I am pleased to send you this edition of my electronic newsletter. These e-newsletters enable me to provide information about issues, events and activities in Harrisburg and around the 46th Senatorial District to you in a timely manner while saving postage costs.
If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatorbartolotta.com for more information about your state government. You can also keep up to date through Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
If you do not wish to receive these e-newsletters, please click the "unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the page.
Senate Approves Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners
In rural areas throughout the state, the healthcare crisis is not only a financial concern; it is becoming increasingly difficult for many patients to even find a doctor who is accepting new patients. Last week, the Senate took action to ease this healthcare shortage by approving a bill I introduced to give nurse practitioners full practice authority to serve patients to the fullest extent of their knowledge, training and experience.
Under current law, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) can only treat patients under the supervision of a physician. My legislation would allow APRNs to practice in their field of specialty independent of a physician after they complete a three-year, 3600-hour collaboration agreement. Studies show that patients who are treated by APRNs have similar health outcomes to patients who are treated by physicians.
If approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law, my bill would make Pennsylvania the 23rd state to adopt full practice authority. Additional details about my bill are available here.
It was a pleasure to speak at a rally hosted by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape in support of victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. My remarks included a call for my colleagues to pass Tierne’s Law, legislation I introduced to help keep the most dangerous abusers behind bars.
Committee Endorses Change in Taxation of Vapor Products
The wholesale tax on vapor products that was enacted last year has created a serious strain on the industry, leading many businesses to close and leaving many more on the brink of failure. The state will not see any benefit from this tax at all if vapor product businesses continue to close.
The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill last week that I introduced to change the way Pennsylvania e-cigarette products are taxed. My bill would eliminate the wholesale tax and replace it with a 5-cents per milliliter retail tax on e-liquid. This tax is similar to what other states impose, and it would create a stable source of revenue for the state and a predictable levy for business owners.
The change in taxation is not only a budgetary concern, but also an issue of public health. Studies have shown e-cigarettes to be healthier than cigarette smoking and an effective tool for smokers who are trying to quit.
More information about that legislation is available here.
Proposal Advances to Help Mothers and Babies Affected by Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression affects an estimated 21,000 mothers and babies in Pennsylvania each year, and the health consequences of this condition can be severe. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee recently approved legislation that I sponsored to extend early intervention services to newborn and infant children of mothers affected by postpartum depression.
The state already has a monitoring system to provide services to infants who suffer from a variety of medical concerns, as well as those born into potential dangerous environments. My legislation would extend the same protection to families affected by postpartum depression so they can get the services they need.
More information about my bill is available here.
I had an opportunity to tour the Langeloth Metallurgical facility and was amazed by all of the specialty metals and alloys the company produces.
Committees Continue Study of Agency Merger Proposal
As Chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee, I have been working with a number of my colleagues to examine Governor Wolf’s plan to merge the departments of Human Services, Health, Aging, and Drug and Alcohol Programs into a single state agency. On Monday, we held the third of a series of hearings to take a closer look at how the plan would affect agencies and individuals across Pennsylvania.
Video of the hearing is available here.
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building