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Friday, October 17, 2014

Capitol Update By Rep. Marty Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, October 17, 2014 The latest news from the State Capitol

Raising Awareness of Down Syndrome and Domestic Violence

Most everyone recognizes October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you know October is also designated to raise awareness of Down syndrome and domestic violence?

Earlier this week, the state House gave unanimous approval to House Resolution 1078, which I sponsored, declaring October as Down Syndrome Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Also this year, the General Assembly passed Act 130 of 2014 that requires health care practitioners to provide educational information to parents who receive a test result that is positive for Down syndrome. Click here to learn more.

Last week, we passed House Resolution 1035, which I co-sponsored, to designate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. The PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence held its annual Capitol ceremony to remember those who died as a result of domestic violence within the past year. This ceremony is part of the coalition’s campaign, “PA Says No More,” which highlights ways to stop and prevent domestic violence. For more information on domestic violence prevention, click here.

Thanks for Coming!

Thank you to all of the senior citizens, caregivers and vendors who came out to this year’s Senior Citizens Expo in Roulette. I’ll be in Kane today (Friday) for another Senior Expo, this time with Rep. Kathy Rapp. We will be at the Kane Community Center, 46 Fraley St., from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Stop by!


Stopping Predators in Schools

In a significant step to protect Pennsylvania students, the General Assembly approved legislation to prevent school employees accused of child abuse from quietly resigning and then acquiring employment at another school district in the state. This practice is often known as “passing the trash.”

Under House Bill 1816, anyone who applies to work directly in or around schools must provide detailed background information from all previous employers, including contact information, in order to be considered for employment. In turn, previous employers must provide the inquiring school entity with all requested background information regarding a former employee, explicitly pertaining to abuse allegations.

Further, the bill would require explicit disclosure from the applicant during the initial application process. The applicant is now required to indicate whether or not they have ever been disciplined, discharged, non-renewed, asked to resign from employment or separated from employment while allegations of such abuse or sexual misconduct were pending or under investigation.

The bill would apply to all public schools, private schools, nonpublic schools, intermediate units and area vocational-technical schools in the Commonwealth. It awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse

In an effort to combat the growing opioid abuse problem throughout Pennsylvania, the state House passed legislation this week to create a statewide database of certain types of prescription medication records.

The database would be maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and would collect Pennsylvanians’ prescription medication records only if the substances fall on Schedules II-V of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Examples of medications that fall into this schedule are OxyContin, Tylenol with codeine and Valium.

Medical practitioners, pharmacists and law enforcement would have access to this confidential database, while those patients with prescriptions would be able to obtain their records at no charge once a year. Law enforcement would only be able to access the database through the state Office of Attorney General if relevant to an active investigation.

The database would also alert practitioners to patients who may be “doctor or pharmacy shopping” to feed an addiction. The bill awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

A Few Seats Left at Smethport Firearms Safety and Rights Seminar

Register today for the next Firearms Safety and Rights Seminar to be held on Monday, Oct. 27, from 6-8 p.m. at the Smethport Fire Hall, 109 S. Nelson St., Smethport.

The event will again feature a presentation by Ray Learn, McKean County district attorney, and Roger Sager, McKean County deputy sheriff and certified firearms instructor, who will discuss the state’s concealed carry laws, the Castle Doctrine and other valuable information regarding state gun laws and gun safety.

Registration is required due to a limited amount of seating available. Click here to register online, or call the office at 1-866-437-8181

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