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Winter 2010

Dear Neighbor: Join Me at My Fifth Annual

It is a pleasure to serve as your state representative in the
160th District, and I am looking forward to continuing to bring
you up-to-date information about what is happening at the state
Health and Safety Fair
Capitol and in our community. I am pleased to host my Fifth Annual Health and Safety Fair from 10 a.m.
Last year was the most challenging year I have witnessed to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 20. The Health and Safety Fair has become an
during my tenure as a public servant. The world-wide financial
crisis did not spare Pennsylvania. I voted against the final budget annual tradition that I look forward to because it is a day to learn about how
because I felt the spending included in the legislation did not to live a healthy lifestyle and a day for community fun! Best of all, it is a free
accurately reflect revenue collections and was out of touch with family friendly event.
the sacrifices Pennsylvania residents have had to make in their
personal budgets.
It is hard to believe, but the Legislature is already beginning the
Saturday, March 20  10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
process of negotiating the 2010-11 budget. Because we have
not seen a full economic recovery and our revenues continue to
Upper Chichester Municipal Building
be down, I believe it will be another difficult process to pass a
balanced state budget. You can find out more details about the
8500 Furey Road, Upper Chichester
new budget on page 3.
Since the passage of the budget, the House has taken up two For more information, contact my office at (610) 485-7606
major pieces of legislation: table games, which I will summarize or visit
on page 3, and a proposal to ban the use of hand-held cell phones
and the practice of text messaging while operating a vehicle.
I voted in favor of the hand-held cell phone and text messaging
ban because I believe it will make the Commonwealth’s roadways
In December, Rep.
safer. Because we share our public roads and highways with Barrar welcomed
every other driver, it is important to ensure that individuals are residents of Maris
operating their vehicles in a safe manner that allows them to Grove to the state
concentrate on the task at hand – driving. This bill is not yet law, Capitol in Harrisburg.
as it still must be considered by the Senate and signed by the If you have a group
governor. I will keep you informed as this legislation advances that would like to
through the process. tour one of the most
As you read the rest of this newsletter, if you have any questions beautiful working
or concerns, feel free to contact me at or by capitals in the nation,
calling (610) 485-7606. contact Barrar’s office
at (717) 783-3038

Stephen E. Barrar
State Representative
160th District

Sign up
to receive e-mail
updates at In May, Rep. Barrar, an avid cyclist and fitness enthusiast, joined participants of the
2009 Pennsylvania Bike Summit on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg. Cycling is
an excellent cardiovascular activity and an environmentally friendly way to travel.
Barrar Takes On ACORN
As a watchdog for your tax dollars, it is my goal to ensure that state this investigation. In fact, I have been in contact with the attorney
funds are not allocated to organizations involved in alleged criminal general’s office on several occasions to personally request the launch
activity. That is why I am fighting to divest Pennsylvania funding in all of an investigation into ACORN’s actions and fundraising efforts in
forms from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Pennsylvania.
Now (ACORN). The legislation was added to the House calendar in January, and I
In October, I fought to have language added to the budget that would am hopeful it will come up for a vote soon. When it does, I will attempt
prohibit organizations under indictment or that are subject to a “Cease to have the original language of the resolution reinstated.
and Desist” order from the Department of State, such as ACORN, from
receiving state funding. My amendment was approved by a vote of 157
to 42, but was later stripped from the final bill that became law.
I will continue to fight for this measure that would ban any nonprofit
organization from receiving state funding if it:
• Is under indictment for violating any federal or state campaign finance
or election law, including voter fraud.
• Fails to comply with federal or state lobbying requirements.
• Files a fraudulent form with any state or federal agency.
• Is the subject of a “Cease and Desist” order, as ACORN currently
is, or any order from the Department of State to prohibit the solicitation
of contributions.
In addition to my efforts to defund ACORN, I have also introduced
House Resolution 426 to institute a formal request by the House of
Representatives for the state attorney general to investigate ACORN.
Although the resolution was amended in committee by Rep. Mark At a hearing on House Resolution 426, Rep. Barrar discussed several
Cohen (D-Philadelphia) to highlight the many good works of the of the pending cases against ACORN in other states and its alleged
organization and downplay its problems, I am still advocating for criminal activities in Pennsylvania.

