Mar. 24, 2017

The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Is PA Ready for Driverless Cars?
With driverless cars currently being tested in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania could be at the forefront of this new technology, even though state law never anticipated this type of advancement.

That’s why members of the House and Senate Transportation committees learned more about driverless cars during a joint hearing on Tuesday. The goal is to strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and ensuring public safety.

Experts in the field have said that driverless cars can lead to greater safety, mobility and economic development. Several of the cars were on display after the hearing. 
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 for $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 bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. 
House Urban Affairs Committee Meets 
On Tuesday, I conducted my first meeting as majority chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee. We had two bills on the agenda. Both of them passed unanimously and were sent to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 595 would grant the power of investigation and mediation of complaints regarding planned communities, cooperatives and condominiums to the office of Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection.

House Bill 758 would create a program allowing for tax exemption incentives for developers that improve certain blighted areas, with a special emphasis on promoting mixed-use housing and development.

I look forward to working with committee members on developing legislation that will help our municipalities create and maintain safe and vibrant places to live and work. 
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 legislation 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. 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. Learn more here
Congratulations, Eagle Scouts! 
Last Saturday, it was my pleasure to take part in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony for Justin Barlup (left) and Cameron Wetzel (right), of Troop 222, Newport, Perry County. I presented each of them with a House citation in recognition of their outstanding achievement.

For his Eagle Scout project, Justin created 25 blankets for distribution to domestic violence services of Perry and Cumberland counties. Cameron redesigned and remounted the old wooden tee signs at the VFW golf course in Newport for his project.

Justin is the son of Steve and Angela Barlup, and Cameron's parents are Ken and Deb Wetzel. Both families live in Newport.