Jun. 30, 2017

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Weekly News Update

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 The latest news from the State Capitol

Northeast Delegation Receives Update on Royalty Lawsuit

 

This week, several members of the Northeast Republican Delegation in the Pennsylvania House met with Attorney General Josh Shapiro to receive an update on his office’s lawsuit against two natural gas companies involved in alleged deceptive royalty payment practices along the Northern Tier. We requested the meeting to emphasize the plight of our constituents with complaints against the companies.

Shapiro told us that oral arguments on preliminary objections are scheduled to take place on July 20. If the cases are successful, Shapiro said the defendants will be required to make restitution to those who have suffered losses, pay civil penalties of $1,000 for each violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, and pay $3,000 for each violation involving a person 60 years and older, as well as permanently refrain from any action that violates the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

During the meeting, Shapiro encouraged any citizen with royalty-related concerns to file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection in his office at www.attorneygeneral.gov.

To read more about our meeting, click here.  

In the meantime, my colleagues and I are continuing to negotiate legislation that would further clarify the 1979 law so that post-production costs cannot take royalty payments below the state minimum royalty payment.

Protecting Veteran Integrity
 
Unscrupulous individuals who seek to benefit financially by falsely identifying themselves as veterans will face criminal penalties under legislation signed into law this week.

Act 9 of 2017, formerly House Bill 168, seeks to protect the honor and valor of America’s veterans by making any misrepresentation of military service or honors for financial benefit a third-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

Examples of such criminal behavior range from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits to fraudulently obtaining preference in a government contract or a job reserved for a veteran.

This new law is designed to help preserve the reputation of legitimate veterans. It will take effect in 60 days.

New Law Gets Tough on Animal Abusers??

This week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation passed by the House earlier this spring that strengthens existing animal cruelty laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal.

House Bill 1238, now Act 10 of 2017, outlines three tiers of cruelty and neglect, with charges ranging from a summary offense for denying an animal food or shelter to a third-degree felony for intentionally torturing an animal or causing serious bodily injury or death.

The new law also requires convicted animal abuses to forfeit their animals and set limits on how long an animal can be tethered outdoors, and clarifies penalties for abusing a horse.

The measure is known as “Libre’s Law,” named after a Boston terrier puppy who was rescued from a Lancaster County farm last summer after suffering from severe neglect.

The new law takes effect in 60 days from signing.

Driver’s Licenses to Have New Look

 

As part of ongoing security enhancements, PennDOT has updated the design and enhanced the security features of its driver license and identification card products. This new look is not related to ongoing efforts to comply with federal REAL ID requirements, which are still being developed.

All driver and photo centers will transition to the new products by the end of October. The new products will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle and will replace existing products. Both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

The cards, which look very different, will have additional enhanced security features to improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration. Some of the new features include a larger primary portrait and smaller ghost portrait; a 2D bar code; laser perforation; and lamination with the state motto. The magnetic strip has been eliminated on the back.

For more information and to see an image of the new card design, visit www.dmv.pa.gov.

Independence Day Reminders
Tuesday, July 4, is our nation’s 241st birthday, and celebrations are taking place around the nation to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which occurred right here in Pennsylvania. Please be sure to celebrate safely. Information about fireworks safety is available here.

If you are traveling, check out www.511pa.com, which is free and available 24 hours a day. The site, along with its Twitter handle @511pa, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras.

PennDOT will also close its driver license service centers on Tuesday, July 4. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.pa.gov.   

Have a safe and happy July 4!

July 4 Marks PA’s Second Fish-for-Free Day

 

The second Fish for Free Day in Pennsylvania will be held Tuesday, July 4.

Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone – residents and non-residents – to legally fish in Pennsylvania without a fishing license. On Tuesday, no fishing license is needed to fish in Pennsylvania’s waterways. All other fishing regulations apply. http://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingRegulations/Pages/FishForFreeDay.aspx

To make the fishing experience more convenient, people can borrow equipment from dozens of fishing tackle loaner sites across the state. Many of the sites are located at state parks, along with some county parks and public libraries. Click here for the list of loaner sites.

More information is available on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website, <www.FishandBoat.com> which includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports, and tips on fishing fundamentals. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.GoneFishingPa.com.

Upcoming Events
• The Millville Fire Department Carnival will be held from Friday, June 30, through Saturday, July 8.
• The Lightstreet Fire Department Carnival will be held from Monday, July 10, through Saturday, July 15.
• A representative from Congressman Lou Barletta’s office will be in the Bloomsburg district office on Thursday, July 13, from 1-3 p.m.
• A representative from the VA will be in the Bloomsburg district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18. By appointment only. Call 570-387-0246 to make an appointment.
• The Orangeville Fire Department Carnival will be held from Friday, July 21, through Saturday, July 29.
• A World War II reenactment will be held at Berwick Test Track Park on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23.
• A World War II Swing Dance will be held at Reliance Fire Company on Saturday, July 22, from 6-9 p.m.

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Office Locations
904B Orange St., Berwick PA, 18603 | Phone: (570) 759-8734
Market Street Plaza, 1000 Market St. (Suite 39), Bloomsburg, PA 17815 | (570) 387-0246
316 Main Capitol, PO Box 202109, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109 | Phone: (717) 783-1102
Email: dmillard@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614
       
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