|You’re Invited to My REAL ID Informational Event
Please join me at my REAL ID informational event on Tuesday, May 28, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Northland Public Library located at 300 Cumberland Road in Pittsburgh.
Residents who wish to learn more about the REAL ID program or who have questions regarding the program are encouraged to attend. The event will include an informational presentation by representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Starting on Oct. 1, 2020, a REAL ID driver's license or identification (ID) card will be needed to board domestic flights and enter military buildings, some federal buildings and nuclear facilities, unless you have an alternate form of federally approved identification such as a valid passport or military ID.
This event will be a great opportunity for residents to receive information about the REAL ID program, their options and how to obtain a REAL ID if they choose to do so.
Reminder: Fish for Free on Sunday
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is hosting the first of its two annual Fish for Free Days this Sunday, May 26.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy fishing in any of Pennsylvania’s waterways, even if you don’t have a license.
Both residents and non-residents are eligible. Just make sure you follow all other fishing regulations.
For your convenience, there are even opportunities to borrow equipment from certain sites at state parks and other locations. You can find those locations by clicking here.
The second Fish for Free day is scheduled for Thursday, July 4.
State of Natural Gas in Pennsylvania
Here are some facts that you should know about natural gas in Pennsylvania. According to numbers recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania currently ranks second in the nation in natural gas production. Yet, based on rankings of energy consumption, Pennsylvania ranks 26th in the nation.
The Marcellus formation is the largest estimated proved reserves of any U.S. natural gas field. Thanks to the shale formation, Pennsylvania has become the second (only to Texas) in estimated natural gas reserves. The Commonwealth’s natural gas production was almost 10 times larger in 2017 than in 2010.
The Legislature enacted Act 13 of 2012 as a fair and competitive impact fee. It is an annual fee paid on unconventional natural gas wells. The fee is imposed by counties; it is collected and disbursed by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
The fee paid is in addition to the other taxes producers pay to the Commonwealth which include corporate or personal income, capital stock and franchise, sales and use, liquid fuels, and other business taxes. Drillers are also responsible for drilling permit fees and other fees associated with well plugging. As of December 2017, companies have paid over $1.5 billion in impact fees.
It should not be overlooked that Pennsylvanians are benefiting from lower electric/gas bills because the industry is here producing natural gas, which is used to fuel electricity in generating plants much cheaper than other alternatives previously used. The amount of savings yields to higher disposable incomes in households.
The industry has also led to economic investments and job creation. More than 322,600 jobs in Pennsylvania have been created, paying over $23 billion in wages. These are wages that generate additional tax revenue dollars for the Commonwealth, which help spur consumer spending.
I am against Gov. Tom Wolf adding an additional tax to natural gas in Pennsylvania. The statistics prove that this would not be in our best interest.
Congratulations to Pine-Richland Middle School!
I had the pleasure of presenting a House of Representatives citation to celebrate Pine-Richland Middle School's re-designation as a School to Watch for a fourth time. Congratulations to the administration, teachers and students for a job well done. Please join me in applauding them! Pictured with me is Principal Dr. David Kristofic.
Employing More Tactics in the Fight Against Opioid Addiction
As we continue to combat the opioid abuse epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth, the House Health Committee has approved legislation to better regulate pain management clinics and help identify patients who previously overdosed.
House Bill 1005 would help health care professionals identify and better treat patients who previously overdosed by requiring first responders and hospital personnel to document the use of Narcan, Naloxone or any other opioid overdose agent in the patient’s record in a state database.
The database was created in 2014 to help track opioid prescriptions to prevent people with an addiction from obtaining multiple scripts from different doctors.
House Bill 1214 would require pain management clinic to be licensed and regulated by the Department of Health to ensure they are not prescribing or dispensing controlled substances inappropriately. While it is important to ensure people who are struggling with chronic pain can access the medications they need, it is equally important to prevent the diversion, misuse and abuse of controlled substances.
Both bills now go to the full House for consideration.
Ramadan Dinner at the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh
It was a pleasure to spend time with Omar Abbassi, president of the Muslim Association of Greater Pittsburgh. I was also honored to be a guest speaker. I talked to the group about the importance of interfaith dialogue. I feel it is necessary due to the tragedies our nation and Commonwealth have endured. We all should strive for total peace, not war and bloodshed.
Helping Our First Responders
May 19-25 is National EMS Week, recognizing those who provide emergency services to the community. One way you can help EMS first responders deliver the best emergency care possible is by participating in PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program.
In the event of a vehicle crash with an unresponsive victim, PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program provides EMS workers with the person’s identity, medical needs and emergency contacts. A simple PennDOT Yellow Dot decal in the car’s rear window alerts EMS workers to find all vital information in the vehicle’s glovebox.
The public can sign up for the Yellow Dot program on PennDOT’s website, PennDOT.gov. Participants will receive a Yellow Dot kit in the mail, which they complete with personal information, including name, contact information, emergency contact information, medical history and medications, allergies and the participant’s doctors’ contact information. Optionally, you can also include a photo. You then place the completed information booklet in the vehicle’s glove compartment and place the Yellow Dot sticker in the lower-left corner of the rear window.
For more information or to sign up for PennDOT’s Yellow Dot program, visit PennDOT.gov/Safety and click on “Yellow Dot” under “Resources”.
Traveling Over Memorial Day? Check Traffic Conditions on 511PA.com
Travelers can log onto 511PA.com to check current traffic impacts from construction, traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. The service is free and available 24 hours a day.
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.
Travelers are always reminded to buckle up, put their phones away and stay sober when behind the wheel.
Honoring Our Heroes
This Memorial Day weekend, let us pause to remember the 1.1 million men and women who died protecting the liberties we cherish every single day.
We are truly blessed to live in this nation, and also grateful that many of our communities have organized remembrances -- parades and ceremonies -- to honor the fallen. Thank you to all of those volunteers who spend countless hours ensuring that those who gave their lives will never be forgotten.
President James A. Garfield said it best: "For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue."