Senator Bob Mensch E-Newsletter

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In this Update

  • The Mensch Report: 2019-20 State Budget
  • REAL IDs Now Available to Pennsylvania Residents
  • PENNDOT Releases New Registration Plates
  • Watch Out for Tax Scams
  • Fishing Pocket Guides
  • Job Fair April 30

I welcomed South Korean Ambassador Hyo-Sung Park and several esteemed guests to the Pennsylvania Senate. Watch

I joined Representative Toepel at a press conference at New Hanover Township to announce a $125,000 grant awarded through the Multimodal Transportation Fund that will improve the intersection of routes 73 and 663.

The Mensch Report: 2019-20 State Budget

April 2019 - Budget Discussion
On this edition of the Mensch Report, I discuss the 2019-2020 state budget with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne of Lehigh County. We recently completed three weeks of public hearings on Gov. Wolf’s proposed spending plan, and have until June 30 to enact a new state budget.

I welcomed Robert Parash and his wife, Karen, to the Pennsylvania Senate.  Also joining Bob and Karen were their daughter and son-in-law, Wendy and Kristopher Paul. Watch

REAL IDs Now Available to Pennsylvania Residents

Optional REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards are now available for Pennsylvania residents who want one.

A federally-accepted form of identification (whether it’s a Pennsylvania REAL ID driver’s license or ID card, a U.S. Passport/Passport Card, a military ID, etc.) must be used as identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building that requires ID at the door on and after October 1, 2020.There is no requirement that any resident obtain a REAL ID and PennDOT will continue to offer standard-issue driver’s licenses and photo IDs.

Federal REAL ID regulations require that PennDOT verify a customer’s identity, social security number, Pennsylvania residency, and name changes (if applicable), even if a customer already has a PA driver’s license or ID card. More info about document requirements can be found on the Document Check page of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website.

Customers have three options for obtaining a REAL ID product: customers may order their REAL ID online if they have been pre-verified; they can visit any PennDOT Driver’s License Center, have their documents verified and imaged, and their REAL ID product will be mailed to them within 15 business days; or they can visit one of twelve REAL ID Centers and receive their REAL ID product over-the-counter at the time of service.

When a customer gets their first REAL ID product, they will pay a one-time fee of $30, plus a renewal fee (current renewal fee is $30.50 for a four-year non-commercial driver’s license or a photo ID). The expiration date of their initial REAL ID product will include any time remaining on their existing non-REAL ID product, plus an additional four years, unless the customer is over 65 and has a two-year license. This expiration date structure means that the customer won’t “lose” time that they’ve already paid for. After the initial REAL ID product expires, the customer will pay no additional fee, beyond regular renewal fees, to renew a REAL ID product.

PennDOT has upgraded seven of its existing driver’s license centers to allow for over-the-counter issuance of REAL ID (Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, Rockview in Centre County, Erie, Altoona, Norristown and South 70th Street in Philadelphia) and added the following new locations, which are now open for business:

  • 1025 Washington Pike, Rt. 50, Bridgeville;
  • ​143 S. Gulph Road, King of Prussia;
  • ​1101 MacArthur Road, Allentown;
  • 429 North Enola Road, Enola; and
  • 2090 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster.

REAL ID-compliant products are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner, standard-issue (non-compliant) products include the phrase “Not for REAL ID Purposes,” per federal regulations. Sample images can be viewed on PennDOT’s website.

More information about REAL ID in Pennsylvania, including frequently asked questions can be found at

I welcomed Bishop Everett V. Debnam and his guest, Charles Wise, to the Pennsylvania Senate.  Bishop Debnam served as the Senate’s guest chaplain. Watch

PENNDOT Releases New Registration Plates

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently released a series of new registration plates for motorists to purchase for their vehicles.

The new plates include two special funds plates that will help raise funds for worthy causes.

A new Distracted Driving Awareness registration plate, available for a motorcycle and a passenger car or truck with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds or a motor home. The plate costs $40 and proceeds will be used exclusively to advance public education and outreach on the dangers posed by distracted driving.

An Honoring Our Women Veterans registration plate that costs $35, of which $15 will be paid to the Veterans Trust Fund and shall be used for programs and resources that assist women veterans.

Also available are five new military plates. Most military plates require certification that an applicant has received a particular honor or served in a particular military conflict.

  • Soldiers Medal. This registration plate is available for a fee of $20 and is for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country. This registration plate will be available for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds and the fee for the plate is $20.
  • Purple Heart Medal motorcycle registration plate. This is available for motorcycles only. It costs $11.
  • Legion of Merit. This registration plate costs $20 and is available for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Historic Military Vehicle registration plate. The Historic Military Vehicle registration plate is for vehicles that were manufactured for use in any country’s military forces and are maintained to represent the vehicle’s military design and markings accurately. This plate is available for both historic military vehicles and historic military motorcycles. The fee for either military vehicle or motorcycle plates is $75.

Additional information to include eligibility requirements and images of a variety of registration plates are available in the Registration Plates section of the Driver & Vehicle Services website.

I visited Allied Wire and Cable in Collegeville, PA and participated in their check presentation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Watch Out for Tax Scams

Groups posing as charitable organizations and using a tax deduction as bait, and unscrupulous tax preparers overstating deductions are part of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams to look out for this tax season. The IRS lists more tax season scams to look out for.

I enjoyed touring several major projects, including the future trolley barn, in Borough of Quakertown. Special thanks to Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for joining us on this important tour.

Fishing Pocket Guides

Complimentary 2019 Pocket Guides are available at Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission offices, special events, shows and at county treasurer offices.  A printer-friendly digital version of the Pocket Guide is also available online at  Or you can call my office at 215-541-2388 and we can mail you a guide just in time for your next fishing trip.

Job Fair April 30

If you are seeking employment we encourage you to visit Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Job Fair on April 30 at the Upper Perk YMCA.  Questions can be directed to the Chamber at 215-679-3336 or by visiting

I welcomed Jessica Schubert to the Pennsylvania Senate. Jessica is an intern at his Red Hill District office. Watch


Twitter and Facebook I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.

If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website for more information about your state government.

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