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Legislative roundup

Local Republicans endorse Dave McCormick for U.S. Senate; Tomlinson-Marcell legislation would increase suicide awareness

Dave McCormick. Submitted Photo

Local Republicans back McCormick

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, state Sen. Frank Farry and state Reps. Joe Hogan and K.C. Tomlinson have endorsed Dave McCormick in his run for U.S. Senate.

“I am so grateful for the support of Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth who are coming together to beat Bob Casey and bring leadership to Washington. Working together with these great Pennsylvania leaders, we can renew America and prevent six more years of the failed Biden agenda and Rubber Stamp Bob Casey,” McCormick said. ••

Expanded access for home infusion treatments

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Neal Dunn introduced the Joe Fiandra Access to Home Infusion Act of 2023 to codify a proposed rule that would expand access to home infusion treatments by classifying certain approved drugs as Durable Medical Equipment and ensure that these lifesaving treatments are covered under Medicare benefits. The bill is named for Joe Fiandra, a Warrington resident and Army veteran who passed away in 2022 due to amyloidosis.

“Our health care policies should expand, not restrict, access to life-saving treatments – including home infusions,” Fitzpatrick said. “I am proud to introduce this legislation in honor of my constituent, Joe Fiandra, to ensure that more patients have adequate access to and coverage for lifesaving drugs.”

In 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a provision that would have clarified that the Home Infusion Therapy Benefit, which was passed as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, was not limited to drugs that are self-administered. The provision would have enabled pump-administered drugs requiring some health care professional-administration to be covered for home infusion by Medicare. Several drugs used to treat rare diseases require health care professional administration through DME pumps.

The Joe Fiandra Access to Home Infusion Act of 2023 is supported by the Amyloidosis Support Group. ••

Presentation on estate planning

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Linda Bobrin will be giving a presentation on Oct. 6 from 9:30 to 10 a.m., at Northampton Township James E. Kinney Center.

For more information, email Rachel Landsberg at ralandsberg@buckscounty.org. ••

GOP leader pans Shapiro order

House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler said Gov. Josh Shapiro’s new automatic voter registration system should be created through legislation, not executive guidance.

“This unilateral action on the eve of what is likely to be a hotly contested and close election will cause many Pennsylvania voters to continue to question the security and results of our system,” Cutler said.

Cutler pointed out questions remain about how automatic voter registration will work practically in terms of determining voter eligibility and the additional burdens it will place on an already stressed bureaucracy.

“Just because someone is eligible for a state-issued identification card does not mean they are eligible to vote. With legislative proposals that would provide driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and the ability to vote taken away from those who commit serious crimes, there has been no information provided to us about how automatic voter registration will remain nimble in the face of change and workable in the determination of eligibility,” Cutler said. ••

Congressional authority on NATO

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Turner, Gerry Connolly and Jennifer McClellan introduced a joint resolution to boost congressional authority regarding the United States’ membership in the North American Treaty Organization Alliance.

H.J. Res. 89 mandates any president who intends to withdraw the United States from NATO to acquire congressional approval or the advice and consent of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate before doing so. The joint resolution also authorizes the House and Senate to retain counsel for any legal procedures or court challenges tied to the establishment of Congress’ authority to uphold U.S. commitments as a member of NATO.

Sens. Tim Kaine and Marco Rubio introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

“NATO is critical to the security and economic stability of the United States and our Western coalition of allies,” said Fitzpatrick, an appointed member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. “As a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I firmly believe that our nation’s responsibility to lead the alliance has never been more important. This bipartisan resolution ensures that the integrity of the alliance is maintained and the sole authority of Congress to determine the status of America’s treaty obligations is reaffirmed.” ••

Importance of suicide awareness

Reps. K.C. Tomlinson and Kristin Marcell have co-sponsored legislation to require the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to prominently post information about suicide awareness and the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in all state parks and forests throughout Pennsylvania.

