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Rep. Marsico not running after 30 years; TMI Alert chairman Epstein seeks to replace him

Posted 1/24/18

Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Lower Paxton Township, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced last week his retirement from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, at the conclusion of the …

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Rep. Marsico not running after 30 years; TMI Alert chairman Epstein seeks to replace him

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Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Lower Paxton Township, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced last week his retirement from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, at the conclusion of the 2017-18 legislative session.

Marsico was first elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1988 and represents the 105th District, which includes Lower Paxton, South Hanover and West Hanover townships.

“It has been an honor to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and to represent the people in the 105th Legislative District, for almost three decades,” Marsico said. “This has not only been a job for me but a way of life. I thank the voters for giving me their support, the opportunity to serve and their trust.”

Marsico will help his son, Wayde, with a nonprofit foundation to provide funding, promotion and development for youth and high school sports.

According to a press release announcing his retirement, Marsico’s priority was work on laws protecting children, crime victims and the vulnerable. His legislation created the Task Force on Child Protection, which led to changes in the way that Pennsylvania protects children. He spearheaded legislation to improve Pennsylvania’s sexual offender registration statute, commonly known as Megan’s Law. He also worked on legislation regarding cyberbullying of children and anti-hazing. He authored legislation, known as the Safe Haven Law, to allow parents to relinquish newborns to hospitals without criminal charges. Marsico also created a new type of protective order for victims of sexual offenses, according to the press release.

His public safety accomplishments included legislation that helped increase the number of cadets in the Pennsylvania State Police, toughening the death penalty, strengthening laws punishing heroin dealers, and modernizing Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Act, the release said.

Marsico played a key role in the passage of the Medical Marijuana Act. He authored the first comprehensive bill in the House of Representatives permitting the medicinal use of marijuana, played an integral role in development of legislation which is now law as part of the House’s Task Force on Medical Marijuana, and was the primary voice advocating for the law through the days of debate on the House floor in spring 2016.

TMI Alert activist to run

One candidate for Marsico’s seat stepped up a day before the representative officially announced his retirement.

Running for the seat is Eric Epstein of Lower Paxton Township, a name likely familiar to those in this area because he is chairman of Three Mile Island Alert Inc., a nuclear power watchdog group. He also was a visiting assistant professor of Holocaust Studies at Penn State-Harrisburg from 1992 to 1999, and received a master’s degree in Humanities from PSU-Harrisburg in 1992.

He twice has been elected a member of the Central Dauphin School Board and is a co-founding member of the watchdog group Rock the Capital as well as a founding member and chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund, president of EFMR Monitoring Group Inc., and chairman of Stray Winds Area Neighbors, a smart-growth organization based in Lower Paxton Township.

“We need a new way of doing business. We need solutions. We cannot afford politicians who spend more time on the golf course than in the statehouse,” he said in a press release. “We need to work across party lines to aggressively prevent and prosecute child abuse, create better paying jobs with benefits, improve our schools, and confront the alcohol and opioid epidemics swallowing Pennsylvania.”

Epstein, running as a Democrat, said he will not accept a pension, per diem or pay raise and would reduce his salary to the 1995 level, “which is the amount representatives made before they gave themselves an annual pay increase.”

He will donate his salary overage to charities and organizations focused on preventing child abuse, human trafficking and assisting veterans. All contributions will be publicly posted.