Barrar Measure Would Assist Veterans Attending

Pennsylvania Universities
In an effort to assist all veterans attending Pennsylvania institutions
of higher learning, regardless of residency, I have introduced legislation
that would offer in-state tuition to any veteran who qualifies for the Post
9/11 GI Education Program.
Veterans are exactly the kind of dedicated and hard-working individuals
we want to attract to Pennsylvania, and by allowing them to pay in-state
tuition rates, regardless of their home state, I am hopeful that they will
want to permanently settle in the Commonwealth.
The legislation would allow eligible out-of-state veterans, their spouses
and dependent children to be charged in-state tuition rates when
attending Pennsylvania state-related or state-owned universities and
the “local sponsored rate” when attending community colleges. Many
participants in the program would be guaranteed full tuition scholarships
at any in-state institution.
A similar measure was adopted in Ohio, and I am hopeful that the
House will bring the bill up for a vote in the near future. As a United
Last spring, Rep. Barrar hosted a Veterans Benefits and Resources
Forum to honor those who have served by empowering them with
States Navy veteran and a long-time advocate for veterans’ issues, I
valuable information. Assisting the veterans who have preserved our believe House Bill 872 is the right thing to do.
freedom and democracy has been and will remain a priority for Barrar.

Barrar Fights Corruption, Seeks Government Reform

During my time in office I have always aimed to serve the people of the 160th District and the greater Commonwealth by supporting initiatives
that would return our government institutions to what they were intended to be – a means to guarantee the people of Pennsylvania life, liberty and
the freedom to pursue happiness. I am disappointed that some public officials seem to have forgotten what the people elected them to do. That
is why I am fighting corruption in all branches of government.
Recently, I introduced legislation calling for an investigation into the conduct of Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. to
determine if he is liable to impeachment for misbehavior in office.
Berry admitted to running a private business from his taxpayer-funded office, using his taxpayer-funded staff. He was using his public office and
secretary to manage dozens of properties. Over a 10-year period, he was issued more than 70 citations by the City of Philadelphia for safety and
code violations. He also used his secretary to maintain tenant files, contact tenants, prepare lease agreements, file eviction complaints, appear
at eviction proceedings, prepare advertisements for properties, and make utility payments and bank deposits.
The Court of Judicial Discipline found Berry to have violated the Pennsylvania Constitution “by engaging in conduct so extreme that it brings
the judicial office into disrepute.” Despite the board’s findings, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham decided not to prosecute the
judge for his conduct. Even the Philadelphia Bar Association is calling on Judge Berry to resign his post.
I am hopeful that if my resolution is adopted, it will not only bring Judge Berry to justice, but it will also send a message to other judges that this
type of behavior will not be tolerated. The people expect and deserve judges to be beyond reproach. Faith in our judicial system is a cornerstone
of civil society, and this judge, by his acknowledged actions, has shown his disregard for the public’s interests.
If we are going to truly reform state government, we must certainly include the judicial branch in those reforms. When an officer of the court is
involved in a breach of the public trust, there must be consequences.

