Senator Mastriano E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Legislation to Save Lives Through Expanded Fentanyl Testing Heads to the Governor’s Desk
  • Senate Approves Bill to Eliminate Funeral Director Remarriage Penalty
  • Wreaths Across America Recognizes Fallen Heroes
  • More Veterans Courts Needed in PA
  • Senate Finalizes 2023-24 State Budget
  • Bill to Safeguard Transit Operators Passes Senate
  • Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors
  • 2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now
  • Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season
  • Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

Legislation to Save Lives Through Expanded Fentanyl Testing Heads to the Governor’s Desk

The state House Wednesday approved legislation I introduced that could save lives by expanding fentanyl and xylazine testing in Pennsylvania.

Fentanyl is the No. 1 cause of death for Americans ages 18-45. Xylazine is a lethal tranquilizer that is increasingly being mixed with other illegal drugs – including methamphetamines, cocaine and counterfeit drugs such as Xanax – leading to additional overdose deaths.

Senate Bill 683 would require general acute care hospitals to test for fentanyl and xylazine when treating a person who is receiving a standard, five-panel urine drug screening in an emergency room setting. A regular opioid test does not test for fentanyl and xylazine.

A recent Epic Research study showed only 5% of toxicology screens currently test overdose patients for Fentanyl. The percentage is even smaller for xylazine testing.

Learn more my bill and how it also can help law enforcement personnel protect our communities by reading the full news article on my website.

Senate Approves Bill to Eliminate Funeral Director Remarriage Penalty

The state Senate this week approved a bill I introduced that would remove a provision that penalizes a funeral home director’s widow or widower if he or she gets remarried.

Wreaths Across America Recognizes Fallen Heroes

I participated this week in a Wreaths Across America ceremony to draw attention to this important effort commemorating the sacrifices of the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation. On my Facebook page, we regularly post information about Pennsylvania men and women who served and died to protect our nation and the ideals it represents.

More Veterans Courts Needed in PA

Pennsylvania military veterans in nearly two out of every three Pennsylvania counties lack access to a key resource in our criminal justice system. I want to change that.

Our military veterans served our country and our commonwealth in their times of need. These brave men and women took time away from their families and loved ones, sometimes traveled halfway across the globe and made tremendous sacrifices to defend our nation.

Some of our veterans returned home with physical injuries or scars. Many returned with emotional or psychological wounds that may take years or even decades to heal.

Many veterans saw and experienced traumatic events. Their service to our nation can leave them more vulnerable to addiction and mental illness. They bear these burdens because they defended us.

Now it is our turn to defend them.

Learn how Veterans Courts are helping veterans facing legal problems due to trauma-induced problems they suffered as a result of their military service and why we need to expand this program to more counties in Pennsylvania by reading the rest of this story on my website.

Senate Finalizes 2023-24 State Budget

The Senate on Wednesday finalized the 2023-24 state budget by approving two major bipartisan budget implementation bills, which have now been enacted into law.

A large portion of the 2023-24 state budget was completed in August with enactment of the General Appropriations Act. However, several important components still required additional budget implementation language to be passed by both the Senate and House and signed by the governor.

House Bill 1300 (Fiscal Code amendments) and House Bill 301 (School Code amendments) make major investments in the future of Pennsylvania and achieve many of the principles and priorities identified by Senate Republicans as a focus in March.

House Bill 1300 includes several important and time-sensitive measures, including reauthorization of funding for county 911 systems, expansion of a tax credit helping parents seek and maintain employment and allocation of funding for an additional 100 Pennsylvania State Police troopers to help make our communities safer. House Bill 301 includes many provisions to expand education empowerment and access and increase school safety. Read more.

Bill to Safeguard Transit Operators Passes Senate

The Senate passed legislation to safeguard transit operators against assault.

Senate Bill 977 would make it a felony of the third degree to interfere with and cause bodily injury to an operator of any public transit vehicle. The offense would be steepened to a felony of the first degree if the intrusion causes serious bodily injury or death.

Passage of the legislation is part of Senate Republicans’ ongoing effort to invest in infrastructure and increase public safety.

Senate Votes to Preserve Prescription Benefits for Seniors

Legislation to preserve senior citizens’ access to the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug benefit plans passed the Senate and is set for enactment.

Senate Bill 607 would continue a law set to expire this year through Dec. 31, 2025 that prevents Social Security cost-of-living increases from making seniors ineligible for PACE and PACENET.

Current income eligibility levels for PACE are set at less than $14,500 for a single person and less than $17,700 for a couple. PACENET, which covers those individuals with incomes exceeding PACE maximums, is open to individuals earning between $14,500 and $33,500 and couples with incomes between $17,700 and $41,500. The minimum age to participate in the programs is 65, and they are funded from proceeds of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

2024 Fishing Licenses, Permits for Sale Now

Fishing licenses, permits and vouchers for 2024 purchased now are valid immediately through Dec. 31, 2024. The price of an annual resident fishing license is $27.97. Multi-year options are also available in increments of three years, five years or 10 years.

They can be purchased through the HuntFishPA online portal on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, via smartphone by using the FishBoatPA mobile app or by visiting a retail license issuing agent.

Vouchers that can be given as gifts and are redeemable by recipients are also available.

Don’t Get Scammed This Holiday Season

Sadly, just as the holiday season is often a charitable time, there are people hoping to take advantage by scamming others.

From email and text phishing to delivery stealing to credit card skimming and more, there are so many ways to fall prey. Learn more about the common scams criminals use.

Protect yourself and your family by setting up alerts with your credit card company so you know when purchases are made and avoid paying with a prepaid gift card, CashApp or Venmo to buy a gift online. Never use Alexa to find a customer support number and dial for you or click on a hyperlink in an email, social media ad or text message to make a purchase. Instead, go directly to the store’s website.

Celebrating Bill of Rights Day

Friday, Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day, when we recognize the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. For 232 years, these amendments have protected our right to speak our mind, defend our families and worship as we see fit.

We hold those liberties – and the others that make up the Bill of Rights – dear and cherish how they impact our daily life as the true framework of our society.

Bill of Rights Day was first observed on the document’s 150th anniversary when former President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation dedicating Dec. 15 as the day to recognize our God-given rights.


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