In this Issue:
Senate Accomplishments: Health Care
In its ongoing effort to improve access to quality health care, the Senate rounded out 2021 by passing new laws to preserve and expand prescription drug assistance for Pennsylvania senior citizens.
Passed by the Senate and signed into law last month was legislation that extends the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment moratorium for individuals enrolled in PACE and PACENET to preserve access to these senior citizen prescription drug programs.
The Senate also passed a new law that expands income eligibility for PACENET, allowing an additional 24,000 Pennsylvania seniors to receive help with prescription drug costs.
Other new healthcare laws passed by the Senate boosted donations to fight breast cancer, created the Living Donor Protection Act, encouraged more physician assistants to stay and practice in the Commonwealth, reduced nursing home labor shortages, continued to confront the opioid crisis, and more.
PA Farm Show Kicks Off Saturday
The 106th Pennsylvania Farm Show kicks off this Saturday in Harrisburg, and will feature nearly 6,000 animals, 12,000 competitive events and exhibits, 300 commercial exhibits and hundreds of educational and entertaining events.
Visitors to the Farm Show Complex will not be required to wear a mask, but the Department of Agriculture is encouraging people to wear masks and practice social distancing at the event. Entrance is free, but parking costs $15 per car at all Farm Show complex lots.
The Pennsylvania agricultural sector supports 593,000 Pennsylvania jobs and annually contributes $132.5 billion to the state economy.
Resource Page for COVID-19 Prevention and Treatments
There are now multiple COVID-19 prevention and treatment options authorized by the FDA for emergency use in patients at high risk of developing severe COVID-19. While they’re not substitutes for vaccines, they might be right for some people.
The state Department of Health website has information regarding the distribution of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatments, covering:
You can find locations for prevention medicines and treatment at Therapeutics Distribution | HHS Protect Public Data Hub and information also can be found on local distributions of the oral antiviral medications Paxlovid and Molnupiravir. The supply of oral antiviral medications is extremely limited until national production increases. Consult with your healthcare provider on the appropriateness and availability of these treatments.
Citizens Can Comment on Proposed Redistricting Plans
Hearings begin this week by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to gather feedback from Pennsylvania citizens regarding the preliminary plans for state Senate and House of Representatives legislative redistricting.
The hearings will be held in Hearing Room 1 of the Capitol’s North Office Building and will use Zoom to allow virtual participation. The hearings will also be livestreamed.
To speak at a hearing (in person or virtual), the commission requires registration in advance:
To accommodate as many speakers as possible, the commission will limit the remarks of each speaker to five minutes. The submission of written testimony prior to the hearing is requested but not required. Written testimony can be submitted on the Commission’s public website portal.
New 511PA Travel Information Features
The 511PA traveler information service has new features and alert customization for passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle drivers.
511PA allows motorists to set up personalized travel alerts for specific roadways, days of the week, and times of the day. Users can now select the type of alerts they would like to receive, rather than receiving all alerts. Categories include incidents, roadwork, general travel information, travel restrictions, and weather-related alerts.
For commercial vehicle drivers, 511PA now includes locations for all bridges under legal height (13’6″) over state roads to improve information that drivers may be receiving from third-party navigation systems. This information can be viewed on the web map and is also available as an alert that can be heard in drive mode on the mobile app.
Funding Workshop Scheduled for First Responders
I will be hosting a First Responders Funding Workshop on February 2 in Fayette County and February 3 in Somerset County. Many grants are extremely competitive, and I want to make sure you have the information needed to maximize your chances of securing funding for critical needs in our local communities.
The workshop will feature tips on how to find government and foundation grants and to submit applications with a greater chance of success. Participants are welcome to ask questions about current or future projects their organization is considering. The workshop will feature experts from PEMA, Office of the State Fire Commissioner, Department of General Services, and the Senate Republican Caucus Services Grant Team.
These contacts, as well as a reference manual that contains a comprehensive listing of grant programs and important contact information, will be a valuable reference for many years to come.
Again, I hope that you or multiple members of your organization can join us. If you have any questions, please contact Sue Quinn of my staff at 724-626-1611 or email@example.com.
As always, thank you for your continued service to your community.
Around the District
Last week, I had the honor of attending the swearing-in of one of Fayette County’s elected officials; Recorder of Deeds, John Marietta. Congratulations John and thank you for your service to Fayette County.
Last week, I had the honor of attending the swearing-in of Somerset County’s elected officials; Prothonotary, Brian Fotchman; Treasurer, Tony DeLuca; Coroner, Cullen Swank; and many other municipality officials. Congratulations to all and thank you for your service to Somerset County.
I also had the honor of attending the swearing-in of Westmoreland County’s elected officials; District Attorney, Nicole W. Ziccarelli; Prothonotary, Gina O’Barto; Clerk of Courts, Megan A. Loughner; and Coroner, Tim Carson. Congratulations to all and thank you for your service to Westmoreland County.
I had the honor of attending Denney Candle Co. LLC’s ribbon cutting for their new location in Uniontown. Thank you Fayette County Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event and Denny Candle Co. owner, Kellie, for your dedication to our community.