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142 nd Legislative District

State Representative

Farry
Dear Neighbor:
It has been my privilege to represent you in Harrisburg for the last year. I take the responsibilities you have entrusted me with very seriously and I strive to be accessible to you and responsive to your needs and concerns. Part of that effort involves sending periodic newsletters to update you on important legislative developments in Harrisburg and here in the 142nd Legislative District. The most difficult issue we face in Harrisburg continues to be our Commonwealth’s financial situation. In February, the governor presented his budget proposal for the 2010-11 fiscal year. I will discuss the governor’s proposal in more detail in the budget supplement in this newsletter. His proposal of tax increases and imposing new taxes on our residents is unacceptable. We need to examine state spending and eliminate waste and inefficiency wherever it is found. Additionally, I support reforming the budget process to eliminate the budget impasse that transpired during the 2009-10 budget. I am pleased to announce that the Neshaminy School District received an over $2.4 million increase in state education funding this year. This 13.6% increase was significantly higher than the 3% increase from the previous budget. The additional funds will help reduce the strain felt by property taxpayers. Many important bills which I supported passed the House and have now become law. These include two bills to expand health care coverage at no cost to the taxpayer and increased restitution for the victims of identity theft. Additionally, I broke from voting with my party leadership to support the table games bill, which will bring 1,000 permanent full-time jobs to Lower Bucks County. In January 2010, I opened a second district office and the first ever legislative district office in Lower Southampton. The office is located in the Lower Southampton Township complex at 1500 Desire Avenue in Feasterville. Office hours are from noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. To contact the office, call (215) 942-4067. The district office in Middletown, located at 370 East Maple Avenue, Suite 102 in Langhorne is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and can be reached at (215) 752-6750. Please feel free to contact or stop by either office with any state government questions. I am also available by appointment, which can be scheduled by calling the Langhorne office. Also, be sure to visit my Web site at RepFarry.com. There, you will find useful information about recent developments in the Legislature and you can sign up for periodic e-mail updates. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representative. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can ever be of service. Sincerely,

Frank A.

District Offices: 370 East Maple Avenue, Suite 102 Langhorne, PA 19047 (215) 752-6750 Lower Southampton Township Complex 1500 Desire Avenue Feasterville, PA 19053 Phone: (215) 942-4067 Capitol Office: 52B East Wing P.O. Box 202142 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2142 Phone: (717) 260-6140

Applications Now Available for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
Applications for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2009 are now available in my district offices. Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or property taxes paid in 2009. The program benefits qualified Pennsylvanians who are 65 years or older, widows and widowers 50 years or older, and those 18 years or older with disabilities. Eligibility income limits are set at the following levels, excluding 50 percent of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits: • $0 to $8,000, maximum $650 rebate (Homeowners and renters) • $8,001 to $15,000, maximum $500 rebate (Homeowners and renters) • $15,001 to $18,000, maximum $300 rebate (Homeowners only) • $18,001 to $35,000, maximum $250 rebate (Homeowners only) Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30. Applicants can check the status of their rebate as soon as six weeks after submitting an application by visiting my Web site at RepFarry. com, clicking on “Where’s My Property Tax Refund?” and entering their Social Security number, anticipated rebate amount, and their date of birth. Claimants can also use an automated phone service to check their rebate status by calling 1-888-PATaxes.

Check the Status of your Application

Frank Farry State Representative 142nd Legislative District

Federal and Pennsylvania tax forms are now available in both of my district offices. www.RepFarry.com

