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Friday, April 5, 2019

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, April 5, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

Committee to Examine Bill Exempting Milk Trucks from Winter Weather Travel Bans
Recognizing the negative impact of weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans on Pennsylvania dairy farmers, I have introduced legislation to exempt milk trucks from any future bans.

House Bill 915 will be the subject of an informational meeting of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I chair, next week.

I introduced the bill in response to the Wolf administration issuing a disaster emergency declaration this winter in which commercial vehicles were banned three times from some portions or all of the state’s interstate highways in anticipation of snow or ice accumulations.

The problem with that policy is, dairy cows continue to produce milk no matter what the weather. Without any way to get their milk picked up and delivered to market, farmers may have no choice but to dump it, and that is the last thing our struggling dairy producers need.

While there are other perishable products that enter commerce via travel on our highways, milk is the only product where the cows keep giving it, the schedule for their milking simply cannot be adjusted, and there isn’t any spare capacity in the bulk tank.

While I understand the importance of public safety when dealing with winter storms, the administration needs to recognize the unique nature of milk production and the impact of its decisions on Pennsylvania dairy farmers.

The committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 10, in Room 60 East Wing of the state Capitol. Barring technical difficulties, it will be streamed live at starting at 9 a.m.

Learn more about the issue in this report on WJAC-TV News.

Supporting First Responders in PA

As the new legislative session is now underway, lawmakers are renewing our efforts to help our struggling fire and emergency medical service organizations across the state.

We made some progress on getting financial help for ambulance companies with approval of my initiative to boost Medicaid reimbursements and with adoption of a law requiring insurance companies to reimburse for treatment regardless of whether transport is provided. But there is much more work to do.

Earlier this week, House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees held an informational meeting to discuss recommendations put forth by the Senate Resolution 6 Commission late last year to help our fire and ambulance companies keep their doors open and continue serving our communities.

According to testimony offered at the meeting, the decline of volunteers in fire and EMS services across the state is having a significant impact on municipalities’ ability to reliably and safely provide public safety services to their citizens.

Much of the decline in volunteers can be attributed to societal and economic changes, such as longer working hours and longer commutes. However, lawmakers were encouraged to consider incentives such as tax credits or college loan forgiveness programs to help recruit new volunteers. Affordable and accessible training was also encouraged as a way to remove barriers to volunteering.

These were among more than two dozen broad recommendations offered by the commission, which was charged with studying issues such as recruitment and retention, government support, innovation, training and operations, and more.
View the full report here.

Thank You for Coming!

We had a great turnout for the town hall meeting in Emporium last night! I appreciate everyone who came out to hear an update from Harrisburg and especially to pose questions and voice concerns on a wide array of issues, including impact fees, school funding, minimum wage, drug addiction, redistricting, welfare reform and more.

Don’t Forget! Veterans Resource and Job Fair Coming Up April 9

Veterans and their families are invited to attend a FREE one-stop shop to learn about VA services and community resources during the McKean County Community Veteran Engagement Board’s Veteran Resource and Job Fair. The event will be held Tuesday, April 9, from 2-7 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Tom L. McDowell Fieldhouse, 300 Campus Drive, Bradford.

Erie VA Medical Center and McKean VA Clinic health experts will be on-site to provide free blood pressure screenings and information about a variety of VA health topics, including eligibility, behavioral health, whole health, women veterans services and more.

Representatives from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), McKean County Veterans Affairs, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Department of Military Veterans Affairs will also be on hand with benefit information.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College will have representatives on site from their admissions offices to discuss educational opportunities and the use of veterans benefits.

Additional vendors include the Mobile Vet Center, Careerlink, various local business, state and federal government representatives, and homeless and transitional housing organizations Soldier On and the Northern Tier Community Action.

Veterans who have never enrolled in VA healthcare are encouraged to bring a copy of their DD-214 service discharge papers and speak with an eligibility representative right on-site to see if you are eligible for VA services. Veterans interested in speaking to a VBA representative or a county service officer about filing a claim should also bring a copy of their DD-214.

Veterans looking for employment are encouraged to bring a resume to meet with local businesses on-site. Job Fair vendors will showcase career opportunities and services available to help veterans find meaningful employment. The PA Careerlink Office will provide employment support to connect you with the right representatives and services.

I hope to see you there!

Help for Lyme Disease Treatment

Pennsylvania has consistently ranked among the highest in the country in confirmed cases of Lyme disease.

To help those affected by this disease and other related tick-borne illnesses, the House Health Committee approved legislation that 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.

Lyme disease can be easily treated with antibiotics when caught and treated early. If untreated, the disease can cause joint swelling, cardiac or neurologic complications. The most severe cases can be debilitating.

House Bill 629 now moves to the full House for consideration.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease, and how to protect yourself from tick bites, click here

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

This would be a good thing. I've had lyme disease for years--my insurance is good so far, but know other people that their insurance turns them down for repeated treatment. You can't stop it from coming back, only treat it when it does. Hope it makes it through.