Mar. 01, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

 
PennDOT Starts Issuing REAL IDs

Effective today, 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:
  • 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.
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.
 
 
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.

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, last week I joined with my colleagues in approving five bills for consideration by the full House. The package includes:
  • House Bill 276, a joint resolution known as Marsy’s Law, would add a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.

  • House Bill 502 would ensure victims can attend proceedings against 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.
Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, House Republicans are working to ensure crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire criminal justice process.

For the latest district event information and state government updates, visit RepKnowles.com and Facebook.com/RepKnowles.
 
 
Bill Advances to Bar Future Non-State Employees from Pension System

Last week, House Republicans passed House Bill 60 to prohibit future hires of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which serves three states, from participating in the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).

The reason being is that SRBC employees are not state employees. While I do not begrudge any state employee a pension who has earned it, I believe state pensions should be strictly limited to actual 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.

House Bill 60 would not impact current workers or retirees. Existing laws, previous court cases and the state Constitution prevent the state from removing current participants from the state pension system.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Free Admission at Several State 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.

For a complete list of the participating museums and historic sites in this year’s celebration, click here.
 
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237 West Broad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252 | Phone: 570-668-1240
61 North Third Street, Hamburg, PA 19526-1501 | Phone: 610-562-3411
314C Main Capitol, PO Box 202124, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2124 | Phone: 717-787-9029
Email: jknowles@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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