Mar. 18, 2024

Legislative Update
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Tagging Black Bears with the Game Commission

Pennsylvania has one of the largest black bear populations in the United States. As part of our on-going black bear research, I was able to join a small group of legislators out in the field along with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to tag black bear cubs. We got to hold these adorable 6–8-week-old cubs while experts conducted medical exams on the mother. Such an important work for wildlife conservation!

House Returns to Session…Finally!

For the first time since last year, the state House returns to voting session Monday, March 18. It’s been a frustrating new year as a fulltime legislature that has not been meeting to legislate.

Why the delay? House Democrats, who currently hold the Majority in our state House and who set the schedule, announced in early December that the need to repair a “water leak in the roof” will prohibit us from gathering. The average person knows arrangements could have been made to allow us to do this very important part of our jobs, but they chose not to.

I wrote about this earlier last year in a pervious newsletter here.

Of course, my office has remained open, and I have been present across our community. In early February, I joined many of my colleagues in the Capitol for the governor’s budget address, and the House Appropriations Committee subsequently held three weeks of hearings about the governor’s $48.3 billion plan, though we are still lacking quite a few details about his proposal. The House Republican Policy Committee also has been holding hearings in several communities, highlighting public safety, economic development, permitting reform and more. 
Luzerne County Registration Fee Refunds

Last week, my office was notified by State Treasurer Stacy Garrity that the Pennsylvania Treasury Department will automatically process approximately 31,000 refunds for Luzerne County residents owed money due to the county eliminating its $5 annual vehicle registration fee.

In a statement from the Treasurer’s office, “The refunds are due to residents who paid for two-year vehicle registration renewals to cover 2021 and 2022. However, the last year the county collected the $5 local fee was 2021, which caused the overpayments. Treasury expects the refund process to be completed by May.”

If you or someone you know overpaid do not worry! In February, Luzerne County sent the funds to the State Treasurer’s office to be disbursed. County officials are collaborating with the Treasury to file a claim on behalf of the 31,253 residents entitled to a refund. Upon submission, the Treasury will handle the processing and dispatch payments to each registered address. While the majority of refunds will amount to $5, certain recipients are owed sums of $10, $15, or $20.

You can read the full press release here.