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Government Outreach -October 20, 2023

Government Affairs & General Updates
October 20, 2023

1. Pennsylvania House passes bill to prohibit 'speculative ticketing' The Pennsylvania House passed legislation earlier this week that would prohibit speculative ticketing. That's when ticket resellers list event tickets for resale even though they haven't obtained the tickets yet. House Bill 1658, which advanced Wednesday, would bar resellers from selling tickets unless they have them in hand. The measure would also prohibit resellers from creating deceptive websites or images that trick consumers into thinking they are purchasing their tickets directly from the venue. "Simply put, if you don't have it, you can't sell it. And you can't fool someone into thinking they're buying that ticket from somewhere else," said Rep. Rob Matzie, D-16, who introduced the bill. Matzie's bill would also add speculative ticketing to the list of offenses enforceable under the state's unfair trade practices act and allow consumers and venues to sue for damages. According to Matzie, his legislation has support from Ticketmaster, Live Nation and the Pennsylvania attorney general Read More

2. Pennsylvania lawmakers chip away at stalemate, pass bill to boost hospital and ambulance subsidies Gov. Josh Shapiro will sign budget-related legislation passed Wednesday to boost Medicaid subsidies for Pennsylvania’s hospitals and ambulance services, provisions that have been stuck in a wider monthslong stalemate. The bill headed to Shapiro’s desk after passing the House 199-4, a day after it passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday. The votes came amid ongoing partisan disputes since July over some remaining elements of the state’s $45 billion budget plan. Shapiro’s office said the Democrat will sign the bill to deliver “critical funding” for emergency management services, hospitals, and nursing homes. Under the bill, lawmakers reauthorized an assessment on hospitals that’s expected to draw down roughly $1.4 billion in matching federal Medicaid dollars this year. It then redistributes the money to favor hospitals that treat higher proportions of Medicaid enrollees. Meanwhile, the bill boosts Medicaid reimbursements for ambulance services by a projected $126 million a year in federal and state aid. The reimbursement includes ground and air transportation. Under the provision, the state must start reimbursing emergency medical service agencies for every mile traveled with a patient who is covered by Medicaid. Currently, the state reimburses for travel only beyond 20 miles with a Medicaid enrollee. Read More

3. Pennsylvania ups Israeli bonds 44% amid Hamas war The state Treasury Department said it invested $20 million into Israeli bonds amid the country's ongoing war with Hamas. Altogether, the 44% increase brings the state’s total ownership to $56 million. Israel invests the money into its economy and pays investors interest twice a year, typically. A department spokesman told The Center Square the $20 million bond will earn the state an annual interest rate of 5.25% over a three-year period. This "compares favorably" to the yeild on a similar three-year U.S. Treasury note. “Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, and I will always stand with them,” Treasurer Stacy Garrity said in a release. “Israel bonds are a smart, dependable investment with a proven track record – and it’s especially important to show our support at a time when the people of Israel are facing horrific terrorism.” Pennsylvania joins several other states in upping their investments after Hamas – recognized by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization, and ruler since 2007 of the Gaza Strip – invaded Israel on Oct. 7. Hundreds of Israeli women and children remain Hamas captives. According to published reports, the death toll on both sides is high – more than 1,400 in Israel, and 3,785 Palestinians says the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Read More

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