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DeLuca pharmacy technician bill approved by Professional Licensure Committee

(May 12, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – The House Professional Licensure Committee today voted unanimously to move a bill requiring state registration for pharmacy technicians out of the committee for further consideration by the full House of Representatives. House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a police background check and complete a board-approved training program before registering with the state. Currently, pharmacy technicians require no formal training and must only be supervised by a licensed pharmacist in order to assist in filling prescriptions. "This is a safety issue," DeLuca said. "We need to be able to guarantee that the people filling our prescriptions and handling dangerous and even addictive drugs on a daily basis are uniformly registered with the commonwealth. Requiring a base level of education, training and background checks will be a positive step in maintaining the safety of the prescription process." Currently, more than 30 states require the registration of pharmacy technicians, including the neighboring states of Maryland and New Jersey. ### Read more


DeLuca bill would codify UPMC-Highmark consent decree and offer an administrative solution with penalties

(May 08, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B. 1172, which would give the state Insurance Commissioner the authority to provide additional patient protection for consumers who are impacted by the Highmark-UPMC dispute. The bill would give the state the authority to ensure subscribers receive the protections the consent decrees promised during the continuing battle between the two insurance and medical giants. "These two giants agreed to terms which were designed to protect current, vulnerable subscribers when their in-network agreement between the providers expired in 2014." DeLuca said. Unfortunately, both sides have continued to look for ways to leave subscribers in limbo. Those subscribers were promised protection through 2019. Subscribers who are currently enrolled in the Medicare Advantage product are at risk after January 2016 since UPMC does not plan to offer in-network access to Highmark's Medicare Advantage cardholders. "It is clear that the legislature must act to protect these people, and we must have solid protections in place before our seniors begin reapplying for Medicare Advantage coverage in the fall open enrollment period." The DeLuca bill would give the Pennsylvania Insurance Department expanded oversight over medical integrated delivery service groups which service the Greater Pittsburgh area. The bill is expected to be assigned to the House Insurance Committee for consideration. Read more


DeLuca bill would limit public employee use of sick time for campaigning

(May 06, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has announced he will be introducing a bill which would prohibit public employees from campaign activities while using sick time. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for a public employee to campaign, canvass or plan election or political fundraising events while using sick time granted by their employer. Other activities which would be prohibited include circulating nomination petitions or papers and participating in an organized telephone campaign in an effort to influence the outcome of an election. "I want to ensure that sick time, including time taken under the Family Medical Leave Act, is used for its intended purpose," DeLuca said. "This bill is a common-sense approach to ensure that our public employees are not abusing the sick time they have earned for non-medical purposes. "This bill would also give the taxpayers, whose money pays these employees, extra assurances that their tax dollars are going toward a public benefit, not a candidate." Employees found guilty of violating this ban could face fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison. DeLuca will be introducing the bill shortly and it is expected to be assigned to a committee for further consideration. ### Read more


DeLuca calls for transparency in pharmaceutical costs

(Apr 20, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 20 – In an effort to explore the ever-growing cost of health care in the commonwealth, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, is introducing legislation that would provide for pharmaceutical cost transparency. "As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry has implemented cost control measures, yet the rising cost of some prescription drugs continues to far outpace the other sectors of the health care industry," said DeLuca, D-Allegheny. DeLuca noted that while the pharmaceutical industry has issued prescription drug rebates to ease the financial burden on patients, the industry is also a big winner in the passage and enactment of the ACA due to more insured people being able to afford prescriptions. "I understand that research and development are part of the overhead costs of a prescription, but for the sticker price of a prescription drug to reach $100,000 or more for annual use is frightening and not sustainable," DeLuca said. "The insurance industry and health care providers are held accountable with profit ratios, rate caps and Medicare negotiations. We need insight into the pharmaceutical industry to examine the cost spikes in prescription drugs and determine if similar cost controls are needed there, as well." House Bill 1042 will likely be referred to the House Insurance Committee. ### Read more


DeLuca lauds Penn Hills officials’ battle against blight

(Apr 15, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, commended Penn Hills mayor, deputy mayor and council members for their recent actions to keep rental properties safe and free from code violations. Read more


DeLuca calls for state audit of Penn Hills School District

(Apr 09, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – In light of recent news unveiling the fiscal woes of Penn Hills School District, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has asked Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to conduct a full audit of the district’s budget. Read more


Spring insurance check: Flood insurance tips

(Mar 26, 2015)

As Democratic Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I am always looking to make sure consumers have the proper insurance coverages to protect their loved ones and property. Spring has sprung, and melting snow, combined with spring rains and wear and tear on our local water-drainage systems, could cause serious flood damage. Flooding is a serious problem throughout the state. From 2006 to 2014, Pennsylvania residents have filed nearly 18,000 flood insurance claims receiving more than $551 million in payments. Read more


