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Winter 2010

Turnpike Commission: a Bastion for Political
Dear Friend,
Patronage, Corruption
As a lifelong resident
of the 150th Legislative In an effort to lessen the stigma of political patronage conduct include former Turnpike Commission Chairman
District, I am honored to and corruption and bring more accountability to the Mitchell Rubin. During the public corruption trial involving
management of the turnpike, I have introduced House Bill former Sen. Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia), it was revealed
represent a community
2134, which will give oversight and management of the that Rubin had a contract with the state and did little to
with such strong values turnpike to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation no work for the salary received. Rubin, a personal friend of
and convictions. Serving (PennDOT). Fumo’s, was eventually
in the Pennsylvania House We need to put an removed from the
of Representatives is a role end to the backroom position after Fumo
and responsibility that I take politics-as-usual mentality was found guilty.
seriously. I am committed and the public perception The organizational
to fighting for the issues that all state government setup of the
that affect the people of is corrupt. I came into commission has led to
Montgomery County. office three years ago on an agency that is top
a reform platform, and I heavy, with too many
My staff and I are here
will continue to fight for managers directing
to serve you. We offer a more transparency and few employees. To
variety of services, including accountability in state compare, PennDOT is
help with PennDOT issues, government. The fact that run by seven executives
information and applications the Turnpike Commission and manages more
about student financial aid is widely known as a pit than 41,000 miles of
and senior citizen programs, of political patronage is a roadway. That equals
and copies of state maps completely unacceptable one executive for every
and other publications. Feel reputation for any state Rep. Mike Vereb unveils his legislation eliminating 5,857 miles of state
free to contact us with any government agency. the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission at a roadway. The Turnpike
Under my legislation, press conference on Dec. 8. His legislation shifts Commission is run by
state-related questions or
the responsibility and the oversight and maintenance of the turnpike nine executives and is
concerns. daily management of to PennDOT, helping to lessen the stigma of in charge of 545 miles
the turnpike will go to political patronage and corruption and bring more of roadway. That equals
Sincerely, a deputy secretary of accountability to the management of the turnpike. one executive for every
toll administration under Pictured from left: Reps. Scott Hutchinson (R- 60 miles of roadway
PennDOT. To alleviate Venango/Butler), Matt Gabler (R-Clearfield/Elk), o n t h e t u r n p i k e .
the potential for political Vereb, Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong) Also, PennDOT uses
Michael A. Vereb patronage, candidates and Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny). internal staff to act as
for the deputy secretary government liaisons
position would be required with the General
to have a civil engineering degree and at least 10 years’ Assembly, whereas the Turnpike Commission hires
contract lobbyists at significant cost.
experience designing and building highways. My legislation will only cut upper tier management
Over the past year, the Turnpike Commission has been positions; all other turnpike jobs will remain intact.
shrouded in a cloud of corruption and scandal. Recent The Turnpike Commission is an outdated and
reports have confirmed that a state grand jury is investigating antiquated agency. There is absolutely no reason why
the Turnpike Commission’s awarding of contracts. The we should have two government organizations dealing
commission is currently under investigation for pay-to- with transportation issues. The common goal of improving
play contracts, including a construction project costing Pennsylvania’s transportation networks can be done
more than $170 million in the Valley Forge area that was
originally bid at $90 million. Other reports of unprofessional continued on page 2....
Table Games Expansion Will Not
Bring More Property Tax Relief
This past January, legislation expanding Pennsylvania’s gam- a section of the table games bill that enables the PGCB to extend a
ing industry to include table games was signed into law. While not casino licensee’s deadlines. This section of the law appears to be
an outright opponent of the legalization and expansion of gaming, written directly for the license holders of the proposed Foxwoods
there were multiple problems with this legislation, which is why I Casino in Philadelphia. Foxwoods has yet to start construction and
voted against it. has continually ignored deadlines set forth by the board. This type of
The number one reason why I didn’t vote for the table games behavior is absolutely ridiculous, and it is unbelievable that lawmakers,
expansion is the fact that it will not bring significant property tax relief bending to the will of outside gaming interests, would add language
to my constituents or anyone else living in the Commonwealth. When into the table games expansion law that gives this licensee preferential
gaming was first legalized in 2004, it was allegedly done so to use treatment. It’s unreasonable that Foxwoods has been able to drag its
gaming revenues to bring meaningful property tax relief to the people feet while other casinos throughout the state have been operational
of Pennsylvania. More than five years later, Pennsylvania residents for awhile now.
have yet to see any real relief. Anyone who voted for the table games Fortunately, Foxwoods did not receive the deadline extension for
legislation under the guise of bringing more property tax relief was which it was hoping. While legally allowed to extend deadlines under
disingenuous at best. the expansion legislation, the
Also, this legislation did not PGCB decided that Foxwoods
even address several much- had postponed construction
needed gaming reforms. Since and ignored its deadlines long
my election to the House of enough. While I have often
Representatives in 2006, I been a vocal critic of the PGCB,
have called for common-sense I fully support the board’s deci-
reforms that would help bring sion to deny Foxwoods’ request
integrity and lift the cloud of for an extension for its proposed
suspicion that currently over- Philadelphia casino project and
shadows Pennsylvania’s gam- to fine the company $2,000 per
ing industry. Since the enact- day, retroactive to Dec. 1, 2009,
ment of the original slots law, until the company complies with
there has been report after the submission requirements
report of the corruption and set forth by the board. I fully
scandal associated with this support the board for putting its
industry. I have consistently foot down and demanding that
pushed for all investigations Foxwoods get its act together
and background checks to be and make good on the deadlines
put under the jurisdiction of the state police and attorney general. set by the board. There is still a cloud of suspicion as to who added
The legislation, as enacted, doesn’t even scratch the surface in terms language into the table games law that enables the board to extend
of the reforms that need to be enacted. This was our opportunity the deadlines of licensees, which seemed to give preferential treat-
to fix the flaws in the original slots bill, but instead, a majority of the ment to Foxwoods’ request for an extension. However, the board
members of the General Assembly chose to turn a blind eye and stepped up to the plate and sided with what’s best for Pennsylvania,
vote in favor of legislation that bends to the wants of the gaming not special gaming interests.
industry, rather than to the needs of the people that we are elected I believe that there is much work to be done to fix the multiple
to represent. I refuse to vote for legislation that bends to the wants problems with Pennsylvania’s gaming industry. I will continue to
of gaming interests and doesn’t fix any of the flaws associated with fight for much-needed reforms in order to bring more integrity to the
the original gaming law. state’s gaming industry and more property tax relief to the people of
Another reason why I voted against this legislation has to do with Pennsylvania.

