New Year, New Session
1/4/2019

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Updating the 85th District
The latest news from the State Capitol
 
I am joined at my desk on the floor of the House of Representatives by my granddaughter, Karsen.
 
 
A New Year and a New Legislative Session

On New Year’s Day, my fellow representatives and I took the oath of office to launch the 2019-20 Legislative Session.

The text of the oath is as follows: “I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.” These are words I take to heart in everything I do as a state lawmaker.

A total of 200 lawmakers took the oath on Tuesday, with one member absent and two seats vacant. Rep. Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) was elected speaker of the House for the third consecutive session, and we adopted House operating rules and, during a brief joint session with the Senate, certified election results.

The House will return to session on Tuesday, Jan. 15. If you want to know more about what’s happening in your state government, look no further than the Pennsylvania General Assembly website. You will find information about upcoming committee meetings, specific bills, roll call votes, House and Senate calendars, existing state statutes and more. You can even watch session live through the site. Check it out here!
 
 
Law Cracks Down on Repeat DUI Offenders

A new law cracking down on habitual DUI offenders is now in effect. Statistics show repeat offenders cause 40 percent of all DUI-related crashes.

Pennsylvania was previously one of four states that did not punish repeat DUIs as felonies.

Act 153 of 2018 fixes that by increasing penalties for repeated DUI crimes.

Under the new law, any individual convicted of his or her third DUI with a BAC of 0.16 or higher could be found guilty of a felony offense.

The same penalty would apply to all individuals convicted of four or more DUI offenses.

Repeat offenders who are convicted of homicide while DUI now face a minimum prison sentence of five or seven years, up from the previous three-year minimum.
 
 
103rd Farm Show Starts Saturday

Just a reminder, the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show will kick off this Saturday, Jan. 5, and run through Saturday, Jan. 12. This year’s theme is “Inspiring Pennsylvania’s Story.”

The Farm Show, which features 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibitors, emphasizes the importance of agriculture in daily life, highlights the latest in ag technology and advancements, and offers attractions for all ages.

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

For all the latest news about the Farm Show, follow it on Facebook or visit www.farmshow.pa.gov.
 
 
Check Out These Upcoming Events!!

Lewisburg Children's Museum January Programs and Events: Coming up in January: making hot chocolate play dough (Jan. 5 – registration required); snow painting (Jan. 12); making deer fodder, also known as white chocolate chex mix (Jan. 13 – registration required); learning about how animals keep warm in cold weather (Jan. 16); reading of “The Mitten” and craft (Jan. 19); and learning about snow flakes (Jan. 30). For details about these events and more coming up, click here. Click here for a full list of events.
 
 
Increased Funding to Aid Ambulance Services

Ambulance companies across Pennsylvania will see a much-needed increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates this year.

Approved as part of the 2018-19 budget, reimbursement rates have increased from $200 to not less than $300 for Advanced Life Support (ALS) services and from $120 to $180 for Basic Life Support (BLS) services, effective Jan. 1.

The increases, to be funded by $4 million in state funds and approximately $8 million in federal matching funds, are necessary to help meet growing costs faced by the Commonwealth’s emergency medical service providers. It is the first increase since 2004.

To further support these life-saving services, another new law, Act 103 of 2018, requires both private insurers and Medicaid to reimburse for treatment provided regardless of whether transport takes place. This is a common occurrence with patients suffering with diabetes as well as for drug overdose calls.

Additional initiatives to shore up the state’s fire and emergency response organizations were outlined in a recent report released under Senate Resolution 6 of 2017. The report includes 92 concepts incorporated into 27 recommendations to address challenges in the fire and EMS communities, with most of them focused on staffing, funding and training needs.
 
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Mifflinburg Government Center, 343 Chestnut Street, Suite 1, Mifflinburg, PA 17844 | (570) 966-0052 or (570) 837-0052
Room 141-A East Wing, PO Box 202085, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2085 | (717) 787-3443
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