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The 11th District’s Voice in Harrisburg

Fall 2010

Dear Neighbor: Lack of Fiscal Control Leads to ‘NO’
Vote on State Budget
The past year has presented many
challenges locally, statewide and across the The final state budget plan, which I voted against, was
signed into law in early July and totals $28.04 billion, which is an
country, but Americans continue to stand
increase of $207 million, or 0.74 percent, over last year’s budget.
together through these difficult times. Although this budget includes no tax increases, it relies on nearly
With a national recession still gripping our $3 billion in federal stimulus funding that will not be available in
economy, state government must continue the 2011-12 state budget. This results in an immediate $3 billion
to rein in spending and use your tax dollars deficit for next year.
efficiently and effectively. This budget does make some minor reductions in state
It’s important to me to hear from you spending but uses federal stimulus money to backfill these areas.
on issues and policies under consideration This will require state government to find an alternate means of
in Harrisburg. funding for next year’s budget when the federal stimulus revenue
For your convenience, I maintain runs out.
In addition, this budget relies on $850 million in federal money
a legislative website where you can
that has yet to be approved by Congress and appears unlikely.
download state forms, obtain information I believe this budget spends too much and is not a reflection
on legislation under consideration by the of what families throughout the 11th District have struggled
state Legislature, read news and find with during the past year. Although the final spending plan does
related information regarding the General reduce spending in some areas, it does not go far enough to
Assembly and state government. You protect the financial health of Pennsylvania. Each month, families
can also sign up to receive e-mail news and small businesses have made and continue to make tough
updates from my office. Take some time choices to live within their means and state government is no
and visit my online office at different. I recognize that many say to cut spending; however, the option next year will be to either significantly cut government
spending or raise taxes. The latter is not an option.
If you have any questions or concerns,
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee and
please do not hesitate to contact me. as a business owner, I believe it would have been more prudent
Sincerely, to rein in state government spending this year in preparation
for next year’s budget. We cannot continue this out-of-control
spending mentality in Harrisburg that has seriously harmed the
Commonwealth’s future economic viability.
Tough choices will have to be made next year, but I am
Brian Ellis convinced it is necessary to protect the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.
11th Legislative District
Butler County

House Passes Ellis’ Changes to Whistleblower Law
The state House passed House Bill 2108, which I authored, that would extend protections of Pennsylvania’s
whistleblower law to employees of the General Assembly and non-profits/private sector companies who report
waste of public dollars by their employer for services or work.
This bill would allow staff members to participate in and cooperate with investigations involving their employer
for misuse and abuse of taxpayer dollars without fear of retaliation. There must be assurances in place to weed
out corruption and illegal activities involving public funds.
In addition to the group of employees covered under this legislation, the proposal would also impose severe
penalties on elected officials who violate its provisions. Elected officials found guilty would face a fine of $10,000
(currently $500) and would be suspended from public office for a period of seven years (currently six months) for
preventing disclosure of criminal activity.
In addition, the bill would require the courts to award attorney and witness fees to employees who prevail in a
civil action.
State government must work on restoring the public’s trust in their elected officials. We have a long way to go
to attain this goal; however, by taking the appropriate measures, this can be accomplished.
I’d like to thank my colleague, vice chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee Marc Gergley
(D-Allegheny), for his support on getting this bill through the legislative process.
The bill is under consideration in the state Senate.
Castle Doctrine Advances in State House
Legislation that would permit Pennsylvania citizens to defend themselves while in their homes or occupied
vehicles was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
This legislation, of which I am a co-sponsor, received broad bipartisan support in the committee. It would
provide law-abiding citizens the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves and
their families. Many Pennsylvanians have faced criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits by defending their
lives and this should not be happening. This legislation would finally give our residents the right to protect
themselves in their own homes. House Bill 40 would allow us to “stand our ground.”
House Bill 40, often cited as the Castle Doctrine, would create the presumption that an attacker or intruder
intends to inflict bodily harm, and therefore, deadly force may be used to protect oneself, family and others
while in their home or an occupied vehicle. That presumption also applies if a person is trying to unlawfully
remove an occupant, against his or her will from a home or vehicle.
The presumption would not apply if the person entering a home was another resident of the home, a law
enforcement officer, a parent, grandparent or other guardian removing a child from the home or vehicle. In
addition, this legislation would not apply if a person was using their home or vehicle to engage in criminal
I commend my colleague, Rep. Scott Perry (R-York/Cumberland), for drafting this bill in support of our
constitutional rights to keep and bear arms. Three other legislators and I originally offered very similar
legislation, but we withdrew our bills and backed Scott’s when he was deployed to Iraq in 2009. Law-abiding
residents must have the ability to protect themselves and their families from being attacked or threatened in
their own homes. I have always been a proponent of citizens being lawfully armed to deter criminal activity
from taking place in their neighborhoods. I urge my colleagues in the House to support this legislation.
This bill is now pending for further action by the full House.

