Argall Bill Heads to Governor, Creates New License Plates for PA Veterans

HARRISBURG – The state legislature gave final approval today to legislation sponsored by Senator David G. Argall (R-29) creating new specialty license plates honoring the exceptional military service of Pennsylvania residents.

Senate Bill 1187 provides for a number of new license plates designed to honor the service of Pennsylvania veterans. The bill was originally intended to create license plates for Army veterans who earned the Combat Infantry Badge during their tour of duty. The measure was suggested by Berks County Vietnam veteran Joe Soga.

“I would like to thank Senator Argall for his efforts to honor my fellow veterans by introducing legislation to establish a Combat Infantry Badge license plate,” Soga said.

“Local heroes like Joe Soga deserve to be recognized for their achievements,” Argall said. “I’m pleased to see the General Assembly act in a bipartisan manner to provide for new license plates honoring the achievements of those who put on the uniform to serve our nation.”

In addition to the new plate honoring Combat Infantry Badge recipients, the bill was amended in the Senate and House to provide for other license plates honoring military service. Specifically, servicemen and women earning the Combat Action Ribbon (Marines, Navy and Coast Guard), Combat Action Badge (Air Force), Combat Action Medal (Army) and Combat Medical Badge (Army medics) will be able to show their achievements on their Pennsylvania-registered automobile.

The legislation also expands eligibility for Merchant Marines plates for those who served during the Korean War, the Vietnam Conflict, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Desert Shield.

Several other specialty plates are included in the legislation, including a new “Pennsylvania Monuments” license plate that will provide funding for restoration projects in Gettysburg National Military Park. Additional specialty plates will include an “In God We Trust” plate and a “United States Olympic” plate, with proceeds of the latter assisting the amateur athletes from Pennsylvania advance to the Olympic Games. The proposal also includes the creation of new Hunting Heritage plates to fund conservation, youth hunting and game donation programs.

The legislation was approved by the House of Representatives on Friday, with the Senate signing off on the new plates today. The bill heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Argall’s Rail Safety Measure Clears Senate

HARRISBURG – Legislation that would improve public safety by preventing the theft of railway material received the unanimous approval of the state Senate this afternoon, according to bill sponsor Senator David G. Argall (R-29).

“With increasing theft along our rail lines in Pennsylvania, it is vital the state does everything it can to deter this illegal activity and, more importantly, protect the public,” Argall said.

Pennsylvania’s current scrap material theft prevention law mandates that certain items, including beer kegs, detached catalytic converters, metallic wire valued more than $100, and several construction-related materials are only allowed to be sold to a scrap processor or recycler through a commercial entity. Argall’s bill would add railroad materials to that list.

The genesis of the proposal came from Schuylkill County-based Reading and Northern Railroad, who brought it up at one of Argall’s town hall meetings.

“When they tell me they are increasing security staff due to the higher risk of theft along the rail lines, I knew we had to do something now before it’s too late and we have a tragedy on our hands,” Argall said.

Argall’s bill was amended in the House earlier this month to include the creation of a statewide database of scrap dealers and recyclers in Pennsylvania. The bill returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence.