Jan. 09, 2018

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

Walk and Talk Townhalls                                   
I want to invite residents of the 101st District to participate in my continuing series of Legislative Walk and Talks on one of Lebanon’s several rail trails.

These events allow us to make ourselves as available as possible in an open environment. The walks will be at the speed of the slowest person so please do not feel pressure. This walk is part of our town hall approach to hear from you in as many ways as possible.

The walks usually begin at 9 a.m. but note that the Jan. 13 walk that had been scheduled for 9 a.m. will now begin at 8 a.m. This time was changed so that I can help see our deploying National Guard troops off on their 2018 deployment to the Middle East.                                   

• Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 a.m., at the Colebrook Trailhead.
• Saturday, Feb. 17, at 9 a.m., at the Cornwall Trailhead.
• Saturday, March 24, at 9 a.m., at the 8th Street Trailhead.
• Saturday, May 12, at 9 a.m., at the Cornwall Trailhead.

These events are also held during the day for folks who might not have the time in their schedule for a traditional town hall, which are typically held in the evenings.

To download a map and flyer for these events, please visit RepFrankRyan.com and click on the “Legislative Walk and Talks” banner.

?Humane Society Police Officer Bill Passes Committee
I am pleased to announce that House Bill 1917, legislation I have introduced to strengthen the training and oversight of Humane Society police officers, has passed out of committee and is now in front of the full House for a vote whenever leadership calls it up. Although these specialized officers play an important role in enforcing our state’s animal cruelty laws, and while doing so relieve our local governments of the cost of asking our municipal police to perform that role, it is absolutely necessary that humane society police officers be rigorously trained so that they can succeed at their duties.

My bill would strengthen the current training and oversight requirements by, among other things:

• Increasing initial and annual training hours for humane society police officers.
• Mandating training the proper procedure to file citations and warrants, including when and how to contact other law enforcement.
• Including training in farm operations and biosecurity, including at least one on-site visit to a working commercial farm operation.
• Requiring that a humane society police officer remain a resident of the Commonwealth to retain his or her appointment as an officer.
• Subjecting an officer to automatic revocation of his or her appointment in all counties if any one county revokes the appointment.
• Treating associations that employ humane society police officers as local agencies under the Right-to-Know Law.

No one can countenance true cruelty to animals, but we must also be mindful to educate our humane society police officers about farms and rural communities so that they can focus their enforcement efforts against those who truly commit cruel acts.

Upcoming Legislation and Financial Rescue Caucus

The second Financial Rescue Caucus meeting was held at the end of November. There was a lot of discussion and comments about the Independent Fiscal Office and the state’s Auditors – we have to take the financial problems with the state seriously.

I am introducing a bill to require the Auditor General to expand the forensic and fraud audit capabilities of the Auditor General staff and to develop standards for the auditors.

Also, the Financial Rescue Caucus Chairs have scheduled two upcoming meetings in 2018 for Financial Rescue Caucus members:

Meeting 1 – Tuesday January 23, at 8:30 a.m.
Meeting 2 – Tuesday February 6, at 9 a.m.
Location: Both meetings will be held in the Majority Caucus room

Meeting 1 Topic: Informational meeting w/PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, which will focus on broad systemic concerns about financial stability of the Commonwealth, risks he might be concerned about, material weaknesses that may be apparent in audits and other concerns he might have.

Meeting 2 Topic: “Is Pennsylvania Unprepared for the next recession” featuring Dan White, director of economic research at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester and adjunct professor of economics at Villanova University. Link to his article is below

Both meetings will be filmed and posted on my YouTube channel in case you are unable to attend and/or for posting and public use.

Thank You for Your Service

This week, I was honored to recognize another Vietnam era veterans, Marvin Kleinfelter for his service in United States Air Force.

I vow to continue to say thank you to all those who served during the Vietnam conflict who never received the welcome home that they deserved.

The same can be said of those who served during the Korean War. Well done
Semper Fi!

Lebanon Middle School

Students and teachers from Lebanon Middle School recently visited the Capitol and took a tour and photos on the House floor. Also, just before Christmas, Dawn Connelly, the principal of Lebanon middle school, invited me to attend a performance of the Nutcracker.

It was outstanding!
Congratulations Judy Henry, Dawn Connelly, and all the performers!

Purchasing ACA Plans in Lebanon County
Recently, I’ve been having a number of meetings with health care executives to see if there’s a solution to the problem of Blue Cross pulling out of the Lebanon County Affordable Care Act exchange. Please note this affects only those folks using the Affordable Care Act exchanges to purchase health insurance.

This continues to make us an underserved insurance market. It is absolutely one of the reasons why I believe in allowing citizens to buy insurance across county and state lines, which President Trump is attempting to allow.

In October, Trump signed an executive order to lower health insurance premiums by allowing more consumers to buy health insurance through association health plans across state lines. But executive orders can take some time to take effect after they are printed in the Federal Register.

