Mar. 24, 2017


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 The latest news from the State Capitol

Is PA Ready for Self-Driving Cars?

With highly automated vehicle technology currently being tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could be at the forefront of this type of transportation, even though state law never anticipated this advancement.

That’s why members of the House and Senate Transportation committees learned more about highly automated vehicles, known as driverless or self-driving cars, during a joint hearing on Tuesday. The goal involves striking the right balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring public safety.

The hearing featured testimony from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police, Carnegie Mellon University, Uber, General Motors, the Global Automakers, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.

Experts in the field have said that driverless cars can lead to greater safety, mobility, innovation and economic development. Several of the cars were also on display after the hearing.
Lackawanna County Concealed Carry Seminar Set for April 11

Registration is now available for my first concealed carry seminar of 2017, which will be held on Tuesday, April 11, from 6-8 p.m. at the Dalton Fire Hall. The seminar is free and open to residents of the 117th Legislative District who are interested in learning more about our state’s concealed carry laws.

For more information and to register, visit or call my Tunkhannock district office at 570-836-4777.
Discount Vehicle Registration to Expand to More Retirees

More retirees on fixed incomes would be able to apply for discount vehicle registrations under legislation that passed the House on Tuesday.

Currently, PennDOT offers a vehicle registration at a discounted rate of $10 to retirees who receive Social Security or other pension income that does not exceed $19,200 annually. Only one vehicle per person may be registered at the discounted rate.

House Bill 188 would increase the income limit to $23,500, the same threshold set for the state’s PACENET prescription drug assistance program. The income limit for the program was last increased in 1998. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Additional information about the existing program is available at
Recognizing C.A.S.U.A.L. Day in Pennsylvania

This week, the House voted unanimously to pass House Resolution 171, which designates March 31, 2017, as C.A.S.U.A.L. Day in Pennsylvania.

Colon and rectal cancers are one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in areas of Northeast Pennsylvania with incidence rates about 17 percent higher and mortality rates 13 percent above the U.S. average. Nearly 550 new cases are diagnosed, and over 200 patients die from colon cancer each year in Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties combined.
On Friday, March 31, 2017, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute will sponsor the 14th annual C.A.S.U.A.L. (Colon Cancer Awareness Saves Unlimited Adult Lives) Day to increase colon cancer awareness throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. C.A.S.U.A.L. Day was established by the family of Helen Phillips, who fought a courageous battle against colon cancer and died in the summer of 2002.
The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is a local nonprofit organization that has been easing the burden of cancer in Northeastern Pennsylvania for over 25 years. Focusing on the areas of surveillance, community and patient services, and survivorship, the Cancer Institute invests all of its resources in this region.

Last year, we held a press conference in the Capitol in honor of CASUAL Day.
Restitution Package Seeks to Help Crime Victims

To make it easier for crime victims to receive the restitution owed to them, the House passed four bills designed to make sure criminals pay their legal obligations.

The bills would make it easier for counties to collect restitution; authorize wage attachment; require that any bail money be applied to restitution; and require that correctional facilities make minimum deductions from the wages and personal accounts of inmates.

In addition to meeting restitution, the bills also contain provisions that would require criminals to also address any owed court costs, fines and other obligations.

The bills now head to the state Senate.
Celebrating Women’s History

To celebrate the contributions of women throughout the Commonwealth’s history, House Resolution 88 recognizes March as National Women’s History Month in Pennsylvania.

This year’s theme is Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business, which recognizes women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force and demonstrated that women can succeed in leadership roles in whatever jobs and careers they pursue.

House Resolution 88 passed the House unanimously on March 20.

For more information, click here
I am joined by the women of the House as we recognized Women’s History Month in Pennsylvania.
Supporting Small Business Development

It was my pleasure to introduce House Resolution 177, which designated March 22, 2017, as Small Business Development Center Day in Pennsylvania.

Small Business Development Centers support entrepreneurs and provide useful resources to encourage business growth, cut redtape and lead to long-term success.

Did you know that the University of Scranton’s Small Business Development Center visits our office each month?

A representative from the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Tuesday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to noon. The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center provides educational programs and no-cost, confidential consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a small business.
Satellite Office Hours Offered in Laceyville Borough

A member of my staff will be at the Laceyville Borough Building on Tuesday, March 28, from 3-5 p.m. Services available at the satellite hours include assistance with PennDOT, LIHEAP, SNAP and Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms; information regarding state agencies and programs; and more.
Ladies of the House Caucus

It was my pleasure to meet with Secretary of Health Karen Murphy along with several members of the Ladies of the House caucus.

This week, I met with the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor Patrick Gallager on Pitt Day at the Capitol.

I joined Jason Jolley, president of Dallas Rotary and Sen. Lisa Baker at an event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Dallas Rotary Club. 

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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