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New Proposals Aim to Improve Economic Opportunities for Veterans
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who have served our country in the military. In the near future, I plan to introduce two bills to help military veterans deal with one of their biggest challenges when returning to civilian life – building a successful business or embarking on a new career.
Many veterans leave active service with a great deal of training and education in various fields. However, under current law, that experience and knowledge does not count toward licensure or certification requirements for certain jobs. My legislation would help remove this barrier to employment by requiring state agencies to evaluate and provide appropriate credit for military experience.
In addition, it is critical for lawmakers to look for new ways to promote veteran-owned businesses in Pennsylvania. I plan to introduce legislation directing the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create special logos to designate businesses that are owned by veterans and disabled veterans.
In Wisconsin, a successful new program supports entrepreneurship among veterans by allowing veteran-owned businesses and disabled veteran-owned businesses to display a special logo designating their status. I believe we could see similar success with this type of program in Pennsylvania.
I appreciated the chance to speak with members of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance about the benefits of energy efficiency.
Tierne’s Law Clears House Committee
The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation this week that would help district judges better protect victims of domestic violence. Senate Bill 449 – which was named Tierne’s Law in honor of Washington County resident Tierne Ewing, who was tragically killed by her estranged husband in 2016 – would clarify that district judges can use risk assessment tools when deciding whether to set bail in cases involving domestic violence.
The proposal would help judges keep the most dangerous offenders from being set free to do further harm to their victims. The Senate approved the bill last year, and passage by the House committee clears the way for the full House to consider the bill in the near future.
Legislative Update: Progress in the War on Blight
The Senate approved legislation this week that will help communities deal with blighted and abandoned properties by clarifying that the ownership responsibility of a delinquent property will remain with the owner of record until the property is actually sold and the deed is transferred to the new owner. Senate Bill 851 will ensure negligent owners are not allowed to avoid paying property taxes after the property falls into a dangerous state of disrepair and neglect and enters the tax sale process.
Other bills approved by the Senate this week included:
Senate Bill 978, which gives hospice staff the authority to properly destroy unused drugs following a patient’s death,
Senate Bill 373, a bill that allows patients to authorize payment of insurance benefits directly to dental service providers, a practice known as assignment-of-benefits,
Senate Bill 827, which allows individuals to plan for the management and disposition of their digital assets by providing instructions in a will, trust, or power of attorney,
Senate Bill 977 provides additional legislative oversight of the regulatory review process,
House Bill 1448 charges the Department of Education with providing information on its website to compare institutions of higher education,
Senate Bill 497 eliminates the waste designation for slag when it is sold as a commodity and is not a discarded material,
Senate Bill 542 permits pharmacists to dispense emergency prescription refills for up to 30 days pursuant to certain restrictions.
Congratulations to North Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company on 65 years of dedication and service to your community. I was pleased to present a Senate citation to Chief David Bane.
Summer Employment Opportunities Available at the PA Turnpike, PennDOT
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is offering employment opportunities this summer for college students, recent high school graduates who are attending college in the fall, or graduates who are entering basic training for the U.S. military during the summer or fall. Toll collector and maintenance positions pay at least $11 an hour. The Turnpike would like to begin filling these positions by mid-March.
Applications and additional information are available at www.paturnpike.com.
PennDOT is also offering job opportunities for college students this summer as part of its Summer Maintenance Program. Positions pay an hourly rate in excess of $13 an hour. Interested applicants must complete an online application at www.employment.pa.gov.
Current Photo IDs Accepted for Commercial Air Travel Through October 10
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is reminding state residents that current driver’s licenses and photo ID cards can still be used as valid identification for commercial air travel and entrance to federal buildings through at least October 10 of this year.
PennDOT is working to comply with federal REAL ID photo identification standards and expects to be able to offer customers new REAL ID-compliant licenses beginning in spring 2019. PennDOT is encouraging Pennsylvanians to begin planning now if they would like a REAL ID-compliant license or photo ID next year.
More information on the steps state residents should take in order to receive a REAL ID-compliant license is available here.
The Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce recently opened their new headquarters on Main Street. Great news for the Mon Valley!
For more information on issues of importance to southwestern Pennsylvania, please visit my website at www.senatorbartolotta.com and connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/senatorbartolotta) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/senbartolotta).
SouthPointe District Office
Greene County Office Building