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Friday, July 19, 2019

Headline Harrisburg by Rep. Matt Gabler

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Headline Harrisburg
Friday, July 19, 2019 The latest news from the State Capitol

This email includes:
  • It’s That Time of Year!
  • Keeping Our Region Strong
  • A Great Day at Red Fern
  • From St. Marys to Harrisburg
  • New Laws to Ensure Fairness, Justice
  • Removing Barriers to Employment

It’s That Time of Year!

Come out and support our agriculture community at the Clearfield County Fair, which starts next Sunday, July 28.

Click here for a schedule of events. 

Keeping Our Region Strong

On Wednesday, I attended a meeting of the North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission, which serves Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties.

It's an opportunity to discuss economic issues in our region and prioritize projects that may need funding.

Pictured with me (from left) are Eric Wolfe of Horizon Technology in St. Marys; Kate Brock, executive director of the Community Education Center of Elk and Cameron counties; and Commission Chairman Bob Rusiewski.

A Great Day at Red Fern

Thank you to everyone who came out for Wednesday’s Disability and Senior Resource Expo at the Red Fern Banquet Facility in Kersey.

As you can see, we had a great turnout with more than 50 vendors on hand.

Most importantly, thanks to Life and Independence for Today (LIFT) for the various services you provide in Elk County and the surrounding six-county region.

LIFT was established in 1994 by people with disabilities and serves as a Center for Independent Living (CIL). In addition to providing independent living skills training, they can assist with advocacy issues and offer peer mentoring services, information and referrals and much more.
From St. Marys to Harrisburg

Here’s hoping Bill Gerber and the boys from St. Marys Troop 93 had an enjoyable day Monday in Harrisburg!

New Laws to Ensure Fairness, Justice

Working to ensure justice is served for victims of crime in the Commonwealth, several initiatives championed by the House aimed at improving the effectiveness and fairness of court proceedings were recently signed into law.

Recognizing that children and people with intellectual disabilities are often targeted as victims and may have more difficulty handling the trauma of testifying in court, two laws expand the situations in which out-of-court statements by victims or witnesses may be used in lieu of in-person testimony.

Act 31 of 2019 adds several different crimes – such as human trafficking, sexual abuse and related offenses – to the statute allowing out-of-court statements by children. Act 30 of 2019 extends the ability of the court to accept out-of-court statements made by people with intellectual disabilities or autism.

Other measures recently signed into law this week that address court proceedings include Act 23 of 2019, which ensures a victim is permitted to be present at any criminal proceeding unless the court determines the victim’s own testimony would be altered by hearing other witnesses; and Act 24 of 2019, which prevents prosecutors from bringing up a victim’s sexual history or prior allegations of sexual abuse while prosecuting certain crimes.

Learn more about our victim protection initiatives here.  

Removing Barriers to Employment

Building on our long-term efforts to promote economic opportunity and remove barriers to work, the General Assembly has passed a new law improving the portability of professional licenses.

Act 41 of 2019 requires the licensing boards and commissions under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) to provide licensure by endorsement for applicants who hold similar licenses in other states. It also offers a provisional endorsement license to quickly move these professionals into the work force.

Under prior law, professionals moving into the state – including members of the military and their families – faced a number of barriers and delays in obtaining the appropriate licenses to reenter the work force, creating a financial burden for them and their families. In some cases, the delays could lead to missed job opportunities or even a decision to avoid moving to the Commonwealth.

The law is a win-win for both employees and employers.
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