In this email update:
Should able-bodied Medicaid Recipients be required to work for their benefits?
On Wednesday, I organized a workshop to discuss possible work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients. Medicaid is one of the most expensive programs in Pennsylvania, with costs projected to continue to escalate in the future. One strategy that has been advanced to control increasing costs in other states is to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients who are neither elderly nor disabled in order to enable them to join or re-join the work force.
Panelists were invited to this workshop who represented both sides of this issue. Video footage of this event can be found here. Stay tuned for more updates!
Please take the time to fill out this one-question ballot regarding Medicaid Work Requirements.
Was Representative Brian Sims’ Conduct Appropriate for a State Representative?
As the link below to USA Today indicates, a few weeks ago State Representative Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) filmed himself confronting protesters outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia. His actions included filming the protesters and offering money to his viewers if they could identify who they were. His confrontation received widespread media attention.
Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124) recently filed House Resolution 387 to censure Rep. Brian Sims and Rep. Knowles explained this on a radio interview. A survey was taken on my social media page. Here are the results:
From Dead Stream to Schuylkill County Trout Hotspot
Due to major efforts to bring back life to the Schuylkill River, a three mile section of the Schuylkill River between Tuscarora and Middleport has been declared Class A wild trout waters. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission gave this section of river the highest grade which is Class A. A complete list of Class A wild trout waters in Schuylkill County and Berks can be found here.
I will continue to find ways to help revitalize our waterways which have been ruined due to acid mine runoff. Much has been accomplished in the last few years but much work is still left to be done.
School Property Tax Elimination: The Long Battle Ahead
The school property tax debate in Pennsylvania has dragged on forever. Benjamin Franklin actually tried to address this issue in the 1700s. At the request of the Allentown Morning Call, I participated in an interview regarding school property tax elimination. Despite our 24-24 defeat on the issue when then Lt. Governor Mike Stack voted to defeat our bill, we need to continue the fight to keep the issue alive. You can read more about my property tax reform bill (Senate Bill 76) here.
Another Busy Saturday in the District
This past weekend was a very busy one for me in the District. In Pottsville, I attended two different bridge dedications in Schuylkill County. The first was for the Captain David A. Boris Memorial Bridge located in Branch Township near Pottsville. Captain Boris died from an IED attack during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007.
In West Mahanoy Township near Shenandoah, another bridge was dedicated for Francis V. “Angie” McAndrew. McAndrew served in the Army, became a state trooper, worked as a detective, and later became a Schuylkill County Commissioner. I am pictured with Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124), Rep. Neal Goodman (D-123), Margaret “Sissy” McAndrew, and former Congressman Tim Holden. More information on this story can be found here.
I also spent Saturday with Nick Wall who received the honor of Eagle Scout. He is a member of Troop 777 in Tamaqua. I was joined by Tamaqua Mayor Nathan Gerace who presented the award on behalf of Congressman Dan Meuser (PA -9th), Commissioner George Halcovage, and Representative Jerry Knowles.
Scout Visits to our State Capitol
We had some young visitors to the capitol this week– Pottsville’s Cub Pack #615 and Scout Troop #615, as well as Tamaqua’s Cub Pack #777 and Scout Troop #777.
In my introduction on the Senate floor I noted that we should thank the hard working moms, dads and alumni of these organizations who work hard to teach the boys and girls of these units all the valuable…and fun…. life lessons that all scouts should learn. You can watch the introduction here.
I always remind the Scouts that one of the very best things my parents ever did was to enroll me in the program, many years ago! I literally traveled the world as a Scout and a volunteer leader, from camping in my own back yard with my son to exploring New Mexico, Canada, and Bavaria. My life would not be the same had my parents not encouraged me to sign up.
Spring Township Town Hall Meeting
On Thursday, several dozen people joined me for a discussion on various state issues in Spring Twp. with Rep. Jim Cox (R-129). The issues included the state budget, school property taxes, a possible nuclear bailout, a potential minimum wage increase, legislative redistricting, and pharmaceutical drug pricing. I want to thank everyone who participated in this event!
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