Feb. 26, 2024

Legislative Update
The latest news from the State Capitol

New Bill to Close Veteran Plate Oversight

Did you know that the Disabled Veteran Registration Plate, which certifies a veteran's disability and is issued by PennDOT, does not grant the veteran parking privileges for disabled parking spaces? I did not. My office discovered this oversight through our day-to-day business aiding veterans and conducting our license plate exchanges. It seems counter-intuitive that a plate using the word “disabled” and requiring a certified disability be present for issuance does not allow a veteran to park in a parking space reserved for people with a disability. But leave it to the government to make that mistake.

Veterans with these plates may not even know they are violating the law when parking in areas designated as being reserved for persons with disabilities. Currently, disabled veterans have an option of either:

  •   A Severely Disabled Veteran Plate, reserved for those with 100% service-related disabilities; or a
  •   A Disabled Veteran Plate, designated for those with a disability certified by the Service Unit or VA but excludes parking privileges for disability spaces.

These options leave out a significant portion of veterans who merit recognition for their contributions to our country but have disabilities unrelated to their military service or require accommodation. In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to fix this oversight and designate a new license plate.

My proposed legislation aims to authorize PennDOT to introduce the Veterans with Disability Plate. This plate would be available to all veterans with disabilities not directly linked to their service or who do not meet the 100% disability threshold but still need parking assistance. More importantly, it would grant access to disability parking, among other accommodations, just like a standard disability plate.

This legislation is about recognizing the sacrifices of all veterans, regardless of their disabilities.
107th Birthday Celebration – Happy Birthday Russell Halchak!

 courtesy of Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

Birthdays are always special, but when you celebrate your 107th one, the celebration is that much sweeter. West Nanticoke/Plymouth Township native Russell Halchak turned 107 last month, and Sen. Lisa Baker and I had the privilege of celebrating with him at Birchwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center.

From his days serving in World War II, to his time as a coal miner, car salesman and local political guru, Mr. Halchak’s life has been nothing short of remarkable. At 107 years old, his sense of humor is as sharp as ever. It’s clear that his secret to a long, fulfilling life is dedication to staying busy and engaged. It was an absolute honor to celebrate with him.

Russel’s son and daughter-in-law, Eugene and Carolyn, as well as two of his grandchildren, Chris and Brian, also joined us. You can read about, and see, the celebration by following these links:

— Veteran celebrates 107th birthday.

— Sen. Baker, Rep. Ryncavage honor 107-year-old Russell Halchak.