Improving PA’s Unfriendly Adoption Policies
3/17/2017
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Weekly News Update

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 The latest news from the State Capitol


Improving PA’s Unfriendly Adoption Policies

 
To help place children in loving homes, the House this week passed eight bills to improve the adoption process in Pennsylvania.

The bipartisan package would improve the state’s unfriendly adoption policies to help ensure that all parties – birth parents, adoptive parents and children – can benefit from a smoother process.

The cornerstone bill in the package would shorten the period in which a birth parent can revoke his or her consent to an adoption from 30 days to 14. This window of time would start after consent for adoption has been given, not from the time the child is born.

Other bills would ensure that birth parents have access to adoption-related counseling services; streamline and expedite the procedures for terminating parental rights; allow adoptive families to appeal the amount of an adoption subsidy; make it easier for parents who are incarcerated to relinquish their parental rights by allowing correctional staff to witness the individual’s consent to adoption; eliminate the hearing currently required to confirm a consent to adoption; refine the definition of “intermediary” to include a licensed attorney or social worker; and add reasonable living expenses incurred by a birth mother to the list of permissible reimbursable expenses paid by a prospective adoptive family during the course of the adoption process.

All of the bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Expanding Educational Choice

 
Two popular tax credit programs that have allowed thousands of families across Pennsylvania to choose the best education for their children would be expanded under legislation which passed the House on Monday.

House Bill 250 would increase the amount of tax credits available under both the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. Funds available for ETIC would increase by $50 million to a record $175 million and funds available for the OSTC would increase by $25 million to $75 million.

The EITC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their voluntary contributions to organizations that fund various educational opportunities including scholarships and innovative programming. The OSTC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their contributions to organizations that provide scholarships to students who live within the attendance boundary of a low-achieving public school.

The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Giving Families Work Choices

 
The House Human Services Committee held a hearing this week to clear up confusion and questions regarding an initial proposal by the Department of Human Services (DHS) that would force individuals with disabilities to spend time in the community, thereby reducing their ability to participate in day programs and sheltered workshops under the department’s Office of Developmental Programs.

At issue is the way in which DHS is changing its administration of its home- and community-based waivers. The initial proposal would have required individuals to spend 75 percent of their time in the community, rather than being at day programs or sheltered workshops. This requirement left the heads of those organizations wondering how they would continue to operate if individuals can only participate essentially one day out of five.

A compromise proposal between DHS and the General Assembly would make it possible for each person to participate in the community, but leave the decision with the individual. This proposal still awaits finalization.

To watch the hearing, visit this website and click on the March 13 date.
 
 
Love Your Dog? License Your Dog

 
With March designated as License Your Dog Month, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reminds pet owners they must license their dogs ages 3 months and older. Failure can result in a maximum fine of $300 per violation, plus court costs.

An annual license is $8.50, and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50, and lifetime fee is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer and other licensing agents.

If your dog gets lost, a current license is the fastest way to get it back.

The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

For more information, click here to watch a short video or visit this website.
 
 
 
Upcoming Events
 

• Benton High School presents “The Wizard of Oz” Friday, March 17, through Saturday, March 19.
• A Children’s Fair will be held at Columbia Mall on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Columbia County Ag Days will be held at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds on Saturday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Covert’s Closet spring fashion show will be held at Capital Bar and Grill in Bloomsburg on Sunday, March 26, from noon to 2 p.m.
• Monthly Radio Address: Thursday, March 30, at 8:30 a.m. on WHLM 94.7 FM.
• Espy Fire Department’s indoor yard sale will be held on Saturday, April 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Orangeville Fire Department will hold a craft/vendor show on Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• St. Joe’s Church will hold a spring craft fair on Saturday, April 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• A representative from the VA will be in the Bloomsburg district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4. By appointment only. Call 570-387-0246 to make an appointment.
 
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904B Orange St., Berwick PA, 18603 | Phone: (570) 759-8734
Market Street Plaza, 1000 Market St. (Suite 39), Bloomsburg, PA 17815 | (570) 387-0246
316 Main Capitol, PO Box 202109, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109 | Phone: (717) 783-1102
Email: dmillard@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614