Feb. 22, 2019

Improving the Do-Not-Call List

The state House this week approved legislation aimed at helping Pennsylvanians cut down on the number of telemarketing calls they receive.

The bill would give Pennsylvanians the ability to sign up for the state’s telemarketing "do-not-call" list without requiring them to re-register every five years.

The bill in addition would ban telemarketing calls on legal holidays. It also would ban the use of calls from computerized auto-dialers (robocalls).

House Bill 318 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Help Available to Local Small Business Owners

My office is proud to offer a unique opportunity for current or aspiring small business owners who could benefit from advice and guidance about starting or growing their small business.

A representative from the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will be available at our district office for a special Small Business Outreach Day on Friday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you or someone you know would like to schedule a one-hour meeting with the SBDC representative, please call 570-577-1249 or email sbdc@bucknell.edu by March 20.

Meetings will take place at our Elysburg district office located at 467 Industrial Park Road.

SBDCs offer entrepreneurs educational resources and information they need to start and grow successful businesses.
Initiative Focuses on Middle-Class Job Creation

Pennsylvania students and workers should be able to gain the skills they need to acquire the good-paying jobs of today and tomorrow. That’s the sentiment behind a new middle-class jobs initiative my colleagues and I are working on in Harrisburg.

We want to make sure Pennsylvanians are able to acquire the skills they need to fill current and future job openings.

There are current worker shortages in specific industries in Pennsylvania. There are not enough trained individuals to fill the jobs currently available in these sectors.

Other workers may be able to earn more money by learning new skills. Our goal is to empower workers to earn more money by learning new and valuable skills.

Specific legislation will aim to address the skills gap and worker shortages faced by industries across the state, as well as enhance educational programs and access to those opportunities for workers of all ages.

The launch coincided with the governor signing an executive order to create the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The center is charged with addressing barriers to employment and enhancing cooperation among education and workforce development entities.
Preparing PA Students for Careers

As a foundational part of the middle-class jobs initiative, the House Education Committee unveiled a package of bills aimed at improving career and technical education (CTE) in Pennsylvania.

The package of bills includes:

  • House Bill 265, which would expand the online database that allows students and potential students to plan where courses, programs, certificates and diplomas transfer among public schools and institutions of higher education.

  • House Bill 297, which would direct the State Department of Education to develop materials outlining workforce needs, including training opportunities and future earning potential.

  • House Bill 334, which would expedite the approval of important educational programs to respond better to industry and workforce demands.

  • House Bill 393 (to be introduced soon), which would create an online career resource center.

  • House Bill 394 (to be introduced soon), which would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to inventory workforce development programs offered at secondary and postsecondary institutions.

  • House Bill 395 (to be introduced soon), which would require CTE programs to establish occupational advisory committees.

  • House Bill 396 (to be introduced soon), which would add at least one member from a Career and Technical Center to each Workforce Development Board.

  • House Bill 522, which would create a CTE investment incentive program, including tax credits for contributions to support CTE programs and enrollment expansion programs.

These bills are designed to increase awareness of job-training opportunities and high-demand careers for students.
In Victory for Patients, Supreme Court Delays Venue Rule Change

Seeking to prevent a health care crisis in Pennsylvania, physicians, administrators, attorneys and industry professionals told members of the House Majority Policy Committee last week that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should not change a rule dealing with medical malpractice lawsuits. Shortly after the hearing concluded, the Supreme Court decided to postpone its consideration until a study on the impact of the rule change is conducted later this year.

The pending proposal would reverse a rule that requires malpractice cases be brought in the county where the malpractice occurred, thereby prohibiting “shopping” for venues, such as Philadelphia, where jury awards tend to be higher.

Reversing the rule would also reverse progress that has been made to ensure access for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of ZIP code, to quality health care. Prior to the rule’s implementation, skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates were forcing many doctors and specialists to retire early or move their practices out of state. Rural areas were hit especially hard, and a reversal of this rule could again put health care into a crisis situation.

Residents can continue to do their part to ensure their voices are heard by visiting PAGOPPolicy.com and sharing with the court how such a rule change could impact their health care.