HomeLanghorne-Levittown TimesWirePOLITICS: Bucks representatives sworn in, discuss plans

WirePOLITICS: Bucks representatives sworn in, discuss plans

By Tom Waring
Wire Staff Writer

Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick was sworn in last week as a member of the 114th Congress.

“It is an honor once again to be sworn in as the congressional representative for the hardworking men and women of Pennsylvania’s 8th District,” he said. “Each day, I am inspired by the work ethic, determination, generosity and spirit of those who have elected me to serve as their voice on Capitol Hill. While we enter a time of divided government and partisan expectations, it is my constant goal to serve my constituents legislatively and as their federal advocate. I have high hopes for this new Congress. I expect its members to be ready to address the pressing needs of our nation and our people.”

Fitzpatrick introduced a package of congressional reform bills on Jan. 6.

The congressman has proposed an amendment to the Constitution to limit the number of terms that a member of the House may serve to four. Members of the Senate would be limited to two six-year terms.

In addition, he wants to prohibit members who leave the House from lobbying their former colleagues for two years.

Also, he would prohibit members of the 114th Congress from receiving a pay raise.

And, he supports terminating congressional pensions, replacing them with a 401k retirement plan.

“This package of bills represents an effort to hold members of Congress to a higher standard of transparency and accountability,” Fitzpatrick said. “Though these reforms may not be popular with members of Congress, I know they would make the government work better for each hardworking constituent and begin to rebuild the confidence of the American people in elective government. As we enter a new era of divided government, these measures represent neither Republican nor Democrat favor, rather the belief that each member owes respect, efficiency and transparency to those they represent.”

The 8th District includes all of Bucks County and a portion of Montgomery County.

Fitzpatrick was recently presented the Children’s Champion Award by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for his work in support of pediatric medicine and research.

“As a father of six, I’m grateful for the work being done each day at CHOP — notably the largest pediatric research hospital in the world. We can agree the path to delivering exceptional care begins with innovative medical research,” Fitzpatrick said. “Families in need should be provided with the most advanced care available — — and I’ve seen what CHOP can do.”

The Children’s Champion Award was established in 2007 by CHOP to honor individuals or organizations that improve the lives of children through public health policy, education and advocacy. The award recognizes the contributions of child advocates, and celebrates the passion required to enhance the quality of life for children.

“We are pleased to honor Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick with the Children’s Champion Award,” said Steven M. Altschuler, CEO at CHOP. “Congressman Fitzpatrick’s advocacy in support of children has helped to ensure funding for scientific research of pediatric diseases such as cancer and autism, and provide CHIP healthcare coverage to low-income children.”

Fitzpatrick is a member of the Rare Disease Caucus and the Childhood Cancer Caucus. He supports additional funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I will continue to advocate for medical research and innovation, access to quality pediatric care and strong bipartisan support for our medical and research professionals — the best in the world,” Fitzpatrick said. “We share a common bond and a common goal: doing what is best for the children, fighting for the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy, and supporting the gift of life.”

State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, a Republican from Bensalem, has been appointed to continue as chairman of the House Human Services Committee for the new 2015–16 session, which kicked off last week with swearing-in ceremonies.

“Serving in this capacity is one of the highlights of my tenure in the House,” DiGirolamo said. “There is nothing more fundamental in public service than helping people, and with this committee, we have the ability to enact meaningful policies that will truly help those with some of the greatest needs.”

The House Human Services Committee has oversight of issues within the Department of Human Services and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Under DiGirolamo’s leadership for the past two sessions, the Human Services Committee held extensive hearings regarding the delivery of human services throughout the Commonwealth and the challenges being faced by individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, along with those needing mental health services and drug and alcohol treatment.

In the new session, DiGirolamo will be focused on helping to restore many of the budget cuts to human service programs in the last few years.

State Rep. Tina Davis, a Democrat, began her third term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during the Jan. 6 swearing-in ceremonies in the state Capitol.

“I’m eager and prepared to begin charting a new course for the commonwealth,” Davis said. “I am enthusiastic about working with Republicans, Democrats and Gov.-elect Tom Wolf’s administration to put Pennsylvania on a better path.”

Davis said she will resume her advocacy for property tax reform. She has served in the state legislature since 2011, after serving multiple terms on the Bristol Township Council.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for email updates from Davis on state issues by visiting her website, www.pahouse.com/Davis, where links to her Facebook and Twitter accounts also are posted.

State Rep. John Galloway, a Democrat, was sworn in last week to begin his fifth term representing the people of the 140th Legislative District.

Galloway’s focus will be on pension reform and job creation. He will search for alternatives to what he believes is an unfair system of funding education on the backs of homeowners.

“Effective public schools are vital to our future. But we need a statewide education funding system that takes the bulk of the financial burden off homeowners while ensuring all children have access to a quality education,” he said.

“Now that we have some history with the extraction in Pennsylvania, we need to reconsider the Marcellus Shale issues. It is apparent that there are many environmental issues still to be addressed, such as the waste water and drill site accidents, and the drillers are receiving too much of a bargain. We can start to restore some of the critical funding cuts of the past years simply by raising the extraction fees to match surrounding states.”

In addition, Galloway will again introduce “Monica’s Law,” which was originally introduced last March. This bill would allow a living donor to receive a state income tax deduction for travel expenses incurred in the donation process. The bill was named in honor of Galloway’s cousin, who donated a kidney to another relative in California. The donation process required two unreimbursed trips to the West Coast and loss of income from work. Last year, the bill was sent to consideration in the House Finance Committee, but was not acted upon before the end of the 2013–14 session.

“Pennsylvania businesses may qualify for a tax credit for allowing their employees the time to donate an organ. It is only appropriate that the donor receive some financial support as well,” Galloway said.

The 140th Legislative District consists of the boroughs of Bristol, Morrisville and Tullytown, Falls Township and parts of Bristol and Middletown townships.

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