Sep. 29, 2017

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Weekly News Update


 The latest news from the State Capitol

House Tourism Committee Examines Impact of Bloomsburg Fair


On Thursday, I chaired a meeting of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee to discuss the economic impact of the Bloomsburg Fair. We heard testimony from Paul Reichart, president of the Bloomsburg Fair; Joe Scopelliti, treasurer of the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau; Cheryl Cook, deputy secretary for Market Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; and David Hallstrom, president of the Pennsylvania State Association of County Fairs.

Preventing Illegals from Using Welfare Benefits
To help prevent the fraudulent use of public assistance benefits, the House passed legislation this week to further crack down on welfare fraud by requiring proper documentation of citizenship and residency when applying for local and state benefits.

Under House Bill 1095, individuals who apply for benefits directly must provide an acceptable form of identification, or an affidavit certifying their citizenship. The bill would not change any eligibility criteria for the receipt of public benefits. It merely would update Pennsylvania law to ensure compliance with federal law.

The bill would also prohibit individuals from possessing multiple ACCESS cards. Any person who violates this prohibition would be charged with a third-degree felony.

House Bill 1095 now goes to the state Senate.

Senior Caregiver Support Forum Set for Oct. 5
I will be offering a Senior Caregiver Support Forum on Thursday, Oct. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, located at 725 W. Front St. in Berwick.

The forum will include brief, informational sessions and will allow for a question and answer discussion. This is a great opportunity to learn about local resources available for seniors and caregivers.

Please RSVP by calling my office at 570-759-8734 or by visiting

Celebrate PA Manufacturers
Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week will be observed Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, and will recognize the vital role manufacturers play in our state’s economy and the variety of job opportunities and career paths open to the next generation of Pennsylvania’s workforce.

In total, manufacturing has an economic impact of $84 billion, in Pennsylvania, and we are home to the eighth largest manufacturing industry in the United States.

Throughout the week, Pennsylvania manufacturers and partners will hold events to give students and their families an inside look at today’s modern manufacturing.

The weeklong celebration will conclude with National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6. More information about the industry and events are available here.

Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week and Manufacturing Day are part of a movement to build positive perceptions about manufacturing, draw attention to the variety of career opportunities available, and highlight the industry’s important contributions to our economy.

In helping to promote manufacturing, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has spearheaded a new law to allow career and technical students to demonstrate proficiency on exams developed by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute in lieu of demonstrating proficiency on a Keystone Exam. Act 6 of 2017 gives them greater flexibility in meeting high school graduation requirements so they can be ready to enter the workforce.

September Named Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
A House resolution designating September 2017 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month passed the House of Representatives this summer with unanimous, bipartisan support.

House Resolution 382 is intended to bring awareness to childhood cancer, to encourage young Pennsylvanians who are fighting cancer, and to honor young people who have lost their lives to childhood cancer.

The resolution also expresses gratitude to the doctors and nurses who provide special care to patients and families affected by childhood cancer and encourages all residents in this Commonwealth to join the fight against childhood cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancers make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year. An estimated 10,270 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in children under the age of 15 in the United States this year. Childhood cancer rates have been slightly increasing for the past few decades.
Because of major treatment advances in recent decades, more than 80 percent of children with cancer now survive five years or more.

Overall, this is a significant increase since the mid-1970s, when the five-year survival rate was less than 60 percent. Still, survival rates vary depending on the type of cancer and other factors.

Although pediatric cancer death rates have decreased by nearly 70 percent over the past four decades, it still remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. About 1,190 children are expected to die from cancer in 2017.

Protect Yourself from the Flu
The state Department of Health is encouraging all Pennsylvanians over 6 months of age to get a flu vaccine.

Infants and children, seniors, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible to developing flu-related complications.

Other steps people can take to protect against the flu include: 
o Washing your hands often with soap and warm water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
o Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throwing any used tissues in the trash.
o Keeping your hands away from your face, and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
o Disinfecting frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes or countertops.
o Avoiding contact with individuals who may have the flu. When sick, stay home until at least 24 hours after your fever goes away on its own without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Talk to your doctor about obtaining a flu vaccine or click here for information about the flu.

Concealed Carry Seminar Set for Oct. 19
I am hosting a Concealed Carry Seminar on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the Northern Columbia Community Center in Benton.

The seminar will feature Columbia County District Attorney Thomas Leipold and Sheriff Timothy Chamberlain. They will include information about Pennsylvania’s concealed carry laws and how to safely interact with police while carrying a firearm.

Due to space limitations, those planning to attend are required to RSVP in advance. There is no fee to attend.

To register, visit or call (570) 759-8734.

Around Our Community 


It was my pleasure to welcome some special guests, Reps. Dan Moul (R-Adams) and Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), to my monthly radio address on WHLM. Pictured with us is host Joe Reilly.

Upcoming Events
• The 162nd Annual Bloomsburg Fair is being held now through Saturday, Sept. 30.
• A craft show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 30, and Sunday, Oct. 1, at the old Berwick Armory 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, Oct. 3. By appointment only. Call 570-387-0246 to make an appointment.
• Our Senior Caregivers Forum will be held on Thursday, Oct. 5, at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation beginning at 6 p.m. Call 570-759-8734 to reserve your seat.
• Bloomsburg University’s Homecoming will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7.
• Offices will be closed on Monday, Oct. 9, for Columbus Day.
• Berwick Riverfest will be held from Friday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 15, at Test Track Park.
• Our Concealed Carry Seminar will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 6-8 p.m. at the Northern Columbia Community Center in Benton. Registration is required. Register and learn more by visiting
• Monthly Radio Address: Thursday, Oct. 26, at 8:30 a.m. on WHLM 94.7 FM.
• A craft show will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at S.S. Cyril and Methodius Church in Berwick from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Office Locations
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
TTY: 855-282-0614