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Boscola Bulletin

Sweeping Reforms for Child Sexual Abuse Signed into Law

Every session since 2001, I’ve introduced legislation seeking to remove the statute of limitations for criminal charges and in civil cases for child sexual abuse acts and related offenses.  Almost two decades have passed and important changes with regard to statute of limitations has finally become state law. 

Last week, Governor Tom Wolf signed several bills into law which I proudly voted for.  The 40th Statewide Grand Jury Report of 2018 included several recommendations of which three of four recommendations have been resolved with the signing of these bills.  The fourth and final one will eventually become a ballot initiative seeking to amend the remedies clause in the Pennsylvania Constitution to open a two-year window for prior victims of sexual abuse to sue.  Additionally, as mentioned above, I have always felt that criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse should NEVER have a limitation on charges being filed.

Below is a little more information about what the new laws do?

Act 87 – Eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for sexual abuse of children.  The law also extends the age limit for the civil statute of limitations until the victim reaches age 55.  Previously, victims only had until age 30 to file a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse suffered as a minor.  Also included in the law change, victims of sexual abuse between the ages of 18 and 24 have until age 30 to file a civil lawsuit, and the statute of limitations for criminal charges was extended for 20 years. 

This current session, I filed Senate Bills 681 and 682, which would remove all statute of limitations for civil and criminal charges for sexual abuse of a minor.

Act 88 – Updated the Child Protective Services Law to increase penalties for mandated reporters that fail or continue to fail to report suspected child abuse.

This current session, I filed Senate Bill 683, which mirrored the original version of the bill signed into law as Act 88, which sought to not only bolster reporting but strengthen reporting for individuals identified as likely repeat offenders.

Act 89 – Amends the Judicial Code by declaring unlawful any confidentiality agreements, agreed to by parties that prohibits victims of childhood sexual abuse from talking to law enforcement.

This current session, I filed Senate bill 684, which would seek to accomplish the same goal that Act 89 did.

The much-discussed and hotly debated retroactivity period to allow past victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits moved one step closer to reality.  House Bill 963, is a proposed amendment to the state constitution which, if passed in the next legislative session, will go on the ballot as a question for voters.   The measure seeks to amend the remedies clause in the Pa Constitution creating the two-year window.  If it is passed again in the upcoming 2021-2022 legislative session, it would be placed on the ballot as a proposed amendment to the state constitution and voters have the ultimate say on the issue.

Medicare Open Enrollment

healthcareThe open enrollment period for Medicare closes this Saturday, Dec. 7.  Through Saturday, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to make changes to their current Medicare coverage, as well as join, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage plans.

The PA Department of Aging wants to remind Medicare enrollees about the free health insurance counseling Pennsylvania offers. APPRISE is designed to help Pennsylvanians understand and enroll in Medicare. Counselors are specially trained staff and volunteers who can provide objective, easy-to-understand information free of charge. APPRISE counselors can help individuals understand Medicare eligibility, enrollment, financial assistance programs, coverage options, among other Medicare-related topics.

APPRISE Counselors are available locally through the Northampton County Area Agency on Aging at 610-829-4540, Lehigh County Area Agency on Aging at 610-782-3034 or APPRISE@fswp.org. Additionally, individuals can call the toll-free APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067, which is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

GREAT Holiday Gift for the Avid Angler in your Life!

2020 PA Fishing Licenses, Permits & Gift Vouchers Now on Sale

FishingThe PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) announced recently that 2020 fishing licenses are now on sale.

All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2019 through December 31, 2020. Licenses and permits can be purchased at www.gonefishingpa.com, at more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and at all PFBC regional offices.

In addition to licenses and permits, such as the trout/salmon or Lake Erie permits, customers may choose to purchase vouchers that can be given as gifts and be redeemed by recipients.

The price of an annual resident fishing license this year is still $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in 3, 5 and 10-year increments. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit. Once again for the 2020 license year, customers can purchase a collectible fishing license button for $10. This year’s button features a pumpkinseed sunfish design and is customized with the angler’s individual license number (buttons are not issued at the time of purchase and will be mailed to the buyer within 3-4 weeks).

