Here's this week's State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):
Lawmakers Rally Against State Tax on Single Parents Getting Child Support
Republican lawmakers joined affected families this week to unveil legislation that would repeal a $25 tax on single parents collecting child support. Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery) has introduced House Bill 2749, which has 40 co-sponsors, to repeal the tax. The tax was prompted by a 2005 federal law requiring certain levels of reimbursement from states that receive child support funds from the federal government. State lawmakers were left to determine how that reimbursement was to be funded. Earlier this year, Harper and a number of other lawmakers attempted to amend legislation to make the state solely responsible for that fee, but failed when 117 legislators voted against the bill. Harper is hoping that her legislation can be acted upon in the upcoming legislative session.
Proposal to Allow Low-Cost Prescriptions in Pennsylvania Touted
Legislation introduced by Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) to allow retail pharmacies to offer extensive low-cost prescription drug programs sometimes available in other states was the subject of a recent press conference. Under Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices Act, which was enacted in 1941, pharmacies offering discounted prescription drug programs are prevented from selling some drugs at the same low price that they can in other states. Murt's legislation, House Bill 2486, would remedy this situation by exempting prescription medications from the Unfair Trade Practices Act. House Bill 2486 is currently before the House Consumer Affairs Committee.
Fire and Ambulance Service Grant Information Now Available
Lawmakers are reminding volunteer fire departments and ambulance services that the window to apply for thousands of dollars in state grant funding is quickly approaching. Volunteer fire companies and ambulance units will be able to apply for the grants, via the Internet, no later than Sept. 5 at the latest and lasting for 45 days. Grants are used to improve and enhance capabilities of vital emergency preparedness services such as construction or renovation of a unit's station, the purchase or repair of equipment, training or debt reduction. Maximum grant awards for this year are $15,000 for volunteer fire companies and $10,000 for volunteer ambulance services. For more information on Fire and Ambulance Service grants, visit www.osfc.state.pa.us online.