Turnpike Commission:
a Bastion for Political
Patronage, Corruption
under the management of one state agency. By moving the oversight of
the turnpike under PennDOT, we will cut down on government bureaucracy,
decrease administrative costs and bring more accountability to the people of
this Commonwealth.
If House Bill 2134 is signed into law, PennDOT must honor any collective
bargaining agreement in existence between the Turnpike Commission and any
employee organization. Also, the legislation stipulates that the Commonwealth
will assume the debt of the outstanding bonds of the Turnpike Commission
and will use the turnpike tolls for repayment of the debt.
Taking on an institutional habit is going to be an uphill battle, but I was
On Jan. 27, the Fraternal Order of Police’s Philadel- elected by my constituents to stand up for what’s right and fight the good
phia Lodge 5 honored Rep. Mike Vereb for his exem- fight. With all of state government under scrutiny, now is not the time to
plary efforts in supporting Philadelphia Police Lodge 5 sit back and be complacent. Real reform means making tough choices to
and their legislative agenda that will help police officers change the way business is done in Harrisburg. It is time to stand up and
statewide. Pictured from left: John McNesby, presi- make important changes to bring accountability and transparency to how
dent of Lodge 5; Vereb and Gene Blagmond state government operates.

Visit My Web Site
Community Shredder
My annual Community Shredder Event will take place on
Saturday, April 24, at the West Norriton Township Building.
This event is a wonderful opportunity for local residents to
guard themselves against identity theft. Documents that contain
sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, medi-
cal information or bank account numbers should be thoroughly
shredded before disposal.
I encourage all residents of the 150th Legislative District to
bring any unwanted papers to be shredded and recycled.
Last June, Rep. Mike Vereb hosted a community shredder
In order to accommodate as many constituents as possible, I
event. In an effort to prevent identity theft, residents were
ask that businesses please refrain from bringing their paperwork
invited to bring unwanted papers to be shredded and re-
to shred.
The event will last from 9 a.m. to noon. The West Norriton cycled. Turnout for the event was overwhelming, with a line
Township building is located at 1630 West Marshall Street in of vehicles filling the street. At the end of the event, 7,000
pounds of paper were shredded.

Fourth Annual Family Women’s Expo
Fun/Safety Day Rep. Vereb will host a Women’s Expo in July. Please check his Web
site,, for more information.
Rep. Vereb will host his annual Family Fun/Safety Day in
June at the Pit Stop on Germantown Pike. The event will last
from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Please check his Web site, RepVereb.
com, for more information on this fun-filled night of go-kart rides,
Senior Expo
Rep. Vereb will host a Senior Expo in September. Please check his
miniature golf and much more. Web site,, for more information.


