Mar. 01, 2019

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Legislative Report 
The latest news from the State Capitol
Cook Appointed to Serve as Secretary of House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee

I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed by Chairman David Millard (R-Columbia)—pictured with me above—to serve as secretary of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee during the 2019-20 Legislative Session.

It’s no secret that Washington and Fayette counties have an abundance of natural resources and untapped activities for our young people, families and seniors.

As secretary of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee, I am looking forward to having a greater role in promoting continued investment in our creeks, streams, rivers and abandoned rail lines and fully maximizing the potential of outdoor recreation to create family-sustaining jobs, support healthy communities and foster a higher quality life in the Mon Valley, Southwestern PA and across the Commonwealth.

For more information, click here to read my news release.
Mon Valley Moment: Going Fishing in the Classroom

Click here to view video.
During Wednesday’s PA House Game and Fisheries Committee meeting to receive the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s annual report, I brought new Executive Director Tim Schaeffer up to speed on the Trout in the Classroom curriculum offered by several District 49 school districts to enhance student interest in fishing, boating and other outdoor activities.

For the latest district event information and state government updates, visit and
PennDOT to Start Issuing REAL IDs

Effective today, March 1, PennDOT will begin issuing REAL IDs.

A federally accepted form of identification must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building starting Oct. 1, 2020. A Pennsylvania REAL ID will fulfill this requirement, as will a U.S. Passport.

Under state law, REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents. PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Pennsylvanians who have pre-verified their required documentation for obtaining a REAL ID may apply online to receive it without visiting a driver license center. PennDOT has indicated those IDs will be mailed out to recipients in 10 business days.

Residents who have not pre-verified but wish to obtain a REAL ID will be required to bring original versions or certified copies of the following documents for verification to a local driver license center:
  • Proof of identity, such as an original or certified copy of your birth certificate with a raised or embossed seal, or a valid U.S. passport or passport card. Birth certificates with a sticker rather than an embossed seal will not be accepted.
  • Proof of Social Security number by providing your Social Security card. The name on the card must match the name on your current driver license or photo identification card.
  • Proof of legal name changes, such as marriage certificates or court orders issued by a family court. You must have documentation to show all name changes from your original name on your birth certificate to your current name.
  • Proof of current, physical address, such as your current, unexpired driver license or state issued ID card, vehicle registration or utility bill. TWO forms of proof must be provided.
More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions and additional guidelines on documents required for REAL ID, can be found at
Never Pay for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Assistance

My district office staff will once again be available to provide FREE application assistance for the state’s 2018 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program at the following dates, times and locations:
  • Thursday, March 7, from 9 a.m. to noon, Donora Senior Center, 701 7th & Meldon, Donora, PA 15033.

  • Thursday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to noon, Bentleyville Towers, 304 Washington St., Bentleyville, PA 15314.

  • Thursday, March 21, from 9 a.m. to noon, Liberty Towers, 520 Liberty St., California, PA 15419.
The program is designed to help eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older to receive up to a $650 rebate from the property taxes or rent they paid in 2018.

To be eligible, homeowners must earn less than $35,000 a year and renters less than $15,000 with half of Social Security income excluded.

Certain supplemental rebates can boost homeowner rebates up to $975. The supplemental rebates are automatically calculated by the Department of Revenue for qualifying homeowners.

District 49 residents should not pay a private entity for assistance in filing the forms. Copies of the forms, as well as assistance with filing them, are also available at my Bentleyville office and at no cost.

Applicants should be prepared to provide all the necessary income, property tax or rental information required to process claims quickly and accurately. Applications are due by June 30.
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Big Jim Plaza, LLC, 55 Gosai Drive, Suite 112, Bentleyville PA 15314 | 724-669-2242, 724-669-2290, 724-669-2293 | Fax: 724-669-2296
B-15 Main Capitol, PO Box 202049, Harrisburg PA 17120-2049 | (717) 783-8655 / 3-8655
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