Apr. 12, 2019

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

Senior Health and Wellness Expo Scheduled
My third annual Senior Health and Wellness Expo is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Turkeytown Fire Hall, 90 Supervisor Drive, West Newton. The event will include vendors, health screenings and prizes.

As part of the event, I also will be holding a blood drive. Those giving blood will be entered to win a full-size Iron Throne. Pre-registration for the blood drive is required. Please do so by visiting redcrossblood.org and entering the word "Walsh" or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to schedule a time.

Speakers and seminars will include:

-Lee Wagner from the White Oak Vet Center on veterans issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. (9-10 a.m.)

-Phil Little from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office on identity theft. (10-11 a.m.)

-American Red Cross seminar on compression only or “hands-only” CPR. (11 a.m. to noon)

-Jay Ofsanik from PennDOT on the Yellow Dot Program. (12:30-1 p.m.)

Providing Transportation to Medical Appointments for those with Disabilities

Earlier this week, I participated in a press conference in support of House Bill 986. This legislation would conduct a thorough review of the Medical Assistance Transportation Program.

The program offers shared rides to medical appointments for Medical Assistance recipients when other means are unavailable to them.

Last year’s Human Services Code, adopted as part of the state budget, included a requirement that the Department of Human Services revamp its system and deliver assistance using a statewide or regional broker, rather than counties across the state providing the service. The savings, through federal reimbursements, were estimated at roughly $15 million.

However, the cost associated with the program was not considered. Further analysis shows that the ultimate cost to the Commonwealth would be significantly higher at $31.5 million. I am pictured with Alan Blahovec, executive director at Westmoreland County Transit Authority, who attended the press conference in support of the bill.

Strengthening Protections for Victims of Crime

With this week being National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the House began working through a package of bills designed to help protect victims of crime.

A cornerstone of this package is Marsy’s Law, a bill that seeks to amend the state Constitution by adding a victims bill of rights.

Other bills in the package passed this week include measures to shield rape victims from being re-victimized by irrelevant cross examination; allow victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism to submit out-of-court statements rather than face their perpetrators in court; expand the types of crimes for which an out-of-court statement can be accepted; and allow crime victims to attend any proceeding relating to their cases, unless attending would materially alter the victims’ testimony.

The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

Learn more about efforts to protect crime victims in Pennsylvania here.  

Expanding the Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse
As the Commonwealth marks April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the House passed a two-bill package known as the Pennsylvania Hidden Predator Act to help empower victims of child sexual abuse.

House Bill 962, sponsored by Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), would change the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, allowing childhood victims until age 55 to file suit, and provide for waivers of sovereign and governmental immunity relating to claims of childhood sexual abuse. It would also abolish the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse moving forward.

House Bill 963, sponsored by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window in which civil lawsuits alleging childhood sexual abuse may be filed in court, notwithstanding any otherwise applicable statute of limitations defense.

The House also started the process of amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to provide a two-year window to anyone for whom a statutory limitations period has expired to commence action arising from childhood sexual abuse.

These bills are important in the effort to ensure justice for victims of past abuse.

Reporting suspected abuse is the best way to protect children. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you can call the Department of Health’s toll-free ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.

Give PennDOT Feedback
PennDOT is looking for Pennsylvanians to give feedback on its winter services and communications.

You can provide your input by taking PennDOT’s 10-question survey that asks about how often you travel in poor weather, how you rate PennDOT’s winter service, and how you rank its snow-removal priorities.

The survey also asks how you receive PennDOT’s roadway information, and if you use Pennsylvania’s 511PA system for traffic and incident information, and winter roadway conditions.

You can take the survey by clicking here.  

Trout Season Open Statewide
This Saturday, April 13, marks the statewide opening day of trout season. Fishing begins at 8 a.m.

To participate, anglers ages 16 and older must have a valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a Trout/Salmon Permit, both available at gonefishingpa.com or at more than 700 issuing agents. Multi-year licenses are also available in 3-year, 5-year and 10-year increments. Prices for licenses and permits remain the same as last year. Youth anglers ages 15 and under do not require licenses or permits.

To locate stocked trout fishing waters near you, select the 2019 Trout Stocking Schedule at fishandboat.com. Waterways on this list are searchable by county, organized in alphabetical order and provide the date, time and meeting place for each stocking event.

The FREE Fish Boat PA Mobile App is the most useful tool in an angler’s tackle box. Download the app from the Apple App or Google Play stores to locate stocked waterways or wild trout streams, use the fish identification tool, and view fishing and boating regulations.
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Office Locations
1739 Rostraver Road, Belle Vernon PA 15012 | (724) 929-2655
1 Etze Ave., Suite 212; Mount Pleasant, PA 15666 | (724) 542-0349
415 Clay Ave., Jeannette, PA 15644 | (724) 523-2739
B-12 Main Capitol, PO Box 202058, Harrisburg PA 17120-2058 | (717) 783-3825
Email Address: JWalsh@pahousegop.com