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Schuylkill County makes history with the new legislative session
History was made during Tuesday afternoon’s swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol when Representative Neal Goodman and I formally began serving in our leadership roles for the 2015-16 legislative session in the General Assembly.
This year will mark the first time a Schuylkill County Senator and Representative will hold leadership roles at the same time in over 100 years.
In the new session, I will chair the Senate Majority Policy Committee while my colleague, Neal Goodman, will serve a second term as Caucus Administrator for the House Democratic Caucus. Goodman is the first House Democrat from Schuylkill County to hold a leadership position in the caucus since his uncle, James Goodman, served as chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee from 1977 to 1980.
I’m honored to serve as Majority Policy Chairman for the new legislative session. I’m looking forward to shedding light on issues important to local residents, working on legislation important to the people of Pennsylvania, as well as having a seat at the table during each Senate leadership meeting.
You can listen to my remarks here .
Learn more here.
Reading Eagle lists “15 political figures to watch in 2015”
Last week, Ron Southwick of the Reading Eagle listed 15 political figures to watch this year. I’m humbled for the mention. Here is the section from the Reading Eagle on December 29, 2014:
“14. David G. Argall
Argall will take his place in the state Senate Republican leadership crew. The Schuylkill County Republican will serve as chairman of the state Senate Majority Police Committee. The panel serves as a testing ground for legislation, and the committee will play a role in crafting legislation that lands on the governor's desk. Argall's district, the 29th, covers western and northern Berks County.”
You can see the entire list here.
Latest program focuses on urban “flight” affecting Pennsylvania communities
My latest edition of the Argall Report features testimony from a recent Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee hearing that focused on problems related to population loss and blight. The hearing focused on a recent report by the Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development at Wilkes University that detailed the effects of population changes in large and small cities throughout the state.
There are no easy answers to many of the problems facing our cities. One of the messages that we hear from officials throughout the state is that solutions designed to help Philadelphia or Pittsburgh won’t necessarily help Pottsville or Reading. The report from Wilkes University helped to highlight the importance of giving cities a wide range of options to deal with urban flight and decay.
An update on healthcare open enrollment
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Don White recently sent my office the following update on the healthcare open enrollment process in Pennsylvania that I thought you may find helpful:
The open enrollment period for the Federal Marketplace as well as the newly commissioned Healthy PA program is currently underway. With recent federal approval of Governor Corbett’s Healthy PA program, affordable health care is now available to over 600,000 Pennsylvanians who previously did not qualify for either traditional Medicaid or subsidies available on the Federal Marketplace.
Healthy PA is a Pennsylvania-specific solution that will improve and reform the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program and increase access to affordable health care. In addition to reforming the current Medicaid program, Healthy PA expands coverage to individuals between the ages of 21 to 64 who are below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) through a private coverage option. Open enrollment for coverage has begun and there is no deadline to apply. For more information on Healthy PA or to apply for coverage, you should visit www.healthypa.com or call 1-866-550-4355.
Coverage also remains available through the Federal Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment on the Marketplace has begun and will run through February 15, 2015. Families and individual that do not currently qualify for medical assistance or Healthy PA’s private option may qualify for subsidies (or choose to buy coverage at market rate) on the Federal Marketplace. For more information or to apply for coverage, you should visit www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.
Home heating assistance program open
Cold temperatures and winter weather are prompting a reminder from the PA Department of Human Services that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is open.
LIHEAP offers cash grants sent directly to your utility company or fuel provider to be credited to your account. The program also issues crisis grants for emergencies such as:
Eligibility begins, for a household of one, with an income limit of $17,505 and increases by $6,090 per additional household resident.
Applications for LIHEAP are being accepted online, onpaper, or in person at the county assistance office. For additional information or questions, contact your county assistance office or call 1-866-857-7095.
Get your hunting photo on television!
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is encouraging hunters to submit photos of their favorite hunting moments for a chance to star in the next GoHuntPA television commercial. Please visit www.gohuntpa.org for more information on this unique opportunity to showcase your trophy shots on television.