REAL ID Update
I want to provide another update on the situation regarding REAL IDs in Pennsylvania. Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that Pennsylvania has been granted a REAL ID enforcement extension through August 1, 2019. This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding commercial aircraft through at least that date.
REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards will be available at the customer’s option beginning in March 2019. Customers are encouraged to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website.
As a reminder, Act 3 of 2017, which was signed into law in May, repealed the REAL ID Nonparticipation Act of 2012. Act 3 creates a two-tiered system that gives Pennsylvania residents the choice of whether they want the standard-issued driver’s license and photo card or the REAL ID compliant card. Pennsylvanians who do not obtain a REAL ID can still board a domestic flight or enter a federal building but would need to use their passport to do so. The measure also specifies that the cost of the REAL ID compliant license must be borne solely by those who want or need it.
If you are interested in obtaining a REAL ID there are proactive steps you can take now to ensure you are ready. Prior to being issued a REAL ID, you will need to provide the following documents to PennDOT:
Verification of your identity
The most common documents accepted to verify your identity are a United States birth certificate or a United States passport or passport card.
Proof of Social Security number
You must present your Social Security card when applying for REAL ID.
Proof of your Pennsylvania residency
You will need to provide two documents to prove your Pennsylvania residency. Proof of residency can include a current, unexpired PA driver’s license or photo ID card, a computer-generated utility bill showing your name and address, a W-2 form, other tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, to name a few.
Additionally, if your current legal name, date of birth, or gender designation is different from the information on your birth certificate or legal status document, you must show legal proof of the change. Acceptable documents include:
- Marriage certificate or divorce decree
- Court order approving a change of legal name or date of birth
- Original or certified copy of an amended birth certificate showing a change of name
- Completed DL-32 form, a request for gender change on a driver’s license or ID card
To read in more detail what documents are needed as part of obtaining a REAL ID and to view frequently asked questions, please click here or visit www.dmv.pa.gov. If you need any assistance in obtaining the necessary documents for a REAL ID or have any questions, my staff is happy to assist you.
All Senate offices will be closed next Monday, October 8 in observance of Columbus Day. My offices will re-open on Tuesday, October 9 as scheduled.
Dewey Award Recipient
Last week, I was proud to receive the Clean Water Action organization’s “Dewey Award.” The award is granted to individuals who are proven champions of the environment within their community. Throughout my legislative career, I have been proud to work with my colleagues to improve water quality, air quality and environmental standards for Pennsylvanians. Environmental protection is not a priority that has an ‘end’ point. It is a priority and an ongoing obligation we must all relentlessly pursue to make better communities for ourselves and future generations.
During my time in the Senate, I have been proud to:
- Support investments in water and sewer line replacement;
- Back the new law that requires schools to test their water for lead levels and support the creation of a taskforce to examine lead levels statewide;
- Require the Department of Environmental Protection to disclose water testing results;
- Increase carbon monoxide monitoring;
- Fight against climate change by co-sponsoring legislation that ensured Pennsylvania would fulfill its responsibility to meet environmental goals in the Paris Climate Accords and the Clean Power Plan;
- Support a severance tax on natural gas drilling; and
- Prohibit recycling fees.
I am grateful to receive a Dewey Award this year and thank Clean Water Action for this honor.
Upcoming Shredding Event
With Rep. Dan Deasy and Rep. Anita Kulik, we will be hosting a shredding event on Saturday, Oct. 13 in McKees Rocks. It will be held from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. (or until the shred trucks are full) at the McKees Rocks Shopping Center, located at 114 Chartiers Avenue.
Documents will be shredded on-site by a reputable and bonded company. Also, all papers must be loose, no binder clips or paper clips, and documents cannot be in binders.
With consumer fraud and identity theft continuing to be an issue, we are hosting these events to not only to raise awareness and promote prevention, but also to provide individuals with the opportunity to have unneeded, confidential documents destroyed free of charge. You may bring documents that contain personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
Additionally, this year, Deputy Sheriff Joe Cirigliano will be on hand to collect any unused, unwanted, or expired medications as part of Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen’s Project D.U.M.P. initiative. This program allows residents to bring any unused, unwanted or expired medications so they can be properly disposed.