w w w. S t e v e B
Governor Calls for Increased Spending,
Taxes in Wake of 2009-10 Budget Fiasco
In early February, Gov. Ed Rendell addressed the General Assembly of these federal funds have not yet been approved, so there is no
with his priorities for the 2010-11 budget. As in years past, the guarantee we will actually receive these dollars.
governor has called for an increase in spending that our state can Sales Tax Expansion: The governor is proposing a reduction of
simply not afford. the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 4 percent, but would expand the
As of the end of January, General Fund revenue collections were tax to cover 74 items and services that are currently exempt – food,
off by a total of $374 million for the fiscal year, bringing us to 21 clothing and prescription medicines would still be tax exempt. He
consecutive months of collections that have failed to meet projections. would place the extra revenue raised from this tax in a reserve
The governor said he expects the Commonwealth to be more than a account called the Stimulus Transition Reserve Fund to help offset
half-billion dollars in the hole by the end of the fiscal year in June. This, the future termination of stimulus funds. It is important to note that
combined with the fact that last year’s budget completely exhausted many property tax reduction or elimination plans rely on a similar tax
the Rainy Day Fund and other reserves, leaves me to question the shift, making the future of further property tax relief questionable.
judgment of increasing spending by $1.2 billion, or 4 percent, as the What would be included in the governor’s sale tax proposal?
governor is planning to do. • Coal
We need a budget that reflects our fragile economy and the situation • Firewood
our taxpayers are facing. This request for a spending increase shows • Residential fuel oil/gas
that our governor is out of touch with reality. I favor an approach that • Funeral services
is fair to our taxpayers – one that budgets responsibly so we are not • Newspapers
setting ourselves up for a tax increase. • Non-prescription drugs
Following is a breakdown of the governor’s $29 billion budget • Residential telephone service
proposal: • Textbooks
Spending: The governor has proposed a $1.2 billion increase in • Water and Sewer Services
spending using $26.27 billion in state dollars and an additional $2.76 • Waste management
billion in federal stimulus funds. It is important to note that $800 million • Scientific research and development

Budget Cuts The governor is calling for

reductions to the budgets of the Department
of Environmental Protection ($3.8 million
cut), the Department of Health ($7 million
cut), the Department of Agriculture ($5.4
million cut), the Department of Labor and
Industry ($3.1 million) and the Department
of Conservation and Natural Resources ($1
million cut).
Budget Increases: The governor would
increase funding for basic education, county
child welfare programs, mental retardation
services, services to senior citizens, the state
police, the Department of Corrections, the
Department of Community and Economic
Development, and the Department of Military
and Veterans Affairs.
You can find more information about the
budget at my Web site,
You can also send me your comments at

Table Games Legalized in Pennsylvania,

Despite Need for Further Reforms
As part of the 2009-10 budget negotiations, Pennsylvania has the meaningful property tax relief they were promised, but this expansion
legalized table gaming at slots parlors. The need for new revenue of gambling provides them with no further immediate relief.
sources generated support for Senate Bill 711 (now Act 1 of 2010), As written, the Property Tax Relief Fund will only start seeing
but I believe the legislation does not go far enough to address several deposits from table gaming revenues after the Rainy Day Fund
concerns with our current gaming laws. reaches a certain threshold. Considering the fact that the Rainy Day
I have long been a proponent of gaming reform and have proposed Fund was completely exhausted this year, those deposits will likely
legislation that would prohibit politicians from accepting contributions from be a long time coming.
gambling interests. I believe doing so creates a conflict of interests, and Finally, in a year the Legislature passed a budget that did not
my legislation would impose penalties on any politician who knowingly include WAMs, some legislators have found a way to hide money for
and intentionally accepts a campaign contribution from a casino owner or their pet projects in this bill, and I think it is a travesty. This legislation
executive. Unfortunately, this and many other necessary improvements identifies very specific earmarks, but this should not be the intended
to our current gaming law were omitted from this bill. purpose of table games revenue. If we cannot provide all of the
Another reason for my opposition to the table games legislation is its money to homeowners for property tax relief, we should at least
disregard for Pennsylvania homeowners who are facing ever higher supplement the Property Tax Relief Fund with this revenue.
property taxes. I voted to allow slots parlors in 2004 because I believed If you have any questions about Act 1 of 2010, contact my
in the need for property tax relief. Not only have homeowners not seen office.

