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State Rep Justin Simmons Report

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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, June 30, 2017  The latest news from the State Capitol

Protecting Veteran Integrity

Unscrupulous individuals who seek to benefit financially by falsely identifying themselves as veterans will face criminal penalties under legislation signed into law this week.

Act 9 of 2017, which takes effect in 60 days, seeks to protect the honor and valor of America’s veterans by making any misrepresentation of military service or honors for financial benefit a third-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines.

Examples of such criminal behavior range from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits to fraudulently obtaining preference in a government contract or a job reserved for a veteran. This new law is designed to help preserve the reputation of legitimate veterans.

New Law Gets Tough on Animal Abusers

This week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a legislative package, which I supported, that strengthens Pennsylvania’s existing animal cruelty laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal. Known as “Libre’s Law,” Act 10 of 2017 was also stamped with the paw print of Libre himself. The Boston terrier puppy was rescued from a Lancaster County farm last summer after suffering from severe neglect. His story became a rallying cry for animal rights advocates.

Driver’s Licenses to Have New Look

PennDOT has updated the design and enhanced the security features of its driver license and identification card products. This new look is not related to ongoing efforts to comply with federal REAL ID requirements, which are still being developed.

All driver and photo centers will transition to the new products by the end of October. The new products will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle and will replace existing products.

The cards, which look very different, will have additional enhanced security features to improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration. Some of the new features include a larger primary portrait and smaller ghost portrait; a 2D bar code; laser perforation; and lamination with the state motto. The magnetic strip has been eliminated on the back.

Happy Independence Day! Tuesday, July 4, is our nation’s 241st birthday, and celebrations are taking place around the nation and locally to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which occurred right here in Pennsylvania. Please be sure to celebrate safely. Information about fireworks safety is available here.

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