Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. E-Newsletter

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Dear Friend,

I am pleased to present my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 47th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatoreldervogel.com for more information about your state government. If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the page.

Sincerely,

Elder Vogel Jr.

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Telemedicine

I am very pleased to announce that my legislation, Senate Bill 780  dealing with telemedicine, has been passed by the Senate. My bill specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.

Telemedicine can help patients get the care they need. It allows for improved access and improved health outcomes in cost effective ways. Studies show that telemedicine saves time, money, and lives. With the rapidly rising cost of healthcare, and the fact that’s it nonexistent in some places, the need for telemedicine continues to grow. To watch my live statement please click here for the video.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information please feel free to call my office at 717-787-3076

2018 Kids Extravaganza

On June 30th my office will be holding its annual Kids Extravaganza at the Community College of Beaver County Athletics and Events Center. The Kids Extravaganza is a fun and free way to gain valuable information on programs and benefits available for your family and children.

The Kids Extravaganza will have representatives from state, county and local organizations as well as free refreshments. The groups attending include the Pittsburgh Zoo, who will put on a small demonstration, PA Woodmobile, which provides education on PA’s forests, Bunny Barn, River Valley Tang Soo Do Academy, Ambers Amazing Balloons and the Hookstown Fair Queen and Princess. There will also be a variety of games, crafts, giveaways and door prizes!

Local favorite Hanks will be offering free samples of their frozen custard. There will also be a prescription drug take back box provided by District Attorney Dave Lozier.

The Extravaganza will be held on June 30th from 11am-2pm at 1 Campus Drive, Monaca, PA 15061. This is an indoor event and will be held rain or shine. We encourage everyone to attend and look forward to seeing you all on the 30th!  For more information please call my office at 724-774-0444.

4-H Community Service and Service Learning Survey

Pennsylvania 4-H is collecting data on all 4-H Community Service and Service Learning activities across the state. Therefore, the PA 4-H Citizenship Team is asking one leader from each 4-H club to report your community service or service learning. Please complete the survey by clicking here.

Also, please report all Community Service or Service Learning Projects presented between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018. Most 4-H clubs complete more than one community service project throughout the year so please report each activity separately. If you have any questions, please contact Pam at plp3@psu.edu.

Senate Bill 22 Amended-Redistricting Reform

The Senate approved a historic bill on Wednesday that changes the way that Pennsylvania’s legislative and Congressional districts are restructured to meet population changes indicated by the decennial census.

Senate Bill 22 would create an independent redistricting commission made up of 11 Pennsylvania citizens who would be responsible for drawing the boundaries of legislative and Congressional districts. Elected officials, candidates for public office, lobbyists and legislative staff would be prohibited from serving on the commission.

Seven out of the 11 commissioners must vote to approve the maps, including at least two Democrats, two Republicans and two members who are not affiliated with either major political party.

The makeup of the commission will be required to represent the geographic, gender and racial diversity of the state. The maps would be required to be created without the use of partisan data, prior election results or the addresses of specific individuals to prevent any undue political influence in the process.

Members of the commission would be appointed by the Governor and Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives. All members of the commission must be confirmed by a super-majority of both chambers of the General Assembly.

The legislation also changes the way that appellate court judges are elected. In current practice, members of the state Supreme Court, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court are elected via a statewide vote. Senate Bill 22 would divide the state into judicial districts to ensure a broader range of regional interests are represented on Pennsylvania’s highest courts.

Because the legislation would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution, it must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and be approved by voters in a statewide referendum.

Senate Bill 22 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

For more information please call my office at 724-774-0444.

Senate Bill 655-Opioid Guidelines

Legislation requiring medical professionals to adhere to strict guidelines when prescribing opioid medications was unanimously approved by the PA Senate. Senate Bill 655 targets Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis by making mandatory the current voluntary guidelines developed by the state Safe and Effective Prescribing Practices Task Force.

These guidelines are aimed at stopping the current opioid crisis in PA. The number of hospital admissions for overdose of pain medication in Pennsylvania decreased 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2017. There was an overall increase of 12.7 percent in the number of heroin overdose admissions between 2016 and 2017 — the lowest increase seen in recent years, as average annual increases were about 24 percent between 2011 and 2016, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. The average age of patients admitted for heroin overdose was 33. The average age of patients admitted for overdose of pain medication was 53. To get more information on these numbers please click here.

