Oct. 13, 2017

REAL ID Grace Period Now Through January 2018
Pennsylvania residents who need REAL ID to access certain federal facilities now have a grace period through Jan. 22, 2018, according to an announcement this week by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This grace period went into effect Oct. 11. PennDOT submitted an extension request to the federal agency in early September and is currently awaiting its response. The enforcement grace period applies only to entrance to federal facilities. There is no enforcement on commercial air travel until Jan. 22, 2018.

PennDOT has begun work on the implementation of REAL ID, and estimates REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in March 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the final DHS effective date of Oct. 1, 2020.

Information on REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions, is available dmv.pa.gov.

Concealed Carry Seminar Coming Nov. 2
Rep. Garth Everett and I will host another one of our popular Concealed Carry Seminars on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m., at the Trout Run Fire Company, 241 State Route 14, Trout Run.

Presenters will include Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt, who will discuss Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws; Lycoming County Sheriff Mark Lusk who will explain rules and regulations surrounding licenses to carry firearms; a police officer will discuss how to safely interact with the police when carrying a firearm; and an officer from the Pennsylvania Game Commission will discuss firearm carry laws as they relate to hunting seasons.

Seating is limited and advance registration is required. Those interested in attending should contact my district office by calling (570) 321-1270 or emailing Kristi Marshall at kmarshall@pahousegop.com.

Sponsoring an Anti-Fraud Seminar for Nonprofits Oct. 26
I am pleased to join Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt in hosting an anti-theft seminar for nonprofit organizations on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Williamsport Trade and Transit Centre, 100 W. Third St., Williamsport.

The theme of the seminar is “Preventing Theft in Your Nonprofit Organization.” and will feature Dr. Fred Croop, Professor of Business and Accounting at Misericordia University. Dr. Croop developed the Internal Controls and Federal Tax Exemption Basics for All Volunteer Organizations Resource Manual, as well as the Financial Management and Internal Controls Guide for Volunteer Emergency Services Organizations. Soon, all volunteer organizations will be required to follow the guide in order to be eligible for grant funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development.

For more information contact Misericordia University at 570-674-6372.

New Education Requirement for Pennsylvania Notaries
Pennsylvanians who have the designation of notary public are being reminded by the Department of State of changes to the notary law. This applies to current and new notaries.

The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) goes into effect Thursday, Oct. 26.

All current notaries who will be renewing a commission on or after that date must complete a three-hour notary education course within the six months before they reply for renewal. This also applies to anyone seeking a new commission as a notary.

A certificate of course completion must be included with all applications for appointment or reappointment submitted on or after Oct. 26.

For more information on the changes in the law, click here.

For general information, visit the Department of State website here.

Work Requirements for Welfare Recipients
To help contain escalating costs for the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program, the House recently approved legislation that would allow for work or work-search requirements for able-bodied individuals receiving MA benefits. Work requirements are already in place for food stamp and cash assistance programs.

As part of House Bill 59, the Department of Human Services would be required to design work or work-search requirements for those who do not have a qualifying disability, are not pregnant and are not elderly. The federal government would have to approve such requirements.

Another provision in the bill would require the department to see additional cost savings before seeking any more from the state’s General Fund.

Medical Assistance is one of the largest cost-drivers in the $32 billion state budget, accounting for 29 percent.

The bill, which is headed for the governor’s desk, faces an uncertain future. The governor has vowed to veto the bill.

Preventing Fires in Your Home
To help prevent residential fires, October has been designated across the nation as a time to remind people of fire dangers in their homes and communities, as well as to educate the public about simple fire prevention steps to make everyone safer.

House Resolution 546 designates October as Pennsylvania Fire Prevention Month, and also marks Oct. 8-14 as National Fire Prevention Week.

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme -- “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out!” -- seeks to remind people to have an escape plan that includes at least two exits in the event one of those exits is blocked by fire.

The National Fire Prevention Association also encourages families to practice their home fire drill twice a year, once at night and once during the day, and to practice using different ways out.

Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence
To help raise greater awareness of the dangers of domestic violence, House Resolution 525 officially designates October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience domestic violence in his or her lifetime, with nearly 1.3 million women and 835,000 men being physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. It affects people from all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior within an intimate relationship that is used by one partner to gain power or control over the other partner. It takes on many forms, including abuse, harassment, threats, vandalism, trespassing, burglary, theft and stalking.

It often escalates, causing victims to suffer physical and emotional trauma, anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation and fear, as well as injury or death by suicide or homicide.

Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes, and fewer than 20 percent of victims who report an injury from an intimate partner seek medical treatment following the injury.

To find out more about domestic violence programs and support, visit pcadv.org.

All Veterans Can Get New Photo ID Cards
Under a federal law passed in 2015, all honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to receive a photo ID card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), starting in November. This will allow veterans to prove their service without showing a copy of their official DD 214 discharge documents.

The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran’s name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number.

Veterans may apply for the free card online, but a timeline for how long it will take to receive a card after application has not been finalized. Other details are not yet available.

In Pennsylvania, veterans can apply for a specially designated driver’s license under Act 176 of 2012. More information is available here.

Road Maintenance Info Available Online
To make your travels easier, the weekly road maintenance schedule is available at the PennDOT Regional Office website here.  For statewide information, visit 511pa.com.