Strengthening Penalties for DUI
To help keep repeat offenders of driving under the influence off the road, the House passed legislation recently to strengthen penalties for those who have been convicted of DUI and continue to operate a vehicle under a suspended driver’s license.
Currently, anyone convicted of a DUI who then operates a vehicle despite their driver’s license suspension currently faces the same penalty – a $500 fine and 60-90 days in jail -- no matter how many times they get behind the wheel.
House Bill 1049 would create a tiered system that increases the fines and sentences with each subsequent offense. Those sentence enhancements would range from a $1,000 fine and a minimum 90-day jail term for a second offense, to a $5,000 fine and no less than two years in jail for a fourth offense. In addition, the legislation would allow a judge to impose a maximum five-year jail sentence if the offender is also convicted of homicide by vehicle.
The bill is now with the state Senate.
Legislation to Safeguard Children from Online Sexual Predators
To help keep children safe from online predators, the House approved legislation to allow the state attorney general and district attorneys to continue to have the authority to use administrative subpoenas to identify information pertaining to child sex predators transmitting child pornography.
This bill was first enacted in 2014 but included a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2017. House Bill 561 would remove the sunset date and give this authority to prosecutors permanently.
Since its enactment, this law has been a vital tool for law enforcement to make it easier to track child sex predators.
The bill is with the Senate for review.
Bill to Boost Reimbursement for Ambulance Services Advances
Ambulance companies would be reimbursed for providing medical treatment, even if the patient is not transported to a hospital, under legislation approved by the House recently.
Under current law, EMS agencies can only be reimbursed by insurance companies if they transport the patient, even though time is spent, supplies are used and services are provided regardless of whether a transport takes place. This is a significant contributor to the financial challenges facing ambulance companies.
House Bill 1013 would allow for reimbursement when transport does not take place as long as the following conditions are met: The Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) unit must be dispatched by a county 911 center, and the EMS provider must have rendered care even though the transport was declined.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
New Immunization Requirements for PA Schools This Fall
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised Pennsylvania’s school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year.
The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.
If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.
For more information, contact your health care provider, visit www.health.pa.gov or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Pennsylvanians Urged to Vaccinate Pets, Take Precautions Against Rabies
As Pennsylvanians enjoy outdoor activities across the Keystone State, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding shared some tips to prevent the spread of rabies, a viral disease that is nearly always fatal.
People should avoid contact with wild animals and take precautions to limit contact between their domestic animals and wild animals. In particular, avoid wild animals acting abnormally – including feral cats. Symptoms include unusual aggression, daytime activity by nocturnal species, lethargy, drooling and paralysis. Not all animals show every sign. Most neurological or behavioral abnormalities could potentially be rabies.
If you encounter an animal that you suspect may have rabies, contact your local law enforcement or Pennsylvania Game Commission office. Your regional Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture office can assist in safely preparing and submitting the animal for rabies testing.
If you may have been exposed to the rabies virus, seek immediate medical attention.
Pennsylvania law requires all dogs and non-feral cats three months of age and older to be vaccinated against rabies. Booster vaccinations must be administered periodically to maintain lifelong immunity. Failure to comply with the law may result in a fine of up to $300.
For more information on rabies and human health, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov and search “rabies” or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH. The department’s website also hosts information on the number of rabies cases reported per month and per year, including county-by-county breakdowns.
Non-profit Anti-fraud and Theft Seminar
My office will be offering a non-profit anti-fraud and theft seminar in July. I would like to gauge interest for this event and offer relevant organizations in the district the opportunity to participate in this event. For more information, contact my Dallas district office at 570-675-6000.
Out and About
I am pictured with two members of the Factoryville Sportsmen's Club, David Reel and Bill Kalinauskis, who were visiting Harrisburg for the Second Amendment Rally on Monday, May 22.
Pictured with me are Lisa Hall Zielinski and Keith Yurgosky from the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center. Keith visits our Tunhannock district office on the fourth Tuesday of each month to provide assistance to entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Scenes from Memorial Day Weekend
Sweet Valley Fire Company Parade
Dallas Memorial Day Ceremony
Falls Bridge Memorial Day Ceremony
Harveys Lake American Legion Memorial Day service
Sign up to Receive Our Upcoming Sportsmen’s Newsletter!
In an effort to share information, legislative updates and useful material from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, I will be creating a sportsmen’s newsletter for outdoor and hunting/fishing enthusiasts in the 117th Legislative District. To sign up to receive this newsletter, please visit
www.RepBoback.com or call my Tunkhannock office at 570- 836-4777.
Satellite and Veterans Outreach Hours Offered Next Week
A member of my staff will be available at the following location next week to provide assistance with Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms, PennDOT paperwork, state-related issues and more.
• Tuesday, June 6, at the Mehoopany Township Municipal Building, located at 237 Schoolhouse Road, Mehoopany, from 10 a.m. to noon, and then at the Meshoppen Borough Building, located at the intersection of Canal Street and Route 267 in Meshoppen from 1-3 p.m.
• Wednesday, June 7, at the Dalton Borough Building, located at 105 West Main St., Dalton, from 10 a.m. to noon.
• Thursday, June 8, at the Factoryville Borough Building, located at 161 College Ave. in Factoryville, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Mobile Vet Center will be in the Ace Hardware-Brady and Cavany Store parking lot in Eaton Township on Monday, June 5, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Some of the services available for veterans and their dependents include individual, group, family and bereavement counseling; medical referrals; assistance in applying for Veterans Affairs benefits; employment counseling; guidance and referrals; and alcohol and drug assessments.