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Friday, June 13, 2014

Capitol Update By Rep. Martin Causer

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Capitol Update
Friday, June 13, 2014 The latest news from the State Capitol

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Deadline Extended

Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application deadline has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31. The program provides property tax and rent relief for eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with permanent disabilities age 18 and older.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Fifty percent of Social Security income is excluded when determining eligibility. The maximum standard rebate is $650.

For more information or an application, contact my offices in Bradford (78 Main St., first floor, telephone 814-362-4400) or Coudersport (107 S. Main St., Room 1, telephone 814-274-9769) or visit the Department of Revenue’s website. After July 1, claimants who already applied for rebates may check the status of claims online or by calling, toll-free, 1-888-PATAXES.

Sportsman-Related Bills Advance in State House

The state House unanimously approved a measure repealing a section of the state’s Game and Wildlife Code that violates an individual’s right against self-incrimination. A section of the code that deals with the destruction of game for agricultural protection states that it is unlawful to refuse to answer, without evasion, any pertinent question pertaining to the killing or wounding of any game or wildlife when questioned by a representative of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

This is in clear violation of a person’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. I am hopeful the Senate will move quickly so we can get this bill signed into law as soon as possible.

Also this week, the House Game and Fisheries Committee met and approved legislation to expand access to low-cost hunting and fishing licenses for veterans who are considered partially disabled.

Senate Bills 1090 and 1102 would offer hunting and fishing licenses for $1 (plus issuing agent fees) to veterans considered between 60 percent and 99 percent disabled as determined by the U.S. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Veterans deemed 100 percent disabled, or those with the loss or loss of use of one or more limbs, will remain eligible for free licenses.

The committee will also approved House Bill 2230, which would allow the use of certain semiautomatic rifles for the taking of coyote, fox or woodchuck.

Tourism Committee to Discuss Snowmobile-ATV Funding

The House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee will hold a public hearing this week on legislation I introduced to ensure fairness and accountability in how funds are invested in the development of ATV- and snowmobile-riding opportunities in the Commonwealth.

Currently, registration fees and fines for both types of vehicles are deposited into a single account, and officials with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) are unable to account for how much of the money is dedicated to trail development for snowmobiles and how much for ATV trails.

To ensure an equitable distribution of the funds, House Bill 2047 would direct DCNR to maintain separate ATV management and snowmobile management accounts.

I often hear from ATV enthusiasts – including some who are also snowmobilers – about the lack of riding opportunities in our region. With the vast amount of state land available in our area, DCNR should be able to provide ample opportunities for both forms of recreation.

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 18, at the state Capitol. It will be streamed live at

Be Alert for West Nile Virus

With this being one of the worse mosquito seasons in years, it’s important to do all we can to protect against the West Nile virus.

To limit mosquito breeding as much as possible, be sure to remove any stagnant water from your property, such as in bird baths, ponds, wheelbarrows and trash cans. To protect against mosquito bites, wear protective clothing and insect repellent when spending time outdoors.

West Nile virus, which first appeared in Pennsylvania in 2000, can be contracted from a single mosquito bite by an infected insect. Individuals over the age of 50 are at the highest risks of contracting the disease. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands. Although there is currently no vaccine, the virus usually clears up on its own. Learn more here.


Anonymous said...

park your ATVs and get out on foot to explore the forests. want to ride your ATV, go to an ATV park.

Anonymous said...

What does the tourist committee have to say about the fracking of Pennsylvania's State forests & parks?