heating oil stock photo

A worker hooks up a hose to make a heating oil home delivery.

Murt, Day receive new committee chairmanships

Rep. Tom Murt, R-Hatsboro, will serve as chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee for the 2019-2020 legislative session, according to a statement from House Speaker Mike Turzai.

Murt succeeds Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bensalem, who resigned the post. The committee oversees issues with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Drug and Alcohol programs.

Turzai appointed Rep. Gary Day, R-New Tripoli, as chairman of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee, a post formerly held by Murt.

Senate Democrats ask for hearing on healthcare bills

Five Democratic state senators say they want a public hearing or voting meeting on a package of bills that would keep provisions of the Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania if the federal law is changed.

The bills would prevent insurers from denying coverage due to preexisting conditions, ensure coverage for young adults on their parent’s plan until they are 26, provide mental health and substance abuse coverage, and prevent annual or lifetime coverage limits.

State Sens. Vincent Hughes, Pam Iovino, Steve Santarsiero, Maria Collett and Tim Kearney made their requests in a letter to Senate Banking and Insurance Committee Chairman Mario Scavell.

PUC: Fewer Pennsylvanians without heat this winter

The number of Pennsylvania residents who are without heat this winter is fewer than last year, according to information from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The number is 117 less, or about one percent lower, than last winter’s total of 18,350 households, according to the PUC. The survey showed 10,783 residences without electricity and 4,246 residences with natural gas were vacant.

The PUC conducts the survey each year to determine what heating-related services are needed. Pennsylvania residents have access to programs managed by the PUC, including hardship funds and customer assistance programs and federal programs administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Group of 25 counties share $500,000 agriculture and youth education grants

Twenty-five counties are splitting $500,000 in grants that were part of Pennsylvania’s Farm Bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last year.

Some of the grant funds will purchase new equipment, while others will establish new grant programs. Fifty-five projects are receiving funds.

“All youth should have access to the same opportunities for growth and career development,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a statement. “These programs are urban, rural, or suburban, and they all further our mission to grow the industry’s future leaders.”