What’s happening in Harrisburg

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

From state Rep. Paul Schemel, a Republican whose district includes Greencastle and Antrim Township:

Legislative Update 

Following the controversial late October session when the budget was completed, House members have been back in their districts. It is not uncommon for the Legislature to take a short break following passage of the budget. This gives committees and members time to refocus attention on non-budget legislation. The House will return to Harrisburg the week of Thanksgiving.

During the past couple weeks I had the opportunity to work on my own legislation and to continue working with a group of 17 other House members seeking fiscal reforms in state government. This year’s budget battle reinforces the need for serious discussion of the management and use of state funds together with some of the programs, departments and entities that consume taxpayer money each year, oftentimes without any review.

I also had an opportunity to attend a forum of legislators from 25 other states and compare what is working in other states. Spending time with legislators from other states reinforces my belief that Pennsylvania should return to a part-time legislature, putting us more in line with 46 of the 50 states.

Adoptees Can Now Apply for Original Birth Certificates 

Pennsylvania adult adoptees can now apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Act 127 of 2016 reinstated this access for the first time since 1984 to allow these adults to have the same access to the record as everyone else.

The department began accepting early submissions this summer for processing now, and as of Oct. 31, 1,180 adoptees have already applied for a copy of their original birth certificate. Adoptees who submit applications should allow 45 days for processing. 

Scholarship Available to Valley Forge Military College 

We are currently seeking a worthy high school student from the 90th Legislative District to participate in the Valley Forge Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative. All interested students should visit https://www.vfmac.edu/college/college-admissions/paying-college/pa-legislative-appointment/ and fill out the application. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1, 2018.  

The Pennsylvania General Assembly created the initiative, which allows each of the state’s 203 representatives to appoint one student annually from his or her district to attend Valley Forge Military College, located in suburban Philadelphia. 

Shop Local This Season 

To spotlight the role that small businesses play, Small Business Saturday will be held Saturday, Nov. 25, to encourage residents to shop small this holiday season. Nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania employ about 2.4 million workers, as of 2014, and make up more than 98 percent of the state’s employers.

The House Majority Policy Committee, as part of its fall agenda to “Strengthen Pennsylvania’s Middle Class,” recently held a legislative hearing to discuss how state government can help small businesses succeed and the challenges small businesses face when dealing with state agencies and complex regulations.