State Capitol Roundup
New Law Requires Voters to Present Photo ID
Gov. Tom Corbett has signed Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID Law, requiring citizens to present proper identification when voting or applying for an absentee ballot. The measure aims to prevent election fraud and will be in full effect for the November general election.
Several forms of ID are considered valid for use at polling places under the law. IDs must include the person’s name and photo, as well as an expiration date. Valid IDs include:
- IDs issued by the U.S. government. IDs provided by the U.S. Military that do not expire must state that the expiration is indefinite.
- IDs issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Municipal government employee IDs.
- IDs issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher education.
- IDs issued by a licensed Pennsylvania care facility.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is offering non-driver IDs at no cost to voters who do not possess another valid form of photo identification. For more information, visit RepPeifer.com.
House Approves Unemployment Compensation Reform Measure
The House unanimously approved legislation last week to further reform Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system and implement cost-saving measures.
House Bill 1852 would increase the penalty period for individuals who commit unemployment compensation fraud from two weeks to 10 weeks; add a 15 percent penalty to the total owed to the fund for a fraudulent claim; create a 52-week penalty for individuals who commit willful fraud to collect benefits while in prison; and increase the penalties for employers who fail to report fraud and accept employee contributions.
The proposal is estimated to save the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund nearly $154 million in fiscal year 2012-13 and $1.06 billion over the next seven years. The bill is pending action in the Senate.
‘Caylee’s Law’ Bills Advance to Senate
In response to the Caylee Anthony case in Florida last year, the House has approved legislation that would strengthen the penalties against someone who makes false reports to police during a criminal investigation involving a child. Penalties also would be increased for the crime of concealing the death of a child.
Both bills would upgrade the respective offenses to third-degree felonies and increase the maximum penalties to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The law would apply to a natural parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, guardian or an individual involved in an intimate relationship with the child’s parent. A person responsible for a child’s welfare, such as a babysitter, teacher or coach, would also be subject to the law.
The bills are now pending consideration in the Senate.
Teen Driver Law Video Contest Under Way
Late last year, a new law took effect to improve teen driver safety through increased behind-the-wheel training, passenger limits and strong seat belt laws. To help spread the word about these changes, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Pennsylvania DUI Association are hosting a video challenge. Teens are being asked to create a 30-second public service announcement to help educate parents and teens about the new law. For more information about the law and the contest, visit padistracteddriving.org.
State Representative Michael Peifer
139th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Patricia Hippler