In this Edition:
Scavello Hosts ‘Get Outdoors PA Festival’
I co-hosted the 'Get Outdoors PA Festival' with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center.
I would like to thank all of those who participated in making this a successful event. We had hundreds of families stop by to spend part of their day enjoying nature and all of the activities available to everyone. We were joined by Cindy Dunn, Secretary of DCNR, John Arway, Executive Director of the PA Fish and Boat Commission, and Matt Hough, Executive Director of the PA Game Commission.
Many families met Smokey Bear, Della the Mule and Woodsy the Owl and practiced their archery and fishing skills.
We also had a live indoor animal presentation by Wildlands Conservancy; a nature walk led by Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center; a stream study led by Bushkill Stream Conservancy; and “Get Your Tail on the Trail” led by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and St. Luke's University Health Network.
Please be sure to check out some highlights from this past weekend!
October Episode of Legislative Report
In my October episode of Legislative Report, I interview Charlie Trapasso, Chair of the Pocono Bicentennial Committee, Linford and Jim Werkheiser of the Pocono Jackson Historical Society. The Pocono Township is celebrating its 200 year history.
Special Edition of Legislative Report
On this special edition of Legislative Report, I talk with Carol Andersen, Founder and Executive Director of Bloom Creative Studio and Jana Morris, Founder and Executive Director of Recovery Revolution about the important work they are doing for the community in Bangor, Northampton County.
Joint Session on Pennsylvania’s Opioid and Heroin Epidemic
On Wednesday, I participated in a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, during which Governor Tom Wolf called on the General Assembly to pass legislation to address the current opioid and heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania.
Later that day, the Senate unanimously approved three measures addressing this growing addiction crisis.
Senate Bill 1212 would establish the School Aged Children Opioid Awareness Education Program. The Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Health, and Education will work together to design a request for proposals for organizations that can provide opioid awareness education programs to be delivered in schools.
Senate Bill 1367 limits the amount of opioids that children may be prescribed, with reasonable exceptions for cases involving chronic pain, cancer treatment or for palliative care or hospice care. It also requires a health care professional to obtain written consent from a minor’s parent or legal guardian to prescribe a medical treatment containing opioids, and provide information on the risks of addiction and dangers of overdose associated with the medication.
Senate Bill 1368 implements the Safe Opioid Prescribing Curriculum in all of Pennsylvania’s medical schools. The plan calls for a focus in four key areas including pain management; multimodal treatments for chronic pain that minimize the use of opioids, or when opioids are indicated, to prescribe them in a way that is safe and that follows guideline-based care; focusing on patients who have been identified as at-risk for developing problems with prescription opioids; and teaching medical students how to manage substance abuse disorders as a chronic disease.
The bills now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
In June, the Senate approved Senate Bill 1202, legislation I’m co-sponsoring to require licensed medication dispensers and prescribers to receive two hours of continuing education in pain management or in the prescribing practices of opioids.
The Senate also approved a Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program to provide instruction in meeting state academic standards for students in grades 9 through 12 who are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse or addiction. The measure was included as part of the School Code passed with the state budget package.
Senate Votes to Implement Performance-Based Budgeting in State Government
On Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation to require state departments and agencies to justify their budget requests for all existing, as well as proposed programs, for each fiscal year.
This type of policy is called “performance-based budgeting” and it commonly used in the private sector. Businesses are able to keep control of expenses and outcomes, so their business models remain relevant and they stay afloat.
In contrast, Pennsylvania government continues to add new programs and fund existing programs without critical checks or balances which could help determine the efficacy of a particular program.
Specifically, Senate Bill 1341 would create a board to review the performance-based budget plans of Pennsylvania agencies and make recommendations on how each agency’s programs may be made more efficient. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives.
State government needs to justify every request for additional taxpayer dollars. Performance-based budgeting will require the Administration and Legislature to make the tough decisions necessary to halt the relentless growth of government and its spending.
Special License Plate for Military Members Sent to Governor
The Senate gave final approval on Monday to a bill I’m co-sponsoring that recognizes and honors Pennsylvania’s military personnel and sent the measure to the Governor for enactment into law.
Senate Bill 1155 establishes a special vehicle license plate for members of the United States Armed Forces adding special recognition for current members of the military, reserves, and Pennsylvania National Guard. This would be in addition to the currently available license plates with special recognition for World War II veterans, Purple Heart recipients and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans.
Two additional bills received final legislative approval this week and were sent to the Governor.
House Bill 380 reduces the mandatory separation period that is required prior to entry of a no-fault divorce from two years to one year.
House Bill 665 makes technical changes to Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) concerning powers of attorney.
Senate Approves Cybersecurity Bill
With reports of hacking appearing in the news on an almost daily basis, the Senate acted on Wednesday to ensure citizens will be expeditiously notified if their information in state databases is compromised.
Senate Bill 1048, which I’m co-sponsoring, updates Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Specifically, the measure sets the following:
Senate Bill 1048 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Appropriations Committee Round-Up
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved nearly two dozen bills this this week, including:
Senate Bill 525 authorizes joint ventures between correctional facilities and private industry.
Senate Bill 851 addresses procedures applicable to victims of human trafficking.
Senate Bill 1048 amends the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act (Act 94 of 2005) to require notification within a specific time period.
Senate Bill 1086 prohibits inhibiting the operation of electronic toll collection systems and provides for the suspension of a driver’s registration for unpaid tolls.
Click on the calendar for a complete list of committee bills approved on September 26 and September 27.
Around the 40th District
Scavello Welcomes Pen Argyl Students’ Efforts to Help Others
This week I had the opportunity to welcome a very special guest to the Senate. Bethany Kuster began an effort known as Color for Kids that has donated art supplies to students without basic access to supplies throughout the United States.
I was pleased to welcome Bethany to the Senate as a Guest Page where she had the opportunity to meet Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Mike Stack and my Senate colleagues.
Please visit here for more information: here
Faith Christian School Welcomed to Capitol
This week I hosted students from Faith Christian School of Roseto in the Capitol. I want to extend a special thank you to the students and teachers for their attentiveness and engagement. I was very impressed by your interest in how our government works
Thursdays on Pocono 96.7 – Gary in the Morning
Please join me at 7 a.m. next Thursday on Pocono 96.7 - Gary in the Morning in the car, at work, or in your home. I will be discussing the latest from Harrisburg and answering your questions at 7 AM.
You can listen online at http://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/WABT
The Senate reconvenes Monday, October 17 at 1 p.m. You can watch session at PASenateGOP.com.
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