May. 31, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

 
Stronger Protections for Crime Victims

Voters are one step closer to having the opportunity to decide if a victims bill of rights should be added to the Pennsylvania Constitution after the recent House passage of House Bill 276, otherwise known as “Marsy’s Law.”

The proposal would ensure crime victims have the right to receive information about their rights, receive notification of proceedings in their criminal cases, be present at court hearings, be heard at plea and sentencing proceedings, and be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.

Last session, the bill passed both chambers of the General Assembly. Identical legislation must be passed this session and then approved by voters through a ballot referendum before it can be included in the Constitution. Pennsylvania is one of only nine states without a victims bill of rights.
 
 
Bills to Protect Homeowners, Minors and Victims of Sexual Extortion Advance

The House Judiciary Committee recently approved three bills to help protect Pennsylvanians from a variety of crimes.

Recognizing that some young people are coerced into a childhood marriage, House Bill 360 would prohibit the issuance of a marriage license to anyone under the age of 18. The change in law would also better ensure a person choosing to be married is prepared to make this life-altering commitment.

Responding to the growing problem of illegal residential trespassers or “squatters” essentially taking over properties that don’t belong to them, House Bill 365 would give law enforcement officers better tools to remove such individuals from the property.

Finally, the committee approved legislation to create the offense of sexual extortion, which occurs when a person uses coercion and misuses their power to demand sexual acts, images, or videos from victims. Establishing this specific offense better equips law enforcement officers to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
 
 
State Budget Update

The House returns to session next week as work continues on the state budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. We will be in session for most of next month to finalize a spending plan, along with other critical legislative priorities, before the June 30 deadline.

Our goal is to develop a responsible budget which funds the Commonwealth’s needs but spends within its means.
 
 
Route 248 Improvements on the Way

PennDOT announced this week that design work will begin soon to improve the section of Route 248 in Carbon County. The project is expected to include repairs to the road base and surface, median barriers, and new fencing on a mountainside rock slope.

The $1 million in engineering work is expected to take up to 18-24 months to complete, with construction placed out for bids in late 2020.

As a daily commuter, I am well aware of the poor condition of Route 248 and share the concerns of local residents who have called our office to complain. We are excited that PennDOT is moving this project up on the schedule, releasing the critical funds needed to start the engineering study with planned construction to start in 2021. These improvements to one of Carbon County’s major highway corridors is a priority, and I’m anxious for this project to start as soon as possible.
 
 
In the District

I had a fun time on Tuesday speaking with two second grade classes at Towamensing Elementary School in Palmerton about the environment and reducing our use of plastics.


My thanks to Carbon Chamber and Economic Development Corp. for the invitation to speak at the first annual “Carbon State of the County” event at Blue Mountain Resort over the weekend.

I was honored to participate in the Nesquehoning Memorial Day parade and ceremony.
 
 
Internships Available to Local College Students

Local college students and graduating high school seniors with an interest in state government are encouraged to apply for unpaid internships for the summer or fall semesters at my district offices in Weissport and Albrightsville.

These internships provide students the opportunity to learn more about state government, the legislative process and the responsibilities of a Pennsylvania state representative. They will get a hands-on learning experience that cannot be taught through a textbook.

Applicants must be Carbon County residents. Resumes may be emailed to tberger@pahousegop.com with “Summer Internship Applicant” listed in the subject line, or mailed to my district office at 204B Bridge St., Weissport, PA 18235. 
                                     
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RepHeffley.com
Office Locations
204B Bridge St., Weissport, PA 18235 | (610) 377-6363
2681 State Route 903, Unit 3, Albrightsville, PA 18210 | (570) 722-8700
Room 420 Irvis Office Building, PO Box 202122, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2122 | (717) 260-6139
Email: dheffley@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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