News for Constituents

Toy Safety Updates and Recalls

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced 15 recalls among the 40 tested toys and children’s products in 2018.  The 33rd Annual Survey of Toy Safety reveals from October 5, 2017 to October 26, 2018, over 2.7 million individual toys or products were pulled from shelves

Dangerous chemicals and design flaws create hazards including, choking and asphyxiation for 40 percent of toy-related deaths in children under 15.  Accidents on scooters, tricycles, and other riding toys are attributed to 99 deaths.  

Toxic substances, size requirements, warning labels, flammability, and privacy for internet-connected toys, are among CPSC concerns.  Consult the list of recalls in Appendix 4 on page 29.  Find free safety alerts, resources, posters, brochures, and handbooks to make toy safety a priority for you and your family. 

VisitPA in December

The lights are sparkling, the inns are open, and the food is warm as Pennsylvania rings in the holidays, according to VisitPA

Take a trip to the Christmas City, Bethlehem, PA, for music, ice carving, glassblowing, and choosing gifts from among the handmade works of more than 150 of the country’s finest artisans at “Christkindlmarkt”, twice recognized one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by Travel and Leisure.  Choose events from the VisitPA “21 Happy Experiences for Your Holiday Checklist”. 

Experience a Victorian Christmas.  Take a Cookie Tour and exhibit your Gingerbread House decorating skills this holiday season.  Let dinner theaters, concerts, and sporting events set a different tone for your holiday.  Take a historical tour or step it up with a Santa Hustle 5K.  No matter your speed, PA has something for everyone this holiday.  For special holiday events across Pennsylvania during December, utilize the VisitPA search feature to locate events by regions, cities and towns, category, type, facility amenities, and discounts. 

Holidays Are For Turkeys in PA

Turkey and stuffing are synonymous with the holidays in Pennsylvania, according to the National Turkey Federation.  PA is tenth nationally in turkey production. 

Christmas feasts are expected to add another 22 million turkeys to the Thanksgiving average of 44 million turkeys sharing the table with the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole. 

Follow Turkey Basics for safe and timely thawing, stuffing, and roasting.  Add 2018 PA Farm Show Winning Recipes using PA Preferred products to your holiday table. 

Preventing Illegal Skimmers

While holiday shopping, the PA Department of Banking encourages vigilance when using automatic teller machines and gas pump card readers. 

Illegal card readers attached to payment terminals capture the data from the card’s magnetic stripe or computer chip, leaving no trace of the theft until the victim’s information is used to make purchases.  Immediately contact the PA State Police at 717-783-5599 or your local PSP Troop to report the theft of your personal financial and account information through card skimming

A first time conviction for possession, sale, and use of a skimming device is a felony of the third degree, including a fine of up to $15,000 and 7 years in prison.  Second and subsequent offenses result in a second degree felony, a fine up to $25,000 and ten years in prison. 

Are You and Your Vehicle Ready For Winter?

Motorists are being encouraged by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to travel prepared.  Ensure you and your vehicle are winter-ready for a brief inconvenience or an extended emergency, potentially delaying your travel plans for several hours. 

Pennsylvania winter conditions require that motorists ensure tires, antifreeze, wiper blades, heaters, defrosters, and lights-high and low beams, are fully operational.  It is a good time to replace weathered belts, capable of snapping in frigid temperatures. 

After your vehicle is winter-ready, don’t forget items to increase your comfort in case of a travel delay.  PennDOT recommends packing an emergency travel kit, including any special needs such as medication, baby products, or pet food. 

Christmas Trees May Bear Uninvited Guests 

Christmas tree farms in thirteen Pennsylvania counties are conducting special inspections to avoid the spread of the invasive spotted lanternfly, according to the Penn State Extension

While spotted lanternfly hatchlings pose no threat to humans or animals, purchasers are encouraged to inspect their chosen tree for fresh egg masses appearing like wet putty and older masses looking more like dried, cracked mud.  Each mass, capable of releasing 30-50 spotted lanternflies, should be scraped off into a container of alcohol to destroy the eggs before taking the tree inside. 

With the quarantine, the Extension encourages anyone purchasing a Christmas tree harboring the spotted lanternfly to report the sighting to 1-888-4BAD-FLY (1-888-422-3359).