Apr. 12, 2019

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Legislative Report

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

Mark Your Calendars
My office will be hosting a number of events in the coming several weeks.

An evening News & Brews will be held on Wednesday, April 24, from 5-7 p.m., at All Saints Brewery, 1602 Route 119, Greensburg. This will be an opportunity to discuss state-related issues. Pizza and beverages will be provided. Alcoholic beverages will be available at attendees’ own expense. Please RSVP by April 18 by calling 724-834-6400.

A morning Coffee Talk will be held on Friday, May 10, from 8-10 a.m., at Carbon Volunteer Fire Department, 421 Juniper St., Greensburg. This will be another opportunity to discuss state-related issues. Please RSVP by May 8 by calling 724-834-6400.

My annual Senior Expo is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Delmont Volunteer Fire Department, 2360 State Route 66, Delmont. A wide variety of vendors and exhibitors will be available from local, state, federal and nonprofit organizations to answer questions on health care, insurance, nutrition, personal safety and much more.
                                          

Nuclear Bailout Discussions Heating Up in Harrisburg
This week the battle over a nuclear bailout intensified during the first of three House Consumer Affairs Committee hearings. While I have great respect for our former Gov. Tom Ridge, I disagree with his perspective on this issue.

I completely support the benefit of nuclear energy as one of our “base load” energy sources, along with coal and natural gas. I believe in a competitive marketplace; however, I am cautious about using government force to place surcharges on the energy bills of seniors, our working poor, and the Pennsylvania business community to bailout Three Mile Island (TMI) for a third time.

House Bill 11 would mandate 68% of Pennsylvania’s electricity be purchased from nuclear (50%) and green energy (18%). This adds nuclear to the existing 18% Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) purchase requirement.

The bill also would restrict natural gas and coal to bid on the remaining 32%. These two base loads currently provide about 55% of our electricity with coal at 24% and natural gas at 31%. Nuclear energy currently provides the most electricity (36%) in the competitive PJM marketplace.

I don’t think government should be picking winners and losers. Please let me know your thoughts on the nuclear bailout and watch the clip here of my questioning of former Gov. Tom Ridge during a House Consumer Affairs Committee hearing.
 

Providing Transportation to Medical Appointments for those with Disabilities
Earlier this week, I spoke at a press conference in support of House Bill 986. This legislation would conduct a thorough review of the Medical Assistance Transportation Program.
The program offers shared rides to medical appointments for Medical Assistance recipients when other means are unavailable to them.

Last year’s Human Services Code, adopted as part of the state budget, included a requirement that the Department of Human Services revamp its system and deliver assistance using a statewide or regional broker, rather than counties across the state providing the service. The savings, through federal reimbursements, were estimated at roughly $15 million.

However, the cost associated with the program was not considered. Further analysis shows that the ultimate cost to the Commonwealth would be significantly higher at $31.5 million. Alan Blahovec, executive director at Westmoreland County Transit Authority, attended the press conference in support of the bill.

To watch my remarks, please click here
 

Strengthening Protections for Victims of Crime
With this week being National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the House began working through a package of bills designed to help protect victims of crime.

A cornerstone of this package is Marsy’s Law, a bill that seeks to amend the state Constitution by adding a victims bill of rights.

Other bills in the package passed this week include measures to shield rape victims from being re-victimized by irrelevant cross examination; allow victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism to submit out-of-court statements rather than face their perpetrators in court; expand the types of crimes for which an out-of-court statement can be accepted; and allow crime victims to attend any proceeding relating to their cases, unless attending would materially alter the victims’ testimony.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

Learn more about efforts to protect crime victims in Pennsylvania here.  
 

Expanding the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse
As the Commonwealth marks April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the House passed a two-bill package known as the Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act to help empower victims of child sexual abuse.

House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), would change the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing childhood victims until age 55 to file suit, and provide for waivers of sovereign and governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse. It would also abolish the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse moving forward.

House Bill 963, sponsored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.

The House also started the process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window to anyone for whom a statutory limitations period has expired to commence action arising from childhood sexual abuse.

These bills are important in the effort to ensure justice for victims of past abuse.

Reporting suspected abuse is the best way to protect children. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you can call the Department of Health’s toll-free ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
 

Trout Season Open Statewide
This Saturday, April 13, marks the statewide opening day of trout season. Fishing begins at 8 a.m.

To participate, anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a Trout/Salmon Permit, both available at gonefishingpa.com or at more than 700 issuing agents. Multi-year licenses are also available in 3-year, 5-year and 10-year increments. Prices for licenses and permits remain the same as last year. Youth anglers ages 15 and under do not require licenses or permits.

To locate stocked trout fishing waters near you, select the 2019 Trout Stocking Schedule at fishandboat.com. Waterways on this list are searchable by county, organized in alphabetical order and provide the date, time and meeting place for each stocking event.

The FREE Fish Boat PA Mobile App is the most useful tool in an angler’s tackle box. Download the app from the Apple App or Google Play stores to locate stocked waterways or wild trout streams, use the fish identification tool, and view fishing and boating regulations.
 

Give PennDOT Feedback
PennDOT is looking for Pennsylvanians to give feedback on its winter services and communications.

You can provide your input by taking PennDOT’s 10-question survey that asks about how often you travel in poor weather, how you rate PennDOT’s winter service, and how you rank its snow-removal priorities.

The survey also asks how you receive PennDOT’s roadway information, and if you use Pennsylvania’s 511PA system for traffic and incident information, and winter roadway conditions.

You can take the survey by clicking here.  
 
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Office Locations
101 Ehalt Street, Suite 105, The Train Station, Greensburg, PA 15601-2300 | Phone: (724) 834-6400
Youngwood Borough Bldg, 17 South 6th Street, Youngwood, PA 15697 | Phone: (724) 925-5490                                  
432 Irvis Office Building, House Box 202057, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2057 | Phone: (717) 260-6146
Email: mailto:enelson@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
   
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