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The Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampShort# The latest news from the State Capitol
Lawmakers Continue Study of Governor’s $36 Billion Budget Proposal

The House Appropriations Committee continued its work to dissect the governor’s $36 billion budget proposal for the 2020-21 fiscal year this week with an eye toward assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of existing programs, eliminating waste and standing up for the taxpayers who foot the bill for the state’s spending.

Several departments with major impacts on the budget and the lives of all Pennsylvanians appeared before the committee this week, including the departments of Environmental Protection, Conservation and Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, Health, and Community and Economic Development.

The final week of hearings is focused primarily on education and human services, the two biggest state agencies in terms of funding. The hearings begin at 10 a.m. Monday with the Department of Education, followed by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Tuesday brings the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and state-related universities. The Department of Human Services hearing will be held all day on Wednesday, and hearings close on Thursday with the Pennsylvania Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association and the state budget secretary. To watch live streams or archived video of the hearings, click here.

Additional information about the 2020-21 state budget proposal may be found here.
Website Helps Voters Learn New County Voting Systems

With the Commonwealth’s April 28 primary election about two months away, the Department of State has launched 67 new webpages – one for each county – where voters can learn specifics about their county’s voting system and how to use it.

Each webpage includes a description of a county’s voting system along with photos and videos that guide voters through a step-by-step process of how to use it. The webpages also include accessibility information for voters with disabilities and contact information for county election offices if voters have additional questions.

The county webpages are part of the Department of State’s Ready to Vote 2020 initiative, which aims to educate voters about new voting systems and other changes enacted by the Legislature under Act 77 of 2019. Those changes include:

  •   Vote by mail-in ballot.
  •   Extended periods of time to submit absentee ballots and applications.
  •   Extended periods of time to register to vote.

For more information on voting in Pennsylvania, including key dates for upcoming elections, visit the Department of State’s website at www.votespa.com.
Health Committee Examines Prescription Drug Pricing

Recognizing the importance of making health care costs in Pennsylvania more transparent, more competitive and more affordable, the House Health Committee held a public hearing Tuesday to examine the impact of prescription drug pricing on patients.

The hearing featured testimony from Sarah Edmond, executive vice president of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review; Jane Horvath, senior fellow at the National Academy for State Health Policy; Lauren Neves, director of policy for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA); and Antonio Ciaccia, CEO of 46 Brooklyn Research, which studies prescription drug pricing.

To watch the hearing in its entirety, click here.
Highlighting National Rare Disease Day Feb. 29

With an estimated 1.2 million Pennsylvanians – more than half of them children – suffering with a rare disease, we are continuing to raise awareness of their challenges and working to identify policies to better support them and their needs.

A rare disease is defined as any disease impacting fewer than 200,000 people. With more than 7,000 rare diseases identified, there are many not being studied by medical researchers.

In 2017, we passed a law to create a Rare Disease Advisory Council to serve as the advisory body on rare diseases to the General Assembly and all other relevant state and private agencies that provide services to, or are charged with the care of, individuals with rare diseases.

The council consists of administration officials and members of the public, including various health practitioners, health insurers, researchers, parents of children with rare diseases, and others with expertise in providing care to individuals with rare diseases.

Please take a moment to watch this video to learn more.
PennDOT Summer Employment Positions

The Speaker’s office is currently accepting Summer Turnpike Applications for the 2020 Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Summer Employment Program for toll collectors, maintenance, clerk, engineering and information technology positions.
All students applying will be required to provide proof of enrollment or acceptance to a post-secondary educational program for the summer or fall of 2020 and to provide documentation from the military indicating their first day of basic training.

The deadline to apply for the summer employment program is April 10. More information, as well as the online application, can be found at the link below.
Free Admission at Several State Museums for Charter Day

Celebrate Charter Day on Sunday, March 8, with free admission to the State Museum in Harrisburg and many historic sites and museums, along the Pennsylvania Trails of History.

In honor of the Commonwealth’s 339th birthday, visitors to The State Museum of Pennsylvania will have a rare opportunity to see the original Charter of Pennsylvania written in 1681.

Additionally, in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 15th Amendment, the Pennsylvania State Archives will exhibit two rarely seen documents: Pennsylvania’s Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery (1780) and the state’s ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1869), which ensured the right of American men to vote, regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The documents will be on display until 1 p.m. Friday, March 13.

For more information about Charter Day activities, including a full list of participating museums and historic sites, click here.
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