HEARD ON THE HILL / IN CITY HALL: Tartaglione, Washington, Stack, Brown

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NEW JUDGE Timika Lane drew special congratulations from her State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown as well as her lovely daughter Tori Lane.

NEW JUDGE Timika Lane drew special congratulations from her State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown as well as her lovely daughter Tori Lane.

Tartaglione Announces Hospital Grants, Gun Bills


State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Kensington) reports the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program has invested a total of $7 million to help the expansion of the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and make improvements at Fox Chase Cancer Center.


St. Christopher’s is receiving $3 million while Fox Chase is getting $4 million.


“RACP is designed to support the improvement of Pennsylvania’s economic, cultural, civic and historic projects, and these latest investments are important holiday gifts,” Tartaglione said. “These new investments not only will help to create jobs, but they will lead to a better quality of life as the people who receive care at St. Christopher’s and Fox Chase will benefit.”


The RACP grants were part of a group of 58 awards announced last week. The total dollar amount for all projects is $133 million. Collectively they are expected to create or sustain some 45,000 jobs in 24 counties, including Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.


Projects are selected based upon their job-creation potential, their economic impact, as well as their viability and construction readiness.


Tartaglione is also urging the legislature to act upon just-finished report on violence prevention in Pennsylvania.


The “Report of the Advisory Committee on Violence Prevention” listed 44 recommendations in its 295-page report.


Tartaglione said one of the panel’s important suggestions is to require gun owners to promptly report lost or stolen firearms.


The Philadelphia Democrat has proposed two bills to shut down the illicit ownership of found or stolen firearms. Her first measure, SB 810, would require weapon owners to report lost or stolen guns within 24 hours of their disappearance. SB 811 would require people who sell or transfer firearms in Philadelphia to register those transactions with State Police.


“This is not a problem isolated to larger cities, but is widespread in cities of all sizes, economies and demographics throughout the state,” Tartaglione said in a letter to State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the author of a resolution that brought the study of violence in the Commonwealth.


Sen. Washington Urges More Senior Care


 Experts and advocates for proper senior care today told a State Senate panel there is more Pennsylvania can do to protect and care for its senior citizens.


State Sen. LeAnna Washington (D-Northwest) called for the panel discussion because lawmakers are working to revise the State’s strategic four-year plan on aging, as well as the Older Adult Protective Services Act, and she wanted public input from panelists with extensive knowledge of which programs work and which do not.


“We recognize the needs and lifestyles of Pennsylvania’s seniors are rapidly changing, and they face a series of unique and unprecedented challenges,” Washington said. “I hope we can strengthen protections, institute tougher penalties against abusers and make more resources available to our senior citizens so they can live more fulfilled lives in their golden years.”


“Pennsylvania’s growing population of senior citizens has earned the right to have healthy, happy retirement years,” said State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton), who chaired the policy committee. “It is our responsibility to ensure the State’s benefit programs adequately meet their needs.”




Stack Scores Pa. Medicaid Plan ‘Weak And Costly’


In a letter to Pennsylvania’s welfare secretary, State Sen. Mike Stack (D-Northeast) urged the Corbett administration to abandon its “costly and overly complicated” substitute for expanding Medicaid.


Although Pennsylvania could save taxpayers $400 million by expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, Pennsylvania Welfare Sec. Beverly Mackereth has asked the federal government to consider instead a complicated and expensive substitute.


“The Governor’s 1115 Demonstration Waiver Application for Healthy PA is late, bad policy, costly, and overly complicated,” Stack wrote to Mackereth. “This proposal should have been submitted many months ago. Instead, over 500,000 Pennsylvanians who would have been eligible for MA coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2014 must wait another year to access affordable health insurance coverage.”


Although 25 states have taken advantage of the Medicaid-expansion savings, the Corbett administration’s plan would have working families navigate a clutch of private plans. Stack, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, said the plan would have limited choice and reduced benefits.


“While the idea of allowing people to buy insurance on the open market sounds good, I am not convinced that people will have a lot of choices. They may end up buying insurance from Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, which they would have done had we simply expanded Medicaid,” he wrote. “I’m concerned that people with serious health issues such as heart attacks or cancer could exceed these caps quickly.”


Stack noted that expanding Pennsylvania’s current Medicaid program would generate $400 million in savings for the upcoming 2014-15 budget.


“Those savings could be used to fund education, job creation, and other critical needs,” he wrote.



Brown Pushes Scholarship To Military Academy


State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-W. Phila.) is seeking a student from the 190th Legislative Dist. to participate in the Valley Forge Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative and receive an annual scholarship to attend the military college.


A student seeking admission into the program must have a minimum math and verbal combined SAT score of 1000 or a 20 on the ACT and an overall high school 2.5 grade-point average. Candidates should also exhibit involvement in sports or other extracurricular activities, demonstrate leadership potential and be service-oriented.


Annual scholarship amounts will range from $12,000 to a maximum of $17,500, depending on the student’s grade point average.


The college offers an Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program, as well as a transfer program to top-tier four-year colleges and universities throughout the country.


“Any student is eligible for this appointment, not just those pursuing a career in the Armed Forces,” Brown said.


The 190th Dist. includes portions of West and North Philadelphia on either side of Fairmount Park.


Brown has assembled a selection committee composed of local educators to review the applications and select the most qualified candidate. Applications must be submitted to Brown’s office by Feb. 11.


The scholarships will be funded by Valley Forge Military College; state funds will not be used for the program. The school will also assist in facilitating other financial aid options.


Additional information about the initiative, as well as application materials, are available by visiting Brown’s constituent service office at 1435 N. 52nd St. Materials can also be obtained from high school guidance counselors or local Army or National Guard recruiting offices.


In 2010, the Pennsylvania House recognized Valley Forge as Pennsylvania’s official military college and created the legislative appointment program at the school. Founded in 1928, Valley Forge is a co-educational, two-year transfer college located in Wayne, about 15 miles west of Philadelphia.


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