DeLuca calls on State Government Committee chairman to consider his government reforms legislation

(Mar 23, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 20 – In an effort to revive citizens’ trust in Pennsylvania government, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, sent a letter to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, majority chairman of the House State Government committee, urging him to hold a vote on two pieces of recently-introduced legislation. Read more


State Capitol/Hollywood Casino Bus Trip

(Mar 20, 2015)

On Wednesday, April 15, I am hosting a trip to our state Capitol and the Hollywood Casino. The trip costs $45. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. The bus will leave my Penn Hills office at 7 a.m. and return at approximately 9:30 p.m. Read more


PA lawmaker again tries to pull state from ‘bottom of the barrel’ in terms of citizen trust

(Mar 11, 2015)

PITTSBURGH — One Pennsylvania legislator is taking a third swing at increasing transparency about lawmakers’ work, income and possible conflicts. “We’re at the bottom of the barrel right now,” in terms of how much people trust government, State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, told Watchdog.org. “We’re down there with the attorneys,” he jokingly added. Read more


A conflict of interest

(Mar 02, 2015)

Pennsylvania has one of the nation's 10 "full-time" state legislatures. That, by itself, raises the question of why the legislature has to be full-time, since 40 other states seem to be getting by without the costs that full-time legislatures impose on taxpayers. Read more


Capitol moonlighting: Pa. legislators should stick to one full-time job

(Mar 01, 2015)

State Rep. Anthony DeLuca is giving his colleagues in the Legislature a third chance to persuade constituents that their interests, not those of the lawmakers, come first. Read more


Liquor privatization would come with many unintended consequences

(Feb 27, 2015)

On Thursday, the House voted on legislation that would do much more than privatize the sale of wine and spirits. The legislation, which I opposed, would possibly triple the number of stores from 600 to up to 1800 stores that could sell alcohol. Do we really want a liquor store on every corner? I want you to have the facts to understand why the commonwealth of Pennsylvania should continue to oversee the sale of alcohol, the No. 1 drug in this country. Read more


Full time? Not so much

(Feb 27, 2015)

Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s 10 “full-time” state legislatures. That, by itself, raises the question of why the Legislature has to be full time, since 40 other states seem to be getting by without the costs that full-time legislatures impose on taxpayers. State lawmakers are the second-highest paid in the land, with a base salary of about $85,000 a year, second only to California’s $90,000. But California, with 39 million residents, has just 80 representatives and 40 senators. Pennsylvania’s 13 million residents fund 203 representatives and 50 senators. Read more


DeLuca calls for legislators to limit outside income

(Feb 25, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 25 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today hosted a news conference to unveil legislation that would require additional disclosure of lawmakers' outside income and place a limit of that income as well. "The Pennsylvania General Assembly is a full-time legislature that is paid full-time and works hard in Harrisburg and in our respective legislative districts. Our constituents deserve our full attention and the only clock we should be punching is the one for them," DeLuca explained. Read more


DeLuca to discuss limiting outside income for legislators Feb. 25

(Feb 18, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, will host a news conference to discuss legislation that would limit outside income for legislators and update disclosure requirements for public officials when declaring outside income. Read more


Ignition Interlock Saves Lives

(Feb 11, 2015)

This week, I attended a news conference in support of legislation that would protect Pennsylvanians from drunk drivers. At the event, stakeholders discussed Senate Bill 290 and House Bill 278, which would require convicted drunk drivers with illegal blood-alcohol concentration of .10 or greater to use an ignition interlock for a minimum of six months. Ignition interlock systems test a driver's breath for alcohol. Read more


Don’t delay- sign up for health care coverage by 2/15

(Feb 10, 2015)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and there is no better way to show your loved ones you care than making sure your personal and financial well-being is protected with health insurance. If you do not currently have health insurance, I strongly urge you to consider visiting www.healthcare.gov to enroll by the Feb. 15, 2015 deadline. Read more


Working with Penn Hills School District to protect taxpayers

(Feb 02, 2015)

Working with Penn Hills School District to protect taxpayers I am working closely with Penn Hills School District administrators to reduce the number of nonresident students attending district schools. Nonresident students who attend Penn Hills schools place an increased burden on local taxpayers, and adults who assist nonresident students are breaking the law. The district currently has approximately 400 students attending school on affidavits (sworn statements by parents or guardians attesting the pupil is legally residing full-time in the district). That number is significantly higher than in surrounding districts. Read more


Protecting the middle class

(Jan 28, 2015)

In a continued effort to keep you informed on topics that impact you, I wanted to bring this issue to your attention. I recently came across an article that affects the middle class and highlights the continued disparity between the wealthiest and working classes. Read more