|PennDOT to Start Issuing REAL IDs
Effective today, March 1, PennDOT will being 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. Residents who have pre-verified their required documentation for obtaining a REAL ID may apply online to receive it without visiting a driver’s license center.
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:
• 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.
• Proof of Social Security number by providing your Social Security card.
• Proof of legal name changes, such as marriage certificates or court orders issued by a family court.
• 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.
More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and additional guidelines on documents required for REAL ID, can be found at penndot.gov/REALID. For additional information, please call my office at (412) 369-2230.
CCAC Entrance Exam Prep Course Offered
Duquesne Light Company is partnering with the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) to offer a prep course for Electrical Distribution Technology applicants. The dates of the course are March 2, 9, 23 and 30.
The course will prepare applicants to take the Construction and Skilled Trades (CAST) test, an industry standardized test developed by the Edison Electric Institute to assess abilities in graphical arithmetic, mechanical concepts, reading for comprehension, and mathematical usage. The test will also review basic problem-solving techniques and skills for test taking.
The 16-hour prep course will be held at the CCAC Allegheny Campus near the North Shore of Pittsburgh. To register call (412) 788-7537 or online here.
Free Veterans Assistance Available
The desire to help veterans in need reflects a fitting gratitude for service to our country. My goal is to provide support and assistance to veterans in need and their families in the 28th Legislative District.
On Friday, March 22, I will partner with the American Legion to assist veterans and their families at my district office in McCandless. Through this outreach, we have been able to provide some direct links between our veterans and the services and programs available just for them.
Ensuring Pennsylvania’s 800,000 veterans get all of the benefits they have earned is an important mission of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and state lawmakers. I encourage veterans to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry at register.dmva.pa.gov to get timely information about state benefits, programs and services.
Please call my office at 412-369-2230 to schedule an appointment. My district office is located at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor, in McCandless.
The Latest on Budget Hearings
The second full week of budget hearings wrapped up on Thursday, with 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.
Next week concludes the House 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. 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.
House Approves Bill to Save Taxpayers Money Through Pension Reform
This week, the House approved legislation that would save taxpayers money by prohibiting future employees of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which serves three states, from participating in the state’s public pension system.
House Bill 60 is necessary legislation because SRBC employees are currently receiving state pensions despite not being state employees.
The SRBC was created by federal law in 1970 that also was adopted by the legislatures of Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.
According to the Independent Fiscal Office – a non-partisan entity created to provide unbiased information to the state Legislature – there were 65 employees of the SRBC who were active, contributing members of SERS in 2017.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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 Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh and many historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History on Sunday, March 10.
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 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.