As the representative of our area in Harrisburg, I am committed to supporting efforts that protect taxpayers, create jobs, strengthen education, and reform government. With another year in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives now concluded, I want to highlight some of the noteworthy legislative accomplishments made during 2023.
In an effort to ease the tax burden for many residents, I introduced the Pennsylvania Families Tax Relief Plan. The package of bills includes proposals ranging from cutting taxes on energy and frequent family purchases such as pet food and toys to reducing property taxes and cell phone bills. The measures are reasonable recommendations that would help to improve the bottom line for many struggling families and individuals. I am pleased that one of my proposals, which enhances the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, is now state law. The other bills are currently under committee review.
I was also appointed to serve as Republican Chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. In that capacity, I introduced legislation that would help protect minors from being exploited by unscrupulous employers. The state Department of Labor and Industry reported that it opened 276% more child labor cases in 2023 than it did during the previous year. House Bill 1714
would increase the penalties for the most serious child labor law violations and require cross-reporting of such cases to further protect these minors, including unaccompanied foreign nationals. The committee held a hearing on the bill and heard from child advocates on this growing problem and the need to find a solution that ensures the safety of these most vulnerable children.
In addition to House Bill 1714, I also introduced five other bills relating to the serious issues being created in Pennsylvania due to the federal illegal immigration crisis. My proposals would require use of the federal E-Verify system for all public contracts, mandate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be notified when an illegal immigrant tries to purchase a firearm, end sanctuary cities, improve accuracy of voter registration records, and prohibit noncitizens from voting in state and local elections.
Legislation I sponsored to establish a new state program that recognizes Pennsylvania’s fallen first responders passed unanimously in the House and was sent to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 358
would create the Keystone First Responder Award to honor those public servants who were either killed or suffered a career ending injury in the line of duty. Those eligible for the award would include law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, coroners, 911 dispatchers, and other first responders.
Last year, I also supported several pieces of legislation that are now signed into law. The first, Act 5 of 2023
, improves access to maternal health and mortality data for medical professionals and policymakers. As a longtime supporter of efforts to address Pennsylvania’s maternal mortality crisis, I am pleased by the enactment of this new law. It builds on the work being done by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), which was created by legislation I sponsored in 2018. The MMRC examines all maternal deaths and develops strategies to reduce their numbers.
Act 7 of 2023
increases income limits for the state’s popular Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program for homeowners and renters to $45,000. The new law also raises the maximum amount each homeowner or renter can receive from $650 to $1,000. The change will take place for those who apply for the rebate in 2024. The measure expands the reach of property tax and rent relief to nearly 175,000 additional individuals, including about 4,500 Lehigh County residents.
Finally, Act 15 of 2023
provides emergency medical services companies with a significant and much-needed boost in reimbursement rates, which took effect Jan. 1. The new law ties the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rates to federal Medicare rates, and pays whichever amount is higher for services such as basic life support and advanced life support ambulance trips.
I am looking forward to the important work ahead of us in the House during 2024.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs
RepMackenzie.com / Facebook.com/RepMackenzie