Jul. 16, 2017

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The latest news from PA State Representative Rosemary Brown

District of Character
The “District of Character” is an initiative I created to enhance character development and promote daily reminders for residents of the 189th District about how we can create a stronger community without policy changes. No one is perfect, but we can always work to improve our character daily. Click here to learn more.
July’s word of the month is “Wisdom.”
“Having experience, knowledge and good judgement; the quality of being informed; wise.”

Budget Update: Continuing the Fight Against Higher Taxes
The $32 billion budget passed by the General Assembly in late June became law earlier this week, again without the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf. This is the third consecutive fiscal year budget to become law without the governor’s signature.

The House and Senate have been working in good faith with the governor’s staff to reach an agreement on revenues to support the spending plan. Presented with a variety of options, including proposed reforms to our state’s liquor sales system and gaming expansion, the administration has rejected each proposal, instead calling for new and increased taxes on hard-working Pennsylvania families or small employers. Talks will continue until an agreement is reached.

Hope to See You Monday!
Monroe County Senior Expo

Monday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Pocono Mountain Swiftwater Elementary Center
135 Academic Drive, Swiftwater, PA 18370

I am co-hosting this annual event with Sen. Mario Scavello and Rep. Jack Rader. This event promises something for everyone – FREE admission, door prizes, health screenings, educational seminars and refreshments, too! Exhibitors from government agencies and senior citizen organizations will be on hand. Hope to see you there!

Celebrating United Way’s 75th Anniversary
The United Way of Monroe County celebrated its 75th anniversary on July 5 at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Pocono Manor. The event featured “75 reasons to celebrate,” focusing on its accomplishments throughout the last 75 years, as well as those who have come together to help individuals in need in Monroe County. Pictured here are constituents Paul and Judy Schuchman with citations honoring them for receiving the Mattioli Philanthropy Award. Thank you, Paul and Judy, for your very generous and sincere commitment to the people of the community!

Stroudsburg High School Graduate Wins Pocono Commuter Writing Contest Scholarship
Mara Batt from Stroudsburg was selected as the recipient of the one-time $1,200 scholarship award from Pocono Commuter Inc. Mara was selected the winner by seven judges in the writing industry, including four literary agents, a professional editor/author, and the founder of the DIYMFA program. There were a total of five submissions, and although all students did a great job, Mara’s short story received the highest overall score. The winning story is available to read as a downloadable pdf from a post on Wayne’s author website. Congratulations, Mara!

Bill to Boost Fight Against Waste, Fraud, Abuse
Legislation that would ensure the future of the State Office of Inspector General has been passed by the General Assembly and is now awaiting the governor’s signature.

Recognizing the importance of its work to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the state’s welfare system and government as a whole, Senate Bill 527 would make the office a permanent part of state government. Currently, it exists only by executive order of the governor.

Under the bill, the Office of Inspector General would be granted subpoena power for its internal investigations and would be authorized to investigate and file criminal charges for certain welfare fraud crimes.

The bill also aims to promote the office’s independence. It outlines qualifications for the top post and provides a separate budgetary line item for the office. Finally, it ensures regular communications with the General Assembly. The governor has indicated he will sign the legislation.

Improving Transparency in Lobbying
To improve transparency within the lobbying process, House Bill 1175 passed the House this week to better address lobbying violations and ensure the public has more information with respect to how lobbyists attempt to influence public policy.

The bill would increase the maximum penalty imposed by the Ethics Commission for an unlawful act from the current fine of $2,000 to $4,000. The bill also would increase the maximum administrative penalty that may be imposed for negligent failure to report under current law from $50 per day, to $50 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.

Additionally, the bill would improve the current electronic filing system for lobbyists and require all filings to be posted on the Department of State’s publicly accessible website within seven days of receipt. The bill now goes to the Senate for its review.

Staying Safe in Highway Work Zones

With the summer construction season in full swing, motorists are reminded to follow state law in highway work zones. Since 1970, 87 PennDOT employees have lost their lives in the line of duty. In posted work zones, state law requires all motorists to travel with their headlights turned on. Drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights must turn on their headlights to activate their taillights. Interstate work zones with a project cost exceeding $300,000 will have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone.

In active work zones, a white flashing light attached to the “Active Work Zone When Flashing” sign will only be activated when workers are present. Motorists caught driving 11 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, automatically will lose their license for 15 days.

Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations — including speeding, driving under the influence and failure to obey traffic devices — are doubled for active work zones. Five years of additional jail time may be imposed for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash in an active work zone. For more information on work zone safety, including safety tips, click here.
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