Dec. 14, 2018

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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

New Tool to Fight Addiction

Building on the work of lawmakers to develop policies to combat the opioid crisis, a new online tool is available to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and support services for themselves or a loved one.

The Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs. It is designed to assist people who are looking for services but are not sure where to begin. Users get the results based off their answers to survey questions.

DART does not ask any identifying information and does not save answers after it’s closed. After completing the questionnaire, people are able to email, download, and/or print their results.

DART is a free, anonymous resource and can be found here.
Clean Slate Law to Take Effect Soon

Pennsylvanians with certain low-level offenses on their records will have their records automatically sealed under a new law taking effect this month.

Act 56 of 2018 allows records of second and third-degree misdemeanor criminal convictions to be automatically sealed after a 10-year period without subsequent offenses. The law does not apply to violent offenses or those committed with a firearm or other dangerous item; sexual offenses; cruelty to animals; or corruption of minors.

This legislation balances the opportunity for low-level, nonviolent offenders to move forward with their lives, while at the same time not shielding the records of violent criminals.

Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to enact a so-called “clean slate” law.
Renew Dog Licenses Now

Pet owners are reminded that all dogs in Pennsylvania three months of age and older must be licensed by Jan. 1, 2019. You can purchase a 2019 license through your local county treasurer’s office.

Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. Learn more here.
Holiday Shopping Scams

Now that the holiday season is here, the Attorney General’s Office is warning all of us to beware of scams and deceptive advertising while shopping at stores or online this year. These hoaxes range from the “Bait and Switch” to the “Grandparents Scam,” and you can learn more about them here.
Guard Against Fraud This Holiday Season

While the holiday season is often the most charitable, consumers are encouraged to be vigilant and watch out for scams aimed at taking advantage of their good will.

For your protection, the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Charitable Organizations maintains a publicly accessible online database which contains all legally established charities in Pennsylvania. Consumers are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of any charity using this database prior to donating.

To learn more about an organization prior to donating or to report suspected fraud, you may also call the bureau’s toll-free telephone hotline at 1-800-732-0999. For additional information about protecting yourself while giving, click here.
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