Budget Hearings Start Next Week
2/23/2018
Updating the 85th District
The latest news from the State Capitol
         
Detailed Look into Governor’s Budget to Begin Next Week

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will be taking part in a series of hearings to examine the governor’s $33 billion budget proposal starting on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

The opening day of hearings will include testimony from the Independent Fiscal Office and the Department of Revenue, while Wednesday will focus on the themes of job creation and higher education. The remainder of the week will include looks into the proposed budgets of the departments of Transportation and Conservation and Natural Resources.

The full schedule is available here, which will also include video of the archived hearings once available.

With the governor again proposing an increase in state spending – this time by about $1 billion – my goal throughout these hearings will be to identify opportunities to cut spending and eliminate waste. You can learn more about the governor’s proposal here.
                  
         
Need Help with Veterans Benefits?

In appreciation for their service, both the state and federal governments offer a number of benefits and services to our veterans and their family members. If you have questions about or need assistance with obtaining these benefits, there are several options to help you.

Dan Falls, a veterans field service officer with the American Legion, is available at the Mifflinburg office on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on the fourth Wednesday of each subsequent month. You need not be a member of the American Legion to obtain this assistance with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care and death benefits. Appointments are required and may be made by calling the office at 570-966-0052 or 570-837-0052.

Both Union and Snyder counties also have offices of Veterans Affairs to assist you.
  • Union County Office of Veterans Affairs – Union County Government Center, 155 N. 15th St., Lewisburg. The telephone number is 570-524-8677, and the office is available online here.
  • Snyder County Office of Veterans Affairs – Snyder County East Building, 713 Bridge St. Suite 10, Selinsgrove. The telephone number is 570-374-0181, and the office is available online here.
                  
         
Half-Million PA Veterans Opt for ID Card Designation

More than a half-million Pennsylvania veterans have opted to have a “veterans” designation added to their driver’s license or photo ID card, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The designation – an American flag with the word “VETERAN” beneath it – began in 2014.

Qualified applicants for a veterans designation must have served in the United States Armed Forces and/or the reserve component, and have been discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable. There is no fee for the veterans designation; however, regular renewal or duplicate fees still apply.

Forms for driver’s license or ID renewals and duplicates have a box for applicants to certify that they are a veteran, and to have the designation added. Once the veterans designation has been added to a driver’s license or identification card, it will automatically appear each time it is renewed. For more information, visit www.dmv.pa.gov and click on the American flag/veterans designation icon.

The veterans designation does not entitle a veteran to any special consideration or discount but rather identifies the bearer as a veteran. Any other recognition, such as a discount, complementary meal or other token of appreciation is completely and solely determined by the organization, business or entity providing a service.

Pennsylvania is home to the fourth-largest veterans’ population in the country.
                  
         
Increasing Government Transparency

Bipartisan legislation designed to increase government transparency and more appropriately address unlawful lobbying practices has been signed into law.

Act 2 of 2018 increases fines and penalties for violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act by raising the maximum penalty imposed by the Ethics Commission from the current fine of $2,000 to $4,000. The law also increases the maximum administrative penalty that may be imposed for negligent failure to report under current law from $50 per day, to $50 per day for the first 10 days, $100 for each late day after the first 10 late days, and $200 for each late day after the initial 20-day period. The measure also improves the current electronic filing system for lobbyists.
                  
         
Reel Them In: Trout Stocking Starts Soon

To find out when your favorite fishing spot will be stocked with trout from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, stocking schedules are now available online and on the commission’s FishBoatPA mobile app.

The commission plans to stock 3.2 million adult trout in more than 720 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling each year. These figures include approximately 2 million rainbow trout; 640,000 brown trout; and 500,000 brook trout. The average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.

The statewide opening day for trout season is Saturday, April 14, but a regional opening day in 18 southcentral and southeastern counties is set for Saturday, March 31. Click here for a list of those counties.

Additionally, the commission will host Mentored Youth Trout Days on Saturday, March 24, for those same 18 counties and Saturday, April 7, statewide. Last year, more than 30,000 kids signed up to participate. Youth under the age of 16 can join a mentor (adult) angler who has a current fishing license and trout permit to fish for trout the Saturday before the regular opening days. Youth anglers must obtain a mentored youth permit or voluntary youth fishing license as well. Click here for more information about the program.

For more information about fishing licenses or regulations, or to check the online stocking schedule, click here.
                  
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