Protecting Consumers from Unsafe Breaches
To help protect consumers from having their personal information stolen or used fraudulently, the House passed two bipartisan bills this week to address data breaches.
House Bill 1846 would require notice within 45 days to residents of the Commonwealth when there is a breach of security of a system. The notice must be in plain language, and include the date of the breach, the type of information subject to the breach, and toll-free numbers to credit reporting agencies.
House Bill 1847 would waive the current fee to freeze a credit report, which is $10 for each request, should a data breach occur. In the instance of a data breach, consumers would be provided with three months of free credit monitoring and up to three free credit reports for one calendar year after the date the breach is reported.
Consumers are urged to be proactive in monitoring their credit reports and financial account statements, such as credit cards and utilities, by clicking here. To report suspicious activity, call the attorney general office’s hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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School Safety Focus of Education Hearing
The House Education Committee held a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of school safety in Pennsylvania. The committee used the hearing to take a thorough and holistic look at school safety in Pennsylvania to determine if further legislative actions need to be taken, and if so, what those actions should include.
The hearing was organized into four panels: Current landscape of school safety; views of Pennsylvania education organizations; national approaches to school safety; and recommendations to improve school safety.
The committee not only heard about what is already being done in Pennsylvania to protect our students but also what other states have done and possible approaches to enhance school security even further.
Several school safety-related bills are already before the House Education Committee for review.
Effort to Reduce Size of Legislature Passes House
In an effort to streamline and improve efficiency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the House endorsed House Bill 153, which would allow the voters to decide if both the House and Senate should be reduced in size.
Specifically, the bill would reduce the House from 203 to 151 members and the Senate from 50 members to 38.
The original bill – which only included a House reduction – was amended last month in the House, which means it still must be considered by two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly before going to the voters. However, if the Senate amends the bill back to its original form and the House agrees, the referendum could conceivably be on the ballot this fall.
REAL ID Update: Did You Get Your First License After 2003?
If you want to get a REAL ID beginning next year, PennDOT may already have some of your information on file for more efficient processing.
Earlier this month, PennDOT began sending postcards to eligible customers (those who received their first driver license or ID card after September 2003) inviting them to visit PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website to request that PennDOT confirm their documents are on file.
Once a customer has completed the pre-verification application process, PennDOT staff will review the customer’s record and verify which documents are on file. The customer will receive follow-up communication from PennDOT regarding the status of their application. Customers are not pre-verified until they have completed the online pre-verification process and received confirmation from PennDOT that all documents are on file.
If they are, PennDOT will mark the customer’s record as “verified,” and after REAL ID products are available in spring 2019, the customer can opt into the REAL ID program online, pay the one-time $30 fee, plus their renewal fee (the REAL ID product will include any time left on the current license plus the period of renewal) and their REAL ID product will be sent through the mail, eliminating any need for this customer to visit a Driver License Center.
Under Pennsylvania law, residents may choose whether or not to obtain REAL ID from the Commonwealth. Under federal law, people with a need to access certain federal facilities or fly domestically will need a REAL ID or other compliant form of identification, such as a passport. Pennsylvania residents may still use their current driver license and ID through Oct. 10, 2018. (Additional extensions through 2019 are expected.)