Feb. 21, 2013

Representative Todd Stephens’


State Police Include Mental Health Records in National Database

For the past 18 months, I have been urging the Pennsylvania State Police to send Pennsylvania’s mental health records to the national database used to conduct background checks for firearms purchases. Finally, after I announced I am introducing legislation forcing them to do so, the Pennsylvania State Police transferred the mental health records of people prohibited from buying guns in Pennsylvania to the FBI-run National Instant Check System (NICS).  In January, the State Police sent 600,000 mental health records to NICS.

When someone is involuntarily committed they are no longer permitted to possess a firearm. In Pennsylvania, these records are entered into the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) but until now they had not been sent to the national database. I applaud the state police for voluntarily providing this information to the national database because it will go a long way towards keeping guns out of the hands of those who may not possess a firearm due to mental health issues.

Although the State Police have voluntarily transferred these records to the national database, I am still pursuing my legislation to ensure they continue submitting these records on an ongoing basis. This legislation will help keep us safe from those with mental health issues who would otherwise fall through the cracks and be permitted to illegally purchase a firearm outside of Pennsylvania.

PECO Customers Beware

It has come to my attention that PECO customers have become the target of a scam claiming they must make an immediate payment to prevent their service from being terminated.

Customers receive a phone call from a person pretending to be a PECO agent informing them that if they do not purchase a pre-paid debit card with a certain amount of money on it they will have their service terminated immediately. Customers are then told to call a number following the purchase of the card to utilize the card for the payment. Once the customer calls the number, the funds are removed from the card.

PECO is aware of the situation and is working with local police to find out who is behind this scam. If you receive a call from someone attempting to collect a bill for PECO please ask them to provide you with specific information regarding your account. If they are unable to provide you with your account information, hang up and call PECO immediately at 1-800-494-4000.

Small Business Advisory Council Kicks-Off

Recently, we took a step toward improving the small-business climate in the 151st Legislative District by holding our introductory Small Business Advisory Council meeting. This meeting provided an opportunity for members of the Small Business Advisory Council from all different fields to come together and discuss issues that are facing the small-business community.

In addition to addressing the issues facing our local small businesses we discussed hosting a townhall-style meeting. The townhall will be open to all small business owners and offer them an opportunity to inform me on what we can do in Harrisburg to help our small businesses thrive. They will also permit me to discuss issues arising in Harrisburg that may affect small businesses so I can hear useful feedback from my local business owners.  

As we continue to tackle these issues, I invite you to email me at tstephen@pahousegop.com with any issue your small business may be facing. Additionally, if you would like to be notified of our small business townhalls please send me your contact information and I will make sure you are invited.

North Penn Students Get Education in Government

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as State Representative is having the opportunity to visit my local schools. During my visits I speak with the students about how our government works and answer any questions they may have regarding the legislative process.

When I visited North Penn High School with my colleague, Representative Matt Bradford, I was given the opportunity to speak with the students about a variety of state issues. They asked very intelligent questions about reducing gun violence and the state’s role in the national healthcare debate. I was quite impressed with their knowledge of the issues facing their communities. Furthermore, I was able to discuss the effect the state government’s actions have on our local governments. 

If you are interested in having me speak at your school or with your group please call my office at 215-368-5165.