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Bills from local reps move ahead in General Assembly

A proposal to expand firefighter training to high school students brought forward by Senator Michele Brooks has passed the state Senate.

“By encouraging school districts and career technical schools to partner with institutions of higher education, we can help recruit and retain firefighters at a time when first responders are desperately needed,” Brooks said in a bill memo.

“This legislation would award three grants of $150,000 each, which would be distributed to three community colleges or PASSHE schools in the Commonwealth, one in the eastern, central, and western parts of the state,” she explained. “The grants will be used to establish fire training programs for students in high school during the school year, with the hope they will remain firefighters for years to come.”

The bill passed the Senate 47-0 and was working through the process to final passage, not yet attained, last week in the House. However, it cleared committee in the House unanimously.

A proposal brought forward by State Representative Kathy Rapp to ensure “patients have access to available and emerging diagnostics and treatment options for Lyme disease and related tick-borne diseases” passed 136-66 in the House on Monday.

“In the last eight years, Pennsylvania has ranked highest in the country in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease. Since 2016, Pennsylvania has reported more than 10,000 cases of Lyme disease annually, which translates to 122,000 new cases and about 40 percent of the nation’s cases in Pennsylvania alone,” Rapp wrote in a bill memo. “My legislation will require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment. This legislation passed the House last session by a vote of 158-34.”

The measure has been referred to the Banking and Insurance Committee in the Senate.

State Senator Scott Hutchinson has partnered with Senator Doug Mastriano to bring legislation offering Pennsylvanians more ways to register to vote or change their registration.

“In the near future we intend to introduce legislation providing for a process by which Pennsylvania residents applying for a hunting, trapping, or fishing license may simultaneously register to vote or update their current voter registration, similar to the ‘motor voter’ process made available through PennDOT when applying for a driver’s license,” the Senators write in a memo.

They say the measure will “increase voting participation” in the Commonwealth.

That bill has not yet been introduced.

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