Expanding Access to Healthcare
One of the biggest challenges facing our health care system is the need to provide health insurance to the uninsured. In this legislative session, I supported two measures which were signed into law by the governor and which will provide access to insurance for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians. Act 2 of 2009 makes COBRA health insurance coverage available to Pennsylvania businesses with fewer than 20 employees. In 1986, the United States Congress passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, giving workers and their families who have health coverage through their employer the right to continue coverage for a period of time after they leave employment. However, that continuation of coverage through COBRA currently doesn’t apply to small businesses with fewer than 20 employees. Act 2 changes that and makes group-rated health insurance available to employees and former employees of small businesses in Pennsylvania. Act 4 of 2009 allows individuals to remain on a parent’s health insurance plan through age 29 if eligibile. According to the provisions of the bill, a child would be eligible if he or she is not married; has no dependents; is a Pennsylvania resident or is enrolled as a full-time student at an institution of higher education; and is not provided insurance coverage or eligible for government benefits. According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, as many as 400,000 individuals, ages 19 to 29, are currently living in Pennsylvania without health insurance. Pennsylvania’s high unemployment rate has exacerbated the problem, forcing otherwise qualified individuals to rely on part-time jobs with limited or no health benefits. Act 4 provides them with an option to purchase health care coverage.

Identity Theft Legislation Signed Into Law
Last year, legislation imposing stricter penalties on perpetrators of one of the fastest growing and most invasive crimes in the nation was signed into law. House Bill 222, now Act 42 of 2009, requires anyone convicted of identity theft to provide financial restitution to his or her victim. Under the new law, judges will be required to sentence the person convicted of identity theft to make restitution for all reasonable expenses incurred by the victim or on the victim’s behalf. The types of fees recoverable include, but are not limited to: • Fees for attorneys and accountants. • Fees and costs incurred in disputing or correcting credit records or reports. • Fees related to investigating the theft. • Fees related to bringing or defending civil or criminal actions related to the theft. • Court costs. I encourage consumers to be vigilant in checking their credit reports and to be more guarded about to whom they release their personal information and how they dispose of financial documents.

Bills Would Address Fraud and Abuse at DPW
Auditor General Jack Wagner has conducted several recent audits highlighting waste and abuse in the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). According to his reports, the potential fraud and abuse could cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Something must be done to stop this abuse. House Republicans have introduced a series of reforms designed to bring about greater accountability and efficiency within DPW to ensure that the Pennsylvanians who truly need assistance are receiving it. Among other things, our legislation would: • Require that residency be a prerequisite for receiving assistance. Residency would be established when an individual resides in the Commonwealth for at least 90 days. • Require applicants between the ages of 18 and 65 to take and pass a test for illegal drugs as a condition of receiving benefits. • Prohibit the purchase of alcoholic beverages with welfare dollars. • Provide for a comprehensive audit of DPW which includes provider and recipient sampling to identify fraudulent actions in the department. • Establish a computerized Income Eligibility Verification System that would cross check 19 different federal and state databases on a quarterly basis to ensure that applicants are eligible for the benefits they are claiming. I am committed to ending waste, fraud and abuse at every level of government. These measures are reasonable, commonsense solutions to the problems outlined by the auditor general. It is my sincere hope that House leaders will bring them to the House floor for consideration soon.

Senior health Fair April 16
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Middletown Senior Citizen Center 2142 Trenton Road, Levittown, PA 19056

New District Office Open
Lower Southampton Township Complex 1500 Desire Avenue, Feasterville, PA Phone: (215) 942-4067

Hours: Noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment

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Community Corner
Rep. Farry presents a citation from the House of Representatives congratulating the Neshaminy High School Cheerleaders and Coach Mary Hart for their national championship.

Rep. Farry presents citations from the House of Representatives to four members of Boy Scout Troop 78 congratulating them on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. Pictured are (from left to right): Kyle Markloff, Peter Ciarlante, Rep. Farry, Gerard McGowan, and Stephen Moyer.

Table Games Approved for Pennsylvania Casinos
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill to allow Pennsylvania’s casinos to offer table games like black jack and poker. I voted for this measure because the addition of these games at Parx Casino will mean as many as 1,000 new jobs for our community. With so many of our neighbors out of work, this influx of jobs and the tax revenue table games will generate for the Commonwealth will provide a much-needed boost to both the local and state economies.

