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GOV. CASEY CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF FAMILY LEAVE BILL

 GOV. CASEY CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF FAMILY LEAVE BILL
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Gov. Robert P. Casey today


appealed for Senate passage of family leave legislation that won approval in the House nearly a year ago.
 "I'm imploring the Senate to pass family leave legislation so parents can take care of their own newborn babies, newly adopted infants or seriously ill family members without the anguish and fear of losing their jobs," Casey said at a meeting of the Governor's Commission on Children and Families. "We simply cannot afford to wait any longer to pass this important legislation."
 The administration backed Family and Medical Leave Bill would enable most workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave a year to care for young children or an ailing family member.
 The bill was approved by the House on Jan, 30, 1991. It has been before the Senate Labor and Industry Committee since last February.
 "I believe the family leave legislation would make a tremendous difference in the health of millions of Pennsylvanians without costing the taxpayer a single dime and without requiring any change in our health care laws," Casey said.
 The commonwealth, the largest single employer in the state, offers its workers family and medical leave.
 Casey also reviewed for the commission the health care agenda for very young children that he outlined in detail in his State-of-the- Commonwealth address on Wednesday.
 "The health care agenda I'm proposing will respond to the needs of our children," Casey said. "I'm calling for health care for every uninsured Pennsylvanian up to age 6, expanded health care for pregnant women and infants, school based health clinics and training more family practice doctors."
 The governor's children's health insurance plan would provide affordable voluntary medical coverage for uninsured Pennsylvania children under the age of 6.
 The health program would cover outpatient services, doctor's visits, immunizations, diagnostic services, prescriptions, dental and eye care and up to 90 days of hospitalization for young children from families with annual incomes of up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $40,200 for a family of four.
 The insurance plan would be funded through a 2 cent increase in the cigarette tax that was enacted last year. Collections of the tax, which will begin July 1, will generate $20 million annually.
 The governor also plans to expand the income eligibility criteria to enable another 49,000 women and infants to qualify for medical assistance.
 Another effort will involve reaching out to the 82,000 children who qualify for medical assistance, but are not currently enrolled.
 Casey recommended a primary care education grant program to encourage state-funded medical schools to increase the supply of primary care physicians and has directed the Department of Health to investigate methods to attract medical personnel to areas of the commonwealth where medical professionals are in short supply.
 Casey outlined for the commission a number of other steps the state has taken since 1987 to help families and children, including:
 -- Doubling annual state funds for county children and youth agencies to $250 million.
 -- Expanding subsidized daycare by more than 50 percent.
 -- Establishing the Governor's Model Child Care program with on-site daycare centers for state employees.
 -- Expanding the Healthy Beginnings program to bring more prenatal services to low-income pregnant women, including psychological and nutrition counseling, parenting education and addiction treatment.
 -- Expanding the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) nutrition program by 143 percent to serve 250,000 pregnant women and children up to 5 years old.
 -- Investing in long-term residential programs for addicted mothers.
 -- Establishing an early intervention program that requires that every disabled child who is eligible get early intervention services.
 In 1990, Casey established the Governor's Commission on Children and Families, chaired by First Lady Ellen Casey, to promote policies that help all Pennsylvania families.
 In November, Casey called for the formation of the Governor's Interagency Children's Committee, composed of experts from the state departments of Health, Education, Public Welfare and Labor and Industry, to coordinate state efforts with the federal Office of Administration of Children and Families.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/24/92
 /CONTACT: Bette Phelan or Susan Woods of the Commonwealth News Bureau, 717-783-1116/ CO: Office of the Governor ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


KA -- PH013 -- 3246 01/24/92 11:32 EST
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Date:Jan 24, 1992
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