Jul. 14, 2017

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 The latest news from the State Capitol

A Few Seats Are Still Available For Our Nonprofit, Anti-Fraud and Theft Prevention Seminar
Have you been following local news stories regarding theft of funds at volunteer organizations? Do you have volunteers who manage the finances of your not-for-profit group? Then I have a program for you.

While 99.9 percent of our volunteers are beyond reproach, some are unscrupulous and have absconded with thousands of dollars raised by hard-working members. As a result, I have decided to offer an informational session to help your organization avert a financial catastrophe. The focus of the seminar would be on practical processes, procedures and internal controls for small organizations with few or no employees (PREDOMINANTLY VOLUNTEERS). Examples of local cases of financial mismanagement and specific controls where losses could have been prevented or at least minimalized will be discussed.

The presentation will be given by Dr. Fred Croop, CPA, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Social Sciences at Misericordia University. Dr. Croop has authored two publications addressing financial management and internal controls for volunteer organizations. Wyoming County District Attorney Jeff Mitchell will also be present to offer his perspective on financial mismanagement cases investigated through his office. The seminar will be held at the Wyoming County Emergency Management Building on Tuesday, July 25, from 6-8 p.m.

Please let me know if you are interested in attending this event. You can contact my Dallas district office at 570-675-6000, or my Tunkhannock district office at 570-836-4777.

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.

Legislative leaders have been working in good faith with the governor’s staff to reach an agreement on revenues to support the spending plan.

Talks will continue until an agreement is reached.

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.

Senior Expo Set for July 28
Our annual Senior Expo is set for Friday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tunkhannock Area High School. New interactive informational sessions begin at 10:30 a.m., including a healthy eating demonstration, chair yoga and Tai chi. Vendors include area health care professionals, veterans services and other state and local agencies. Health-related screenings will be offered and a prescription drug drop-box, provided by the Wyoming County District Attorney’s office, will be on site. Hope to see you there!

Outreach and Satellite Hours Offered Next Week
A member of my staff will be available at the following locations next week to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork, state-related issues and more.

• Tuesday, July 18, at the Benton Township Community Center, located at 16043 Route 407 in Fleetville, from 10 a.m. to noon.

• Wednesday, July 19, at the Falls Senior Center, located at 2813 Sullivan’s Trail in Falls, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A caseworker for U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton) will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Monday, July 17, from 10 a.m. to noon. Assistance will be available for constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs, and constituents are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues. 

Veterans outreach hours will be offered on Tuesday, July 18, at the Dallas district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A claims consultant from the Wilkes-Barre Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be on hand to address questions and concerns of local veterans and their families.

A representative from the Center for Independent Living is available for appointments at the Tunkhannock district office on Tuesday, July 18. Please call the Tunkhannock office at 570- 836-4777 to make an appointment.

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.

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Office Locations
1108 Twin Stacks Drive, Dallas PA 18612 | (570) 675-6000, (800) 278-3930
133 West Tioga Street, Suite 4, Tunkhannock, PA 18657| Phone: (570) 836-4777
314-C Main Capitol, PO Box 202117, Harrisburg PA 17120-2117 | Phone: (717) 787-1117
Email: kboback@pahousegop.com
 
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