Dec. 06, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol
Free Market Leads to 19% Drop in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions have declined by 19% over the last decade. According to the DEP, most of the reduction is attributed to market-based changes in Pennsylvania’s electric generation industry. As a result of an abundance of Pennsylvania natural gas, many coal-fired electric plants have converted to gas, which produces significantly less carbon emissions.

The real hero is the free market. A plentiful supply of natural gas together with more robust systems of distribution have resulted in decreased cost for energy output. The side benefit is that gas burns far cleaner than its increasingly outmoded cousin: coal.

Coal continues to make up approximately one-third of the state’s energy output, with gas and nuclear comprising one-third each. Renewables, such as wind and solar, are only 5% of the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio.

Energy production is an important industry in Pennsylvania. The Keystone state is the nation’s second largest producer of electricity and its largest exporter of energy. As has been the case for over a century, Pennsylvania powers the nation. This crucial industry also provides an estimated 104,000 Pennsylvanians with full-time jobs.
Legislator’s Corruption Highlights Need for Reform

Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell of Philadelphia announced that she is stepping down following the Attorney General’s announcement that she will be charged with stealing over half a million dollars from the non-profit personal care home she ran prior to entering the legislature. Johnson-Harrell reportedly spent some of the stolen money on luxury vacations, fur coats and other extravagances. Johnson-Harrell recently won her seat in a special election following the conviction of her predecessor, Rep. Vanessa Brown, who pleaded guilty of accepting cash “campaign contributions” in brown paper bags.

The combination of money and politics makes elected office a magnet drawing the corrupt and the corruptible. HB 455 and HB 2030, both of which I have sponsored, would decrease the benefits enjoyed by Pennsylvania’s legislators. HB 455 reduces legislative pay from the current rate of $90,000 to $15,000 and HB 2030 would end the ability of former legislators to continue receiving taxpayer-funded health insurance for the rest of their lives. If elected office is less lucrative, those motivated by lucre would be less likely to seek it.
Protect Your Personal, Financial Data

In recognition of National Tax Security Awareness Week, the state Department of Revenue outlined several tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves:

  •   Shop at websites where the web address begins “https” – the “s” is for secure communications.
  •   Don’t shop on unsecured public Wi-Fi in malls or hotels, where thieves can tap in.
  •   Secure your home Wi-Fi with a password.
  •   Use security software for computers and mobile phones; keep it updated.
  •   Protect your personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  •   Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts.
  •   Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  •   Back up your files on computers and mobile phones.

You should also be on the lookout for “phishing” scams in your email. Identity thieves sometimes pose as companies or government agencies you know, such as the IRS or state Department of Revenue. Other phishing emails may tell an urgent story to trick you into opening a link or attachment that ultimately adds a virus or spyware onto your computer.

Finally, the IRS or Department of Revenue will never call to demand a tax payment on a gift card.

If you are a victim of identity theft or discover a fraudulent Pennsylvania personal income tax return was filed using your identity, please contact the Department of Revenue’s Fraud Detection and Analysis Unit at 717-772-9297 or

For more information on ways to protect yourself, click here.
Steer Clear of Fraudulent Dog License Website

Attention dog owners! As you look to license your dog for the 2020 calendar year, watch out for a fraudulent website selling licenses online.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued the warning after identifying as selling fake Pennsylvania dog licenses and even paying search engines to appear at the top of search results pages for common terms, like “Pennsylvania dog license” or “renew PA dog license.”

If you’d like to purchase a license online, type directly into your browser’s address bar.

You may also purchase your license from the county treasurer. Each county treasurer has a different process, and while most offer an online option, some do not and require a paper form to be dropped off or mailed.

For more information about the state’s Dog Law and licensing requirements, click here.
Give the Gift of Fishing!

Just in time for the holiday season, 2020 fishing licenses, permits and gift vouchers are now available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC).

All fishing licenses and related permits purchased now are valid for up to 13 months, from December 2019 through Dec. 31, 2020. Licenses and permits can be purchased at, or from any of more than 700 issuing agents, county treasurers’ offices and all PFBC regional offices. Vouchers are also available to give as gifts that can be redeemed for a license or various permits, such as trout/salmon or Lake Erie permits.

The price of an annual resident fishing license is $22.90. Multi-year options are also available in three-, five- and 10-year increments. The most popular add-ons, a trout-salmon permit and a Lake Erie permit, cost $9.90 each, or $15.90 for a combination permit. A collectible fishing license button is available for $10.

You may also purchase voluntary permits for Bass, Musky, Wild Trout and Enhanced Waters, and Habitat/Waterways Conservation. These permits are not required for fishing and carry no additional privileges, but all funds generated through them are reinvested into their respective program.

While youth anglers under age 16 do not require a fishing license, they must have either a Voluntary Youth Fishing License ($2.90) or a free Mentored Youth Fishing Permit to participate in various youth opportunities throughout the season. This includes the Mentored Youth Trout Fishing Days, which occur the week before the opening of the regional and statewide openers in each area.

For more information, visit
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