Aug. 30, 2017

In the Community
India Day 2017


Despite the inclement weather on August 12, the India Day Community Fair at HACC in Harrisburg was a resounding success. Bringing in more than 12,000 people, India Day is one of the largest celebrations of Indian culture in Pennsylvania and one of the best ways to experience India in one day. This annual celebration of Indian Independence includes vendors selling ethnic food, Indian apparel, jewelry and art work.

India Day Community Fair presents the vibrant and diverse culture of India. It showcases India’s traditional values, multiple religions, music, dance and food from the many different regions of the country. I was honored to be there in my capacity as a State Representative, to give area residents informational hand-outs and to meet some of the many people who make Pennsylvania a great and diverse place to live.

Boy Scouts


Congratulations to the 87th District’s newest Eagle Scouts: Michael C. Smith and Cameron D. Kefford.                                               

Three Mile Island


My staff attended a tour of Three Mile Island with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC on August 23. The tour provided the opportunity to further understand the benefits of nuclear energy and to learn about the improvements the facility has made since the 1979 accident and since 9/11. Three Mile Island employs more than 600 central Pennsylvania residents and produces clean energy for the surrounding community.
State News
New DUI Law Takes Effect

A new law that took effect August 25 will change the way first-time DUI offenders are punished in Pennsylvania. The new law will require most first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level higher than 0.10 percent to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle.

Under the new law, most first-time offenders would be eligible to drive with the ignition interlock immediately. Otherwise, they would have to have their driver’s license suspended for a year before installing the interlock device for 12 months.

Those who are eligible can petition PennDOT for a new Ignition Interlock Limited License, allowing them to install the device for one year and continue to drive.
The law will also apply to drivers who refuse to submit to chemical testing. They will be eligible for early interlock after six months.

According to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, nearly 2 million drunk-driving attempts have been stopped with ignition interlock devices, including more than 78,000 instances in Pennsylvania between 2003 and 2015.                                               

Purple Heart Day

August 7, otherwise known as Purple Heart Day, is a special day to honor the lives and sacrifices of the men and women who have put their lives on the line for the United States. The special award is the oldest military honor, starting in 1932. It’s estimated that over 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded since it was established. The award is presented to military service-members who are wounded or killed in action. Created by General George Washington in 1782 to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action,” the decoration was a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk bound with a thin edge of silver and the word “merit” embroidered in silver across the face.

Purple Heart Day commemorates the creation of the oldest American military decoration for military merit, the Purple Heart and honors the men and women who are of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.                                               

New Law Gets Tough on Animal Abusers

Animals now have greater protection thanks to a new law targeting animal abusers, which took effect Monday, August 28.

Act 10 of 2017, also known as Libre’s Law, strengthens existing animal cruelty laws and makes it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal.

Specifically, the new law outlines three tiers of cruelty and neglect, with charges ranging from a summary offense for denying an animal food or shelter to a third-degree felony for intentionally torturing an animal or causing serious bodily injury or death.

The new law also requires convicted animal abusers to forfeit their animals, sets limits on how long an animal can be tethered outdoors and clarifies penalties for abusing a horse.

State Reduces Mandated Testing for Students

In a win for Pennsylvania students, families and educators, mandated tests that are part of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) will be reduced by 20 percent for the upcoming 2017-18 academic year. This will allow teachers to better instruct their students in specific subjects rather than increasing the amount of classroom time preparing for mandated exams.

The state Department of Education is removing two sections – one in math, one in English/language arts – and additional questions from the science section, which could eliminate up to two full testing days for some schools.

This change impacts students and teachers in grades three through eight, who will now spend an average of 20 percent less time on statewide testing.

In similar efforts, the House continues to look at all facets of education to ensure a quality, affordable education for Pennsylvania families. Within the past year, the House has spearheaded legislation to further invest in public schools, ensure greater effectiveness and accountability with the PSSA, bring needed reforms to charter schools, and enhance career and technical education.