Subscribe to this e-update.
Boscola Bulletin

CapitolIt was a busy week in Harrisburg!

Included below are some highlights that I felt deserved the spotlight this week. It important to keep you in the ‘loop’ with what is going in your state Capitol & throughout this Commonwealth.

If you ever have any questions, comments, concerns, or legislative suggestions please feel free to contact me at (610) 868-8667 or boscola@pasenate.com.

Licensure Compacts Begin to Gain Ground in Pennsylvania

As the Democratic Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure committee, I have a great interest in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania getting into more medical-licensure compacts.  This is a growing issue, and we as a state need to get more aggressive in licensure reciprocity.  Students finishing school & completing their programs are going to look at the licensure process and question why seek a license in Pennsylvania when they would be able to practice in 20 or 30 other states if they license in a compact state – joining these compacts, such as the National Physical Therapist Licensure Compact.

Senate Bill 640 is my legislation which adds Pennsylvania to the list of states in the National Physical Therapist Licensure Compact.  This bill would allow someone who is licensed as a physical therapist to have licensure recognition to practice in any one of the other 26 states enrolled with the national compact.  The bill was reported unanimously from the Senate Appropriations committee earlier this week, and next will be considered by the full Senate for adoption.

In addition to sponsoring Senate Bill 640, I’ve also sponsored a nurse licensure compact bill, and I am a co-sponsor on the Psychological Interjurisdictional Licensure Compact, Senate Bill 67.  Other related bills I’ve sponsored include, Senate Bill 356, which establishes a military spouse licensure portability program within the Pennsylvania Department of State to provide for easier transition and license processing for military families whom frequently have to move.

Bill Requiring Insurers to Cover Breast Cancer Screenings for Women in High-Risk Categories Passes the Senate

I am a proud co-sponsor of Senate Bill 595 this session which is legislation to provide insurance coverage for breast density screenings.  On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, this bill passed the Senate & is now on its way to the House. 

Dense breast complicates early detection of breast cancer. In fact, women who have extremely dense breast tissue are at a 4-6 times greater risk of developing breast cancer.

Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer, with a mammogram missing at least 40% of tumors in women with the densest breasts. Both cancer and density appear white on a mammogram so detecting tumors is much more difficult in denser breasts without further screening provided by an ultrasound or an MRI.

While about 40 percent of women who get mammograms have dense breast, almost 95% of women are unaware of their own breast density according to a recent poll. Currently insurance companies do not cover these extra screening costs for women with dense breasts. Younger women are more at risk since about 50 percent of woman under 50 years of age have dense breast.

This legislation would amend the Insurance Company Law of 1921 and will extend mandated insurance coverage to ultrasound screening and magnetic resonance imaging if a mammogram demonstrates heterogeneous or dense breast tissue. This standard is based on the Breast Imagining Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology.

Additionally, insurance coverage will also be extended if a woman is believed to be at increased risk for breast cancer due to family history or prior personal history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing or other indications as deemed medically necessary by the woman’s physician.

This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

Volunteer Fire Support Bill Approved by Committee – On Its Way to the Senate

Fire DepartmentThe State Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness unanimously approved legislation SB 932 (Senate Bill 932), which I am the prime sponsor, on Monday. This legislation would expand access to funding for more volunteer fire departments and is now on its way to the Senate for consideration. A report generated by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, identifying ways to better fund volunteer fire companies, is what spurred the introduction of this legislation.

Currently, state law contains technicalities that block access to state support for so-called “hybrid fire companies.” Hybrid departments are a combination company that includes both volunteer and paid firefighters & currently only “volunteer fire companies” can receive state funding. The legislation will update the current, antiquated law and permit volunteer fire companies with both paid and unpaid staff to receive funds from the Volunteer Firefighters Relief Association Fund. This is a much-needed reform that will ensure our volunteer fire companies are equitably treated to keep our communities safe.

Senate Democratic Policy Hearing on Corporate Taxes Held in Harrisburg this Week

Policy HearingThe Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. The hearing focused on reforms to corporate tax policy. Specifically, what impact “combined reporting” would have in the Commonwealth. Combined reporting treats corporate parent and subsidiary companies as one corporation. Their nationwide profits are combined, added together, and the state then taxes a share of that combined income.

According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report, 71 percent of companies operating in Pennsylvania that are subject to the corporate net income tax pay no tax at all. Calling it a very rough estimate, Department of Revenue Deputy Secretary of Tax Policy Amy Gill predicted that (using an average combined reporting rate) Pennsylvania could reap an additional 29 percent ($677 million) in corporate tax revenue.

It is evident from the hearing, that tax reform is due in the Commonwealth. I am hopeful that well-thought and thorough legislation will be introduced to address the inequities in corporate taxes. It is time that we start holding companies accountable and making them pay their fair share.

Will PA Move Its Primary in Presidential Election Years?

Senate Bill 779 has passed the state Senate unanimously earlier this week and is now on its way to the House for consideration.  This bill seeks to move the Pennsylvania Primary Election Day from the fourth Tuesday in April to the THIRD Tuesday in MARCH – Beginning with the Presidential Primary Election in 2024.

VOTEI voted in support of this bill for the simple fact that allowing Pennsylvania voters to have a much larger role in determining the outcome in a Presidential Primary would be simply invigorating! For years, the nation’s Presidential nominee has been chosen and decided before the voters of Pennsylvania were ever afforded the chance to cast their ballots. 

Having said all that - I still feel it is fundamentally important to provide Independent party voters the ability to vote in Primary elections.  Their opinions and their voices need to and should be a part of the Primary election process. 

I will continue to push my legislation, Senate Bill 357, which would allow for non-affiliated and Independent voters to participate in a primary election.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Join the Conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and updates.

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)