|Clean Slate Law Taking Effect – PA Has First in the Nation
Pennsylvanians with low-level offenses on their records who have gone 10 years without a subsequent arrest, prosecution or conviction will have their records automatically sealed under a new law taking effect this month.
Act 56 of 2018 allows records of second and third-degree misdemeanor criminal convictions to be automatically sealed after a 10-year period without subsequent offenses. The law does not apply to violent offenses or those committed with a firearm or other dangerous item; sexual offenses; cruelty to animals; or corruption of minors.
This legislation balances the opportunity for low-level, nonviolent offenders to move forward, while at the same time not shielding the records of violent criminals.
Pennsylvania was the first state in the nation to enact this “clean slate” legislation.
Renew Dog Licenses Now
Pet owners are reminded to renew their dog’s license for 2019. All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed in Pennsylvania, either on an annual basis or with a lifetime license.
Annual licenses are $8.50, while lifetime licenses are $51.50. Dogs who are spayed or neutered can be licensed for $6.50 for the year, or $31.50 for a lifetime license. Discounts are available for senior citizens and those owners with disabilities. Applications for license renewals can be found here. Completed applications must be returned to the owner’s county treasurer’s office.
Under Pennsylvania state law, owners who fail to license and/or immunize their dogs could face fines up to $300 per violation for each dog three months of age or older. In addition, owners of non-vaccinated pets may be fined up to $300 plus court costs.
Applications for 2019 Pennsylvania House Scholarships Now Available
High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship.
Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing for post-secondary education. The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. It is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities.
The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student.
Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities and financial need.
The application is available through the foundation’s website at tfec.org. Once on the site, click on the “Scholarship” tab at the top of the page. Then click on any of the counties listed underneath or the link entitled “any other county in the state of Pennsylvania” to access the scholarship information. The application deadline is March 1, 2019.
New Tool to Fight Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Building on the work of lawmakers to develop policies to combat the opioid crisis, the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Human Services recently unveiled a Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and support services for themselves or a loved one.
DART is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs. It is designed to assist people who are looking for services but are not sure where to begin. Users get the results based off their answers to survey questions. They can skip a question at any point.
After completing the questionnaire, people are able to email, download, and/or print their results. The tool does not ask any identifying information and does not save answers after the tool is closed.
The tool is a free, anonymous resource and can be found here.