LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 9th Issue April 7, 2014

LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol.  It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities.  It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU).  Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 or e-mail to xenobun@aol.com.  Please email jtrout2792@aol.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.

 SENATE COMMITTEE HEARS EXCHANGE NAVIGATOR TESTIMONY

On April 2, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee heard testimony from supporters and opponents of Senate Bill 1268 sponsored by Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair), a measure that would require registration and criminal background checks for navigators, certified application counselors and other in-person assisters.  PA Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) said that no one knew how many individuals were “facilitating” enrollment into the exchange and that there was the risk of consumer harm since they have access to personal information such as Social Security numbers and could be tempted to misuse that data.  Also, PAHU argued that registration with the PA Insurance Department would lead to more accountability by helping the Department keep track of individuals and groups that might go beyond their mandate under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to do what only licensed agents do under Pennsylvania’s Act 147, to sell, solicit and negotiate a contract of insurance.

Two of the state’s four navigators testified, saying that they already had criminal background checks done on their employees and felt that registration with the Department might impose a burden.  The PA Insurance Department also spoke, saying that they felt that Notice 2013-09 (November 2013) reminded entities and individuals that there are restrictions against unlicensed activity.  While confirming that they had briefed the navigators, the Department acknowledged that meetings with certified application counselors had not taken place.  Senators’ discussion was lively with Senator Michael Stack (D-Phila.) suggesting that SB 1268 would hamper efforts to expand exchange insurance coverage to the uninsured.  Senator Anthony Williams (D-Phila.) expressed concern about the threat to consumer privacy that might take place without a criminal background check.  A video of the hearing is available at Senate Banking & Insurance Committee Chair Don White’s (R-Indiana) Facebook site.https://www.facebook.com/SenatorDonWhite?ref=stream&hc_location=stream

On April 8, PAHU is holding its annual Day on the Hill which will focus this year on SB 1268 and its House counterpart, House Bill 1522 sponsored by Rep. Mike Tobash-R-Schuylkill).

 SENATE RESHUFFLES COMMITTEES

Thanks to the special election of York businessman Scott Wagner to fill the remainder of former Senator Michael Waugh’s (R-York) term, the Senate leadership has made a number of committee changes including an appointment of the state’s newest senator to chair the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee. Other committee chair changes are:

Senator                                                            Was                                         Is now_________________ 

Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango)                        Intergov’tal Operations           Communications & Technology

Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny)                    Communications & Tech.       Aging & Youth

Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery)                         Aging & Youth            Vet. Affairs & Emerg. Prep

Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne)                                   Vet. Affairs & Emerg. Prep     Labor & Industry

Former Senate Labor & Industry Chair John Gordner (R-Columbia) had earlier been elevated to leadership as Majority Caucus Chair.  Senator Rich Alloway (R-Franklin) was named to the position of Majority Caucus Administrator.

POLITICS UPDATES

  • Jay Paterno withdrew as Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor because of a ballot challenge brought by fellow Democratic candidate Brad Koplinski.
  • Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) who lost to Scott Wagner withdrew from the York County Senate primary.
  • Other challenges resulting in candidate withdrawals as of April 3, 2014:

–          Luzerne County — Democrat John Bolin for Rep. Mundy’s open seat withdrew

–          Allegheny — Republicans Gretchen Schmitt and Sean Watson withdrew (seat held by Frank Dermody-D-Allegheny)

–          Bucks — Democrat Vanella-Kudenko withdrew (seat held by Rep. Nick Miccarrelli (D-Delaware)

–          Lancaster — Republican Edward Donnegan withdrew (open seat held by Rep. Gordon Denlinger-R-Lancaster)

–          Luzerne — Democrat Chris Broach withdrew from the primary contest for the Senate seat held by Sen. John Yudichak (-D-Luzerne)

–          Fayette — Republican Ryan Warner was removed from the ballot; incumbent Deberah Kula (D-Fayette)

–          Lackawanna –Democrat Lamar Thomas withdrew; incumbent is Rep. Frank Farina (D-Lackawanna)

–          Cambria — Republican Joseph Prestia withdrew; incumbent Rep. Bryan Barbin-D-Cambria)

–          Northumberland — Democrat Chris Pfaff was removed from the ballot; incumbent is Rep. Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland)

–          Cambria — Democrat Matthew Barczak was removed from the ballot for the open seat vacated by Rep. Greg Haluska (D-Cambria)

–          Erie — Republican William Crotty was removed from the ballot; Incumbent is Rep. Pat Harkins (D-Erie)

–          Lebanon — Republican Joseph Eisenhauer was removed from the ballot for the open seat vacated by Rep. Rose Marie Swanger (R-Lebanon)

  • Staying on the ballot (surviving petition challenges) are:

–          Rep. Brendon Boyle (D-Phila.)

–          Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-Phila.)

–          Rep. Marty Flynn (D-Lackawanna)

–          Rep. Mike McGeehan (D-Phila.)

–          Rep. Flo Fabrizio (D-Erie)

–          Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks)

 POLITICAL RANKINGS — IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN.

Now that the election season is under way, a number of national and state groups weigh in to tell voters which candidate is pro-business or pro-life or pro-farmer or pro-gun control, etc.  First up is a ranking of PA Members of Congress for 2013 by The Club, a national pro-economic growth anti-governmental regulation group.  Most in line with The Club’s thinking is Rep. Scott Perry at 90%. Least in line is Rep. Mike Doyle with 12%.  Ranking 50% or better are Keith Rothfus (82%), Joe Pitts (79%), Bill Shuster (75%), Tom Marino (75%), Mike Kelly 58%, Glen Thompson (52%), Lou Barletta and Pat Meehan (51%).  Under 50% were Tim Murphy (48%), Charles Dent and Jim Gerlach (43%), Mike Fitzpatrick (42%), Chaka Fattah (18%), Allyson Schwartz (15%) who is running for Governor, Robert Brady (14%), Matt Cartwright (13%), and Mike Doyle at 12%.

The American Conservative Union released its assessment for members of the PA General Assembly.  Just three Representatives (out of 203) had a perfect 100% score. They are Representatives John McGinnis (R-Blair), Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) and Dan Truitt (R-Chester).  Seven Senators had a perfect score:  Senators Rich Alloway (R-Franklin), Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill), Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster), John Eicheleberger (R-Blair), Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny) and Don White (R-Indiana).  Four House members, Mark Cohen (D-Phila.), Dan McNeill (D-Lehigh), JP Miranda (D-Phila.) and Curtis Thomas (D-Phila.) received zero from the conservative group.  They joined four senators with a zero rating, Mike Stack (D-Phila.) who is running for Lt. Governor, LeAnna Washington (D-Phila.), Vincent Hughes (D-Phila) and Andy Dinniman (D-Chester).  (Thanks to PoliticsPA)

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