Jun. 07, 2019

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Legislative Update

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 The latest news from the State Capitol


Thanks for Coming to my Military Family Day

   

   
I want to thank everyone who came out Saturday to my Military Family Day. I hope you found all the information you were searching for. I also want to thank the organizations that took part, including the North Penn Chapter American Gold Star Mothers; Montgomery County Veterans Affairs; the American Red Cross; Wounded Warrior Project; Freedom Steps; the PA Mobil Veterans Outreach Van; Montgomery County Recorder of Deed’s Office, who produced veterans ID cards; Health Link Dental Clinic; PA Wounded Warriors; the USO; PSU Veterans Outreach; and BSA Cub Pack 554. You made it a great day!
                                                   

Investigating Ways to Improve Senior Housing
Pennsylvania’s changing demographics are placing demands on the state’s seniors as they search for housing that better serves their changing needs. To better understand those needs, the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee, which I chair, held an informational hearing on how the state can improve senior housing options.

While there are seniors with adequate funds to live in 55-plus communities, there are many without the funds for adequate housing to meet their needs. To find senior housing, many must move far away from their families. We must find more innovative ways to help our seniors when the time comes to move to more helpful living arrangements.

A survey conducted by the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging found one of those challenges as many grandparents and great-grandparents are caring for adult children addicted to opioids. The survey also found many seniors caring for adults with special needs.

Among the solutions discussed are shared housing situations where seniors with similar health challenges can live together with support staff.

But a challenge remains. AARP ranks Pennsylvania 36th in the nation for subsidized housing opportunities.

Know that I will take the information we received and find ways through legislation to connect seniors in need with housing that addresses their needs.
 

Continuing Support for PA Military, Veterans
 
In recognition of the service and sacrifice of active duty military and veterans in the Commonwealth, the House is always working to enact policies that help and support these men and women and their families.

This week, we approved House Bill 630 to extend Pennsylvania’s current employment protections to Pennsylvania citizens who are members of another state’s National Guard and are called up to serve outside of the Commonwealth.

We also approved House Bill 1050 to ensure an in-state tuition rate for military families as soon as a student enrolls in a public college or university, regardless of whether his or her military parent is reassigned out of the state. Both bills are now pending consideration in the Senate.

Finally, lawmakers joined with representatives of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) to send off seven new vans that will help DAV volunteers transport veterans to their VA medical appointments.

For more information about state services and support for our military and veterans, visit the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website at dmva.pa.gov.
 

Measures Aim to Improve Mental Health Care Access
Working to strengthen communities and support Pennsylvania families, we are continuing our efforts to improve access to behavioral health services in the Commonwealth.

House Resolution 268 directs the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to assess the Commonwealth’s treatment capacity for mental and behavioral health care by studying the patient care and financial impacts of delayed emergency department discharge of patients with a behavioral health diagnoses, and the cause of such delays.

A second measure, House Resolution 193, calls on JSGC to study the shortages in the mental health care workforce that are leading to delays in obtaining treatment.

The House also approved a bill to clarify current law regarding consent to mental health treatment for minor children. House Bill 672 specifically states a parent can consent to care without a minor’s approval. While this is the intent of current law, there has been confusion among parents, minors and providers about who can or must consent to care.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.
 

Meeting with Nikki of the Life Sharing Program


 
Thank you, Nikki, for inviting me to tour your house and talk about the Life Sharing program with you. I have great admiration for the job the professionals at KenCrest do, and the wonderful environment they create for disabled people in the community. It was great to meet Maureen Quinn, a government relations specialist for KenCrest, as well as Nikki’s very dedicated caregivers.
 
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