Jul. 26, 2019

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New Task Force to Address Infrastructure Reforms
Our caucus has taken the initiative on addressing further infrastructure improvements throughout Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has made major strides in transportation infrastructure in recent years thanks to our taxpayers, and we hope to expand upon that progress. A task force was appointed to determine the next steps of infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate the demands of expanding industries and a growing economy without putting any additional burdens on taxpayers.

The task force will be chaired by Rep. Martina White, who serves with me on the House Transportation Committee and has firsthand experience with the challenges facing urban and suburban infrastructure. I will be serving on the task force, alongside several of my caucus colleagues from across Pennsylvania.

In addition to transportation infrastructure, we will also examine how state funds could be better used to promote economic growth, security and state police needs.

Voice Your Opinions on Highway Safety
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invites you to participate in an online survey regarding highway safety. The survey will focus on traffic safety and driving behaviors, with the goal of making our roads safer for everyone.

The survey is available on PennDOT’s website through Aug. 12 and takes about 5 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous.

Please take the survey and tell PennDOT the problems you see on the roads, and changes you’d like to see happen.        

Senior Expo Wrap-Up

Northumberland and Snyder County Commissioners volunteered their time at the Senior Expo. Pictured from left to right are Peggy Chamberlain Roup, Sam Schiccatano, Joe Kantz, myself, Lee Knepp and Kym Best.  We offered numerous tests for attendees, including testing for vitals.

Thank you to our event sponsor, UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury. Great attendance at the Senior Expo!
On Thursday, the 9th Annual Senior Expo was held at the Shikellamy High School in Sunbury. A special thank you to the event sponsor, UPMC Susquehanna Sunbury, and the numerous agencies, businesses and volunteers that helped make this a successful event. Thank you also to Shikellamy High School for allowing us to hold the event in their cafeteria. This is always a great opportunity for senior citizens to connect and learn about services in the area while also having access to free vital health screenings.

Clean Slate Law Offers Second Chances
The new, automatic sealing of criminal records 10 years or older is now in effect under the state’s Clean Slate Act. Officials expect to process 2.5 million records per month over the next year.

The Clean Slate Act created an automated computer process to seal arrests that did not result in convictions within 60 days, summary convictions after 10 years, and some second- and third-degree misdemeanor convictions if there are no subsequent convictions for a period of 10 years. Certain first-degree misdemeanors can be sealed by petition.

The law is designed to ensure people who have turned their lives around are not haunted by minor, nonviolent indiscretions that occurred a decade earlier. The law does not apply to violent offenses related to danger of a person; firearms or other dangerous articles; sexual offenses and registration; cruelty to animals; and corruption of minors.

The House is considering additional criminal justice reforms this session, including House Bill 1555 that would make a series of probation and parole reforms, and House Bill 1477, which would ensure past convictions are not prohibiting someone from obtaining occupational licensure, unless the conviction is related to the career field.

DMVA Offers Help to Members in Emergency Circumstances
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is reminding service members that they over see the Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP), which provides financial assistance to eligible service members in financial trouble as a result of circumstances beyond their control, such as weather related emergencies.

The extreme heat and heavy rain can cause any number of problems such as an air conditioner failing or even home flooding. The DMVA is here to help and encourages service members to apply to the MFRAP.

Pennsylvanians who are members of the armed forces are eligible to apply while they are serving on active duty for 30 or more consecutive days with the Army, Army Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, the Pennsylvania Army and the Air National Guard. All members of the armed forces who were discharged for medical reasons are also eligible to apply for up to four years after medical discharge.

Reserve component service members, including the Pennsylvania National Guard, and their families may be eligible for a grant for a period of up to three years after release from a qualifying active duty tour. The program also applies to certain family members who are Pennsylvania residents.

More information on the program can be found here.

National Guard Parity Bill Now Law
Working to ensure equity for the dedicated members of the Pennsylvania National Guard, a new law requires them to be compensated at the same level as their U.S. military counterparts.

Specifically, the law requires pay for deputy adjutant generals and general officers in command positions permanently employed by the Commonwealth to be equivalent to the federal military base pay. In addition to specifying the eligibility requirements and conditions for the pay increase, this new law also determines how the cost-of-living adjustment is to be calculated.

Under previous law, the Pennsylvania National Guard adjutant general and uniformed deputy adjutant generals earned significantly less than their active duty counterparts, though they maintain the same military standards and comparable senior executive responsibilities.

New Law Will Help People Stay on Track with Medications
Recognizing the challenges some patients face in staying on track with their medications, the General Assembly has adopted a new state law to make it a little easier.

Act 46 of 2019 will allow consumers to synchronize the refilling of their prescriptions, meaning they can pick up all of their medications on one day rather than having to make multiple trips to the pharmacy. This will be especially helpful for senior citizens, busy families and others who have limited transportation options.

The law will enable consumers to synchronize their prescription refills and bar insurance companies from denying coverage for a partial fill of a script in order to facilitate medication synchronization. Thirty-five other states have enacted or introduced similar legislation.

The law takes effect next summer.

Emergency Programs Can Save Lives
Drivers are reminded of two voluntary programs aimed at saving the lives of residents in emergency situations. Participation in both programs is free of charge.

Under PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program, participants fill out the program form with emergency contact, medical contact and medical information, insert it in the program’s folder and then place it in their vehicle’s glove compartment. A yellow dot sticker affixed to the rear window alerts emergency responders to the availability of information to help them provide better care to crash victims.

The Emergency Contact Information program offers Pennsylvania driver’s license and PennDOT-issued ID holders the opportunity to log into a secure database and list two emergency contacts. Participants can update their records as needed, but only law enforcement officials can view the information in the system. In the event of an emergency, law enforcement can use a participant’s ID to find his or her emergency contact information.

The Yellow Dot program is used only in vehicle crashes, but the Emergency Contact Information program can be used in other emergencies as well as crashes.                          
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