Government Affairs & General Updates
August 18, 2023
1. Sen. Casey pushes Tech Hub designations for Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter of support to designate Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Lehigh Valley as Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs, or “Tech Hubs.” Created by the CHIPS and Science Act, the Tech Hubs aim to create high-tech jobs and boost economic development in cities and communities across the country. Casey wrote letters in support of the Tech Hub applications for all three locations. “The Tech Hubs program will jumpstart the growth potential of cities and communities ready to lead the global economy, simultaneously creating good jobs here at home while allowing the United States to take control of our own economic future,” said Senator Casey. Pittsburgh’s application was submitted by the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Alliance to leverage local expertise in biomedical research, advanced manufacturing, and robotics and AI to create a biomanufacturing hub, while Philadelphia submitted two applications – the first led by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA focusing on precision medicine, and the other led by Delaware Valley Biopharmaceutical Hub for Enterprises, Local Innovation, Commercialization, and Security, focusing on accelerating biopharmaceutical innovation and manufacturing. The application for the Lehigh Valley was submitted by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation focuses on the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of next generation communications technologies, Casey’s office said Read More
2. Pennsylvania lawmaker introduces bill to regulate child influencers Representative Torren Ecker (R-Adams/Cumberland) announced today that he will introduce legislation to regulate social media child influencers and celebrities under Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Laws. Rep. Ecker says his legislation would protect children who earn money by creating content and/or whose name, likeness, or photograph is featured in a parent or guardian’s content that generates income for the parent under Pennsylvania’s Child Labor Law, according to a memo released Thursday. “While I normally believe government should take a hands-off approach to regulating private business, protecting children from exploitation is of paramount importance in any society,” Ecker said. “We must make sure that we are putting children in the best possible position to have healthy and successful lives.” Read More
3. DHS was going to give some low-income parents a break on day care bills, but backed down due to opposition to plan. The Department of Human Services is dropping a bid to give some low-income parents a break on their day care bills, at least for now. Instead, DHS is moving to keep in place a long-standing rule that allows day cares to charge low-income parents to make up for the difference between the state's subsidy and the cost the facilities charge other parents. DHS had submitted regulations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that included a provision axing the so-called "balanced billing" practice, but the agency backed down after pressure from the day care industry and other advocacy organizations, including the United Way. In May, IRRC rejected a regulatory update, at DHS's request, so that the agency could rework the regulations in light of the opposition. The revised regulations submitted to IRRC in late July reinstate the balance billing provision while saying that DHS intends to compile data on the practice's impact on low-income families and that the agency will hold stakeholder meetings to discuss the provision. The new version of the regulations is on the agenda for the September IRRC meeting.
4. Five babies relinquished at Safe Haven sites in 2022, state data shows. Five babies were rescued at the state's Safe Haven sites last year, new data from the Department of Human Services shows. The state's Safe Haven Law allows new moms to relinquish babies at sites, such as hospitals and police stations, in a bid to provide a means to protect the children in situations where they might be unsafe. The rescued babies include a set of twins relinquished in McKean County. Since the law was enacted in 2002, a total of 55 newborns have been received as Safe Haven infants. These infants have come from 31 counties, with most relinquishments occurring in the Western region of the state (27 infants). The Central region had the second highest number of infants relinquished at 16, followed by seven in the Northeast region and six in the Southeast region. The data was included in the state's annual report on Child Protective Services.
5. Online gambling fueled casino revenue growth in July. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported this week that revenue from casino and online casino-operated gaming jumps almost 9% in July compared to the same month in 2022 Total revenue generated from all forms of gaming, along with fantasy contests, during July was $467 million, an increase of 8.85% compared to revenue generated in July 2022. The increase came despite the fact that in-person slots revenue was stagnant - slots generated $214.7 million in July compared to $214 million in July 2022 - and in-person table revenue decreased 3% -- from $86.7 million in July 2022 to $83.4 million in July. Revenue from online slots increased 32% and online table games betting revenue increased 26%
6. Pa. Lottery sales top $1 billion For the twelfth consecutive year, the Pennsylvania Lottery said that it has generated profits of more than $1 billion. For the 2022-2023 fiscal year the lottery generated more than $1.1 billion. Profits from the lottery go towards senior citizen programs in the state including prescription assistance and property tax and rent rebates. This year’s profit came from the lottery selling a total of $4.98 billion in traditional games, which include Scratch-Off tickets and Draw Games, such as Powerball and Mega Millions. The lottery’s online games, which launched in 2018 also generated $922.7 million in sales. “This fiscal year was the second-best for total sales in the lottery’s more than 50-year history,” said Secretary of Revenue Pat Browne. “The Pennsylvania Lottery takes great pride in the fact that it’s the only lottery in the U.S. that dedicates all of its proceeds to benefit older residents. The lottery is already hard at work looking for new and innovative ways to continue responsibly generating funds for programs that so many older Pennsylvanians rely on each day.” The Pennsylvania Lottery operates as a bureau within the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Read More