Scott Petri’s PA NEWS

Our State Representative, Scott Petri from the Pennsylvania 178th District, provides this roundup of issues in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

You will regularly see these brief updates here, taken from his email newsletter as the Northampton Republican Committee works to help Scott spread the news of what is happening in your State Legislature.

In this update Scott talks about four key issues:
1. Restoring Integrity to the Gaming Industry
2. Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment
3. Law on blood screenings of newborns
4. New Bills on Mortgage Lending Practices

Legislation to Restore Integrity to Gaming Industry Introduced in House

Continuing efforts to restore integrity, honesty and accountability to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), legislation has been introduced giving the PGCB the authority to appoint a trustee in the event a license is revoked, suspended or not renewed.

  • An appointed trustee would ensure compliance with the law and any conditions imposed on the slot machine licenses.
  • This newest push comes after PGCB licensee Don Barden defaulted on financing to build Pittsburgh’s Majestic Star Casino and is currently involved in negotiations to transfer majority ownership to new partners. Other measures have been introduced by House Republicans to require public hearings on license applications and tighten license and permit disqualification criteria.

For more information, visit

Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Re-Opens

Gov. Ed Rendell issued an executive order to extend operations of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) through Nov. 30.

  • The order comes more than a week after the agency, which is responsible for addressing the problem of rising health care costs, was forced by the administration to shut its doors and cease operations.
  • House and Senate members have strongly supported the efforts of PHC4 and have introduced legislation to re-authorize the council for an additional year.
  • The governor said he would veto the bill because it was amended to also extend the MCare abatement fund, which assists doctors with the high costs of medical malpractice insurance.

Both programs have proven to be successful and are vital to ensuring affordable and accessible health care for all Pennsylvanians.

Newborn Testing for Genetic and Metabolic Diseases Signed Into Law

Legislation requiring physicians and hospitals to conduct blood screenings of newborns for 28 genetic, metabolic, hormonal and functional conditions has been signed into law.

  • The measure also directs the Department of Health to provide follow-up services to assure that infants who have an abnormal, inconclusive or confirmatory result for one of the conditions are referred to the appropriate medical facility that is able to treat the infant’s condition.
  • The new law amends existing requirements that require screens and provide follow-up services for only six genetic diseases.

All confirmatory results would be reported to the Department of Health for record-keeping purposes.

Thanks to Hall of Famer Jim Kelly and Hunter’s Hope Foundation for helping to raise awareness about this issue.

Mortgage Lending Practices Targeted in Newly Enacted Laws

Five bills taking aim at predatory and otherwise questionable mortgage lending practices have been signed with broad, bipartisan support.

  • The new laws come at a time when the number of homes lost to foreclosures across the nation hit 343,000 for the last six months alone.
  • Senate Bills 483-486 were introduced as a package of legislation to help consumers broker the fairest deal possible.
  • The state will be better able to monitor foreclosure rates due to new requirements on lenders and penalties for professional misconduct have been toughened as well.
  • Additionally, pre-payment penalties on residential mortgage loans for less than $217,873 have been waved.

Existing laws to this effect went unchanged for 33 years with a value threshold of just $50,000.

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