Jun. 09, 2023

Capitol Report
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Historic Preservation Grant Funding Awarded for Project in Boiling Springs

A Keystone Historic Preservation Grant totaling $20,000 has been awarded to South Middleton Township for the restoration of the former Appalachian Trail Conservancy Office located in Boiling Springs.

I am pleased to see this grant awarded locally to revamp the former Appalachian Trail Conservancy Office. This building was once a resource for hikers and nature-lovers looking to explore Pennsylvania’s natural beauty, and I look forward to seeing what the structure becomes reused for with the funds from this project. I am happy to have advocated for this funding through the commission.

The township will use the PHMC grant funds to conduct a Historic Structures Feasibility and Reuse Report for the adaptive reuse of the building. The intent of the planning effort is to provide recommendations for the highest and best uses of the historic building and identify improvements needed to ensure structural integrity.
This Week in Harrisburg

I was happy to host guest pages at the Capitol this week. Serving in Harrisburg were students Ben Snyder, Caleb Rife and Isnika Gurung. Ben and Caleb are students at Boiling Springs High School, and Isnika attends Carlisle High School. I hope they were able to take a lot away from their experience in the House chamber!

State Budget, Energy Tax Concerning

Adopting a state budget each year is one of the most important tasks of the General Assembly. I take seriously my commitment to ensure your tax dollars are invested responsibly to support the core functions of government.

That’s why I am concerned this week as House Democrats amended the budget proposal on a party-line vote to add more spending by voting through a new, nearly $46.5 billion plan. That’s a $5.7 billion, or 14%, increase over the current year. This level of spending is unsustainable and, if enacted, would lead to a 30% tax hike in the near future.

We cannot and should not spend money we don’t have. We need to be cautious and take a measured approach, not expecting citizens to bear the burden of higher taxes during an already economically challenging time.

Equally damaging is the inclusion of a $663 million energy tax on Pennsylvania employers and consumers. According to the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), this tax would increase electricity rates by nearly four times. 

House Bill 611 now goes to the Senate, where I am hopeful it will be amended to reflect the needs and wishes of our hard-working taxpayers in the Commonwealth. 
Bill to Aid EMS Agencies Passes House

With many emergency medical services (EMS) agencies struggling to make ends meet, the General Assembly has approved a bill to boost mileage reimbursements for patient transport.

House Bill 479 would ensure EMS agencies are reimbursed by Medicaid for 100% of the miles they travel with a patient on board receiving care or transport by removing the current exemption for the first 20 miles traveled.

This is the latest action in the effort to ensure EMS providers have the resources they need to respond to emergencies and save lives. Last year, the House voted to increase the mileage reimbursement rate from $2 per loaded mile to $4 per loaded mile, as well as increase reimbursements for Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) services to $400 and $325 per trip, respectively.

House Bill 479 now goes to the Senate for consideration. 
Bill Supporting Human Trafficking Victims Gains House Approval

Legislation that would make it easier for human trafficking victims to bring lawsuits against their offenders was unanimously approved by the House this week and is now pending consideration in the Senate.

The Commonwealth’s extensive human trafficking protections include a provision that allows civil lawsuits to be brought by victims against any person who participates in the human trafficking of the victim, as well as against those who recruit, profit from or maintain the victim in the sex trade, or who abuse or otherwise physically harm victims. Some of those cases may be brought in the county where the victim resides, while others may be filed in a county where the human trafficking violations occurred.

House Bill 394 would allow all these lawsuits to be brought either where the victim resides or where the violations occurred.

This heinous crime is more prevalent in Pennsylvania than many people realize due, in part, to our location with several major East Coast highway arteries running though our state. If you or someone you know is being trafficked, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text at 233733.
Attention Students: House Fellowship Program Taking Applications

The Pennsylvania House Legislative Fellowship Program is accepting applications for its fall 2023 semester. The 13-week program is based at Pennsylvania’s Capitol Building in Harrisburg where fellows are placed in committee chair and House leadership offices.

Qualified applicants must be: 
  •   Undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students or law school students.
  •   Enrolled in a Pennsylvania college/university or a Pennsylvania resident enrolled in an out-of-state institution.
  •   Students of any major with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

For more information or to apply, visit www.pahousefellowship.us. Applications can be submitted via email to pahousefellowship@pabmc.net. The deadline to apply is July 1.