Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27
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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Got Expired Drugs? Dispose of Them Safely on Oct. 27
To help keep prescription medications out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, the U.S. Department of Justice, working with local law enforcement, will hold a prescription drug take-back event in our area on Saturday, Oct. 27. This event allows residents to drop off unwanted or expired prescription medications free of charge for safe and convenient disposal.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents can drop their medications off at the following local sites or More sites are being added daily.

Since the twice-a-year disposal events began in the fall of 2010, the total amount of prescription drugs collected by DEA has reached 9,964,714 pounds, or 4,982 tons.

Several communities in our area also have permanent collection sites. Click here for those

Crack Sealing Scheduled on I-180 and Route 15 in Lycoming County
Starting this week, crack sealing is being performed during daylight hours on Route 15 between the Union County line in Brady Township and Route 54/Elimsport Road in Clinton Township, and on Interstate 180 between the Route 15 spur just west of Williamsport and the Montoursville exit. This work will take 2-3 weeks to complete.

There will be daylight lane closures. However, there will be no closures during the peak traffic hours of 6 - 9 a.m., and 3 - 6 p.m.

Beginning, the night of Sunday, Oct. 28, the contractor will perform nighttime crack sealing on Route 15 in both directions from just north of Route 54/Elimsport Road to the scenic overlook just south of South Williamsport Borough. Work will from 9 p.m. - 6 a.m.

Traffic will be controlled by rolling roadblocks with delays of approximately 15 minutes each. After each traffic stoppage, traffic will be allowed through the work zone and any succeeding stoppages will not occur until traffic flow returns to normal pre-stoppage conditions.

This work is expected to take up to three nights to complete.

Motorists should be alert and drive with caution through the work zone.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 860 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Halloween Safety Tips
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s important to remember to be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters along the road. Be sure to know when your community will be hosting trick-or- treating, Halloween parades and other activities so you can be extra cautious while driving.

Parents can help their children be safe by using face paint instead of masks, using a flashlight or reflective clothing and having children stay on sidewalks wherever possible and walk facing traffic.

Adults attending parties should never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol. Designate a driver and have a plan before you head out.

New Laws Protect Grandparents Raising Children
Act 89 of 2018, formerly House Bill 2133, establishes the Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program to provide an informational resource for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren outside the formal child welfare system.

This informational resource for grandparents would operate both as a website and a toll-free hotline. The website would offer information on support and services available, and a specially trained navigator would be able to provide support and guidance to kinship caregivers and serve as a mediator to establish relationships between kinship caregivers and relevant federal, state and local agency staff. The cost to state taxpayers will be greatly reduced, as the Commonwealth just received $479,307 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families to develop the program.

Another measure to help grandchildren, House Bill 1539 to grant temporary guardianship to grandparents when the parents of the grandchildren are unable to care for them primarily due to substance abuse issues, is Act 88 of 2018.

New Law to Protect Highway Workers
As a way to help enhance safety within highway construction zones, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 172 – now Act 86 of 2018 – which will better protect construction workers along roadways.

Under the new law, automated speed enforcement cameras will be deployed as part of a five-year pilot program in active work zones along certain federal highways under PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s jurisdiction. A separate program is being implemented in Philadelphia for U.S. Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) to reduce pedestrian-related crashes.

Motorists who exceed the speed limit by at least 11 mph when construction workers and these cameras are present will receive a written warning for the first offense, a $75 fine for the second offense and a $150 fine for third and subsequent offenses. Penalties imposed will not be a criminal conviction if paid, will not reflect on an owner’s driving record, and cannot be used for insurance purposes or to authorize imposition of surcharges on motor vehicle insurance coverage. Cameras could start appearing as early as the spring 2019 construction season.

This legislation was modeled after a similar law in Maryland, which saw a substantial reduction in work zone-related crashes.

In 2015, 1,900 crashes were reported within work zones, leading to 23 deaths across Pennsylvania. According to PennDOT, work zone crashes have been increasing at a rate of 5 percent annually since 2012.

For more information about highway safety, click here

New Organ Donor Law Lifts Restrictions
Act 90 of 2018, formerly Senate Bill 180, amends various provisions regarding donations of human organs, tissues and eyes and addresses donation of vascularized composite allografts.

The legislation expands the list of those persons authorized to decide on behalf of a decedent whether his or her organs are donated. Among other provisions, it will also permit a minimally invasive blood or tissue test to be conducted to determine the suitability of a donor; call for education regarding organ and tissue donation and transplantation for high school students, as well as nursing and medical students; and increase the voluntary contribution made by citizens from $1 to $3 for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.

Currently, more than 8,000 Pennsylvanians are waiting for an organ transplant. More information about organ donation in Pennsylvania is available at the PennDOT website on the Driver’s License and ID page.

Fighting Back Against Food Stamp Fraud
The governor has signed Senate Bill 1127, now Act 160 of 2018, that would help prevent food stamp fraud by imposing tougher penalties for the illegal trafficking of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

The new law will create a penalty for the fraudulent trafficking of SNAP benefits in an amount greater than $2,500. Violators would be required to pay restitution of up to three times the amount of fraud they committed. Under current law, the recipient who sells the benefits and the merchant who creates the illegal market for and trafficks in those benefits are treated the same.

The legislation stems from a case uncovered last year by the Office of State Inspector General in which a Harrisburg restaurant traded drugs for electronic benefit transaction (EBT) cards and bought thousands of dollars of supplies from a food wholesale club to be resold for profit. This serious problem across Pennsylvania takes food from our most vulnerable citizens.

Heating Assistance Program to Open Next Week
Residents who are struggling with their home heating bills can apply for assistance from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps individuals and families pay their heating bills through home heating energy assistance grants. It also provides crisis grants to help in the event of an emergency or if a resident is in danger of losing his or her heat due to broken equipment, lack of fuel or termination of utility service.

The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.

Residents may apply for LIHEAP online or by contacting the County Assistance Office in their county of residence. 

Veterans Organizations Can Apply for Trust Fund Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans.

The VTF is funded by Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations.

To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit or follow DMVA on Facebook at

Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the nation, with nearly 800,000 veterans.

PHEAA to Launch Low-Cost PA Forward Student Loan Program
PHEAA this week announced a new student loan program for Pennsylvania students who need help paying for college after exhausting their eligibility for gift aid, such as the PA State Grant Program, and low-cost federal student loans.

The PA Forward Student Loan Program is a borrower-friendly suite of low-cost, alternative student loans that will be available to Pennsylvania borrowers, beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.

The program includes affordable loans for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as loans for parent borrowers. Additionally, borrowers who are in repayment and want to combine their debt after graduation to achieve a lower monthly payment can benefit from a PA Forward Refinance Loan.

PHEAA is the lender and servicer, with tax-exempt financing provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), making PA Forward Pennsylvania’s student loan program.

To learn more about PA Forward loans and to access an application when they become available in 2019, please visit

For more information on finding financial aid to help fund postsecondary education, including tips, deadlines and free financial aid workshops, visit PHEAA on Facebook at or visit You can also view helpful financial aid planning videos at
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349 Pine St. Suite 1, Williamsport, PA 17701 I Phone: (570) 321-1270  
Room 415, Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202083, Harrisburg PA 17120-2083 | Phone: (717) 787-2885