cliff

Click here to Watch

New DUI Law to Take Effect Aug. 25
A new law set to go into effect Aug. 25 will change the way first-time DUI offenders are punished in Pennsylvania. The new law will require most first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.10 percent to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

Under the new law, most first-time offenders would be eligible to drive with the ignition interlock immediately. Otherwise, they would have to have their driver’s license suspended for a year before installing the interlock device for 12 months.

Those who are eligible can petition PennDOT for a new Ignition Interlock Limited License, allowing them to install the device for one year and continue to drive.

The law will also apply to drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing. They will be eligible for early interlock after six months.

According to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly 2 million drunk-driving attempts have been stopped with ignition interlock devices, including more than 78,000 instances in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2015.

New Immunization Requirements for PA Schools This Fall
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised Pennsylvania’s school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year.

The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.

If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.

For more information, contact your health care provider, visit or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

PennDOT Offers Winter Maintenance Jobs
Individuals seeking seasonal employment are encouraged to apply for a variety of winter maintenance positions now open through PennDOT.
The program runs from September through April, and includes positions for transportation equipment operators, diesel mechanics, radio dispatchers, stock clerks, welders and tradesman helpers.

Individuals in these positions supplement the permanent workforce and have the potential to lead to permanent full-time employment. Additional details about the positions, along with the job application, are available at Click on “Job Classifications” and then go to “PennDOT Winter Program.”

The deadline to apply is Friday, Aug. 11.

Attention Medicare Recipients
From April 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2019, Medicare will mail out new Medicare cards that no longer have Social Security numbers on them. The new card identification number will be a random mix of numbers and letters as a way to protect a cardholder’s identity.

Some things to remember:
• A cardholder’s benefits will stay the same, with no changes to coverage. The only difference is the cardholder’s ID number.
• A cardholder doesn’t have to take any action and does not need to confirm personal information. The card will automatically come in the mail and is ready to use right away.
• The new card does not cost anything, and fees do not apply.

Medicare representatives don’t call you or come to your house. Hang up on anyone who calls you and says there is a fee for the card or that they need to confirm your identity.

For more information, call the PA-Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-800-356-3606. Help is free and confidential.
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