In 2020, anglers who visit a license issuing agent in-person can receive the Fishing Summary book free of charge. The book, which outlines current fishing regulations and laws, seasons and creel limits, and safety information also includes advertising and coupons. An identical, digital version of the Fishing Summary book can be viewed and printed for free at www.FishInPA.com, or viewed on the free FishBoatPA mobile app for smart phones.

Customers purchasing a 2020 license can once again support their favorite PFBC programs through the purchase of voluntary permits for Bass, Musky, Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters, and Habitat/Waterways Conservation. These permits are not required for fishing and carry no additional privileges, but all funds generated through them are reinvested into their respective program.

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the season. This includes the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur the week before the opening of the regional and statewide openers in each area.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is a user-funded agency that operates primarily on funds generated through the sale of fishing licenses, boating registrations and associated fees. The PFBC receives no Pennsylvania General Fund tax revenue to support its programs.

WINTER UPDATE: Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted Lanternfly

As fall and winter arrive, so do Spotted Lanternfly egg masses. During winter and early spring months, the best way to control future populations of the invasive insect is to destroy their egg masses before they hatch. While most adult spotted lanternflies have frozen to death, their eggs can survive over winter and are viable from about October through July. That's why it's important to eliminate as many egg masses as possible. A single egg mass could hold 30 to 50 eggs.

Spotted Lanternfly egg masses can be found on almost any surface, particularly near tree lines. The insect is notably clever in placing their egg masses on the undersides and protected spaces on trees and objects to protect them from the cold weather. Consider looking closely at the inner air spaces of pallets, the undersides of branches, in the grooves of thick tree bark, beneath picnic tables, and even on discarded trash like foam coolers or other litter found at the edges of tree lines.

When freshly laid, egg masses appear as a smear of mud, varying in color from white to tan to grey. As they form and grow over winter, the eggs themselves will become more prominent, placed in rows that appear like corn-on-the-cob.  ** Please be safe while scraping. Don't climb ladders to scrape hard to reach egg masses.**

Tackling your winter tasks? Make sure you take a free Spotted Lanternfly permit class. A permit is required for businesses, agencies and organizations (agricultural and non-agricultural) working within the quarantine which move products, vehicles or other conveyances within or from the quarantine. SLF permit training is available online and in classroom sessions.
 
Already have your permit but wonder if you need to continue SLF inspections all winter? You do not! After adults have died off in the winter, remove and destroy any egg masses and adults.  Be sure to document the inspection and action.  After completing this step, SLF inspections may be suspended January through March.

For questions about SLF business permits visit agriculture.pa.gov/slfpermit, email SLFpermit@pa.gov, or call 717-787-5674.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Affordable Care Act Insurance Enrollment Event

It's far past time to raise the wage

I will be hosting an Affordable Care Act enrollment event Thursday, December 12, 2019 in my Bethlehem District Office. 

Enrollment experts from the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance will be available to answer any questions and guide residents through the process of enrolling in the individual insurance marketplace or Medicare. The consultations are free of charge and no appointments are necessary. A representative from Congresswoman Susan Wild’s Office will be on-hand for any federal inquiries.

The ACA enrollment event will be held from 10am to 1pm Thursday, December 12 in my Bethlehem District Office located at One East Broad Street, Suite 120, Bethlehem, PA.

Just a little information for anyone who would be attending: Anyone interested in pursuing enrollment must bring documentation to verify their annual income (W-2 or pay stub) and a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification.

The open enrollment period runs through December 15, 2019.

Appointments are encouraged & may be made by contacting my office at 610-868-8667.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

www.senatorboscola.com

BETHLEHEM OFFICE
One East Broad Street
Suite 120
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 868-8667
Fax: (610) 861-2184
Toll-free: 1-877-535-1818
EASTON OFFICE
1701 Washington Blvd.
Easton, PA 18042
(610) 250-5627
(610) 250-5629
Fax: (610) 250-1889
HARRISBURG OFFICE
458 Main Capitol Building
Senate Box 203018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3018
(717) 787-4236
Fax: (717) 783-1257
Senate of PA:
1-800-364-158 (TTY)