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Senator Bob Mensch

In this Edition:

  • New Facebook Page
  • PennDOT Reopens Route 663 (Layfield Road) Bridge over Green Lane Reservoir in Upper Hanover Township
  • Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts
  • Pennsylvania Turnpike Toll Violations
  • Montgomery County Trail Challenge
  • Security and Design Updates to PA Driver Licenses and IDs
  • Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended
  • Birth Certificates Required for CDL Renewal

New Facebook Page

Due to technical difficulties, I am starting a new Facebook page and the old page will be deactivated in the near future. Please visit www.facebook.com/PASenatorBobMensch for all future Facebook correspondence from my office. For any questions, please call 215-541-2388. My website (www.senatormensch.com) and Twitter page (@SenatorMensch) will remain the same. Thank you in advance for your patience during this transition.


Senator Mensch welcomed Nick Cardillo, an intern in his district office, and Nick’s mother Renai to the Senate during their visit to Harrisburg. Watch Nick’s introduction on the Senate floor.


PennDOT Reopens Route 663 (Layfield Road) Bridge over Green Lane Reservoir in Upper Hanover Township

PennDOT’s contractor worked since November to rehabilitate the bridge by replacing the deck, superstructure and bearings, and upgrading safety features. Over the next month, crews will perform additional substructure repairs that will not require lane restrictions.

Built in 1956, the five-span, steel-I beam bridge is 198 feet long and 30 feet wide. The bridge carries an average of 9,700 vehicles a day. Following its rehabilitation, the bridge is no longer categorized as structurally deficient.

The bridge carrying Route 663 (Layfield Road) bridge over Green Lane Reservoir is the third of four bridges to be reopened under PennDOT’s $11,766,000 project to rehabilitate four structurally deficient bridges in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and replace six structurally deficient culverts in Bucks, Chester and Delaware counties.

The Edenton Road bridge over Rattlesnake Run in Upper Oxford Township, Chester County, and the Torresdale Avenue bridge over Academy Road in Philadelphia were the first two bridges completed under this project.

The fourth bridge under construction is the structurally deficient Oxford Valley Road bridge over U.S. 1 in Bucks County. On Wednesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 29, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, daytime lane restrictions are scheduled on northbound and southbound U.S. 1 between the Interstate 95 and Fairless Hills interchanges in Falls, Middletown and Lower Makefield townships. Construction on the bridge is scheduled to finish in July.

The contractor also will replace deteriorated culverts at the following locations: State Road bridge over a branch of Cooks Creek in Springfield Township, Bucks County; Rocky Ridge Road over a branch of Tohickon Creek, Richland Township, Bucks County; White Horse Road over a branch of Pickering Creek in Schuylkill Township, Chester County; Route 282 (Creek Road) over a branch of Brandywine Creek in East Brandywine Township, Chester County; Route 82 (Doe Run Road) in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County; and MacDade Boulevard over the Muckinipattis Creek in Glenolden Borough, Delaware County.

Work on the entire project is expected to be completed in August 2018.

Loftus Construction, Inc. of Cinnaminson, N.J., is the general contractor on this project which is financed with 100 percent state funds through Act 89, Pennsylvania’s transportation plan.

For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by Act 89, or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.


Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts

The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) becomes effective on October 26, 2017. All information on the law, summary of the major changes, and more can be found here. A brief summary of the major changes are listed below.

The following new provisions will be effective on October 26, 2017:

  • EducationAll notaries must take a notary education course to be appointed or reappointed. RULONA requires all applicants for both initial appointment and reappointment as a notary public to complete at least 3 hours of approved notary education within 6 months immediately preceding the application for appointment or reappointment.
  • Examination – An applicant who does not hold a current and unexpired notary commission in PA must pass an examination administered by the Department’s examination vendor, Pearson VUE.

