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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Capitol Update

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Capitol Update
Thursday, May 11, 2017 The latest news from the State Capitol
Study Highlights Value of Conventional Oil and Gas Industry

Pennsylvania’s conventional oil and gas industry has a $1.4 billion economic impact in the Commonwealth each year, generates $17 million in state taxes and supports 5,600 jobs. Those are the findings of a new report aimed at highlighting the importance of this industry, not only for our area but for the state as a whole.

The report speaks volumes about the value of the industry and the tremendous number of jobs it supports. So it is important that we continue to fight back against overregulation by agencies such as the state Department of Environmental Protection and instead advocate for fair and reasonable regulations that allow the 150-year-old industry to grow and thrive.

I was pleased to join the press conference with area oil and gas producers, including members of the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers (PIPP) and Pennsylvania Grade Crude Coalition (PGCC), as well as representatives from ARG, to help spread the word about the study, which focused on 19 counties in northwest and southwest Pennsylvania, including Cameron, McKean and Potter counties.

Watch my comments during the press conference here.
Click here to view video.

Watch the entire press conference here.
Check out the study here.
Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center Opens

I was happy to take part in the dedication of the new Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center in Bradford last weekend. Developed by the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, the museum will help support the campus music curriculum as well as draw visitors to the region. In addition to the museum, the project included much-needed renovations and upgrades to the Seneca Building. This is a positive investment in the City of Bradford.
Strengthening Public Corruption Laws

Public officials and employees who are convicted of public corruption crimes would be forced to forfeit their government pension under legislation that passed the House this week.

House Bill 939 would apply to state, county or municipal government officials and public employees, including judges, teachers and other school district employees. In addition to forfeiting their government pension, they also would need to pay appropriate restitution when they plead guilty or no contest to any crime related to their official government position or any felony offense related to their office or employment. This would prevent public officials from cutting deals under which they agree to plead guilty to a lesser crime to keep their pensions.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would also impact federal crimes that are classified as felonies or are punishable by a term of at least five years in prison.
Ensuring Coverage for Lyme Disease Treatment
To help ensure patients have access to available and emerging diagnostics and treatment options for Lyme disease and related tick-borne diseases, House Bill 174 was reported out of the House Health Committee this week.

Over the last five years, Pennsylvania has ranked highest in the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease, with 10,817 in 2015. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a study last year confirming a high risk of Lyme in every county of the Commonwealth.

House Bill 174 would require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

May is also Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Individuals should be aware of early, disseminated, and late/persistent symptoms and that a negative Lyme test cannot rule out Lyme disease. The early clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment of these tick-borne disorders and diseases can greatly reduce the risks of continued, diverse and chronic symptoms which can affect every system and organ of the human body and often every aspect of a person’s life.

For tips about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease, click here.

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