Ba r r a r . c o m
Barrar Receives
Barrar Continues Recognition By Local
Advocacy for Nurse Organizations
Anesthetists In March, Rep.
Barrar was
As the national health care debate has stagnated in Wash- presented with
the William Wikoff
ington, D.C., I have continued to advocate for a measure that Smith Award by
would reduce health care costs and increase access to care by the Philadelphia
extending the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Ship Preservation
Anesthetists (CRNA) practicing in Pennsylvania. Guild. Pictured
As a leading co-sponsor of House Bill 1866, I believe in the with Barrar is Scott
Rickards, who was
professionalism, education, and high level of skill necessary to also recognized
earn the title CRNA, and I will continue to fight for this common- by the guild for
sense legislation until it becomes law. his volunteer work
aboard the tug
boat Jupiter.

The Pennsylvania
Dental Association
(PDA) presented
Rep. Barrar with the
Kay F. Thompson
Legislator Award for
his efforts to improve
the oral health
of Pennsylvania
residents. With
Rep. Barrar is Dr.
Thomas Gamba,
Rep. Barrar spoke in support of Pennsylvania’s Certified Registered president of PDA.
Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) during a rally at the Capitol in January.
Barrar, a leading co-sponsor and long-time advocate for House
Bill 1866, said he would continue to fight for the legislation that
would extend the scope of practice for CRNAs.

State Tax Forms Available in

Barrar’s District Office
With tax season just around the corner, I want to remind you that state tax forms are now available at my district offices. Stocked forms
include the PA-40, corresponding schedules and instruction booklets, and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate form. As with the federal income
tax, Pennsylvania state income taxes must be filed by April 15.
As a means to augment revenue collections for the state, Pennsylvania is offering tax amnesty from April 26 to June 18, for delinquent
taxpayers. Taxpayers who are delinquent for eligible taxes as of June 30, 2009, may apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to
participate in the program. Qualifying taxpayers will be required to file an amnesty return with the department and pay all delinquent taxes,
along with 50 percent of the interest. All penalties for qualifying participants will be abated. Taxpayers will also be required to submit all unfiled
tax returns and reports.
For more information about the tax amnesty program or to download tax forms online, visit

Ask Steve
My offices get a lot of questions on issues that you too may wonder about, but you have never asked. As a feature of my newsletters, I am going to include a com-
mon inquiry and provide you with the answer. Please feel free to contact my office with your questions for the “Ask Steve” section of my newsletter.
Question: Pennsylvania police officers, highway maintenance workers and tow truck operators are at great risk of being struck by oncoming vehicles in the perfor-
mance of their jobs. Pennsylvania has a law requiring motorists to move over, but many people don’t seem to know about it. How can we get the word out to keep the
people who work along our roadways safe? Why doesn’t PennDOT use its message boards to alert motorists?
Answer: Pennsylvania’s “Move Over Law” requires drivers to move into the far lane, or slow down to a safe speed if they cannot move over, when they come upon
a situation on the side of the road. Failing to comply with the law could carry a fine of up to $250, which could be doubled if combined with offenses like speeding or
reckless driving. The law extends extra protection to individuals acting in an official capacity, such as police officers, sheriffs, coroners, emergency service personnel,
tow truck operators and hazmat response teams.
According to PennDOT, it does post “Move Over Law” messages on its electronic signs, but it varies the messages on an as needed basis. PennDOT has 200
closed circuit cameras on interstate and limited access highways to monitor roadway safety 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it does turn the signs on with
emergency messages as needed.
Thank you for your question. I am hopeful that it has helped bring about a greater awareness of this important roadway safety law.

Rep. Steve Barrar

DISTRICT OFFICE: Willowbrook Shopping Center / 3358 Chichester Avenue, Suite 13 / Upper Chichester, PA 19061 / (610) 485-7606
HARRISBURG OFFICE: Room 18 East Wing / PO Box 202160 / Harrisburg, PA 17120-2160 / (717) 783-3038 / Fax: (717) 787-7604