Statewide Video Competition Highlights School Safety
Every Pennsylvanian shares an interest in protecting our schools – especially the young people who attend classes and participate in activities there on a daily basis. A new statewide video competition encourages middle and high school students to share their perspectives on school safety and identify ways to protect against potential threats to their well-being.
The second annual “Talk To Your State Senator” statewide video competition invites students to submit a video entry of no longer than three minutes to highlight ways to improve school safety. I encourage local students to participate in the discussion and speak out for safe schools.
The contest, which is sponsored by the Senate of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, is open to Pennsylvania students in grades 6 through 12. This includes students who attend public or private schools, as well as students who participate in homeschool programs.
A total of $10,000 in prizes will be awarded through the PA 529 College Savings Program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury. Entries will be accepted through December 7, and winners will be announced in the spring of 2019.
Contest details are available online at www.legis.state.pa.us/talk-to-your-state-senator/.
Voter Registration Deadline & Absentee Ballot Information
The deadline to be registered to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election is Tuesday, October 9. Anyone not registered can do so online at www.votespa.com or by clicking here. In addition to registering to vote, users can utilize the site to confirm registration status, update your registration, or locate your polling place. You may also pick up paper applications in my district offices or download a paper application at www.votespa.com.
Anyone needing an absentee ballot can download an application at www.votespa.com or can pick one up at my district offices. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is October 30.
Take Charge of Your Money
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) recently announced its “Take Charge of Your Money” program, providing people with no-cost coaching from credentialed counselors to help them better handle their personal finances. The goal of the program is to share information so that people can manage their money more wisely and, ultimately, improve their quality of life.
Under the Take Charge of Your Money program, people can get free, one-on-one coaching from counselors at 57 PHFA-approved agencies located around the state. Topics that can be addressed through the coaching include such things as improving your credit score, budgeting to gain financial stability, and creating a personal financial action plan. Counselors not only will educate participants but will offer encouragement to help keep people on track with their financial plans.
The agency currently is running a Web-based marketing campaign inviting Pennsylvanians to take advantage of this no-cost coaching. If interested, please visit www.phfa.org/prfc/ where you can search for the nearest participating counseling agency so you can schedule a session with a coach trained in personal money management.
Did You Know…
Did you know that according to a National Federation for Credit Counseling Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, nearly three in 10 adults (29 percent) are now saving more compared to one year ago?
Pittsburgh Student Police Academy
The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is offering an opportunity for students, free of charge, to become closely acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of the Police Bureau. The Pittsburgh Student Police Academy will bring the Pittsburgh Police and high school youth together in a setting that offers a sample of police training to each student.
The 2018 fall session of the Student Police Academy will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Point Park University, located at 201 Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The program will be held each Wednesday from 6 – 9 p.m. for 10 weeks. Students will receive training in many of the varied functions of law enforcement. They will experience some of the highlights of police training and are exposed to the operations of the bureau.
Class size is limited to 25 participants. Interested students must complete an application and permission slip and send their application no later than Oct. 6 to:
John Tokarski, City of Pittsburgh Dept. of Public Safety
City-County Building, 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Applications can be downloaded by clicking here. For more information please contact John Tokarski at 412-255-2117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was on this day in 1920 that the only Major League Baseball “tripleheader” of the 20th century was played in Pittsburgh. The Pirates had a rainout during the final weekend of the 1920 season and without a makeup date available, Pirates’ owner Barney Dreyfuss requested the National League allow the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds to hold a tripleheader. Permission was granted, and a Reds-Pirates tripleheader began at noon, according to the Society of American Baseball Research. The Reds won the first two games of the tripleheader (13-4 and 7-3) and the Pirates avoided the sweep with a 6-0 win in the six-inning third game.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
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932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
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Harrisburg, PA 17120
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