|Budget Hearings Continue
The second full week of budget hearings wrapped up on Thursday, with myself and members of the House Appropriations Committee asking agency and department officials a variety of questions about executive functions, programs and efficiencies. These questions, along with submitted written testimony, will serve as the foundation for budget negotiations this spring.
This week’s hearings featured the Pennsylvania State Police, as well as the departments of Transportation (PennDOT), Corrections, General Services, Health, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Liquor Control Board and the Gaming Control Board.
Next week concludes the House’s budget hearings with appearances by the departments of Education, Agriculture, and Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and State Employees’ Retirement System.
The full schedule is available here (http://www.pahousegop.com/budgethearings). The site also includes links to video of the archived hearings once available.
Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims
Understanding the struggle many crime victims face when seeking justice, lawmakers have been working to advance a package of bills designed to protect the rights of crime victims.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved five bills for consideration by the full House. The package includes:
Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, the goal of our legislation is to ensure crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice process.
House Bill 276, known as Marsy’s Law, this joint resolution would add a victim’s bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
House Bill 502 would ensure victims can attend proceedings involving their abusers.
House Bill 503 would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
House Bill 504 would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
House Bill 505 would strengthen protections for young abuse victims.
License Your Dog in PA
All dogs three months or older must be licensed by January 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs.
An annual license is $8.50 and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $31.50.
Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer whose information is below:
PO Box 218, 69 Lake Avenue, Montrose, Pa. 18801
570-278-4600 x4082 or 570-278-4600 x4083
Wayne County Treasurer
Brian T. Field
925 Court Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
PennDOT to Start Issuing REAL IDs
Effective this Friday, March 1, PennDOT will begin issuing REAL IDs.
A federally accepted form of identification must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building starting Oct. 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania REAL ID will fulfill this requirement, as will a U.S. Passport.
Under state law, REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.
Pennsylvanians who have pre-verified their required documentation for obtaining a REAL ID may apply online to receive it without visiting a driver license center. PennDOT has indicated those IDs will be mailed out to recipients in 10 business days.
Residents who have not pre-verified but wish to obtain a REAL ID will be required to bring original versions or certified copies of the following documents for verification to a local driver license center:
More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and additional guidelines on documents required for REAL ID, can be found at www.penndot.gov/REALID. For additional information, please call my office at 570-278-3374 or 570-253-5533.
Proof of identity, such as an original or certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised or embossed seal, or a valid U.S. passport or passport card. Birth certificates with a sticker rather than an embossed seal will not be accepted.
Proof of Social Security number by providing your Social Security card. The name on the card must match the name on your current driver license or photo identification card.
Proof of legal name changes, such as marriage certificates or court orders issued by a family court. You must have documentation to show all name changes from your original name on your birth certificate to your current name.
Proof of current, physical address, such as your current, unexpired driver license or state issued ID card, vehicle registration or utility bill. TWO forms of proof must be provided.
Free Admission at Several Local Museums
To help the Commonwealth celebrate its 338th birthday on Charter Day, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will offer free admission to the State Museum in Harrisburg and many historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History on Sunday, March 10.
Pennsylvania was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn in 1681. Once each year, the Pennsylvania State Archives displays the original document, for a limited time, at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. For the remainder of the year the charter is safeguarded in a special vault within the archives.
Charter Day celebrates the founding of the Commonwealth and gives visitors to The State Museum of Pennsylvania a rare opportunity to see the original Charter of Pennsylvania written in 1681. This year, documents relating to the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote, including Pennsylvania’s copy of the “Joint Resolution of Congress Proposing an Amendment to the United States Constitution Extending the Right of Suffrage to Women” and Pennsylvania’s “Joint Resolution for Ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution” will be on display. The documents will be on display until 1 p.m. Friday, March 15.
For a complete list of the participating museums and historic sites in this year’s celebration, click here.