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Friday, January 4, 2019

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, January 4, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

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. It is truly and honor and privilege to continue to serve the residents of Cameron, McKean and Potter counties.

I was happy to be joined at Tuesday’s ceremony by some of my family and staff members. Pictured from left: Jennifer Stillman (Bradford office); Jill Grosch (Kane office); Suzan Paisley (Coudersport office); my mom, Sandy; Michele Musgrave (Harrisburg office); Jill Dibble (Bradford office); and my son, Matthew.

Happy to Be Reappointed Chair of House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

Speaker of the House Mike Turzai has reappointed me chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session. It will be my third term serving in this capacity, and I am honored to continue standing with our farmers as we work together to ensure a bright future for this vital industry that puts food on our tables and contributes so much to our local and state economies.

Priorities for this session will include boosting agriculture education opportunities in public schools and post-secondary institutions to help students recognize the quality jobs available in the industry and ensure growth in the agriculture work force; fighting for reasonable regulations and timely permitting; supporting the struggling dairy industry; extending broadband internet service to rural communities and expanding the law allowing growth of industrial hemp in the Commonwealth.

I am fortunate to serve a region that represents the diversity of the state’s agriculture industry, including crop and livestock farming, dairy, timbering and maple syrup production. Ultimately, our goal must be to support all of these farmers and producers, ensuring we have policies in place that help them thrive rather than hinder them.

Read the full press release here.

View past committee hearings and testimony here

Increased Ambulance Service Reimbursements Now in Effect

Ambulance companies across Pennsylvania will now receive higher Medicaid reimbursements under legislation I sponsored that took effect on New Year’s Day.

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.

This is the first increase since 2004, and while it will not solve all of the financial challenges facing our ambulance services, it is a significant step in the right direction, especially for our rural EMS companies that handle a significant number of Medicaid patients.

In another positive step to support these life-saving services, 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.

103rd Farm Show Kicks off Saturday

Celebrating one of Pennsylvania’s top industries, the Pennsylvania Farm Show near Harrisburg gets underway this Saturday, Jan. 5. The show will run through Saturday, Jan. 12.

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

Mark Your Calendar to Help Plan for the Future

The county planning commissions of Cameron, McKean and Potter counties are holding an open house to discuss the future of the region on Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Port Allegany High School Library.

Officials will share information on trends, issues and opportunities for the region and gather feedback on how to prioritize recommendations for the next 10 years.

You can also help in the planning process by taking part in an online survey available here.

The survey includes questions about residency, transportation, job issues and more.

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