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The Latest News from Your State Representative
Please do not reply to this e-mail, as I am unable to respond to messages sent to this address. You can contact me directly at vgaydos@pahousegop.com or here.
Save the Date!

I will be hosting a telephone town hall meeting Monday, July 22, at 7 p.m., and I hope you will participate.

Along with my dedicated staff, I have been very busy working to help our communities and as always, I ask for your input. This telephone town hall meeting is a perfect opportunity for you and all constituents to voice your opinion on state government-related issues and for me to provide district updates, garner feedback on pending legislation, and relay what our offices can do for you.

The people who participate in our telephone town hall meetings hold a variety of beliefs. It is important we learn from each other and find the commonalities that enable us to grow as a community.

You may choose to simply listen in to the conversation or decide to ask a question. You can stay on the line for as long or as little as you wish.

Calls to invite your participation will start going out just prior to 7 p.m. and you can stay on the line and participate. If you miss the call or don’t receive one, there are two additional options to participate:

  •   Dial 1-877-229-8493 at 7 p.m. on Monday July 22, and when asked for the ID code, please enter 118497.
  •   Listen on your personal computer, tablet or smartphone using the web audio streaming link here. 

I look forward to discussing the issues with you.
Bill to Require Coverage of Biomarker Testing Passes House

Legislation that would lead to better, more effective treatment of diseases like cancer and ALS passed the state House this week and is now pending consideration by the Senate.

House Bill 1754 would require insurance coverage of biomarker testing by both commercial insurance and government-sponsored plans, subject to federal approval.

Biomarker testing may be used for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, appropriate management, or ongoing monitoring of an insured or enrollee’s disease or condition to guide treatment decisions for the covered person.
Pushing for Research Funding for ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Other Neurological Diseases

Neurological diseases represent a significant and growing health challenge, impacting millions of individuals and their families worldwide. Despite advances in medical science, effective treatments for many of these conditions remain elusive, underscoring the urgent need for continued research investment.

Recently, I participated in a press conference to support Rep. Kyle Mullins’ (D-Lackawanna) proposal that would drive funding to research institutions that are studying and pursuing more effective treatments and cures for diseases such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.

The legislation proposes a $10 million grant program that would be overseen by the Department of Health. Grant applications would be reviewed for funding by a Neurodegenerative Disease Research Advisory Committee that would include the secretary of Health, an appointee from each of the four legislative caucuses, and four members appointed by the governor with expertise in health care or research, with a representation by institution-based research specialists or clinicians.

For more than 15 years, I stood by my mother’s side as she faced the daily challenges of Parkinson’s Disease. I witnessed firsthand the impact it had on her life, and on the lives of countless others who bravely battled this relentless condition. Watch my remarks from the press conference here.

Progress in the neurology field is contingent upon sustained financial support and investment in research infrastructure, talent development and collaborative networks.

Together, we have the opportunity to catalyze transformative advancements in the prevention and diagnosis of these neurological diseases, ultimately enhancing the lives of millions.
My Legislation to Help Reduce the Cost of Prescription Drugs Passes House Health Committee

I have great news to report. Legislation I am sponsoring, along with Rep. Jessica Benham (D-Allegheny), that would direct the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to develop a process for hearing and resolving pharmacy complaints against Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) – the middleman between you, your doctor and the pharmacies – unanimously passed the House Health Committee this week. This bipartisan legislation will help make the system fairer and give small local pharmacies the ability to provide your prescriptions at more reasonable prices.

Under this legislation, PBMs would be required to report to the Insurance Department the number of rebates and payments received from drug manufacturers, and how those rebates and payments were distributed by the PBM. By providing more transparency and accountability on the way prescription drugs are priced, this legislation will allow free market forces to benefit patients.

During the House Health Committee meeting, I made comments about the importance of the bill. Click here to watch. 

PBMs can serve a valuable role in controlling drug costs and providing greater transparency. However, more accountability and oversight will help ensure they act in the best interests of patients and the health care system, as well as ensure the free market is working to provide the best care at the best price.

Patients deserve easy access to health care! House Bill 1993 now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Current Federal Laws Make Ban on Multi-Burst Trigger Activators Unnecessary

On May 7, the House voted on House Bill 335, which claimed to prohibit the sale and possession of “machine guns” and “accelerated trigger activators” (also known as bump stocks). However, there are stronger federal laws already in place. Machine guns have already been banned by federal and Pennsylvania law, including any device that would create one. On May 19, 1986, Congress passed the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act to prohibit possession of machine guns. Only military and law enforcement may possess machine guns manufactured after that date.

