In this update:
Congrats to Schuylkill County’s New State Reps.
Congratulations to my new and returning colleagues in the House from Schuylkill County, all elected with a strong bipartisan vote, winning with overwhelming margins on Tuesday.
Did you hear the glass ceiling crashing in western Schuylkill County on election night? Joanne Stehr of Hegins won the election for the 107th state House district (Schuylkill/Northumberland) and is the first woman to ever win a legislative contest in the history of Schuylkill County!
Dane Watro won the election for the 116th (Schuylkill/Luzerne) and brings a proven record in the U.S. Army and as the Mayor of McAdoo to the House.
Jamie Barton carried almost every single precinct in the 124th (Schuylkill/Berks) and will be a valuable voice in the House due to his extensive business experience and community connections.
And Rep. Tim Twardzik was elected to a second term in the 123rd (Schuylkill) due to his record as a staunch advocate for our region for the past two years. His background as an employer at Mrs. T’s Pierogies and as a community volunteer will continue to pay dividends for Schuylkill County.
Because the makeup of the General Assembly will look very different for the coming two years, with many new faces, it will be more important ever to work together to get things done for Pennsylvania. I believe our delegation is prepared to meet this challenge head on.
Pennsylvania Voters Return Republican Majority to State Senate
Pennsylvania voters returned a Republican majority to the state Senate in Tuesday’s General Election, re-electing all Republican incumbents and sending five new Republican senators to Harrisburg.
Senate Republicans will hold a 28-22 majority in the 2023-24 legislative session. The elections were held in newly drawn districts created following redistricting, which occurs every 10 years. Newly elected senators will be sworn into office to begin their four-year term on Jan. 3, 2023.
Honoring Those Who Served Our Nation
Veterans Day this Friday is not about battles fought or enemies defeated, although those are important to the defense of liberty. The day is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making incredible sacrifices, and the debt we owe them. Please join me in honoring the valuable contributions veterans made on behalf of our country.
On Sunday, I will be marching in the Carbon County Veterans Day Parade in Palmerton.
Appreciating the Beauty of Carbon and Luzerne Counties
Saturday and Sunday, I was reminded just how beautiful this region can be, when I biked along the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor for 40 miles between Glen Onoko and Lehigh Tannery. Whether you walk or ride, you will enjoy this scenic trail along the Lehigh River in Luzerne and Carbon Counties!
LIHEAP Home Energy Assistance Applications Being Accepted
Applications are being accepted for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the 2022-23 winter heating season.
LIHEAP helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company or fuel provider. Grants range from $300 to $1,000 based on household size, income and fuel type.
There are two ways to apply for LIHEAP:
Green Light-Go Grant Program Accepting Applications in January
PennDOT announced that the applications for the next round of grants from the Green Light-Go Program must be submitted between January 3, 2023 and January 31, 2023. This competitive state grant program provides local governments with funds to improve the efficiency and safety of their roads by updating traffic signals.
Learn more about this program here.
Bill Increasing State Contract Transparency Becomes Law
Pennsylvania taxpayers pay billions of dollars each year to Medicaid pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and a new law will finally allow for a full-scale audit of these contracts.
Nearly 90% of Pennsylvania Medicaid patients are served by managed-care companies that contract with the state. In turn, those companies contract with PBMs for their pharmacy programs to decide which drugs will be covered and how much to reimburse the pharmacies that fill the prescriptions.
Because the contracts between managed-care companies and PBMs are not signed directly with the state and are instead subcontracts, there is no provision requiring they be made available for anyone to review – including the Department of the Auditor General. This makes it impossible to know how the money is being spent.
According to the Department of Human Services, Pennsylvania taxpayers paid nearly $3 billion to PBMs for Medicaid enrollees in 2017. In recent years, audits in other states have found PBMs were grossly overcharging their states’ Medicaid programs. The new law we enacted will help to ensure tax dollars are spent as effectively as possible.
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