Dec. 06, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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#Listrak\DateStamplong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Christmas Arrives at the Capitol

With the arrival of December, it is officially the most wonderful time of the year in the Commonwealth.

I wanted to share with you a sneak peek of this year’s Capitol Christmas Tree, which stands proudly in the Main Rotunda of the Capitol Building. The tree is adorned with ornaments made by children across the state, and it will be lit this coming Monday, Dec. 9.
Helping You Save Money on Prescriptions

Seeking to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing, the House approved some long-overdue legislation to ensure pharmacists would be permitted to disclose cost-related information to patients.

For some less expensive, generic medicines, co-pays can often be more expensive than if the patient simply pays out-of-pocket and bypasses insurance. However, companies that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers often include in their contracts a “gag clause” that prevents pharmacists from sharing this information with their customers.

House Bill 943 would put an end to the use of a gag clause and ensure pharmacists are empowered to help their customers by sharing information that could save them money on their out-of-pocket costs for medications, not to mention their overall health care.

The measure was approved unanimously as part of the House #HealthierPA package of bills.

Learn more about that initiative here.
Protect Your Personal, Financial Data

In recognition of National Tax Security Awareness Week, the state Department of Revenue outlined several tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves:

  •   Shop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  •   Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  •   Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  •   Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  •   Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  •   Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  •   Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  •   Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

You should also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams in your email. Identity thieves sometimes pose as companies or government agencies you know, such as the IRS or state Department of Revenue. Other phishing emails may tell an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or attachment that ultimately adds a virus or spyware onto your computer.

Finally, the IRS or Department of Revenue will never call to demand a tax payment on a gift card.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or

For more information on ways to protect yourself, click here.
ACA Health Insurance Deadline Fast Approaching

My office wants to remind all residents of the 117th District that enrollment for 2020 individual health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ends Sunday, Dec. 15. That means that consumers have less than two weeks left to enroll or re-enroll in ACA marketplace coverage to ensure that they have quality, affordable healthcare.

Whether enrolling for the first time or re-enrolling, everyone needs to consider their coverage options and shop around for comprehensive coverage that best fits their needs. Additionally, many consumers have more plan options this year as the number of consumers living in counties with just one health insurer fell from just under 180,000 people in 2018 to approximately 9,000 for the 2020 coverage year. More health insurance options provide individuals and families with the opportunity to shop around for coverage that best fits their needs.

Pennsylvanians can visit Consumers’ Checkbook to view plan options, estimate monthly premiums and total annual out-of-pocket costs for each plan, and learn how to purchase coverage. Consumers ready to enroll in coverage can go directly to the Healthcare.Gov marketplace. Don’t qualify for a subsidy? Consumers’ Checkbook outlines ACA-compliant plans that are sold outside of the exchange. Off-exchange plans provide ACA coverage but can provide more affordable rates for consumers who do not qualify for financial assistance.
Steer Clear of Fraudulent Dog License Website

Attention dog owners! As you look to license your dog for the 2020 calendar year, watch out for a fraudulent website selling licenses online.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued the warning after identifying as selling fake Pennsylvania dog licenses and even paying search engines to appear at the top of search results pages for common terms, like “Pennsylvania dog license” or “renew PA dog license.”

If you’d like to purchase a license online, type directly into your browser’s address bar.

You may also purchase your license from the county treasurer. Each county treasurer has a different process, and while most offer an online option, some do not and require a paper form to be dropped off or mailed.

For more information about the state’s Dog Law and licensing requirements, click here.
Give the Gift of Fishing!

Just in time for Christmas, 2020 fishing licenses, permits and gift vouchers are now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2019 through Dec. 31, 2020.

Licenses and permits can be purchased at, or from any of more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and all PFBC regional offices.

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in three-, five- and 10-year increments. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit. A collectible fishing license button is available for $10.

You may also purchase voluntary permits for Bass, Musky, Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters, and Habitat/Waterways Conservation. These permits are not required for fishing and carry no additional privileges, but all funds generated through them are reinvested into their respective program.

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the season. This includes the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur the week before the opening of the regional and statewide openers in each area.

For more information, visit
Farm to School Grant Program Accepting Applications

Applications are now being accepted for a new grant program authorized by the General Assembly to help ensure the future growth of our agriculture industry.

The Farm to School Grant program will provide schools with funding to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture education opportunities for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. We want to help our children grow up with an understanding of the importance of fresh, healthy food, and an appreciation for the hard-working men and women who produce it.

Any school district, charter school or private school with pre-kindergarten classes, kindergarten or elementary through fifth grade is eligible to apply for up to $15,000. Eligible applications should include:

  •   A list of Pennsylvania farmers who have agreed to supply products from their farms.
  •   Nutrition and agriculture education, including integration into regular classroom subjects.
  •   Training of teachers and other educational staff on nutrition and agriculture education.
  •   Inclusion of parents, caregivers and community groups in educational activities.
  •   Field trips to Pennsylvania farms or other direct agricultural experiences which teach children about sources of food and Pennsylvania agriculture.<
For additional information, click here.
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105 Lieutenant Michael Cleary Drive, Dallas, PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657 | Phone: (570) 836-4777
41-B East Wing, Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117