Persian Gulf
Reminded to
Apply for Bonus
Rep. Brian Ellis is pictured with
Michael Ranko, son of Jacqui Veterans who served on
Ranko and a student at Center active duty in the Persian Gulf
Township School, who won the War during Operations Desert
coloring contest for What America Shield and Desert Storm are
Means to Me in 2009. reminded to apply for the
Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans’
The Pennsylvania
Department of Military and
Veterans Affairs offers the
Pennsylvania Persian Gulf
Conflict Veterans’ Bonus to
Rep. Brian Ellis is pictured veterans who served on active
with area representatives who duty, including mobilized
participated in the 2010 Keystone National Guard and Reserve
State Boys civic education program personnel, between Aug. 2,
at Shippensburg University in 1990, and Aug. 31, 1991,
Cumberland County. with a payment of up to $75
per month for every month
of active Gulf War service.
Veterans who received a
Southwest Asia Service Medal
and were legal residents of
Pennsylvania at the time of
their service are also eligible
for the benefit.
An additional bonus of
$5,000 is available to surviving
Rep. Brian Ellis presented a House citation to families of those killed in action
Butler High School Tennis Coach Dave Hartzell in during the same period.
recognition of the team winning the 2010 PIAA
For more information
State Championship. Although not pictured,
citations were also presented to team members
on the Persian Gulf Conflict
Matt Slamecka, Evan Kowalski, Will Nesbitt, Zac Veterans’ Bonus, visit my
McCafferty, Stefan Kemp, Emil Kemp, Kemper May, website at and
Patrick Fitz, Zach Cavaliero and Tyler Bickford. click on “Persian Gulf Conflict
The team’s record was 23-1. Veterans’ Bonus.”

Visit my Website at
Taking a Stand Against Illegal Use of Public Benefits
I have joined many of my colleagues by calling on the chairman of the House State Government Committee to
consider legislation that would require individuals to show proof of citizenship in order to receive public benefits in
Our public benefits are being abused by those whom I believe do not have a legal right to receive them.
Pennsylvania citizens work hard for the tax dollars sent to Harrisburg, and as such, they should not be awarded to
those living here illegally. We must put an end to the burden placed on our benefit system and ensure that only U.S.
citizens receive assistance.
House Bill 1359, authored by Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) and which I am a co-sponsor, would require an
individual 18 years of age and older who applies for public benefits to provide a valid driver’s license or identification
card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, another state agency or the federal government; a
valid U.S. passport; or another form of official identification issued by the local, state or federal governments. This bill
has been held up in the House State Government Committee since April 27, 2009.
Additionally, Marsico’s legislation would define public benefits as any welfare; health; disability; public or assisted
housing; postsecondary education; food assistance; unemployment benefit; or similar benefits provided to an
individual, household or family by a local or state government agency.
A similar proposal, approved in the Senate by a vote of 41-9 on April 1, 2009, has also been bottled up in the
House State Government Committee since April 3, 2009. Senate Bill 9 was introduced by President Pro Tempore Sen.
Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) and would require identification of lawful presence in the U.S. as a prerequisite to receive
public benefits.
Nearly $730 million in taxpayer dollars is used to pay for housing, health care and other public benefits for the
estimated 140,000 illegal immigrants living throughout the state.
This issue is extremely important to the economic health of the Commonwealth because we cannot continue to
provide unlimited support to illegal immigrants.
I want to make one thing clear: I am in favor of people immigrating to the U.S. for a better life and enhanced
opportunities; however, they must do it legally, just as millions before them have done.