Pennsylvania also already makes a machine gun a prohibited “offensive weapon” as a matter of criminal law under Title 18, Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Section 908. In other words, one who possesses a machine gun in Pennsylvania is both a federal and state criminal – right now with no further change of law necessary.

All machine guns (and a host of other devices) must already be registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, including the owners and any later transfer of the machine gun (or other devices). That means a full inventory of lawful machine guns and the owners are known as a matter of federal law.

Further, as of March 26, 2019, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms amended its regulations to classify “bump stocks” as machine guns, effectively banning bump stocks as a matter of federal law also. Bump stocks increase the firing rate of a semi-automatic firearm by making use of the recoil to fire the firearm again without pulling the trigger. Again – these are already prohibited by federal law.

Finally, making use of a device (like Glock switches) to convert a lawful semi-automatic firearm into an unlawful machine gun would make the owner of such a firearm an instantaneous criminal under federal and state law.

Simply said, the subject of this bill was already federal and state law and there is no point to the bill except to confuse the electorate and quite possibly create conflicting laws which is not something I support. Because both parties saw the futility of the bill, it failed to pass the House with a bipartisan vote against it.

Criminals who use guns to harm people are law breakers. If they are not following our current, stringent gun laws, why would anyone think they would follow new ones? Let’s focus on ensuring our police and prosecutors are enforcing the laws already on the books, and make sure they have the proper funding and resources to do so. We also need to focus on the person committing the crime and expand services to address our mental health crisis rather than punish law-abiding citizens.
Education Funding Plan Lacks Accountability, Leads to Tax Increases

The state House narrowly passed an education funding plan this week that falls well short of providing the transformational change needed to boost classroom success for all students. This would result in higher taxes, which I oppose.

Introduced in response to last year’s ruling by Commonwealth Court that our education funding system is unconstitutional, the proposal would place a massive burden on taxpayers while providing no accountability and no meaningful measures of success in a system that has received increased funding year after year, but continually produces declining test scores and students unprepared to further their education or begin careers. Simply put, more funding doesn’t equal more fair funding.

House Bill 2370 also does a disservice to students who need alternative educational opportunities by significantly cutting funding to Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools, which currently educate more than 65,000 students in the Commonwealth.

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.
EMS Week in Pennsylvania

I voted in support of designating the week of May 19-25 as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in Pennsylvania.

EMS professionals are the unsung heroes of our health care system. Their importance cannot be overstated, as they are the lifeline that connects us to critical medical care in our most vulnerable moments.

The resolution overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives. I spoke to my colleagues in the House Chamber about the importance of EMS professionals.

Click here to view video.
Rescue Dog Day in Pennsylvania

House Resolution 402, which overwhelmingly passed the House, aims to recognize the dedicated efforts of rescue organizations, shelters and volunteers who work tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome dogs in need.

During a press conference at the Capitol, I spoke about House Resolution 402, which recognized May 20, 2024, as “Rescue Dog Day” in Pennsylvania.

I have adopted three rescue dogs and have been a volunteer for more than 10 years. Among those participating were members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Women’s Animal Center, the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area (HSHA) and PA PitStop.

Click on the link to watch my comments.  
Working Animal Appreciation Day

Tuesday at the Capitol was Working Animal Appreciation Day. I had the chance to spend time with a variety of animals, including the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs from Robinson Township.

These very special dogs help give people back their self-confidence and independence. We are often told how vulnerable a disabled person feels in a crowd or maneuvering in a large public area such as an airport. With their loyal and highly trained service dog at their side, recipients often report the ease of once again facing public spaces.

I fully support this effort. We need to help our disabled individuals every day.
Helping Children with Disabilities

Recently, I visited Variety – The Children’s Charity in Pittsburgh. They distribute adaptive bikes and strollers to local children with disabilities.

Variety is a beacon of hope for children facing various challenges. Through its programs and initiatives, Variety provides invaluable support to enhance the lives of children with disabilities and those facing economic disadvantages. From providing essential medical equipment to funding educational programs, Variety Pittsburgh ensures every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. Their dedication to improving the lives of children is truly commendable and leaves a lasting impact on the community.

I was joined by Samir Hifri, chairman and president of Coverstro, LLC; Tom Baker, chief executive officer for Variety – The Children’s Charity of Pittsburgh; Rich Fitzgerald, executive director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett; and Rep. Emily Kinkead.
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District Office:
1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com