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State Representative Justin Simmons Report

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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, April 20, 2018  The latest news from the State Capitol

Healthy Aging Expo Set for Thursday

Just another reminder that I will be hosting a special event for older residents in the 131st District on Thursday, April 26. Our Healthy Aging Expo will feature dozens of representatives from nonprofit agencies; local, state and federal governments; and local businesses who will provide information and answer questions about the programs and services they offer to area seniors.

This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Senior Living, 4851 Saucon Creek Road in Center Valley. We hope to see you there!

Promoting Self-Sufficiency with Welfare Work Requirements

To ensure that public assistance programs can benefit those in legitimate need, the House is advancing three measures designed to encourage self-reliance through work experiences. In other states with work requirements, families have seen their incomes double and have been able to follow their dreams of self-sustainability.

Passing the House this week was House Bill 2138, which would require the Department of Human Services to institute work or community engagement requirements for able-bodied Medical Assistance recipients. The work requirements include being employed or attending a job training program for 20 or more hours a week or completing 12 job training program-related activities in a month. Exceptions do apply for those unable to work.

Also before the House is House Bill 1659, which would require healthy (able-bodied) adults without children to work, perform community service, participate in a work program or be enrolled as a full-time student in order to receive SNAP (food stamp) benefits.

Another bill advancing to help ensure maximum efficiency of welfare programs is House Bill 1618, which would require the forfeiture of any assistance allotments that are unused after a six-month period.

My Legislation on the Move

I am pleased to report that legislation I am sponsoring that would remove the ability of school board candidates to cross-file nomination petitions in Pennsylvania was approved by the House this week. House Bill 638 will next be considered by the Senate.

Voters are often confused when a school board candidate receives the nomination of more than one party on the ballot. By eliminating a candidate’s ability to cross-file, we would provide some clarity to voters in school board elections.

Filling In-Demand Jobs Now and in the Future

To help job creators fill in-demand jobs now and in the future, the House is considering a nine-bill bipartisan package seeking to improve career and technical education opportunities and enhance science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

The package includes measures to promote public-private partnerships; remove barriers for qualified career and technical educators; expand awareness of training opportunities and future earning potential; increase flexibility for innovative secondary career and technical programs; enhance and promote articulation agreements; develop and maintain a comprehensive online career resource center; coordinate state-level career exploration and workforce development opportunities; improve local and occupational advisory committees; and add K-12 teachers to the membership of the Workforce Development Board.

The bills are expected to receive a final vote in the House the week of April 30. Learn more here.

At the Capitol

Students from St. Ann School in Emmaus visited the Capitol on Tuesday. I had the chance to spend some time with them in the Main Rotunda.

I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from the Epilepsy Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Lehigh Valley Resource Coordinator Ellen Baca (second from left) does great work for them.

April is ‘Donate Life Month’

To encourage people to give the gift of life, House Resolution 821 was adopted by the House this week to declare April 2018 as Donate Life Month in Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, about 8,000 people are on the organ donation waiting list and, on average, every 18 hours one of them will die waiting for the call that never comes.

The encouraging news is that more people are making the decision to “donate life.” About 4.7 million Pennsylvanians have said yes to organ and tissue donation by adding the donor designation on their driver’s license. More than 138 million Americans are registered donors.

In addition, Pennsylvania driver’s license and ID card holders can support organ donation programs with a $1 donation at the time of application or renewal. To date, nearly $14 million has been generously donated to the fund.

Learn more here.

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21 N. Main Street, Unit 9, Coopersburg, PA 18036 | Phone: (610) 282-0160
191 Main St., Suite 104, Emmaus, PA 18049 I Phone: (610) 965-5830
 56 W. Fourth St., Second Floor, Red Hill, PA 18076 I Phone: (215) 679-3152
5 East Wing, PO Box 202131, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2131 | (717) 783-1673
Email: jsimmons@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614

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