Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's
happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress
of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few
moments to visit my website at
www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and
Week of December 21, 2015
On behalf of my staff, and my family, I would like
to wish you and your family a wonderful Holiday Season, and best wishes for a
happy and healthy New Year!
Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
House Bill 530 – (40-10)
the 2015-16 Education Code (I was not able to support this due to cuts to
House Bill 941 – (48-2)
historical distillery license fee reduction;
House Bill 1327 – (48-2)
the 2015-16 Fiscal Code (I was not able to support this due to uncertainty of
how it will be funded);
House Bill 1603 – (unanimous) brings Pennsylvania into compliance with
federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) changes;
House Bill 1690 – (29-21)
liquor privatization (I was not able to support this as I feel it is not
privatization; would hurt small beer distributors who are already private, and;
the contradiction of expanding alcohol sales but not passing medical cannabis
when alcohol is more detrimental to one’s health and our communities. You can
listen to my floor comments
Bill Passes Senate, Goes to Governor for Further
House Bill 777 – extends the
PACENET Social Security COLA moratorium.
Bills Signed into Law by the Governor
House Bill 477 – Act 75 – the Activities and Experiences for Children in
Out-of-Home Placement Act to help children in foster care;
House Bill 698 – Act 76 – allows hunting from motorized wheelchairs.
DEP Offering Rebates to PA Residents for
Alternative Fuel Vehicles
The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
is offering rebates to Pennsylvania residents to assist with the cost of
purchasing an alternative fuel vehicle. Rebates are funded by the Alternative
Fuels Incentive Grant Program which is supported by a gross receipts tax on
utilities. To qualify, the vehicle must be registered in Pennsylvania, operated
primarily in-state, and be purchased no more than six months before the rebate
application is submitted.
There are a limited number
of $2,000 rebates for eligible large battery vehicles (such as the Nissan Leaf,
Ford Focus and Chevy Volt). $1,000 rebates are offered for plug-in hybrid
vehicles and battery-electric vehicles (such as the Toyota Prius plug-in, Ford
C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion and Honda Accord), and; for natural gas, propane,
hydrogen or fuel-cell vehicles (new CNG powered cars or pickup trucks). A $500
rebate is available for electric motorcycles and scooters. For more information
or to apply, click
PA Trips by Train
PA Trips by Train, a partnership with the PA
Department of Transportation and
Amtrak, offers discounted train tickets to popular events and destinations
in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, New York and points between, such as:
Philadelphia Zoo, the
Pennsylvania State Capitol, a Lancaster Amish tour, Pittsburgh on-your-own,
a Brooklyn culinary crawl and more. There are also event-specific excursions,
such as the Philadelphia center city holiday tour, Broadway Week and the
Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Changes to the Issuance and Renewal of Commercial
Act 49, effective December 21, 2015, makes changes to PA Vehicle Code
regarding Commercial Driver's Licenses, mostly in response to Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration rule changes, including:
- Time period for school bus drivers to have annual physical and vision exams completed
extended from every 12 months to 13 months. Training Permits, precursor to
the Learner's Permit, will no longer be issued to school bus drivers.
- Codes used to describe CDL classifications, endorsements and restrictions will change.
New codes can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov.
- All new CDL applicants and current
holders required to renew or make any changes or upgrades to their CDL will
need to do so in person one time. License holders must present proof of
citizenship or legal presence in the form of a birth certificate, passport,
naturalization documents or current immigration documents in person.
Residency documents will be required initially, at renewal and anytime an
address change occurs, such as tax records, lease agreements, mortgage
documents, W-2, weapons permits or utility bills. After submitting this
proof in person once, subsequent applications can be submitted through the
- If a CDL
driver applicant wants to remove any restrictions on current license, the
state may administer a modified knowledge and skills test on the restriction
to be removed, rather than retaking the complete skills test.
Commercial Learner's Permit will be valid for no more than 180 days, and
will not be issued to anyone who does not hold a current and valid driver's
license. If a permit expires or was renewed once, and needs to be renewed
again, all knowledge tests must be retaken. Anytime an endorsement or
restriction removal is added to a permit, including existing CDL holders,
the 15-day training period will be reset.
For more information, click
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are
of concern to you. I may be reached through my
website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.
When contacting my office by
e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone
number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many
inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.
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337 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
101 Municipal Building
400 South 8th Street
Lebanon, PA 17042
Toll Free: 1-877-222-1897