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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, March 1, 2019  The latest news from the State Capitol

Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims

Understanding the struggle many crime victims face when seeking justice, lawmakers have been working to advance a package of bills designed to protect the rights of crime victims.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved five bills for consideration by the full House. The package includes:

  • House Bill 276 (Marsy’s Law), would add a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • House Bill 502 would ensure victims can attend proceedings against their abusers.
  • House Bill 503 would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
  • House Bill 504 would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
  • House Bill 505 would strengthen protections for young abuse victims.

Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, House Republicans are ensuring crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire criminal justice process.

Budget Hearings Continue

The second full week of budget hearings wrapped up on Thursday, with members of the House Appropriations Committee asking agency and department officials a variety of questions about executive functions, programs and efficiencies. These questions, along with submitted written testimony, will serve as the foundation for budget negotiations this spring.

This week’s hearings featured the State Police, PennDOT, Corrections, General Services, Health, and Drug and Alcohol Programs, as well as the Liquor Control and Gaming Control boards.

Budget hearings conclude next week with appearances by Education, Agriculture, and Military and Veterans Affairs, along with the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) and State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). Learn more here.

PennDOT to Start Issuing REAL IDs

Effective Friday, March 1, PennDOT will begin issuing REAL IDs.

A federally accepted form of identification must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building starting Oct. 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania REAL ID will fulfill this requirement, as will a U.S. Passport.

Under state law, REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Pennsylvanians who have pre-verified their required documentation for obtaining a REAL ID may apply online to receive it without visiting a driver license center. PennDOT has indicated those IDs will be mailed out to recipients in 10 business days.

More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions and guidelines on documents required to obtain one, can be found at www.penndot.gov/REALID.

In the District

I had a great time talking about my job as a state legislator with Cub Scout pack 364 in Coopersburg. They asked some really good questions!

Free Admission at Many Museums on March 10

Hope Lodge in Ft. Washington will celebrate the Commonwealth’s 338th birthday on Sunday, March 10, with free admission. In addition, there will be free admission to many other museums and historic sites around the state, including the State Museum in Harrisburg where William Penn’s original charter will be on rare display. Learn more here.

Pennsylvania was created when England’s King Charles II granted a charter to Penn in 1681. Once each year the original document goes on exhibit for a limited time. The rest of the time it is stored in a high-security vault, shielding it from strong light and environmental fluctuations.

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