Oct. 29, 2018

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Medicaid Reforms Vetoed

For the second time in as many years, Gov. Tom Wolf has said “no” to reform in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid system. Late last week, the governor chose to veto legislation which had passed the House and Senate with bi-partisan support. House Bill 2138 would have implemented a modest 20-hour-per-week work requirement for able-bodied adults seeking to take advantage of Medicaid, the state’s free medical insurance program for the poor.

The legislation contained exemptions for people with physical or mental disabilities, women who are pregnant, those over age 63 and individuals caring for children. For those unable to find work, the legislation included provisions for retraining, job searching or modest community service as an alternative. This legislation would have impacted an estimated 500,000 Pennsylvanians who currently accept government benefits who appear to be capable of work, but choose not to.

Medicaid is among the state’s most costly programs, and costs are rising at an unsustainable rate. Human services spending in Pennsylvania has outstripped state spending on K-12 education for each of the last four years. Medicaid is part of our safety net – it ensures that even the poorest will be able to access health care. Abuse of government benefits by those who should not require them leaves fewer resources to care for those who do. 
Preventing Food Stamp Fraud

Legislation was signed into law last week to help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Violators of Act 160 of 2018 must pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens. 
Help for Grandparents Raising Grandkids

Two bills were signed into law last week to help Pennsylvania grandparents struggling to raise their grandchildren.

Act 89 of 2018 will establish the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program, an informational resource that would operate both as a website and a toll-free hotline. The website will offer information on support and services available, and a specially trained navigator will provide support and guidance, and serve as a mediator to establish relationships between kinship caregivers and government agencies.

Act 88 of 2018 grants temporary guardianship to grandparents when the parents of the grandchildren are unable to care for them primarily due to substance abuse issues. 
Heating Assistance Program to Open This Week

Eligible residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting their County Assistance Office. 
Applications Now Being Accepted for Governor’s School

The Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh is now accepting applications from talented high school juniors for the summer 2019 program.

The school is an intensive, five-week summer residential program, which emphasizes cooperative learning and hands-on laboratory research, for 56 talented high school juniors pursuing careers in science and mathematics. Learn more here.
Road Work Ahead


Here is the list of road projects PennDOT has scheduled for Franklin County this week. Please exercise caution when driving through a work zone.

  • Diehl’s Woods Road in Hamilton Township – pipe extension.
  • Ragged Edge Road in Greene Township – crack sealing.
  • Woodstock Road in Guildford Township – crack sealing.
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