PA’s Top Court Delays Venue Shopping Rule
2/15/2019
Helping Our Veterans

If you weren’t available to be with us for our veterans’ assistance hours at my district office in McCandless on Friday, it’s all right. We have already scheduled additional hours that may fit into your busy schedule better. The dates include:

• March 22, 2019
• April 19, 2019
• May 17, 2019
• June 21, 2019
• July 19, 2019
• Aug. 16, 2019
• Sept. 20, 2019
• Oct. 18, 2019
• Nov. 15, 2019
• Dec. 20, 2019

Ensuring Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans get all of the benefits they have earned is an important mission of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and state lawmakers.

I encourage veterans to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry at register.dmva.pa.gov to get timely information about state benefits, programs and services.

DMVA also offers two Mobile Veterans Outreach Vans that travel the Commonwealth to give veterans one-on-one assistance so they can learn about and apply for the benefits they have earned.

To learn more about the vans, and schedule one for a community event, click here. This page also includes a calendar of upcoming events.

Please call my office at 412-369-2230 to schedule an appointment. My district office is located at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor, in McCandless.
 
 
PA Supreme Court Delays Venue Shopping Rule


I am very pleased that Chief Justice Thomas Saylor and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided to hold off on its consideration of a proposal to repeal the current rule that I spearheaded in 2002. That rule – part of a series of legislative reforms enacted that year -- prevents venue shopping in medical malpractice cases. The adoption of the proposal would negatively impact access to health care statewide.

In the early 2000s lawyers could maneuver malpractice cases to Philadelphia courts, all but guaranteeing vastly higher payouts and a much higher volumes than the rest of the Commonwealth. As a result, premiums for medical malpractice insurance skyrocketed for all doctors, regardless of whether they practiced in Philadelphia or not.

Repealing that rule could lead to patients having to say goodbye to their physicians or patients having to drive great distances for care. Additionally, recruiting physicians and specialists would be difficult, and medical innovations may be halted.

This week, the House Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing and learned the reduction in filings demonstrates that the tort reform measures enacted more than 15 years ago by the Legislature and the Supreme Court are working. Testifiers said this pending proposal would reverse progress that has been made to ensure health care access for all Pennsylvanians.

I shared my thoughts on this issue during a press conference on Jan. 30. To watch click on the video box below.

 

Residents are encouraged to continue sending their comments to the court by visiting PAGOPPolicy.com.
 
 
Budget Hearings Begin in Harrisburg


As all state budget legislation must originate in the House of Representatives, the Appropriations Committee is the primary committee of the General Assembly tasked with overseeing state government spending, state fiscal policies and developing a state budget each fiscal year.

This week’s slate of hearings included appearances by the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the departments of Revenue, Aging, and Conservation and Natural Resources.

The next week of hearings, beginning Monday, Feb. 25, will feature the departments of Corrections, General Services, Health, Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Military and Veterans Affairs, along with the Liquor Control Board and the Gaming Control Board.

The full schedule is available here. The site also includes video of the archived hearings once available.
 
 
Take Steps to Avoid Scams This Tax Season


As tax season begins, it is important to protect yourself and your family from scams and phishing schemes designed to steal your money or personal financial information.

One common scam to keep an eye out for involves phony “Final Demand for Payment” notices threatening the seizure of a taxpayer’s property if the recipient of the notice fails to make immediate payment.

Pennsylvanians should also beware of phishing schemes that use fraudulent email messages, deceptive software or malicious files that are designed to steal sensitive information, such as passwords, usernames or personal financial information.

If you think you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or RA-RVPITFRAUD@pa.gov.
 
 
Deadline Approaching for 2019 Pennsylvania House Scholarships


I want to remind you not to miss the March 1 deadline for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship.

Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two high school seniors preparing for post-secondary education. The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.

Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Other factors taken into consideration for the award is a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial post.

The Application is available here. The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. It is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
 
 
PennDOT Offices Closed for Presidents Day


In observance of Presidents Day, all PennDOT driver license and photo centers, including the full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, Feb. 16, through Monday, Feb. 18.

Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, dmv.pa.gov.
 
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