Notarial Acts - The six enumerated notarial powers authorized by RULONA are:

  • Taking an acknowledgment
  • Administering an oath or affirmation
  • Taking a verification on oath or affirmation (includes an affidavit)
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature – note that this is a new notarial act
  • Certifying or attesting a copy or deposition – note that “taking a deposition” is no longer an enumerated notarial act
  • Noting a protest of a negotiable instrument
Notary Stamp – The official notary stamp must contain the information in the following order:
  • The words “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”
  • The words “Notary Seal” (cannot contain the words “Notarial Seal”)
  • The name as it appears on the commission of the notary public and the words “Notary Public”
  • The name of the county in which the notary public maintains an office
  • The date the notary public's commission expires
  • The notary commission number

*The stamp will no longer contain the municipality in which a notary maintains an office.

Transitional provision: A notary public who holds a commission on the effective date of RULONA may continue to use his or her seal until the expiration of that commission, which may occur after the effective date of both RULONA and the Department’s regulations.

Notary Journal – The notary journal (formerly called a register) must contain all the following information for each notarial act:

  • The date and time of the notarial act
  • A description of the record, if any, and type of notarial act
  • The full name and address [city and state only] of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed
  • If identity of the individual is based on personal knowledge, a statement to that effect
  • If identity of the individual is based on satisfactory evidence, a brief description of the method of identification and any identification credential presented, including the date of issuance and expiration of an identification credential
  • The fee charged by the notary public

*According to the new requirements, the journal must record the time of day of the notarial act, the customer’s address, whether identification was based on personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, and the type of the credential presented. A journal must be created on a tangible medium or in an electronic format. If the journal is maintained on a tangible medium, it must be a bound register with numbered pages. If the journal is maintained in an electronic format, it must be in a tamper-evident electronic format complying with the regulations of the department

Transitional provision: A notary public who holds a commission on the effective date of RULONA may continue to use his or her journal until the expiration of that commission, which may occur after the effective date of both RULONA and the Department’s regulations.


Pennsylvania Turnpike Toll Violations

Recently, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission inserted information regarding Act 165 of 2016 into vehicle registration renewals. Act 165 allows the Commission to request the PA Department of Transportation to suspend the vehicle registration of any Pennsylvania motorist who has six (6) or more unpaid Turnpike violations, and/or unpaid invoices totaling $500 or more.

Before the law takes effect on August 4th, the Commission is offering a partial amnesty program to Pennsylvania registered vehicle owners who have an outstanding toll debt with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. During this program, toll violations that have not been placed with a collection agency may be settled by paying in full all tolls for any violations or invoices, and the Commission will waive all administrative fees. Toll violations that have been placed with a collection agency may be settled by paying in full all tolls and a portion of the administrative fees for all violations or invoices.

If you have any questions about this process, please visit www.paturnpike.com or contact my office by calling 215-541-2388 or by visiting http://www.senatormensch.com/contact-me/.


Montgomery County Trail Challenge

Montgomery County is hosting a 2017 Montco Trail Challenge. The Montco Trail Challenge will run seven months, from May 6 - December 3, providing more time to explore the trails and the chance to experience the seasonal changes in Montgomery County's vast network of trails and parks.

Thirteen Montgomery County trails are part of this year's challenge. The trails connect greenways, waterways, and heritage corridors throughout Montgomery County.

In addition to the listed parks and trails, visit two trails, parks, or county historic sites of your choosing and receive credit towards an achievement level. You don't have to walk or bike the entire trail to get credit for the challenge - just visit, enjoy, and earn your recognitions.


Security and Design Updates to PA Driver Licenses and IDs

The Pennsylvania driver's license and ID card has gotten a facelift, as well as enhanced security features that improve fraud prevention and help protect from counterfeiting and alteration.

These updated drivers licenses and photo ID cards have been in development over the last 22 months, and comply with the most recent American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators' (AAMVA) security specifications. But they are not REAL ID compliant. (Keep reading below for more on that process.)

Some of the enhanced features include:

  • Larger primary portrait and smaller ghost portrait.
  • 1D and 2D barcodes, which contain data visible on the front of the card.
  • Laser perforation — The keystone outline with "PA" is embedded into the cardstock and can be observed by holding the card up to any light source.
  • Laminate — Each card is laminated with an optically-variable pattern with the state motto, "Virtue, Liberty, Independence;" Keystone outline; and "1787," the year when the U.S. constitution was ratified by Pennsylvania.
  • Elimination of the magnetic strip on the back of the card.