New Website Available for Electric Consumers
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is offering a one-stop shop website for residential, commercial
and industrial customers.
The website includes information about electric shopping, what it is, how to shop and which suppliers are
available, as well as the PUC’s list of competing suppliers and the Office of Consumer Advocate’s Shopping Guide
pricing information. A ZIP-code search feature is also available so consumers can see all suppliers and offers serving
a given area.
For a link to the website and further information about electric rate information, visit my website at

Deadline to Apply for Property
Tax/Rent Rebate Program Extended
The deadline to apply for the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for 2009 has been extended to Dec. 31,
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 a permanent disability.
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)
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
Residents are reminded to provide all the
necessary income, property tax or rental information
required to process claims quickly and accurately.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms are
available by contacting my office at 724-283-5852.
Forms can also be downloaded online by visiting my
Rep. Brian Ellis recently visited the Butler Senior Center in website at
Lyndora and spoke with seniors on issues that are important to
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the nation, and Pennsylvanians are not immune to having their
personal information stolen by criminals looking to take money or commit fraud.
State government has taken steps to increase the penalties for identity theft, making a first offense of the crime
a felony of the third degree, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. A third or
subsequent offense raises the crime to a felony of the second degree with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison
and a $25,000 fine.
While these laws help punish people who commit the crime of identity theft, there are steps you can take to
prevent your own identity from being stolen. Following are some tips as outlined by the Federal Trade Commission:
• Before you reveal any personal identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared
with others.
• Pay attention to your billing cycles, and follow up with
creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing
bill could mean someone has taken over your credit card
account and changed your billing address.
• Guard your mail from theft by depositing outgoing mail in
post office collection boxes or at your local post office.
Promptly remove mail from your mailbox upon delivery.
• Limit the identification information and the number of
cards you carry to only what you need.
• Do not give out personal information on the phone,
through the mail or over the Internet unless you have
initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing.
• Keep items with personal information in a safe place. Tear
or shred charge receipts, copies of credit applications,
insurance forms, expired charge cards and credit offers.
• If you are having work done in your home, be cautious
about where you leave personal information. Rep. Brian Ellis welcomed students and staff from Butler
County Community College to the state Capitol. Pictured from
• Don’t carry your Social Security card; leave it in a secure left are Butler County Community College Assistant Director
place. Give out your Social Security number only when of Student Activities Sherri Osborne, Larry Sniezek, Tiffany
absolutely necessary. Day, Jason Robinson, Ellis and President of Butler County
Community College Dr. Nick Neupauer.

New Online Resource Available for Autism Community
A free Internet directory that highlights autism-friendly businesses and locations is now available for individuals
and families dealing with autism.
The website,, was developed by Keystone Autism Information Systems Inc., funded
by a Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant attained in 2008.
Although maintained by Keystone Autism Information Systems, is also fueled by user
feedback to provide recommendations and reviews. Those in the autism community are welcome to share their
expertise on the new site.
A toll-free number, 1-877-695-8495, is available for those without Internet access to request or share referrals.
Visit my website,, for a link to the new site.

Sign Up for E-Mail Updates Follow Me on Facebook
As a way to reduce costs and to continue providing With the increasing use of social networking
information to the residents of the 11th Legislative websites, I now have a Facebook Fan Page that
District, I send out periodic e-mail updates about news residents of the 11th District can log
and legislation under consideration in Harrisburg and on to and receive updates regarding
events throughout the local area. If you would like to news in the district and legislative
receive e-mail updates from my office, visit activities in the state Capitol. To and locate the “Get E-Mail Updates”
follow me on Facebook, log on to

District Office:
6 Chesapeake Street, Suite 200 REPRESENTATIVE
My Office Can Help
Lyndora, PA 16045
Telephone: 724-283-5852
Fax: 724-284-8253
Brian Ellis 

Obtain birth and death certificates
Obtain copies of legislation
 Provide assistance with PennDOT related issues
11TH L E G I S L A T I V E D I S T R I C T (registration, licensing, and titling, etc.)
Harrisburg Office:  Provide information on financial assistance with
145B East Wing
P.O. Box 202011 REPELLIS.COM 
higher education
Seniors apply for property tax and rent rebate,
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2011
Telephone: 717-787-7686 FACEBOOK.COM/REPELLIS 
reduced motor vehicle registration and PACE
Provide state maps and other publications
Fax: 717-705-1947