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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of November 6, 2017

Navigating the Aging Process Informational Sessions
WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, the Lebanon County Area Agency on Aging and I will hold two informational sessions on Navigating the Aging Process. The sessions will benefit those beginning advanced care planning and family members who may bear responsibility for their elder family members down the road. Click here for details. For questions or more information, email fbinner@pasen.gov.

The first session on Medical Directive Forms is Wednesday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m. at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital (4th & Walnut Streets, Lebanon), Classrooms 1 & 2. Attorney Edward J. Coyle and WellSpan Health Medical Director Dr. Vipul Bhatia will be the speakers. The session will focus on durable and medical Power of Attorneys (POAs), Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and Living Wills.

The second session on Medicaid and Levels of Care is Wednesday, November 15 at 6:00 p.m., also at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. Jeffrey Boehler, Jr. and Cynthia Klingler from the Lebanon Area Agency on Aging, and Kim Bahata and Roberta Geidner from WellSpan Health will be the speakers. This session will focus on Medicaid and the differences between in-home care, nursing homes, assisted living and personal care homes.

Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
Senate Bill 325 – Act 11A – appropriates $30,416,000 to the University of Pennsylvania;
Senate Bill 326 – Act 12A – appropriates $252,510,000 to the Pennsylvania State University;
Senate Bill 327 – Act 13A – appropriates $146,973,000 to the University of Pittsburgh;
Senate Bill 328 – Act 14A – appropriates $150,586,000 to Temple University;
Senate Bill 329 – Act 15A – appropriates $14,436,000 to Lincoln University;
House Bill 409 – Act 36 – updates the Uniform Construction Code adoption process;
House Bill 1288 – Act 37 – includes optometrists in the list of medical providers who may certify a disability for a handicapped plate or placard.

November Cable Show: Miss Pennsylvania, Katie Schreckengast
My November Community Report cable show is ready to watch! In this month’s show, we feature Miss Pennsylvania, Katie Schreckengast, of Palmyra, Lebanon County. Katie made Pennsylvania very proud during the Miss America competition in September where she made it into the Top 10! Learn more about Katie in this month’s show when she visits the Senate of Pennsylvania, including her journey to Miss Pennsylvania and her platform, “Building Families Through Adoption.” Comcast On Demand and WHBG TV 20 should also be airing through the month of November.

November 2017 - Miss Pennsylvania

Column: Medical Cannabis & Research
Quality research was an important goal of mine when I was advocating to bring medical cannabis to Pennsylvania. That’s why I was especially pleased – and strongly supported – an amendment Representative Kathy Watson added during House deliberations to establish “Chapter 20”: “Academic Clinical Research Centers.”

An Academic Clinical Research Center is an accredited Pennsylvania medical school that operates or partners with an acute care hospital within the Commonwealth.

To the best of my knowledge, there are nine medical schools in Pennsylvania: the Perelman School of Medicine (University of Pennsylvania), the Pittsburgh School of Medicine (University of Pittsburgh), Thomas Jefferson University, the Temple School of Medicine, the Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College, Drexel University College of Medicine, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Under the provisions of Pennsylvania’s 2016 medical cannabis law, these institutions would be able to enter into a contractual relationship with a “clinical registrant” – an entity holding both a medical cannabis grower/processor permit and a medical cannabis dispensary permit – to compete for one of eight clinical research permits to conduct medial cannabis research.

For me, research has been – and continues to be – a key component in advocating for the use of medical cannabis. Throughout the debates over my bill, I was told: “Mike, you don’t have the research to prove the benefits of medical cannabis – all you have are anecdotes.”

To the contrary, I had done my research – and I continue to do my research, talking with experts from across the nation and some from other parts of the world. More importantly, I have seen the benefits for countless patients – especially children and veterans. Before using medical cannabis they were either non-functioning or “didn’t feel human.” After medical cannabis, the impacts were remarkable and each had a profound and lasting impact on me personally.

I’m pleased with the outstanding collaboration I’ve seen from the Governor and his Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the four legislative caucuses (Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, House Republicans, and House Democrats) in developing the required regulations to implement this key component of Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis law.

I believe there’s a shared goal to ensure the roll out of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania will serve the needs of patients throughout the Commonwealth in an efficient and timely manner. I also believe Chapter 20 and its research goals will make Pennsylvania a leader not only in the nation but throughout the world in medical cannabis research.

When my bill to give patients the option of seeking the benefits of medical cannabis was being deliberated, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman probably said it best: “this issue is too big, it’s too important, and too many people are depending on us to get it right.” Senator Corman added: “for all the times the Senate has been criticized for acting too quickly, this is one time we’re going to take our time to be sure we get it right.”

As work has proceeded to bring medical cannabis to Pennsylvania, many have acknowledged both the House and Senate “got it right” in enacting this law and much has been accomplished to date to allow for its timely and effective implementation.

Hopefully, implementation of Chapter 20 and the establishment of up to eight clinical registrants will be next. To me, ensuring proper implementation of Chapter 20 requires everyone to remain focused on the goal, namely: RESEARCH!

“Talk to Your State Senator” Middle and High School Statewide Video Competition
The PA Senate is holding a statewide video competition with support from the Drug and Alcohol Service Providers Organization of PA. The competition is open to all PA students grades 6-12. The video entry must address preventing teens from starting drugs – legal and illegal – including alcohol. Help the legislature create policies that work. Deadline for entry is December 10. Find more information, official rules and the registration form here. Videos will be judged in two categories: Middle School and High School. First place in each category will receive $2500, second place will receive $1500 and third place $1000. Prize money will be awarded through the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan.

Nominations Open for Lebanon County Commission for Women’s Hall of Fame
Nominations are now open for the Lebanon County Commission for Women’s 2018 Women’s Hall of Fame. Consider nominating a colleague, friend, relative or acquaintance who goes above and beyond in their volunteer or professional efforts and who have made significant contributions to their community while serving as role models and hidden heroes. Nomination forms can be found here and will be accepted through November 30.


Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

When contacting my office by e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.

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