To start, a pilot deployment for the new products began Monday at PennDOT's Harrisburg location. All driver and photo centers will transition to the new products by the end of October 2017, which will be phased in over the next four-year renewal cycle to replace existing products. As such, both current and new card designs will be in circulation during the transition period.

Customers are not required to replace their current product until their normal renewal date, although they are welcome to do so by requesting a duplicate product and paying the appropriate fee.

WHERE PA STANDS ON REAL ID

Last month, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 3 of 2017, which will allow Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards. Once available, they can be used to access airports and federal facilities.

Pennsylvania is under a REAL ID enforcement extension until October 10, 2017, which means that state residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date. Restrictions on boarding domestic flights with non-compliant IDs do not go into effect until Jan. 22, 2018.

PennDOT continues, however, to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on further extensions so that our residents will not face any restrictions as we work toward issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards.

System, infrastructure, and process changes will be necessary for Pennsylvania to issue REAL ID-compliant products. Preliminary work has already begun and PennDOT anticipates that REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer's option in 2019.

It's especially important to note that Pennsylvanians will not be required to get a REAL ID-compliant product – the program is completely voluntary and regular license and ID products will remain available.


Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Application Deadline Extended

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program deadline for older adults and residents with disabilities to apply for rebates of rent and property taxes paid in 2016 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31, 2017.

Each year the department evaluates the program as the statutory June 30 application deadline approaches to determine if funds are available to extend the deadline. To date, funding has been available to allow all who qualify to advance to this program.

As of May 26, the Revenue Department had received 465,064 rebate applications. As specified by law, rebate distribution cannot begin until July 1. Because July 1 falls on a Saturday this year, payment for processed applications of direct deposit recipients will occur on July 3. Applicants requesting a paper check can expect to receive their payment by mail over the next several days. After June 30, rebates will be distributed as claims are received and processed. Applications take 4-6 weeks to process.

Applicants may obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and related information online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-222-9190.

It costs nothing to apply for a rebate, and the department reminds residents that free application assistance is available at hundreds of locations across the state, including Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Aging, senior centers and state legislators’ offices.

Claimants who already applied for rebates may check the status of claims online at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.

About the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program:

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.

The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. The Revenue Department automatically calculates supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners.

Since the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $6.5 billion in property tax and rent relief. The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.


Birth Certificates Required for CDL Renewal

In order to comply with federal regulations, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed legislation in 2015, Act 49 of 2015, which affects individuals who hold commercial driver’s licenses (CDL).

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. License holders are required to prove citizenship or legal presence in the form of an official birth certificate with a raised seal, passport, naturalization documents or current immigration documents in person. The requirement to prove citizenship or legal presence for permanent residents and citizens will only need to be done once as a notation will be made on the customer’s record confirming the verification was made and the date it was made.

Additionally, residency documents will be required initially, at renewal and any time an address change occurs. Proof of residency can be accomplished by providing tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, W-2 form, current weapons permit, current utility bills (water, gas, electric, cable, etc.), a letter from PennDOT or a current license.

If you need assistance obtaining a new copy of your birth certificate, please contact my office by calling 215-541-2388 or by visiting http://www.senatormensch.com/contact-me/ and a staff person will assist you.


Twitter and Facebook I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.


Contact Me

Senator Mensch is on facebookTwitter

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203024
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3024
Phone (717) 787-3110
FAX (717) 787-8004

Red Hill Office
56 West 4th Street
Floor 2
Red Hill, PA 18076
Phone (215) 541-2388
Toll Free 1-855-247-9020
FAX (215) 541-2387
Monday - Friday
9-4:30 pm

Lansdale District Office
1 Vine Street Ste 202
Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone (215) 368-3117
FAX (215) 361-4222
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
9-4:30 pm

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