Goodman’s campaign finance reform bill seeks transparency, accountability for ‘dark money’ groups

(Nov 16, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman has introduced legislation that would make it easier to identify the funding source for advertisements independent organizations use to influence the outcome of an election or a political dispute, such as the ongoing budget impasse. House Bill 1695 would require 501(c) and 527 groups that engage in electioneering and issue-advocacy activities to file campaign finance reports detailing their spending if it exceeds $1,000, as well as the names of donors contributing $100 or more. These groups are sometimes called “dark money” groups because of their lack of disclosure. Goodman’s legislation also would require these advertisements to include a statement informing voters of the organization paying for the advertisement and where they can review its campaign finance reports. “During the past several years, Pennsylvanians have been bombarded with ads from these groups,” Goodman said. “Our residents should know the identity of groups that seek to shape public opinion, and, more importantly, where their money comes from.” Goodman said that this is an issue that concerns both Democrats and Republicans. State Sen. Dominic Pileggi, a Chester County Republican, has introduced the same legislation in his chamber. Both bills are modeled after a 2013 Delaware law, Delaware’s Election Disclosure Act, which was upheld after being challenged in federal courts. Goodman said Read more

 

Resolution honors corrections officers, employees

(Jun 08, 2015)

They watch over people who engaged in dangerous and addictive behaviors, and work to reform and rehabilitate them. They educate the illiterate and unskilled. They diagnose and treat the mentally ill. Most importantly, they keep our communities safe and secure. Read more

 

Bill to extend Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program passes Pa. House

(Jun 02, 2015)

State Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would extend the Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program for three more years passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday. The program, which provides a small, one-time stipend to veterans of the first Gulf War, is set to expire on Aug. 31. Read more

 

Happy Mother's Day; National Women's Health Week begins Sunday

(May 08, 2015)

To encourage women to take care of their health, the state House this week adopted my resolution that recognizes May 10-16 as National Women's Health Week in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Goodman amends bill to help more veterans qualify for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

(May 05, 2015)

Legislation amended by state Rep. Neal P. Goodman to ensure benefits veterans receive from Pennsylvania do not disqualify them from participating in the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program today passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read more

 

Goodman: Extend Persian Gulf Veterans' Bonus Program application deadline

(Jan 16, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – About $500,000 remains in a fund that provides a small stipend to veterans from Pennsylvania who served in the Persian Gulf, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman wants to ensure those eligible to benefit from it receive their share. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, has introduced H.B. 175 to extend the deadline to apply to the state’s Persian Gulf Veterans' Bonus Program to Aug. 31, 2018. The program is scheduled to end Aug. 31 this year. “The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs receives about 60 new applications to the program every month,” said Goodman, who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “I do not want to risk denying these benefits to eligible veterans when we can simply extend the deadline. This is a small thank you to the brave men and women who have risked their lives serving our country in the Persian Gulf War.” Goodman wrote the law that led to a November 2006 referendum asking Pennsylvania if the state should create the program. The referendum was overwhelmingly approved. “I will do all I can to ensure the money in the program is used as Pennsylvanians intended – to help as many Persian Gulf War veterans as possible,” Goodman said. The maximum bonus is $525 under the program. Since the enactment of the law, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has processed nearly 11,000 claims totaling more than $3.5 million. The Read more

 

Act soon for college financial aid

(Jan 15, 2015)

June will be here before we know it, and many graduating seniors and their parents are thinking about college applications and, more importantly, how to pay tuition bills. I’m urging college-bound high school seniors and their families to consider applying as soon as possible for financial assistance by submitting the FAFSA – the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is a must for determining eligibility for most need- and income-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant , Pell grants and other federal student loans, work-study programs and various scholarships. The FAFSA may be completed online at www.fafsa.gov . The form is also available on my website by clcking on the education tab under Help & Services. Read more

 

Goodman bill aims to protect recipients of gift cards

(Jan 13, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 13 – Gift cards are popular presents for the holidays, birthdays and special occasions, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman wants to ensure Pennsylvanians who receive them get the full value of the card.   Goodman, D-Schuylkill, is preparing to introduce legislation that would ban inactivity fees and expiration dates that deplete the value of gift cards over time. State Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin/Perry, is introducing the same legislation in his chamber. "Sen. Teplitz and I are working to protect Pennsylvanians who receive gift cards from a potential unpleasant surprise if they wait to redeem it," Goodman said. "Without additional protections that our legislation offers, many stores -- national chains in particular -- will continue to impose inactivity fees and expiration dates."  A 2009 federal law called the CARD Act provides consumers with some gift card protections, including limits on expiration dates and fees. Store- and bank-issued cards cannot expire less than five years from the date of purchase or when money was last loaded onto the card. Inactivity fees are banned unless the card is not used for 12 months.   Goodman said his legislation would offer protection already provided in many other states. He said thirty-eight states have enacted additional protections beyond the CARD Act, with most eliminating expiration dates and inactivity fees. Goodman said gift cards are big business in Read more

 

Schuylkill County makes history with the new legislative session

(Jan 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – History was made Tuesday during swearing-in ceremonies at the state Capitol when two Schuylkill County legislators formally began serving in their leadership roles for the 2015-16 legislative session in the General Assembly.State Sen. David G. Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, will serve in leadership roles for the two-year session in their respective chambers, marking the first time a Schuylkill County senator and representative will hold leadership roles at the same time in over 100 years.Argall, who became the first senator from the county since the 1860s to serve in a leadership role, will lead the Senate Majority Policy Committee, while Goodman will serve a second term as caucus administrator for the House Democratic Caucus. Goodman is the first House Democrat from Schuylkill County to hold a leadership position in the caucus since his uncle, James Goodman, served as chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee from 1977 to 1980.“I'm thankful that my colleagues have again put their trust in me,” Goodman said. “I'm looking forward to continuing to carry out my responsibilities as caucus administrator, and continuing to represent the interests of the people of the 123rd Legislative District.”“I’m honored to serve as majority policy chairman for the new legislative session,” Argall said. “I’m looking forward to shedding light on issues Read more

 

Hope for Hannah legislation becomes law

(Dec 28, 2014)

Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more

 

Goodman continues push to establish 'Made in PA' program

(Dec 01, 2014)

I have reintroduced legislation that would establish a "Made in PA" program to encourage Pennsylvanians to buy products made in the commonwealth. Whether it’s a tool or a toy, I’m sure Pennsylvanians are more inclined to buy a product that is made here. Read more

 

Beware IRS phone scams

(Nov 29, 2014)

Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed. Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed. Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you. Read more

 

HEROIN: What you need to know about Pennsylvania’s Good Samaritan Law

(Nov 24, 2014)

Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote. The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Read more

 

In the News: Dept. of Human Services name change better reflects mission

(Nov 24, 2014)

House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session. According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more

 

Do you need help paying heating bills?

(Nov 24, 2014)

As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more

 

Apply for health insurance by Feb. 16

(Nov 23, 2014)

The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll. Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more

 

Sign up for the Do-Not-Call list

(Nov 22, 2014)

To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more

 

Weatherizing your home saves you money on energy bills

(Nov 20, 2014)

Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more

 

Check out charities before making holiday donations

(Nov 20, 2014)

While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more