Jan. 27, 2017

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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown

District of Character Word of the Month:

“Not being proud or arrogant; realizing you are not above anyone else.”
Learn more here.  
Partnering CPAs and Volunteer Firefighter Organizations

On Monday, I attended a press conference at the Capitol where leaders of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees announced a package of bills that are being introduced to assist Pennsylvania fire departments and EMS organizations. I am the sponsor of one of the bills included in this package.

My legislation seeks to create a program for certified public accountants (CPAs) to assist volunteer firefighter organizations. It would establish a four-year continuing professional education (CPE) pilot program for CPAs who volunteer their time to assist volunteer fire companies with their financial records.

We have a 100 percent volunteer firefighting force in the 189th District, and their main focus rightfully is on public safety. There are many other things that go into running a successful force, like administrative and financial tasks. My bill seeks to create a partnership between CPAs to help with those tasks and our volunteers.

As a result of the pilot program, up to 40 hours of CPE may be earned; a CPA’s time spent on reviewing a fire company’s financial records may be used toward the renewal of his or her license and a waiver of the biennial license fee; a CPA may only review financial records and may not perform an audit; oversight of the CPA would be conducted by the CPE program sponsor; and CPAs would be assigned by the CPE program sponsor. The CPAs can offer recommendations and suggestions about how to better organize and structure a fire company’s finances.

This legislation is a win-win, as it would help CPAs renew their licenses at a lower cost, and it helps keep the books straight in our firefighter organizations. Further, this could improve a company’s image, and in the long term, assist in their overall success.

Pennsylvania is composed of 97 percent volunteer firefighter organizations and has about 12 percent of the entire nation’s firefighters, with their services saving taxpayers approximately $8 billion-$10 billion every year.
Pennsylvania Granted Extension for REAL ID

Pennsylvania has been granted an extension by the federal government to comply with the requirements of the REAL ID Act until June 5, 2017. This will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings through June.

The extension gives state leaders more time to work cooperatively to fix state law to allow for federal REAL ID compliance and to ensure that it’s done in a reasonable and cost-effective manner. Without the extension, residents would have needed additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to federal buildings starting on Jan. 30. The air travel restriction is still in place for 2018, unless additional extensions are granted or the issue is addressed legislatively.

Over the years, the General Assembly and PennDOT have worked to enhance the security of Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, but federal law requires additional improvements. For more information on the extension, click here.
Getting to Work with New Session
House Committee Assignments

This week, the House Committee on Committees met to finalize assignments for the 27 standing committees to cover the 2017-18 legislative session. For my fourth term representing the people of the 189th District, I will serve as a member of the following committees:

• Education
• Professional Licensure
• Transportation
• Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness

Additionally, I am serving a third term as a deputy policy chair for the Majority Policy Committee. Each of these assignments allows me to have a greater insight into the legislation and issues discussed and help me better represent our district. All bills are assigned to a standing committee to undergo review. Committees may hold hearings on legislation, consider amendments to pending bills and report them to the full House for a vote. Click here to learn more about my committee assignments.
PennDOT’s 2017 Summer Employment Program

PennDOT is sponsoring an extensive Summer Employment Program (SEP) which includes government services interns. The program runs April through August to supplement the permanent workforce. The government services interns are used primarily for summer maintenance and sign upgrade services, and they perform laboring duties in maintenance organizations as well as worksites along the highway. In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must be enrolled as a full-time college student for Fall 2017 and have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license. The hourly rate is $12.97. If interested, please apply online at www.employment.pa.gov under the Summer Employment Positions category. The technical support line is 717-787-5703.
Wear Red Feb. 3 to Raise Awareness of Women’s Heart Disease

Women across the country are encouraged to wear red on Friday, Feb. 3, as part of the “Go Red for Women” campaign to raise awareness of women’s heart disease. Legislative efforts over the years have made the official designation in Pennsylvania as a way to remind women of the risks of heart disease.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women each year, causing one in three deaths each year, or about one per minute. According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood. By increasing awareness, speaking up about heart disease and empowering women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, we can save thousands of lives each year.
Bridges Out of Poverty – Getting Ahead Class

It is always a pleasure to sponsor and serve dinner at the Bridges Out of Poverty, Getting Ahead class, as attendees build education for themselves and their children. I also participated in the Career Night section of the program, where I was honored to discuss my position as state representative with the children.
Just a reminder: If you are encountering an issue with state government, please feel free to contact my district office. We are here to help you with the following services:      
 - Driver’s license and vehicle registration applications and renewals. 
 - Assistance with PennDOT paperwork (lost cards, changes, corrections, special registration plates, vanity plates, and temporary placards for disabled persons).                         
 - PACE and PACENET applications for seniors.                         
 - State Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Work.
 - Voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications.                         
 - State tax forms.                         
 - Student aid applications.                         
 - Free state maps, state park information, and PA Vacation Guides.                         
 - Copies of legislation and tours of the State Capitol.                         
 - Referrals to agencies to resolve state-related matters. 
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Office Locations
143 Seven Bridge Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301 | Phone: (570) 420-8301
164A East Wing, PO Box 202189, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2189 | Phone: (717) 260-6171
Email: rbrown@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614