For more information please visit the bill webpage by clicking here or feel free to call my office at 724-774-0444.

Senate Bill 1003-EMS Reimbursement

The PA Senate approved Senate Bill 1003 requiring insurance companies and Medicaid to reimburse EMS agencies when patients receive care but don’t need to be transported to a hospital. Currently, EMS organizations are only reimbursed for services when they include transportation to a hospital. Lack of reimbursement is especially hard on volunteer EMS organizations.

For more information please visit the bill webpage by clicking here or feel free to call my office at 724-774-0444.

Safe2Say

The Senate recently approved legislation that hopes to help reduce school violence by creating a new school threat reporting system. The Safe2Say Program would allow anyone to anonymously report threats of potentially dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools. Tips on bullying, suicide, drug use and depression could also be reported. The program is patterned after the Safe2Tell program that is in use in Colorado.

For more information please visit the bill webpage by clicking here or feel free to call my office at 724-774-0444.


 

I was happy to support the Fill a Glass with Hope program at the Capitol on June 5th. Please click here for more information on the program.


Rent/Property Tax Rebate Deadline Extended

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2017 has been extended from June 30th to Dec. 31st.  The program is for income-eligible residents 65 or older, widow/widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and any COLAs are excluded.

You can pick up a booklet at my offices. For more information of the Rebate Program please click here or call my office at 724-774-0444. 

Young Wildlife

There is a good chance you will encounter young wildlife this time of year. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, while some young animals might appear to be abandoned, usually they are not. It’s likely their mothers are watching over them from somewhere nearby. So when encountering young deer, birds, raccoons or other young wildlife, the best thing people can do is leave the animals alone.

It is illegal to take or possess animals from the wild. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators are available to care for injured or orphaned wildlife. Under no circumstances will anyone who illegally takes wildlife into captivity be allowed to keep that animal.

For more information please click here to follow a link to information from the Game Commission.

Senate Bill 922-Treatment Options

The Senate approved legislation to help courts provide better treatment options to defendants addicted to opioids. Senate Bill 922 creates a Court Assessment for the Nonnarcotic Medication Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program to encourage the use of non-narcotic, non-habit-forming medication in conjunction with comprehensive treatment programs. Senate Bill 922 is one of several measures the General Assembly is acting on to address Pennsylvania’s growing opioid epidemic.

For more information please visit the bill webpage by clicking here or feel free to call my office at 724-774-0444.

Senate Bill 1127-SNAP Fraud

The Senate unanimously approved legislation to reduce fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Senate Bill 1127 would create stronger penalties against individuals and businesses that fraudulently traffic SNAP benefits. The bill would create a new penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators would be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed.

Merchants buy recipients’ EBT card for pennies on the dollar or send recipients to buy supplies for their business with benefit funds only to resell them for a profit. It’s not just large stores with the machines that process EBT cards that engage in this trafficking, but smaller businesses, food carts and independent stores as well.

In an effort to further deter and disrupt this growing problem, and at the request of our State Inspector General, this bill creates a new penalty for people who fraudulently traffic SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500.

For more information please visit the bill webpage by clicking here or feel free to call my office at 724-774-0444.

EPA and DEP Brownfield Funding Workshop

Experts from the Commonwealth of PA and the US Environmental Protection Agency will be providing presentations on funding opportunities related to site assessment, remediation and redevelopment. New Jersey Institute of Technology will be on hand to explain the technical assistance they offer and share tips and tricks for preparing a quality, competitive grant application. The workshop will be on July 10th, 2018, 9am-12pm at the William J. Douglas Jr. Conference Center, 764 Bessemer Street, Meadville, PA 16335. Cost is free. Space is limited so please register in advance at Meadville BF Basics Eventbrite.com

The US EPA will also offer a second workshop, the Green Infrastructure Workshop. This boot camp will be a hands-on session which will provide attendees with an understanding of the challenges, applications, techniques, and benefits of using Green Infrastructure (GI) on any project site, including the challenges of implementing GI on brownfield sites.  Community stakeholders, municipal officials, redevelopment authority staff, and planners will all learn something new. The EPA workshop is on July 11th, 2018, 9am-3:30pm at the William J. Douglas Jr. Conference Center, 764 Bessemer Street, Meadville, PA 16335. Cost is free. Space is limited so please register in advance at Meadville GI Bootcamp Eventbrite.com

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Please contact me to provide input on any state-related matter, or to receive help in dealing with a state agency.

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