Have a Safe and Enjoyable Labor Day
8/31/2018
Helping Workers in Pennsylvania

As Labor Day celebrates workers in Pennsylvania, the House is working to ensure workers have the training required for the jobs of today and tomorrow. In the 2018-19 budget, we increased funding for career and technical education by $30 million. We have also enacted several new laws this session to support workers and employment.

We passed a law to create new vocational instructional certification requirements to attract more qualified career and technical educators. The new law reduces the total number of credits required from 78 to 60 as long as potential educators have at least four years of experience in the occupation to be taught.

Another law, which I authored, provides career and technical education students with additional pathways to fulfilling their graduation requirements. Act 6 of 2017 allows career and technical education students, in addition to exhibiting core subject area mastery, to demonstrate proficiency on an approved industry-based competency assessment such as exams developed by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute or the National Institute for Metalworking Skills. These tests will serve as a replacement for the Keystone Exams during school years in which demonstrated proficiency on a Keystone Exam is a requisite condition for high school graduation. Act 55 of 2017 delayed implementation of the Keystone Exams as a high school graduation requirement until the 2019-20 school year.
Act 39 of 2018 establishes the Employment First Program to promote the employment of people with disabilities at competitive wages by Pennsylvania employers.

Additionally, the House passed a package of bills promoting career and technical education that are awaiting Senate action. For more information on these bills, click here.
 
 
PennDOT Making Plans to Roll Out REAL ID
 

 
PennDOT has recently announced that they will start issuing REAL IDs in March 2019. Starting Sept. 4, eligible Pennsylvania residents who wish to obtain a REAL ID may begin the pre-verification process.

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses. Beginning on Oct. 1, 2020, a REAL ID will be required to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building.

In drafting the REAL ID Compliance Act, the General Assembly provided flexibility for Pennsylvanians to decide whether or not they want or need to purchase a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card. Under this law, residents will be able to choose between a REAL ID-compliant card or a standard card.

Residents who want to obtain a real ID will need to bring the required documents to a Driver License Center so they can be verified in person. Those documents include:
  • Order online if you have completed pre-verified.
  • Visit a PennDOT Driver License Center, have your documents verified and scanned, pay the one-time fee, and your REAL ID product will be mailed to you within seven to 10 days;
  • Visit one of up to 13 REAL ID Centers and receive your REAL ID product over-the-counter at the time of service (locations not yet announced).
PennDOT staff will scan the documents to the customer’s record, and when REAL IDs are available in March 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, and their REAL ID will be sent through the mail.
The cost to obtain a REAL ID is $30, plus a renewal fee (the current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID). The expiration date of your initial REAL ID will include any time remaining on your existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless you are over age 65 and has a two-year license.
When REAL IDs are available in March 2019, residents will have three options for obtaining a REAL ID:
  • Order online if you have completed pre-verified.
  • Visit a PennDOT Driver License Center, have your documents verified and scanned, pay the one-time fee, and your REAL ID product will be mailed to you within seven to 10 days;
  • Visit one of up to 13 REAL ID Centers and receive your REAL ID product over-the-counter at the time of service (locations not yet announced).
More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and information on documents required for REAL ID, can be found here.
 
 
HOV Lanes to Reopen

The Interstate 279 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are expected to open Friday, Aug. 31. The lanes will reopen to outbound traffic and remain in the outbound direction through Labor Day.

After Labor Day, the HOV hours will return to following schedule:
Inbound
  • Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.  Two or more passengers required.
Outbound
  • Monday through Friday, 3-7 p.m.  Two or more passengers required.
  • Monday through Friday, 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. Unrestricted use.
  • Friday, 7 p.m. through Monday, 4 a.m. Unrestricted use.
The HOV lanes underwent improvements that include new gates, updated signage, upgraded control system, and a wrong-way detection system as part of the I-279 Parkway North Improvement Project.
 
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