“With 164 suicides tragically occurring at Pennsylvania state parks and forests since 2010, we hope more awareness can help save lives,” Marcell said.  “If there is even a small chance this action will result in a person choosing not to end his or her life, it is clearly a step worth taking.”

There have been several suicides and attempted suicides in local parks in Bucks County, including 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone, who ended her life in Tyler State Park in 2016.

“We have come a long way in developing resources to assist those who are contemplating suicide,” Tomlinson said. “Studies show that when people think twice about suicide by receiving a text or a call or seeing a sign, the chances of them changing their mind increase. In honor of Lindsey, we need to show people that hope and help are available.”

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has been rolled out nationwide as an easy to remember and easy to dial hotline that connects individuals thinking about suicide, or who need emotional support, with a skilled, trained crisis worker. This service is available 24/7 and is free to call.

House Bill 1705 would require the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to prominently post information about this crisis line and suicide awareness in all state parks and forests throughout Pennsylvania. ••

Honor proposed for fallen serviceman

Rep. Joe Hogan introduced legislation that would designate a bridge in Middletown Township as the Staff Sgt. Jae S. Moon Memorial Bridge.

“Staff Sgt. Moon is one of the many local heroes we have here in the 142nd,” Hogan said. “Renaming this bridge after Staff Sgt. Moon is one of the little things we can do to honor the sacrifice he made for our country.”

Staff Sgt. Jae S. Moon was born in South Korea in 1985 but spent most of his life as a Pennsylvania resident. He graduated from Neshaminy High School in 2003 and enlisted in the United States Army. His dream was to use the GI bill and ultimately become an FBI agent. On Dec. 25, 2006, Moon died due to injuries received when an IED detonated near his vehicle. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

“In recognition of Staff Sgt. Moon’s service and sacrifice, I am proud to introduce this legislation,” Hogan said, “I hope this commemoration will bring comfort to his family and friends, as well as honor Staff Sgt. Moon’s sacrifice to protecting the ideas and values of our great nation.” ••

Honoring flooding victim

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced a bill to rename the Washington Crossing Post Office after Susan Barnhart, who lost her life in the flooding that devastated the Bucks County community in July.

“Susan Barnhart was beloved in Bucks County and made various contributions to our community,” Fitzpatrick said. “The flooding that devastated parts of Bucks County this past July tragically took several members of our community from us, including Susan. I am honored to remember Susan’s lasting legacy through this bipartisan legislation, and I thank Congresswoman Watson Coleman for joining me.”

Barnhart treasured the various outdoor activities that Bucks County has to offer, and worked in multiple capacities throughout the community, including at the Washington Crossing and Newtown U.S. Postal Service branches.

“My sister, Susan Barnhart, was very well known in the community. She was the first person to help anyone she could, in any way she could,” said Lynda Barnhart, Susan’s sister. “Susan has always done jobs working with people and was always very well liked and truly dedicated to her work.” ••

Free wills for veterans and first responders

Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans’ Court Linda Bobrin will be hosting her second free wills event through Wills for Heroes on Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. at the Bucks County Bar Association, 135 E. State St.

The event provides wills, living wills, health care and financial powers of attorney to military veterans and first responders and their spouses/partners.

Appointments will last about one hour per person and must be scheduled online at pabar.org/wfh/. The password is Bucks.

The Wills for Heroes program is available to Pennsylvania residents with estates under $750,000. Proof of affiliation or DD214 will be requested at the event.

Participating attorneys will receive refreshments and two CLE credits. Volunteer paralegals, law students, notaries and witnesses are also needed.

Interested volunteers can email Bobrin at lbobrin@buckscounty.org or Rachel Landsberg at ralandsberg@buckscounty.org.

For more information, call 215-348-6261. ••

Kudos to CB East

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick released the following statement after Central Bucks East High School received the 2023 National Blue Ribbon distinction for excellence in academics:

“I’m so proud of the hardworking students, educators, and staff members at CB East for earning this prestigious distinction. CB East has a long tradition of academic excellence, and this award is a direct result of all of their hard work. Congratulations to CB East!”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program gives recognition to public and private elementary, middle and high schools for excellence in academics. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the program, and more than 10,000 awards have been given. ••

Dollars for Amtrak’s Morrisville operation

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick announced that the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) received a CRISI Grant from the Federal Railroad Administration for its Engineering Track Foremen Workforce Development Apprenticeship Training Program for their Morrisville operation.

Amtrak received a total of $8.8 million that will be used for its proposed project that involves workforce development activities to implement a pilot engineering Track Foremen/Inspectors workforce development apprenticeship training program to further develop the existing program and increase the overall knowledge base required to safely supervise field operations. The proposed project also involves other activities for an additional program that will help employees obtain full Track Foremen/Inspectors certification. Recognizing there may not be an adequate number of seasoned, highly skilled employees providing knowledge transfer and mentorship, the project will support the development of a comprehensive training requirement for new employees and help provide upward mobility for current employees.

“The services provided by Amtrak are so critical in our region and their operation has a direct impact on transportation, our economy and beyond,” Fitzpatrick said. “As the co-chair of the Bipartisan Building Trades Caucus and as a leading champion of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, I am thrilled to see robust technical career training opportunities like this coming to Bucks County. These federal dollars will help Amtrak better serve the people across Bucks and Montgomery counties and provide good-paying jobs focused on maintaining and strengthening the Northeast Corridor’s rail infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to see IIJA projects and programs roll out and provide new opportunities for our community.”

The purpose of the CRISI program is to invest in a range of projects within the United States to improve railroad safety, efficiency and reliability; mitigate congestion at both intercity passenger and freight rail chokepoints to support the more efficient movement of both people and goods; enhance multimodal connections; and lead to new or substantially improved Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation corridors. ••

More coverage for mental health services

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and David Trone introduced the Opening Plans To Individuals and Offering New Services for Mental Health Act, legislation that will allow employers to provide families with first dollar coverage of mental health services up to $500 per family via Health Savings Accounts.

The bill has been marked up by the Ways and Means Committee.

“Our nation’s mental health crisis is devastating our communities, and we must do everything possible to increase access and affordability to critical mental health resources,” said Fitzpatrick, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. “The OPTIONS for Mental Health Act will empower families to use their Health Savings Accounts to utilize mental health services at a more affordable rate, which will improve outcomes and save lives.” ••

Farry office hours in Bensalem

State ​​Sen. Frank Farry (R-6th dist.) is offering satellite office hours the first Wednesday of every month, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bensalem Township Municipal Building, 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Farry’s staff will be on site to assist with state government services; Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications, birth and death certificate applications, SEPTA Senior Key card registrations and renewals; and unemployment issues. ••

Lower South supervisor meeting schedule

The Lower Southampton Township Board of Supervisors will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m., at the Township Building, 1500 Desire Ave., Feasterville.

Future meetings, all at the same time and location, are scheduled for Oct. 25, Nov. 8 and 20 and Dec. 13 and 20. ••

Bensalem Council meeting schedule

Bensalem Township Council meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building at 2400 Byberry Road, Bensalem.

Meetings can be viewed live on Comcast Xfinity Channel 22 in Bensalem and on Verizon Fios Channel 34 throughout Bucks County. They can also be streamed live on the Bensalem Township YouTube channel.

The schedule is Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and 27 and Dec. 4 (budget meeting) and 11. ••

Bensalem school board meeting schedule

The Bensalem Township Board of School Directors holds meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy D. Call Administrative Center, 3000 Donallen Drive, Bensalem.

Upcoming meetings will take place on Oct. 24, Nov. 28 and Dec. 19 (third Tuesday).

The public is invited to attend.

The School Board annual reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. ••

Commissioners meeting Oct. 4

The Bucks County Commissioners will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 10:30 a.m. at the Bucks County Administration Building, 55 E. Court St., in Doylestown.

The meeting will be broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel.

Future meetings will be on Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. ••

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