The House recently approved a measure to ban hand-held cell phone use and text messaging for motorists on Pennsylvania roadways. I supported this legislation because I believe it will have a substantial impact on reducing auto accidents and deaths resulting from distracted driving. Adult drivers would still be permitted to engage in voice communication in handsfree mode, while junior drivers (drivers aged 16 and 17 who have not obtained full driving privileges) would be prohibited from using any interactive wireless communication device for any purpose. There are several exceptions to the ban including: • Use by operators of emergency service vehicles and volunteer emergency responders who are responding to an emergency and engaged in the performance of their official duties. • Reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number to make a call. • Use of a GPS navigational system, including those on a cell phone. • Use of a device to contact 911. • Use of a device if a vehicle is stopped and in neutral or park. The legislation would also allow junior drivers to use a device to contact 911 if the car is stopped in traffic and in neutral or park, or if they are operating an emergency service vehicle and engaged in the performance of official duties. Violations would be treated as a summary offense, carrying a fine of $50 plus applicable surcharges. These fines would be doubled in active work zones, school zones and highway safety corridors. Before this bill becomes law, it must be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor. While I expect the Senate to make changes to the bill as it is currently written, I am hopeful that we will be able to reach an agreement that will make driving in Pennsylvania safer for all of us.

House Passes Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban

F A R RY. C O M

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Extended
Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended until April 2. The cash grant amounts have also increased by $100. The LIHEAP program is administered by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and helps income-eligible households pay for heat during the winter months. DPW anticipates helping approximately 600,000 families with cash grants during the 2009-10 program year. Applications are available at both of my district offices or online at http://www. compass.state.pa.us. For complete eligibility requirements and additional information on LIHEAP, visit my Web site at RepFarry.com and click on “LIHEAP Information.”

PACE and PACENET Provide Low-Cost Prescription Drug Assistance for Seniors
Senior citizens who rely on prescription drugs to stay healthy may qualify for assistance through the state’s PACE and PACENET prescription drug assistance programs. To be eligible for PACE, applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania for at least 90 consecutive days prior to application. Additionally, applicants must be age 65 or older and have a total income for the preceding calendar year of less than $14,500 for a single person, or less than $17,700 combined for a married couple. Once enrolled in the PACE program, a benefit card will be mailed, and enrollees will pay a $6 co-payment for each generic prescription medication. Brand name prescriptions require a $9 co-payment. These co-payments are made to the pharmacy at the time of purchase. PACENET members who enroll in a Medicare Part D plan will pay the Part D premium directly to the plan. Depending on the Part D plan one is enrolled in, monthly premiums will range between $14.80 and $28.45. In addition, Part D cardholders will pay no more than the PACENET co-payments of $8 for each generic prescription medication and $15 for each brand name to the pharmacy at the time of purchase. PACENET members who do not enroll in a Part D plan will pay $28.45 each month at the pharmacy toward the cost of their medications. In addition, the individual will pay $8 for each generic prescription medication and $15 for each brand name. To find out if you qualify for PACE or PACENET contact one of my district offices at (215) 752-6750 or (215) 9424067, or visit my Web site at RepFarry. com.

What My Office Can Do For You:

Applications for • adultBasic • Birth Certificates • CHIP • PACE/PACENET • Property Tax/Rent Rebates Pennsylvania Income Tax Forms Information on financial assistance for higher education

Car registration, special tags, and license applications Complaints about state road conditions Complaints or questions about utilities and the PUC Complaints and problems with insurance companies Fishing and hunting information

Office Information
DISTRICT OFFICES: 370 EAST MAPLE AVENUE, SUITE 102 LANGHORNE, PA 19047 (215) 752-6750 MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 9 A.M. TO 5 P.M. AND BY APPOINTMENT LOWER SOUTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP COMPLEX 1500 DESIRE AVENUE FEASTERVILLE, PA 19053 PHONE: (215) 942-4067 MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, NOON TO 4:30 P.M. AND BY APPOINTMENT CAPITOL OFFICE: 52B EAST WING P.O. BOX 202142 HARRISBURG, PA 17120-2142 PHONE: (717) 260-6140

Visit my Web site RepFarry.com