Republican legislators in the General Assembly have embraced a harm-reduction approach to deal with drug overdose deaths.
The Senate Judiciary Committee last week advanced a House bill to legalize fentanyl test strips by removing them from the definition of “drug paraphernalia.” The strips can detect fentanyl in other drugs such as heroin, which can help users avoid accidental overdoses.
A major change in public records requirements for some of Pennsylvania’s best-known universities is working through the General Assembly.
Yet, while expansive, it would leave the public with less information about higher education than is available in other states.
Pending the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania will be the 22nd state to join an EMS compact making it easier for emergency workers to practice across state lines.
The agreement standardizes privilege to practice rules, validates licenses in a national registry, and grants emergency medical workers the ability to work across state lines on a short-term basis. By aligning rules and standards, Pennsylvania poses fewer barriers to out-of-state workers who may relocate to the commonwealth.
The pandemic has not been kind to Pennsylvania higher education: Its colleges have seen a 6.4% enrollment drop for freshmen since spring 2020.
The data, from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, is a reminder that Pennsylvania’s shrinking population of college-aged youth has made it harder for colleges to fill seats. The two-year decline means that 22,738 fewer students are on campuses now.
A bill with some momentum in the General Assembly would expand school choice with public funding, but may struggle to become law despite public opinion that supports it.
The Pennsylvania House passed an education bill to give students in low-performing schools a scholarship to move districts. The bill, HB2169, was introduced by Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Wellsboro, to establish a Lifeline Scholarship for students to leave an underperforming local school and enroll elsewhere. It narrowly passed 104-98.
Pennsylvania Republicans highlighted legislation Wednesday that is moving through the General Assembly to direct $225 million to recruit and retain health care workers for hospitals and behavioral service providers.
Leaders of the House and Senate gathered on the lieutenant governor’s balcony between the two chambers for a news conference on House Bill 253, sponsored by Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Tioga.
The legislation allocates $225 million to hospitals and behavioral and psychiatric service providers for retention and recruitment programs for staff. The bill is targeted specifically at nurses and other hospital employees, and it excludes hospital executives, administration, contracted staff and physicians.