Strengthening Public Corruption Laws
Public officials and employees who are convicted of public corruption crimes would be forced to forfeit their government pension under legislation that passed the House this week.
House Bill 939 would hold state, county or municipal government officials and public employees, including judges, teachers and other school district employees, accountable for crimes related to their official duties by requiring them to forfeit their government pension.
They would also need to pay appropriate restitution when they plead guilty or no contest to any crime related to their official government position or any felony offense related to their office or employment. This would prevent public officials from cutting deals under which they agree to plead guilty to a lesser crime to keep their pensions.
The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would also impact federal crimes that are classified as felonies or are punishable by a term of at least five years in prison.
Ensuring Coverage for Lyme Disease Treatment
To help ensure patients have access to available and emerging diagnostics and treatment options for Lyme disease and related tick-borne diseases, House Bill 174 was reported out of the House Health Committee this week.
Over the last five years, Pennsylvania has ranked highest in the nation in confirmed cases of Lyme disease, with 10,817 in 2015. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released a study last year confirming a high risk of Lyme in every county of the Commonwealth.
House Bill 174 would require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
May is also Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Individuals should be aware of early, disseminated, and late/persistent symptoms and that a negative Lyme test cannot rule out Lyme disease. The early clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment of these tick-borne disorders and diseases can greatly reduce the risks of continued, diverse and chronic symptoms which can affect every system and organ of the human body and often every aspect of a person’s life.
For tips about how to protect yourself from Lyme disease, click here.
PennDOT Offers Free Audio Version of PA Driver’s Manual Online
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has announced that for the first time an audio version of the Pennsylvania Non-Commercial Driver’s Manual is now available for free download on its website.
The audio manual is especially useful for individuals with learning issues, but it is also a convenient way to study the manual on the go. Audio files can be streamed from the website or downloaded onto a computer or device. Audio files are broken down by chapter.
The audio manual is the first of several enhancements to PennDOT’s online publications, including tutorial videos.
Customers can view and download the most up-to-date version of all PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services forms, publications and manuals from its website, www.dmv.pa.gov.
Outreach and Satellite Hours Offered Next Week
A caseworker for U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton) will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Monday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to noon. Assistance will be available for constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs, and constituents are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues.
A member of my staff will be available at the following location next week to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork, state-related issues and more.
• Tuesday, May 9, at the Hunlock Township Building, located at 33 Village Drive, Hunlock Creek, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Out and About
It was an honor to speak at the Commencement Ceremonies held for East Stroudsburg University students last Saturday. I have had the privilege of serving as the University’s Legislative Fellow for the past year.
I joined my colleagues in wearing turquoise for Women’s Lung Health Week.
This week, I was inducted into the Pennsylvania Wing of the Civil Air Patrol’s legislative squadron as Major. Col. Gary Fleming, Pennsylvania wing commander, led the ceremony. The Pennsylvania Wing operates in six geographic regions across the Commonwealth to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the cadet program, provide emergency services and disaster relief assistance, and spread aerospace education.
Congratulations to Blaise Delfino, East Stroudsburg University graduate student, tecBRIDGE Business Plan Competition Collegiate winner. East Stroudsburg University also received the Smit Webster Cup award. I am pictured Blaise and an East Stroudsburg University official.
I joined Judge Lisa Gelb at the North Branch Land Trust event, which is an annual event designed to promote and help conserve the scenic, natural, and working landscapes that sustain us.
The Luzerne County Courthouse recently hosted the Opening Ceremony for the Pennsylvania Superior Court.