Feb. 06, 2020 / Weekly Roundup

 
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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
 
2020-21 Budget Season Underway

Before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled his 2020-21 state budget with a price tag of more than $36 billion, an increase of $2 billion over the current year’s enacted budget.

While spending money on all of the programs and services that the governor has requested may sound enticing, it would not be possible without raising taxes or increasing fees. Additional spending means that the taxpayers would have to part with more of their hard-earned money.

We do need to fund government’s core services, like basic education and programs to help seniors. However, we must balance the budget without crippling the Pennsylvanians on fixed incomes.

Of course, the governor’s call for unrealistic spending happened each year that he’s been in office. My colleagues and I have fought back, shielding Commonwealth residents from proposals that would have cost them thousands of dollars. However, we shouldn’t have to fight for responsible spending each year.

To better control the budget process from the start, Rep. Ryan Warner of Fayette and Westmoreland counties drafted the Taxpayer Protection Act. This bill would tie state spending to the rate of inflation and population growth. By better managing our spending, we will be better able to maintain a low tax burden, which would keep taxpayer money where it belongs – in their pockets. I look forward to supporting this commonsense legislation when it’s up for a vote.

Fortunately, the governor’s address is just the beginning of the annual budget process. The House Appropriations Committee will conduct a series of hearings starting Tuesday, Feb. 18, to delve into the details of the governor’s plan and how state agencies are spending their funding.

For a schedule and live streaming of the hearings, click here.

Click here to view video. 
   
 
Register Now for a Concealed Carry Seminar

I will be hosting a concealed carry seminar on Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Point Marion Fire Hall, One Cheat St., Point Marion.

This seminar includes presentations focusing on the important aspects of the Second Amendment and gun owner rights. Concealed carry permit holders or those looking to obtain a concealed carry permit, are encouraged to attend.

Presenters include Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime; and Miriam Ofsanik, firearms instructor for the Purple Gun; as well as representatives from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

While the seminar is free to attend, space is limited. Please reserve your spot online by clicking here or by calling 724-438-6100.
 
 
Bill Honoring Local Veteran Receives Support

This week, legislation I drafted to honor a local veteran by naming a portion of U.S. Route 219 after him received unanimous support from the House Transportation Committee.

House Bill 2217 would designate a bridge on the portion of U.S. Route 219 over State Route 2047 in Summit Township in Somerset County as the SP4 Michael William Twigg Memorial Bridge.

A native of Meyersdale, Twigg served in the United States Army. He gave his life in service to his country during the Vietnam War when he was a heavy vehicle driver. Twigg served with the C Company, 4th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division and reached Specialist 4th Class.

Twigg received the National Defense Service Medal, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.

After receiving support from the committee, the bill moves to the full House for consideration.
 
 
Anti-Human-Trafficking Initiative Signed into Law

One of several human trafficking bills championed in the House last month was signed into law this week.

Senate Bill 60 is designed to better protect victims of human trafficking and ensure justice is served by imposing stricter penalties on criminals involved in this heinous crime.

The new law raises the grading of the offense to a first-degree felony and imposes increased fines and jail time. Specifically, the law will raise the additional fine amount to at least $1,000 for a first offense; $5,000 to $25,000 for a second offense; $10,000 to $50,000 for a third or subsequent offense; or $10,000 to $50,000 where the victim of sexual servitude was a minor at the time of the offense. Jail time could be as much as 20-40 years.

To learn more about additional legislation approved by the House to combat human trafficking, click here.
 
 
You’re Invited to a Morning Meeting

Thursday, Feb. 27
Ohiopyle office at the Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center
15 Sherman St., Ohiopyle

Tuesday, March 3
Meyersdale office at the Meyersdale Community Center
215 Main St., Meyersdale

Wednesday, March 4
Uniontown office at the Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building
65 West Main St., Suite 200, Uniontown

Thursday, March 5
Confluence office at the Confluence Community Center
711 Logan Place, Confluence

This series of events, all held from 9-10:30 a.m., is designed to provide residents of the 51st District with the opportunity to ask their state-related questions and share any concerns.
 
 
Bill to Boost Cancer Treatment Options Awaits Governor’s Signature

Continuing our commitment to a HealthierPA, legislation to improve cancer treatment options for patients is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature.

House Bill 427 would provide Stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medication and treatments prescribed by their doctors, regardless of what their insurance plan typically covers.

Under current law, insurance companies have the ability to set coverage guidelines that govern how and when treatments are approved. Sometimes those guidelines require Stage IV patients to “fail first,” meaning they must first try an insurance-mandated series of medications that fail to improve the condition before being granted access to the oncology medication and treatments prescribed by their doctor.

Time is of the essence for patients fighting cancer. They should not have to get sicker and sicker before being allowed to try something their doctor is recommending that could extend the length and quality of their lives.
 
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repdowling.com
Office Locations
65 West Main Street/Suite 22, Uniontown PA 15401 (717) 438-6100
53B East Wing, PO Box 202051, Harrisburg PA 17120-2051 | (717) 783-5173
District Offices: Fayette Chamber of Commerce Building, 65 West Main Street, Suite 200, Uniontown, PA 15401
Telephone: 724-438-6100
Meyersdale Community Center, 215 Main Street, Meyersdale, PA 15552. Telephone: 814-634-4390
Confluence Community Center, 711 Logan Place, Confluence, PA 15424, Telephone: 814-634-4390
Ohiopyle Stewart Community Center, 15 Sherman Street, Ohiopyle, PA 15470, Telephone: 814-634-4390
Email Address: MDowling@pahousegop.com
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