Jan. 20, 2017

The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
REAL ID Extension Granted

Pennsylvania has been granted an extension by the federal government to comply with the requirements of the REAL ID Act until June 5, 2017. This will allow Pennsylvania residents to continue using their driver’s licenses as identification to enter federal buildings through June. The extension gives state leaders more time to work cooperatively to fix state law to allow for federal REAL ID compliance and to ensure that it’s done in a reasonable and cost-effective manner.

Without the extension, residents would have needed additional photo ID, such as a passport, to gain access to federal buildings starting on Jan. 30. The air travel restriction is still in place for 2018, unless additional extensions are granted or the issue is addressed legislatively. Over the years, the General Assembly and PennDOT have worked to enhance the security of Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, but federal law requires additional improvements. Learn more here
Deer Tests Positive for CWD

The state Department of Agriculture announced this week that a captive deer has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania. This is the first new case in a captive deer farm since 2014.

The four-year-old white-tailed deer was harvested from a hunting preserve in Franklin County in November 2016. This deer was raised on a deer farm in Fulton County until it was sold to the Franklin County facility in August 2016. Both farms are under quarantine. The investigation continues and additional herds may be quarantined.

There is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract CWD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more here
Century Farm
The Sarver Family Farm near Millerstown, Perry County, was named as a Century Farm by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture during a ceremony at the 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show last week in Harrisburg. To be designated as a Century Farm, the same family must own the farm for at least 100 consecutive years.

Pictured with me are (from left) Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, Zachary Sarver, Douglas Sarver and Piper Sarver. I also presented the family with a House of Representatives citation in recognition of the farm’s historic designation. 
At the Reins
Also during Farm Show week, I joined other lawmakers for some friendly competition in the Mike Waugh Memorial Celebrity Draft Horse Driving Championship. Mike was a great friend, and the event, which benefits the Pennsylvania Farm Show Scholarship Foundation, is a favorite of mine. You can watch a short video of the contest here
Website Offers Families Help to Save for Disability Expenses
A new website about the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program website is now available at www.paable.gov to offer essential information on the upcoming program.

The ABLE Savings Program gives individuals with qualified disabilities a tax-free way to save for future disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The site also has a short quiz to help determine eligibility, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question section and allows users to sign up to receive updates on the program, including when accounts open for enrollment.

The Pennsylvania Treasury, which operates the site, has also opened an ABLE Call Center at (855) 529-2253 which operates Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
PennDOT Accepting Applications for Student Summer Work Program
PennDOT is currently accepting applications from college students interested in working on a summer maintenance crew or in a variety of other positions. All candidates – both new hires and re-hires – must apply online here. You can find the application link at “Student Summer Employment Positions.” Candidates should also notify my office about their application submission by Friday, Feb. 10.