According to USA Today, “The order could help to reach the millions of uninsured people who don't have access to employer plans, but also find Obamacare beyond reach because of its skyrocketing premiums and scattered availability. It would allow more small businesses to pool their resources into associations that would then use their purchasing power to buy group plans for their employees.”

If you have personal stories to share about how your costs for insurance have gone up please let me know. I want to pass that on to the insurance commissioner.

Please follow my Facebook and these emails from Harrisburg where I will keep you updated on this issue.

Many thanks to the hospital and healthcare community for their advice.

Winter Driving Tips
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is urging motorists to prepare their vehicles and take time to familiarize themselves with winter safety laws as part of Pennsylvania’s Winter Driving Awareness Week, which runs January 7-13. Please visit RepFrankRyan.com and click on the ‘Winter Driving Tips” banner.

Deadly Carfentanil Being Sold in PA
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division (PFD) conducted an analysis of drug seizure and fatal overdose data as an indicator of carfentanil in Pennsylvania. Carfentanil is a Schedule II synthetic opioid, typically used as an analgesic for large mammals, and is approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Please visit RepFrankRyan.com and click on the ‘Deadly Carfentanil in PA – A DEA Report” banner.

Legislative Year in Review
During the first half of the 2017-18 legislative session, the House advanced a number of important bills that seek to improve education, make our communities safer, enhance quality of life for families and senior citizens, and reform government – all while standing up for taxpayers.

In addition to passing a no-tax-increase budget, the House approved legislation to reform the public pension systems; force public officials and employees who are convicted of public corruption crimes to forfeit their government pension; keep children safe from online predators; extend the popular and successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); protect senior citizens’ prescription drug coverage; and delay the implementation of the Keystone Exam as a graduation requirement.

Looking ahead to 2018, the House is coordinating a legislative agenda focusing on work and economic opportunity, educating for success, escaping government dysfunction, and protecting families and communities.

To review a list of bills passed by the House, click here to read our year-end report.

Nonprofits Win with Bingo Law Updates
As a way to help nonprofit organizations better raise funds for community needs, Act 66 of 2017 updates the state’s antiquated Bingo Law, which was enacted in 1981.

The new law increases prize limits from $250 to $500 for any one game of bingo; from $2,000 to $4,000 for jackpot games; and from $4,000 to $8,000 for the total amount of prizes awarded in a calendar day. It also gives community organizations the freedom to advertise the dollar value of cash prizes. Organizations will be permitted to advertise bingo games on the internet and through social media.

Additionally, the law removes restrictions on the number of days a licensed association may conduct bingo games, permits pre-draw bingo and allows for guest callers and for new members of an organization to assist with bingo.

Welfare Reform Efforts Unveiled
To help contain costs and bring about real reform to Pennsylvania’s welfare system, a package of bills was unveiled this week to give more Pennsylvania families an opportunity to improve their quality of life, while tackling waste, fraud and abuse from within the current system.

The legislation would require able-bodied adults without dependents to work, perform community service, participate in a work program or be enrolled as a full-time student in order to receive SNAP benefits; limit temporary assistance beyond five years and establish a cumulative 48-month lifetime limit; and start a pilot program that encourages companies to hire individuals receiving welfare.

The goal of the measures is focused on ensuring benefits are directed to those who are truly in need while making every effort to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

These bills are the latest in a series to bring more integrity back to state government and escaping government dysfunction.

Know the Dangers of Frostbite, Hypothermia
With Pennsylvania in the grips of one of the season’s first cold spells, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has offered several tips to keep warm.

Dangerously cold temperatures can lead to life-threatening health problems like hypothermia and frostbite. Lower-than-normal temperatures and higher wind speeds can cause heat to leave your body more quickly than normal and result in serious health issues.

If venturing outdoors, make outdoor trips brief and dress warmly in layers; cover your ears, head, mouth and face; never ignore shivering; and know the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia causes shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness in adults and bright red, cold skin and very low energy in babies. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, and symptoms include a white or grayish-yellow area of skin, numbness or skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.

Infants and older Pennsylvanians are at greater risk of serious cold-related health issues and should be checked frequently to ensure they are warm enough during cold weather.

Pet owners are also reminded of a new state law that prohibits animals from being tethered outside for more than 30 minutes in weather colder than 32 degrees.

For more winter-weather tips, click here.

Farm Show Starts Saturday
In case you missed it, the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show will kick off Saturday, Jan. 6, and run through Saturday, Jan. 13. This year’s theme is “Strength in Our Diversity.”

In addition to all the delicious food offerings, the Farm Show features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors.

Admission to the show is free, but parking is $15 per vehicle. Shuttle service is provided.

More information is available at farmshow.pa.gov.
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149A East Wing, PO Box 202101 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2101 | (717) 783-1815
Email Address: FRyan@pahousegop.com