Effort to Reduce Size of Legislature Passes House
3/19/2018

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Effort to Reduce Size of Legislature Passes House
I joined a bipartisan majority of my colleagues passing House Bill 153, our effort to streamline and improve efficiency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The bill would allow the voters to decide if both the House and Senate should be reduced in size.

Specifically, the bill would reduce the House from 203 to 151 members and the Senate from 50 members to 38.

The original bill – which only included a House reduction – was amended last month in the House, which means it still must be considered by two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before going to the voters. However, if the Senate amends the bill back to its original form and the House agrees, the referendum could conceivably be on the ballot this fall.


School Districts Warn of Students Using Electronic Cigarettes

Schools are warning parents about the potential health risks associated with kids using the electronic cigarette Juul. The product, an electronic cigarette, is especially enticing with its smooth design. It delivers nicotine juice through pods. The Upper Dublin School District has banned all USB drives when school officials learned students were using their Chromebooks to charge their Juul products.

The problem is too little is known about the side effects of using electronic nicotine delivery devices that send the chemical directly to the brain. In addition, using the device increases the risks of becoming a smoker.

Please keep an eye on what products your student is using. Their health depends on it.
 

REAL ID Update: Did You Get Your First License After 2003?
 
If you want to get a REAL ID beginning next year, PennDOT may already have some of your information on file for more efficient processing.

Earlier this month, PennDOT began sending postcards to eligible customers (those who received their first driver license or ID card after September 2003) inviting them to visit PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website to request that PennDOT confirm their documents are on file.

Once a customer has completed the pre-verification application process, PennDOT staff will review the customer’s record and verify which documents are on file. The customer will receive follow-up communication from PennDOT regarding the status of their application. Customers are not pre-verified until they have completed the online pre-verification process and received confirmation from PennDOT that all documents are on file.

If they are, PennDOT will mark the customer’s record as “verified,” and after REAL ID products are available in spring 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, pay the one-time $30 fee, plus their renewal fee (the REAL ID product will include any time left on the current license plus the period of renewal) and their REAL ID product will be sent through the mail, eliminating any need for this customer to visit a Driver License Center.

Under Pennsylvania law, residents may choose whether or not to obtain REAL ID from the Commonwealth. Under federal law, people with a need to access certain federal facilities or fly domestically will need a REAL ID or other compliant form of identification, such as a passport. Pennsylvania residents may still use their current driver license and ID through Oct. 10, 2018. (Additional extensions through 2019 are expected.)
 

Protecting Consumers from Unsafe Breaches
To help protect consumers from having their personal information stolen or used fraudulently, the House passed two bipartisan bills this week to address data breaches.

House Bill 1846 would require notice within 45 days to residents of the Commonwealth when there is a breach of security of a system. The notice must be in plain language, and include the date of the breach, the type of information subject to the breach, and toll-free numbers to credit reporting agencies.

Similarly, House Bill 1847 would waive the current fee to freeze a credit report, which is $10 for each request, should a data breach occur. In the instance of a data breach, consumers would be provided with three months of free credit monitoring and up to three free credit reports for one calendar year after the date the breach is reported.

Consumers are urged to be proactive in monitoring their credit reports and financial account statements, such as credit cards and utilities, by clicking here. To report any suspicious activity, call the attorney general office’s hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or atscams@attorneygeneral.gov.
 
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