Feb. 01, 2019

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Monthly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Proud to Serve on House Appropriations, Other Key House Committees
This session I have been appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees development of the state budget.

My time in Harrisburg has taught me that for far too long politicians have been looking for ways to spend taxpayer dollars, grow government and complicate government processes. Instead, we should be spending our time looking for ways to save money and make government more efficient. I look forward to serving on this committee and fighting for responsible, cost-effective government spending.

I will also be serving on other key House committees which include the Environmental Resources and Energy, Game and Fisheries, and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, as well as the Gaming Oversight Committee.

I’m eager to continue my committee work on issues important to our region. Natural gas production, tourism and agriculture are key to Fayette County’s economy.

House Republicans Call for Public Hearing to Save Our Health Care
At a press conference this week, House Republican leaders called for a public hearing to help save our health care. Pennsylvania residents may soon face a crisis in health care, if the state courts repeal a rule that helped stave off a similar crisis more than a decade ago.

Currently, medical malpractice cases must be brought in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. If that rule is repealed, doctors’ insurance premiums would skyrocket. When this happened in the early 2000s, doctors closed their practices, moved to other states or retired early.

The press conference also featured compelling stories from two physicians and a long-term care official who experienced the crisis firsthand and have serious concerns about the future of health care in the Commonwealth.

This change could lead to patients having to say goodbye to their physicians or patients having to drive farther for care. Additionally, recruiting physicians and specialists would be difficult, and medical innovations may be halted. Overall, patient care would suffer and everyone would face higher health care costs. To learn more about the issue, click here.

To learn more about the potential negative impact this rule repeal could cause, the House Majority Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on Feb. 12 in the Lehigh Valley.

Governor’s Budget Address Set for Tuesday
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, Gov. Tom Wolf will unveil his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019-20.

We are looking forward to hearing the governor’s proposal and reviewing the details in the coming weeks as the Appropriations Committee will begin its series of hearings on the proposal on Feb. 11.

You can watch the address on my website at 11:30 a.m. and keep your eyes on my social media for updates and reactions.

Ensuring Victims’ Rights
Legislation to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to add a victims’ bill of rights was reintroduced this week in a step toward putting the question before voters.
Last session, Marsy’s Law passed in the House and Senate unanimously. An identical bill must be passed this session before the question is placed on the ballot.

While Pennsylvania has protection for victims written into its laws, a constitutional amendment is the only way to ensure that victims have equal footing with offenders and the only way to ensure that victims have some kind of redress when their rights are violated.

The amendment would require notice of hearings and other proceedings, physical and emotional protection from the accused, notice in cases of release or escape, proceedings free from unnecessary delay, the ability to confer with the prosecutor in the case, full and timely restitution from the offender, and notification of all of these rights.

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Applications Available
Applications for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are now available on my website and at my district offices. Instruction booklets can also be obtained from my office.

The program is designed to help eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older to receive up to a $650 rebate from the property taxes or rent they paid last year.

To be eligible, homeowners must earn less than $35,000 a year and renters less than $15,000 with half of Social Security income excluded. This year, retirees who receive benefits from the Federal Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) may now reduce their total income by 50 percent of the average retired worker’s 2017 Social Security payment.

Certain supplemental rebates can boost homeowner rebates up to $975. The supplemental rebates are automatically calculated by the Department of Revenue for qualifying homeowners.

Residents should not pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are available at my office at no cost.

Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.
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Office Locations                                                                                                                                                                      
Capitol Office: Room B-11, Main Capitol Building, PO Box 202052, Harrisburg PA 17120-2052 | (717) 787-1540 
District Office: 1040 Eberly Way, Suite 250, Lemont Furnace, PA 15456 I Phone: (724) 437-1105
Email: rwarner@pahousegop.com