Capitol Roundup
Lawmakers Work to Protect Against Illegal Municipal Gun Ordinances

The General Assembly is working on legislation to help deter local governments from establishing their own firearms laws. State law already prohibits the adoption of any local ordinances regarding ownership, possession or transportation of firearms; however, some municipalities, such as the City of Philadelphia, have adopted their own rules anyway. To help prevent this practice, the legislation gives legal standing to any person who has been adversely affected by any regulation put forth or enforced in violation of this premise, to seek injunctive and declarative relief, as well as damages. The measure passed the House as part of House Bill 1243, which also would require the Pennsylvania State Police to provide existing mental health records already incorporated in the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) to the National Instant Check System (NICS) and require ongoing submissions of this data to NICS within 72 hours of PSP receiving it. That bill is awaiting action in the Senate.

Bill Aims to Enhance Cancer Treatment Options
Legislation to help make oral anticancer medications more affordable and accessible to patients was recently approved by the state House. Currently, intravenous anticancer medications are typically covered under a health plan’s medical benefit, often only requiring patients to pay a minimal fixed co-payment; however, orally administered anticancer medications are covered under a health plan’s pharmacy benefit and require patients to pay a percentage of the total cost of the drug, generally between 25 percent and 30 percent. This significantly increases the out-of-pocket costs to obtain treatment for patients. Recognizing that the oral medications make it easier and more convenient for patients to stick to their treatment plan, House Bill 2471 would prohibit insurance companies from placing oral anticancer medications on a specialty tier or charging a co-insurance payment for the medication. This would make the option more affordable for patients. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Measure Will Help Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

In an effort to combat the growing opioid abuse problem throughout Pennsylvania, the state House passed legislation this week to create a statewide database of certain types of prescription medication records. The database would be maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and would collect Pennsylvanians’ prescription medication records only if the substances fall on Schedules II-V of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Examples of medications that fall into this schedule are OxyContin, Tylenol with codeine and Valium. Medical practitioners, pharmacists and law enforcement would have access to this confidential database, while those patients with prescriptions would be able to obtain their records at no charge once a year. Law enforcement would only be able to access the database through the state Office of Attorney General if relevant to an active investigation. The database would also alert practitioners to patients who may be “doctor or pharmacy shopping” to feed an addiction. The bill awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Representative Mike Peifer
139th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
(717) 772-9846
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