Authors Posts by Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips

avatar
219 POSTS 0 COMMENTS
Mr. Phillips is responsible to assist the association with health policy, which primarily includes member communication and advocacy with the Governor’s office, General Assembly, and state regulatory agencies. Mr. Phillips was most recently at the Pennsylvania Department of State as Director of Legislative Affairs.

You are cordially invited to Representative Joseph Hohenstein’s all-day summit in Philadelphia on Thursday, January 16. The summit will highlight the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Democrat Caucus will also be holding two separate policy hearings during January to recognize this occasion.

Register for Rep. Hohenstein’s Philadelphia event here, which will be hosted at Community Behavioral Health. There are a number of confirmed speakers ranging from service providers, the Philadelphia Eagles (discussing the Quiet Room at Lincoln Financial Field), Comcast (discussing technological advances to help people with intellectual disabilities access the internet and communicate), Senator Casey’s and Gov. Wolf’s offices (to discuss federal and state legislative initiatives), as well as others.

If you have any questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

0 92

Governor Wolf has re-submitted his Overtime Rule to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). As you may recall, the Pennsylvania Senate towards the end of the Fall Session voted in favor of SB 79 to gradually increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $9.50/hour over the next 18 months to two years. Prior to the Senate approving SB 79, the State Senate and Governor Wolf agreed to increase the state’s minimum wage by $2.25 from the current rate of $7.25, and in conjunction for raising the minimum wage, the Governor would not submit his proposed rule to expand overtime to low level managers for the next two years, until after the next governor is elected.

Despite the agreement between the State Senate and the Governor, SB 79 is now in the House Labor and Industry Committee, where it appears it will not receive a vote; therefore, the Governor has resubmitted his Overtime to Rule to the IRRC. The IRRC has placed the Governor’s Overtime Rule on its January 31 agenda.

RCPA, along with other statewide business groups and associations, are asking members to IMMEDIATELY contact House Leadership and members of the House Labor and Industry Committee, requesting that SB 79 receive a favorable vote out of committee and have a vote on the House floor.

Talking Points
RCPA supports an increase in the minimum wage for entry level health care workers. With an increase to minimum wage, the General Assembly needs to appropriate supplementary monies to cover the additional costs providers will incur to increase wages for managerial workers.

Most employers are already paying new hires and existing employees more than the proposed increase to the minimum wage in SB 79, due to market demands.

The Governor’s Overtime Rule will have a more detrimental effect on employers than an increase to the minimum wage. Questions, please contact Jack Phillips.

0 73

(Text of Jan. 7 press release)

HARRISBURG – Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) announced today he has appointed Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery) to serve as chair of the Human Services Committee and Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh/Berks) as chair of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee during the 2019–20 Legislative Session.

“I am confident these chairmen will do an exceptional job at running the committees smoothly and ensuring the people of the Commonwealth are taken care of,” said Turzai. “I look forward to the legislation their committees examine and potentially pass forward to the House.”

Murt previously served as the chair of the Aging and Older Adult Services and will now serve as the chairman of the Human Services Committee. The Human Services Committee is responsible for legislative oversight of matters pertaining to the Department of Human Services and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), former chair of the Human Services Committee has resigned, leaving the seat open.

Day previously served on the Gaming Oversight, Insurance, Professional Licensure, and Tourism and Recreational Development committees and will now serve as the chairman of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee. The Aging & Older Adult Services Committee oversees all legislation related to programs and services that pertain to seniors.

Media contact: Neal Lesher, 717-260-6495, 717-507-9240

0 208

Talk in Harrisburg is that the Pennsylvania Senate and Governor Tom Wolf are tentatively moving towards gradually increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $9.50/hour in the next 18 months to two years. The tentative proposal would increase the state’s minimum wage by $2.25 from the current rate of $7.25.

