REAL ID Grace Period Now Through January 2018
10/13/2017
Updating the 85th District
The latest news from the State Capitol
                          
REAL ID Grace Period Now Through January 2018

Pennsylvania residents who need REAL ID to access certain federal facilities now have a grace period through Jan. 22, 2018, according to an announcement this week by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This grace period went into effect Oct. 11. PennDOT submitted an extension request to the federal agency in early September and is currently awaiting its response. The enforcement grace period applies only to entrance to federal facilities. There is no enforcement on commercial air travel until Jan. 22, 2018. In the meantime, PennDOT will continue to apply for an extension for commercial air traffic through Oct. 1, 2020. All extensions are at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security.

PennDOT has begun work on the implementation of REAL ID, and estimates REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in March 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID product to get one before the final DHS effective date of Oct. 1, 2020.

Information on REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions, is available at www.dmv.pa.gov.
                
         

Meet Constituent Outreach Specialist Kirstin Zechman!

The newest addition to the 85th Legislative District Office is Kirstin Zechman. A Snyder County native, Kirstin grew up in Paxtonville and graduated from Midd-West School District. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in middle school mathematics education from Lock Haven University.

The desire to help people that prompted her to study education in college, and the problem-solving skills she learned there, have served Kirstin well in her new role as a district constituent outreach specialist. She stands ready to assist residents with navigating state government bureaucracy to ensure they get the support they need. She also helps process various PennDOT requests, birth certificates and other state-related documentation and applications. Kirstin finds it very rewarding when she is able to help the people who truly need it.

In addition to helping people who ask for assistance, Kirstin also helps plan informative events for residents and officials in Snyder and Union counties. For example, she is working on a grant-writing seminar for local officials and nonprofit organizations to help them identify and take advantage of funding opportunities available to them.

The legislative office is located in the Mifflinburg Government Center, 343 Chestnut St., Suite 1, in Mifflinburg and can be reached at 570-966-0052.
                  
         
Check Out These Upcoming Events!

McClure Bacon Fest: Saturday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at McClure Station Park, 1 @. Walker St. Click here for additional information.

Fremont Apple Harvest Festival: Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, in Mt. Pleasants Mills. Find the flyer at http://www.fremontfd.com/.

Kelsey’s Fall Festival: Saturday, Oct. 14, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/KelseysDream/

Wooley Worm Festival: Saturday, Oct. 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg. Visit http://woollywormfestival.com/ for additional information.

Lewisburg Fall Music Festival: Saturday, Oct. 21, noon to 5 p.m., Hufnagle Park, Lewisburg. Additional information at https://lewisburgpa.com/event/fall-music-festival-hufnagle-park/

Cybersecurity for Business Owners and Employees Workshop: Friday, Oct. 27, 8:30-11:30 a.m., 701 Moore Ave., Elaine Langone Center, Center Room, Lewisburg. Register by noon on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Fee charged.

Diversity Meet and Greet sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities: Friday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., PPL Conference Center at Walbert, 1639 Church Road, Allentown. Event will give diversity-owned businesses an opportunity to find out more about the company and its opportunities for suppliers. Free event which includes lunch. Attendees should register by Oct. 27, by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/r/M3Q6RDX.
                  
         
‘Right to Try’ Bill Signed by Governor

In giving hope to individuals facing terminal illnesses, legislation was signed by the governor on Wednesday that will allow eligible patients to use investigational drugs, biological products and devices not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Under House Bill 45, if these patients want to try medications that have not completed the rigorous FDA testing and approval process, they should be permitted to make that choice. As part of the bill, a manufacturer would be permitted to make these products available to eligible patients once the products successfully complete the first phase of clinical trials.

Physicians would not be held liable for recommending experimental products to their terminally ill patients, nor would the bill create a private cause of action against the manufacturers that make the drugs. While the bill does not require insurers to cover these products, they may do so at their own discretion.

“Right to Try” laws are in effect in 37 other states.
                  
         
Work Requirements for Welfare Recipients

To help contain escalating costs for the state’s Medical Assistance (MA) program, the House recently approved legislation that would allow for work or work-search requirements for able-bodied individuals receiving MA benefits. Work requirements are already in place for food stamp and cash assistance programs.

As part of House Bill 59, the Department of Human Services would be required to design work or work-search requirements for those who do not have a qualifying disability, are not pregnant and are not elderly. The federal government would have to approve such requirements. Another provision in the bill would require the department to see additional cost savings before seeking any more from the state’s General Fund.

Medical Assistance is one of the largest cost-drivers in the $32 billion state budget, accounting for 29 percent.

The bill, which is headed for the governor’s desk, faces an uncertain future. The governor has vowed to veto the bill.
                  
         
Preventing Fires in Your Home

To help prevent residential fires, October has been designated across the nation as a time to remind people of fire dangers in their homes and communities, as well as to educate the public about simple fire prevention steps to make everyone safer.

House Resolution 546 designates October as Pennsylvania Fire Prevention Month, and also marks Oct. 8-14 as National Fire Prevention Week. This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme -- “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out!” -- seeks to remind people to have an escape plan that includes at least two exits in the event one of those exits is blocked by fire.

The National Fire Prevention Association also encourages families to practice their home fire drill twice a year, once at night and once during the day, and to practice using different ways out.
                  
         
Raising Awareness of Domestic Violence

To help raise greater awareness of the dangers of domestic violence, House Resolution 525 officially designates October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

One in every four women and one in every nine men will experience domestic violence in his or her lifetime, with nearly 1.3 million women and 835,000 men being physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States. It affects people from all racial, ethnic, religious, educational, social and economic backgrounds.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior within an intimate relationship that is used by one partner to gain power or control over the other partner. It takes on many forms, including abuse, harassment, threats, vandalism, trespassing, burglary, theft and stalking. It often escalates, causing victims to suffer physical and emotional trauma, anxiety, stress, sleep deprivation and fear, as well as injury or death by suicide or homicide.

Domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes, and fewer than 20 percent of victims who report an injury from an intimate partner seek medical treatment following the injury. To find out more about domestic violence programs and support, visit www.pcadv.org.
                  
         
All Veterans Can Get New Photo ID Cards

Under a federal law passed in 2015, all honorably discharged veterans of every era will be able to receive a photo ID card from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), starting in November. This will allow veterans to prove their service without showing a copy of their official DD 214 discharge documents.

The law, known as the Veterans Identification Card Act 2015, orders the VA to issue a hard-copy photo ID to any honorably discharged veteran who applies. The card must contain the veteran’s name, photo and a non-Social Security identification number.

Veterans may apply for the free card online, but a timeline for how long it will take to receive a card after application has not been finalized. Other details are not yet available.

In Pennsylvania, veterans can apply for a specially designated driver’s license under Act 176 of 2012. More information is available here.
                  
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