In this Edition:
Sen. Scavello Discusses School Property Tax Reform
I sat down recently with Senator David Argall to discuss the latest status of the Property Tax Independence Act (Senate Bill 76). With five new senators this year, including new supporters of the bill, we are confident that we can move this critical bill through the PA Senate early this year.
It's beyond time to shift the tax burden from the school property tax to a fairer approach that does not put families and seniors out of their homes, or force them to choose between critical medications and their taxes.
I strongly encourage and ask my colleagues to support this bill – in both the Senate and House.
Slate Belt Rising Partnership Launched
A new six year partnership has begun in the Slate Belt, which looks to invest close to one million dollars in projects and initiatives designed to enhance economic development, job growth and promote recreational opportunities in the region.
Slate Belt Rising is a community and economic partnership between the Boroughs of Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, Bangor and Portland. A number of community and municipal leaders have already stepped forward focused on the region’s long-term success. Key business partners include Merchants Bank of Bangor, Waste Management, ESSA Bank & Trust and Lafayette Ambassador Bank who have collectively pledged $775,000 toward the project.
I want to specifically thank the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) for helping spearhead this project and the many community and business volunteers investing their resources to see it succeed. As Slate Belt Rising continues, I look forward to partnering with its leadership and volunteers to ensure the effort has the resources necessary to continue to make this partnership a leading example in the region. Best wishes to Steve Reider as he serves as the new Director of this exciting effort.
Please visit the Slate Belt Rising Facebook page for further information and how to get involved.
Sen. Scavello Co-sponsors Bill to Comply with REAL ID
A number of constituents have contacted me with their concerns regarding Pennsylvania’s non-compliance with the requirements of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. I agree with many of the concerns expressed and have co-sponsored Senate Bill 133, which would repeal Act 38 of 2012 and allow Pennsylvania to comply with the federal REAL ID requirements.
SB 133 was referred to the Senate Communications and Technology Committee on January 24, 2017 and passed out of Committee on February 8. I will continue to follow this legislation as it moves through the legislative process.
The federal REAL ID Act requires states to adopt specific nationwide standards for state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards in order to boost homeland security. At the time, the new requirements were viewed as unfunded federal mandates – the requirements were passed down to the states, who were forced to comply without any federal assistance. Absent the Commonwealth’s compliance with REAL ID, those with PA drivers licenses and identification cards will soon experience challenges using those forms of ID for air travel and access to federal facilities or military bases.
PA has been granted an extension in order to come into compliance with REAL ID requirements this year. While residents will not need an alternative form of federally approved identification for air travel until January 22, 2018, they will need a federally-approved form of identification to access federal buildings, nuclear power plants and military bases as of June 7, 2017.
I will keep you apprised of new developments as to the state’s compliance with the federal REAL ID requirements.
Sen. Scavello Renews Push to Reduce Littering
I recently re-introduced legislation to reduce littering across Pennsylvania by increasing fines for the offense.
Currently, fines for littering under Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) run from $50 to $300 for a first-time offense, and $300 to $1,000 for a second and subsequent offense. Under Senate Bill 431, fines would be increased up to $2,000 for multiple offenses, based on the size and weight of litter.
In addition, the measure would increase the littering fines outlined in Title 75 (Vehicles), with heavier penalties for littering in an agriculture security area.
When you look at all of the trash along our roadways and at illegal dump sites, it’s clear that the current fines are not enough to deter this crime. Littering is like graffiti and other acts of vandalism – when people engage in it without fear of punishment, it sends the message that no one cares and leads to more litter. I think people do care. It’s bad for civic pride and bad for the environment, and we should do more to deter it.
I introduced a similar bill in the previous legislative session, securing unanimous approval by the Senate. The measure did not receive a vote by the House of Representatives prior to the end of session.
Scholarship Opportunity for Pleasant Valley Students
2017 Dave Fleetwood Memorial Scholarship applications are now available for students attending Pleasant Valley High School. David Fleetwood was a Supervisor of Chestnuthill Township and beloved community figure who gave much to make the community a better place to live. His life tragically ended on August 5, 2013 after an act of senseless violence when a gunman took the lives of three individuals at a township meeting.
In his memory, two $2,000 scholarships are being offered to any 2017 graduate of Pleasant Valley High School who demonstrates many of the attributes he exemplified within the community. To apply, please call 570-992-9733 or visit weposc.org for more information.
The deadline to apply is Friday, April 15.
PennDOT Internship Opportunities Available
PennDOT is offering summer internships for students in the engineering, science and technology fields. Internships are offered in a number of areas including seasonal construction, roadway data collection and roadside development. These internships may lead to full-time employment after graduation.
Applications will be accepted through March 30.
For more information on how to apply, please click here.
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Senate Box 203040
2989 Route 611, Suite 103
Tannersville, PA 18372
Phone (570) 620-4326
FAX (570) 620-4379
8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Northampton County Office