Additionally, the tentative proposal would also prevent the Governor from taking action on a proposed rule to expand overtime to low level managers for the next two years, until after the next governor is elected. State business groups, such as the PA Chamber, may not fight this compromise so long as the overtime expansion is tabled and businesses receive assurances from the Governor that he will allow other employer/employee wage reforms to go through the legislative process and sign those reforms into law.

The deal is still in its infancy and the PA House will have to agree to the proposal. Stay tuned!! Questions, please contact Jack Phillips.

The PA Senate is voting Monday, November 18 on Senate Bill 906, which would institute a moratorium on the scheduled closing of Polk and White Haven State Centers. RCPA supports the closure of the state centers. For further information, please use this link. Questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs.

0 532

Late yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) delivered its final rule to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) regarding overtime pay under the Minimum Wage Act. According to IRRC’s website, a public hearing on the final rule will be held on Thursday, November 21st.
The highlights of L&I’s final rule are as follows:

  • Raises the salary threshold to $875 per week ($45,500 annually) – an over 92% increase over the current $455 per week ($23,660) – and there is an automatic escalator
  • The employee still must meet both the salary test and the duties test to qualify as exempt.

All documents concerning L&I’s final Overtime Rule can be found below.

If you recall, the Federal Department of Labor published its final rule on Friday, September 27th. The Federal rule:

  • Raises the salary threshold from the current $23,660 ($455/week) to $35,568 ($684/week)
  • Effective 1/1/2020
  • No automatic updates or changes to the duties test
  • Allow non-discretionary bonuses, incentive payments and commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary requirement

According to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA Chamber), Pennsylvania employers generally accept the Federal Department of labor’s final overtime rule as a reasonable update to overtime regulations and employers are unlikely to challenge the Federal final rule.

At a minimum, RCPA will be recommending that L&I’s rule should mirror the Federal rule, so it easier for businesses to comply with this requirement. RCPA will be working with the PA Chamber and other businesses on this issue.

In the meantime, please send me your initial thoughts/concerns by close of business on Monday, October 21st, because State House Leadership and Chairman Cox of the House Labor Committee would like to know what objections our members have about L&I’s final rule.

Questions, please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA’s Director of Government Affairs.

0 262

Last week, while RCPA held its Annual Conference at the Hershey Lodge, our colleagues at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry (PA Chamber) informed us that the Federal Department of Labor submitted its final overtime rule. The PA Chamber stated the final overtime rule was published in the Friday, September 27 edition of the Federal Register. The highlights of the final rule are as follows:

  • Raises the salary threshold from the current $23,660 ($455/week) to $35,568 ($684/week);
  • Effective 1/1/2020;
  • No automatic updates or changes to the duties test;
  • Allows nondiscretionary bonuses, incentive payments, and commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary requirement; and
  • Increases the Highly Compensated Employees exemption threshold from $100,000 to $107,432 — though, as previously noted, this option is not available for employers in PA.

According to the PA Chamber, Pennsylvania employers generally accept the final overtime rule as a reasonable update to overtime regulations and employers are unlikely to challenge the final rule. Additionally, there have not been any updates on how the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry will proceed with their overtime proposal.

Thanks again to our friends at the PA Chamber for keeping health and human service providers in the loop on this important issue. Please contact Jack Phillips, RCPA Director of Government Affairs, with questions.

0 415

Yesterday, Senator Vogel introduced SB 857 – The Telemedicine Act. The Telemedicine Act authorizes the practice of telemedicine by health care providers. It requires each licensure board to promulgate regulations within 24 months of the effective date and provides for the publishing of temporary regulations within 60 days. The bill further provides for evaluation and treatment, insurance coverage, and Medicaid program reimbursement. The provisions regarding insurance coverage and Medicaid program reimbursement shall take effect in 90 days and the remainder shall take effect immediately.

As you may recall, Senator Vogel had a similar bill pass the Senate last legislative session but it died in the House. SB 857 has been listed as a legislative fall priority for both the House and Senate. Please take the time to review the legislation, and provide any feedback to Jack Phillips, RCPA’s Director of Government Affairs.