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Friday, April 12, 2019

Capitol Update by Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, April 12, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

Ag Committee Discusses Impact of Travel Bans on Struggling Dairy Industry


Dairy farmers, milk haulers and public safety officials appeared before the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I chair, at the state Capitol on Wednesday to discuss my legislation that would exempt milk trucks from weather-related commercial vehicle travel bans.

I introduced House Bill 915 in response to the Wolf administration issuing disaster emergency declarations this winter in which commercial vehicles were banned three times from some or all of the state’s interstate highways in anticipation of snow or ice accumulations.

There is no question the travel bans had a significant impact on both dairy farmers and milk haulers. The cows produce milk every day, regardless of weather. Farmers have limited storage capacity and rely upon the milk haulers to move their product to market and make room for the next milking. Otherwise, they are forced to dump their milk, along with hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the size of the dairy, down the drain. Our struggling dairy farmers simply can’t afford to do that.

The meeting gave the dairy farmers and milk haulers the opportunity to share their experiences and concerns not only with the members of the committee but also with state officials who are involved in making the decisions about issuing travel bans.

I think we all understand the need to be proactive when dealing with extreme weather conditions and the public safety consequences. However, we need to also consider the consequences of issuing travel bans prematurely or in what most would consider to be typical winter weather conditions. It was helpful to hear from state officials about the process they go through in making such decisions.

Read more about the meeting here

To watch video of the meeting, click here.                                    
 

Support for Home Health Care


I was happy to meet with folks from UPMC Cole Home Health and Homemakers Department at my Capitol office earlier this week to discuss funding for in-home care. Pictured with me, from left: Meagan Saltsman, Cindy Zembryki, Cathy Grove, Mia Narayan and Lalu Narayan.
 

Strengthening Protections for Victims of Crime

With this week being National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the House began working through a package of bills designed to help protect victims of crime.

A cornerstone of this package is Marsy’s Law, a bill that seeks to amend the state Constitution by adding a victim’s bill of rights.

Other bills in the package passed this week include measures to shield rape victims from being re-victimized by irrelevant cross examination; allow victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism to submit out-of-court statements rather than face their perpetrators in court; expand the types of crimes for which an out-of-court statement can be accepted; and allow crime victims to attend any proceeding relating to their cases, unless attending would materially alter the victims’ testimony.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration. Learn more about efforts to protect crime victims in Pennsylvania here.  
 

Expanding the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse

As the Commonwealth marks April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the House passed a two-bill package known as the Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act to help victims of child sexual abuse.

House Bill 962 would change the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing childhood victims until age 55 to file suit, and provide for waivers of sovereign and governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse. It would also abolish the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse moving forward.

House Bill 963 proposes to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.
                                   
These bills are important in the effort to ensure justice for victims of past abuse.

Reporting suspected abuse is the best way to protect children. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you can call the Department of Health’s toll-free ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
 

Trout Season Opens Saturday

This Saturday, April 13, marks the statewide opening day of trout season. Fishing begins at 8 a.m.

To participate, anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a Trout/Salmon Permit, both available at www.gonefishingpa.com or at more than 700 issuing agents. Multi-year licenses are also available in 3-year, 5-year and 10-year increments. Prices for licenses and permits remain the same as last year. Youth anglers ages 15 and under do not require licenses or permits.

To locate stocked trout fishing waters near you, select the 2019 Trout Stocking Schedule at www.fishandboat.com. Waterways on this list are searchable by county, organized in alphabetical order and provide the date, time and meeting place for each stocking event.

The FREE Fish Boat PA Mobile App is the most useful tool in an angler’s tackle box. Download the app from the Apple App or Google Play stores to locate stocked waterways or wild trout streams, use the fish identification tool, and view fishing and boating regulations.

Good luck anglers!!

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