State Police Funding Applications Now Available
for Property Tax/Rent Rebate
Forms for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2009 are now
Eligible participants can receive a rebate of up to $650 based on their rent or
property taxes paid in 2009. The program benefits eligible 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 for homeowners are set at the following levels, exclud-
ing 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)
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program is one of many initiatives supported
by the Pennsylvania Lottery, which dedicates its proceeds to support programs
for older Pennsylvanians. Since the program began in 1971, more than $4 billion
has been paid to qualified applicants.
On Feb. 9, Rep. Mike Vereb met with Pennsyl- Residents are reminded to provide all the necessary income, property tax or
vania State Police Colonel Frank Pawlowski and rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications
Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) to discuss are due by June 30.
the state budget and proposed funding for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are available by contacting my office
state police. at 610-409-2619, or by visiting my Web site at

Department of Corrections Agrees to Change
DNA Policy
Earlier this year, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and I sent letters to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
questioning the department’s policy of obtaining DNA samples. The letters focused on a murder case in Montgomery County where a delay in
obtaining an inmate’s DNA led to an alleged murderer being paroled for two months before being charged with murder.
The Montgomery County case centers around Joseph Eli Moss, who was sent to state prison in June 2008 as a result of a theft conviction.
Moss’ DNA sample was taken in the spring of 2009, almost a year after he entered the state prison system. This delay in obtaining the DNA sample
from Moss, along with a backlog in entering the sample into the state and federal databases, led to his being released on parole before his DNA
sample was entered into the database.
Recently, his DNA came up as a match with a sample taken from evidence in a 2007 Pottstown murder. Moss, who was released on parole
in June 2009 but landed back in prison two months later due to parole violations, has since been charged with that murder.
A 2005 state law mandates a DNA sample be taken from convicted felons. The statutory language says that this sample should be taken
upon incarceration after conviction.
As a former police officer, I know how important DNA evidence can be in solving a case. The Department of Corrections’ procedures for
obtaining DNA samples could have led to dangerous criminals remaining on the streets and a delay in bringing justice to a victim and his or her
family. This was a public safety issue that needed to be addressed right away. The Department of Corrections needed to change its policy by
implementing DNA testing upon incarceration, as required by legislation passed in 2005, rather than waiting for release.
As a result of our letters, the secretary of the Department of Corrections, Jeffrey Beard, acknowledged that there was a lack of compliance
with departmental policy in obtaining Moss’ DNA. Beard said that the department has since taken steps to ensure that all DNA samples are taken
upon the time of reception to the Diagnostic Classification Center. Furthermore, all samples from inmates already incarcerated for covered offenses
must be completed by March 1, 2011.
I’m glad that the department has taken the necessary steps to improve its policy of obtaining an inmate’s DNA. Ensuring that DNA samples
are taken upon incarceration will help to prevent inmates being released on parole before their DNA sample is entered into the database. This
goes to show the positive changes that can occur when different branches and levels of government work together.
Both D.A. Ferman and I appreciate the department’s quick response to our suggestion to review departmental policy.

Going Green and Saving
Money with Electronic

I have been investigating alternative ways to communicate with
you that are informative, environmentally conscious and cost effective.
You are currently receiving my printed newsletters through the mail,
and although constituents tell me they are worthwhile, they are costly
to mail. Using improved technology, electronic communication is an
effective tool to keep you informed. Via e-mail and the Web, I am able
to communicate with you at a much reduced cost.
Rep. Mike Vereb is pictured with Philadelphia Mayor To accomplish this goal, I am offering you the option of receiving
Michael Nutter after a press conference regarding the future newsletters from my office in an online format. If you’d like to
General Assembly’s passage of House Bill 1828. This make this switch, please take a moment and log onto my Web site at
legislation contains assistance for police and firefighters and click the “Have Your Newsletter Delivered Online”
in the City of Philadelphia. icon. A simple form will be there for you to complete.
If you’d like to continue receiving this newsletter in print, you don’t
have to do anything. We’ll keep you on the mailing list.

State Representative
Mike Vereb
150th Legislative District
3950 Germantown Pike / Suite 101 314-C Main Capitol Building
Collegeville, PA 19426 PO Box 202150
Phone: (610) 409-2615 Harrisburg, PA 17120-2150
Fax: (610) 409-2619 Phone: (717) 705-7164 Fax: (717) 260-6522