News for Constituents

Pennsylvania’s 2017 Motorcycle Safety Program Ready to Roll 

Pennsylvania’s Motorcycle Safety Program (PA MSP) is issuing a reminder for novice motorcyclists and seasoned riders alike that free safety courses are being offered during 2017. 

The five courses include: 

Participating insurance companies offer premium discounts to students successfully completing PA MSP coursesEnroll online or call 1-800-845-9533. 

PA Offering State Tax Amnesty

A 60-day tax amnesty will allow delinquent state taxpayers to settle taxes owed, but not paid as of December 31, 2015, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue

From April 21 through June 19, 2017, Pennsylvania will waive penalties and half of the interest owed on delinquent individual and business taxes.  The amnesty applies to personal income, corporate income, sales, cigarettes, realty transfer, and oil company franchise taxes, among others. 

The 2017 PA Tax Amnesty is expected to collect $100 million for the General Fund.  Past tax amnesty programs collected $93 million in 1995-1996 and another $254 million in 2010.  Federal, local, and other states are not included in the Pennsylvania tax amnesty program. 

 

PA Eliminates Vehicle Registration Stickers

Some confusion continues over changes to the vehicle registration program, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles

The program, which eliminated the registration sticker effective December 31, 2016, continues to require registering your vehicle and retaining the valid registration card. 

Elimination of the vehicle registration sticker is expected to save taxpayers $1.1 million, while saving an additional $2 million in mailing costs.  The savings will be invested in the repair and maintenance of the state’s roads and bridges. 

 

Cold Water Boating Safety 

Some 80 percent of all recreational boating fatalities occur when a boater fails to wear a life jacket, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). 

During the winter and spring months, sudden cold water immersion triggers cold water shock.  In water temperatures less than 70 degrees, involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, breathlessness, and reduced ability to control breathing and swimming occurs. 

Pennsylvania’s boating safety requirements include a mandatory life jacket usage law in effect from November 1 through April 30.  In addition, whether underway or at anchor, boaters on vessels less than 16 feet long, canoes, or kayaks are required to wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices. 

Consult the PA Boating Handbook (page 11) for an understanding of the legal requirements for year around boating in PA. 

Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer

Annual estimates find more than 2 million of us experience complications from antibiotic resistance and more than 23,000 of these cases lead to death, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health

Reducing the over-prescribing of antibiotics and increasing good prevention practices are among the objectives to reduce illness and death due to antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics can treat bacterial infections, while doing nothing for viral infections.  A list of common conditions or illnesses indicates those treatable with antibiotics

Experience Pennsylvania’s History through State Parks this Spring

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources encourages you to experience Pennsylvania’s history through our state parks this spring. 

Beginning in 1893, with one exceptionally notable site — Valley Forge — Pennsylvania laid the ground work for reforestation, conservation, and commemorating key historic events.  The parks system’s focus on historic preservation expanded to ensuring every Pennsylvania could access a state park within 25 miles of home.  From 45 state parks and 5 historical parks in 1955, the system grew to 87 state parks by 1970. 

Today, Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s largest state park systems with 120 outdoor recreational areas and over 291,700 acres of property.  Facilities and resources include over 7,000 family campsites, 286 cabins, nearly 30,000 picnic tables, 56 major recreational lakes, 10 marinas, 61 beaches for swimming, 17 swimming pools, over 1,000 miles of trails and much more.  

Make online reservations or call toll-free 888-PA-PARKS (888-727-2757), 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.