Capitol Roundup from Rep. Mike Peifer
Budget Season Spurs Talks on Key Issues
Each year, the General Assembly is charged with developing a balanced budget in time for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.  General Fund revenue collections came in more than $100 million less than anticipated for the month of May, and year-to-date collections are more than $500 million below estimate. The overall budget shortfall headed into the new fiscal year is approaching $1.5 billion. With a constitutional mandate of ensuring each state budget is balanced, a number of avenues for closing the budget gap are being considered, including cuts in spending, privatization of the state-owned liquor stores and public pension reform. Discussions of these challenging issues are continuing as the July 1 deadline approaches. For updates, visit
Preventing Teen Suicide, Child Exploitation Through Greater Awareness
Continuing the effort to better protect Pennsylvania children, the House has approved and sent to the governor’s desk legislation that aims to address suicide prevention and child exploitation awareness. House Bill 1559 requires all middle and high school educational facilities in the Commonwealth to adopt policies and curriculum to help professional educators and students alike recognize the signs of suicidal behavior and subsequently prevent youth suicide. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is tasked with developing a model youth suicide awareness and prevention program, guidelines and materials that will be furnished to educators and school districts, free of charge. PDE will also develop curriculum for students that can be reviewed in existing health and wellness classes. Similarly, the legislation also gives the authority to PDE to develop model curriculum to raise awareness of child exploitation in hopes of preventing this crime against our most vulnerable citizens. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature to become law and will take effect July 1.

Bill Will Boost Lyme Disease Awareness, Education and Treatment
With Pennsylvania having the highest incidences of Lyme disease nationally, experts say the disease is quickly becoming a public health epidemic. In Pennsylvania, the risk for contracting Lyme disease is highest during the months of April through July. According to the Department of Health, roughly 4,000 cases are reported here annually, with the highest incidence in the southeastern parts of the Commonwealth. In response to this growing problem, the Generally Assembly has adopted legislation directing the Department of Health to establish a task force that will investigate and make recommendations to the department regarding the education, prevention and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.  The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature to become law.

PA Hunting Licenses on Sale Now
A reminder that hunter/furtaker licenses for the 2014-15 hunting season are now available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). Licenses may be purchased online at, at PGC region offices, or from one of more than 600 issuing agents across the state. For more information, visit

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