Oct. 06, 2017

Better Protecting Consumers from Data Breaches

Legislation is expected to advance in the state House in the coming weeks to respond to recent breaches of personal and financial data. Two new House bills are designed to further protect consumers who are victims of data breaches that open them to possible identity theft.

The first proposal would require notification of a breach from the entity where the breach occurred to the affected consumer within 30 days and to the state attorney general. The notification would include the date the breach occurred, the type of information subject to the breach, a toll-free number and the address of credit reporting agencies. The entities must also develop policies to safeguard and discard personal consumer information.

The second bill would waive the current credit freeze fee, which charges up to $10 per account. 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. None of these would apply to a credit reporting agency that has not experienced a breach.

These two bills were introduced following the Equifax data breach, which was the largest data breach in history – exposing the personal information of at least 143 million Americans, including 5.4 million Pennsylvanians.
Deadline to Register to Vote in November Election is October 10

If you are not currently registered to vote and would like to participate in the November 7 general election in Pennsylvania, the voter registration deadline is Tuesday, October 10.

You must be a U.S. citizen and resident of Pennsylvania for at least 30 days prior to the next election in order to be eligible to vote.

You can register to vote by filling out and submitting this Pennsylvania online voter registration form.
‘Right to Try’ Bill Heads to Governor

In giving hope to individuals facing terminal illnesses, legislation is now on the governor’s desk that would allow eligible patients to use investigational drugs, biological products and devices not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Under House Bill 45, if these patients want to try medications that have not completed the rigorous FDA testing and approval process, they should be permitted to make that choice. As part of the bill, a manufacturer would be permitted to make these products available to eligible patients once the products successfully complete the first phase of clinical trials.

Physicians would not be held liable for recommending experimental products to their terminally ill patients, nor would the bill create a private cause of action against the manufacturers that make the drugs. While the bill does not require insurers to cover these products, they may do so at their own discretion.

“Right to Try” laws are in effect in 31 other states.
PennDOT Closures for Columbus Day Weekend

All PennDOT driver license and photo centers, including its full-service center in Harrisburg, will be closed Saturday, Oct. 7, through Monday, Oct. 9, in observance of Columbus Day.

Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services, including all forms, publications and driver-training manuals, online through PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website, dmv.pa.gov.
Our District Offices Will Be Open on Columbus Day

If you need help with a state government program or service, our district offices in Meadville and Fairview will be open on Monday, despite the Columbus Day holiday.

Our Meadville district office is located at 900-920 Walter St. in the Downtown Mall. The office will be open during its normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can call this office at 814-336-1136.

Our Fairview office also will be open on Monday. It is located in the Fairview Township Building at 7471 McCray Road. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can call the office by dialing 1-800-770-2377.