Inquirer editorial: PennDot puts drivers at risk of identity theft

(May 24, 2016)

With identity theft ranking among the most common consumer frauds today, one might think Pennsylvania is working hard to protect residents from that crime. Instead, one state agency may be enabling thieves by selling driver's license information to vendors who aren't being responsibly monitored. That fact came out in a recent state Budget Office audit of how the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation handles driver's license information, which showed that a vendor that had purchased records containing drivers' personal information could not prove how well it was safeguarding the data. Sterling Infosystems sold the information that it bought from the state - including drivers' names, addresses, license numbers, dates of birth, and traffic citation histories - to insurance companies, car dealers, lending agencies, and other entities. Armed with that treasure trove of data, identity thieves could easily skip joyfully to their laptops to make purchases in someone else's name. Read more

 

Matzie announces $1.3 million in state grants headed to southwestern Pa.

(May 16, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 16 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that $1,318,940 in state grants will be headed to southwestern Pennsylvania to defray the cost of upgrading traffic signals. The projects are funded through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s "Green Light-Go" program, which allows municipalities to request up to half of the funding needed for their traffic signal projects. Matzie, who is chairman of the House Southwest delegation, said a $1,632 grant has been awarded to Ambridge Borough in Beaver County, part of the 16th Legislative District he represents, to replace light-emitting diode, or LED, modules at the intersection of Route 989 and Duss Avenue. Southwestern grant recipients include: Allegheny County: • Monroeville Borough — $38,602 to replace vehicular and pedestrian indications with LED modules at 25 intersections throughout the municipality. These include seven intersections along Route 22 (William Penn Highway), four intersections along Route 48 (Mosside Boulevard), two intersections along Route 130 (Broadway Boulevard), seven intersections along Route 2048 (William Penn Highway), two intersections along Route 2054 (Northern Pike) and three intersections along Route 2057 (Haymaker Road). • Monroeville Borough — $114,170 to upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of Route 2054 (Northern Pike) and West Patty Lane. • North Versailles Township — $17,953 to improve the intersection of Route 30 and Leuhm Avenue by in Read more

 

Matzie announces $630k grant for Middletown Properties West

(May 13, 2016)

AMBRIDGE, May 13 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that Middletown Properties West has been awarded a grant of more than $630,000 to defray the cost of crucial rail projects. The State Transportation Commission voted yesterday to approve $36 million for 15 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistant Program, a capital budget grant program funded with bonds, and 16 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program, which is underwritten through the new Multimodal Fund created by Act 89. Matzie said he helped secure the $633,711 Middletown Properties West grant through the RFAP program, and it will help the company rehabilitate 4,800 feet of track and construct 2,700 feet of new track. Statewide, the 31 rails projects announced today are anticipated to allow the state to create 9,200 jobs and retain another 39,000 over the next five years. A full list of the grants awarded today is available here. Read more

 

Commentary: Stop the resale of personal data sold by PennDOT

(May 13, 2016)

What if I told you that your favorite app or website was collecting your personal information and selling it to the highest bidder? It probably wouldn't thrill you, but I bet you wouldn't be shocked.While the idea of anyone selling our personal information may be unseemly, it is a reality of the world we live in. If you don't want a company to sell your information, you are free to delete its app or stop using its website.But what if I told you that some or all of the personal information that you provide to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is sold to third parties who can then resell that information for profit, and that you are powerless to stop it? Read more

 

Matzie announces $299k grant for Leetsdale Industrial Corporation

(May 12, 2016)

AMBRIDGE, May 12 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that Leetsdale Industrial Corp. has been awarded a nearly $300,000 state grant as part of over $930,000 in state grants heading to the region to defray the cost of crucial rail projects. The State Transportation Commission voted today to approve $36 million for 15 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistant Program, a capital budget grant program funded with bonds, and 16 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program, which is underwritten through the new Multimodal Fund created by Act 89. Matzie said he helped secure the $299,862 Leetsdale Industrial Corp. grant through the RFAP program, and it will help the company construct two new spurs and to raise, line and surface track. “This investment by the state in our rail companies is a wise move that’s bound to spur economic development and create and retain jobs,” Matzie said. “Moving freight via rail has long been the way of life in my district and region, and today is no different. It’s a cost-effective way to transport commerce and boosts the local economy by providing family-sustaining careers.” Matzie, chairman of the House Transportation Rail Subcommittee and long a supporter of the rail freight industry, has sponsored a resolution honoring the industry and what it means to the Pennsylvania and national economies. Recently, Matzie was a loud and strong opponent of a possible takeover of Norfolk Southern Railroad, which oper Read more

 

Matzie honors National Train Day

(May 10, 2016)

AMBRIDGE, May 10 – The state House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.R. 835, authored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, which designates May 14 as National Train Day in Pennsylvania. The resolution, which was adopted last week, seeks to highlight the role trains and railroads have held throughout history and the modern advantages of rail travel. "As Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Railroads, I feel it is important to offer this resolution to highlight the important role trains have played in this commonwealth’s past and present,” Matzie said. "Trains and railroads are the backbone of America's economic vitality and growth, and are crucial in bringing American goods to market both nationally and internationally.” National Train Day, which was started in 2008 by Amtrak, is a national awareness campaign dedicated to educating the public about the rich history of trains and its intersection with American history. National Train Day is held annually on the Saturday closest to May 10, the anniversary of the pounding of the Golden Spike in Promontory, Utah, which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. “Rail travel is an essential part of our transportation infrastructure, helping to reduce congestion on the roads and in the sky, connecting cities and rural communities, and providing a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation that contributes to our energy security,” Matzie said Read more

 

OPINION: PennDOT shouldn't be selling information

(May 06, 2016)

It’s a yearly occurrence for drivers in Pennsylvania. You fill out your vehicle registration card, include payment and wait to receive your sticker. Or maybe you need to renew a license or transfer a vehicle title. These are straightforward PennDOT transactions that number in the millions annually, but each requiring varying levels of personal information. Now what if I told you that some or all of that personal information that you provide to PennDOT is sold to third parties, who then can turn around and resell that information at a profit? And you’re powerless to stop it? What would your reaction be? Concern? Outrage? Disbelief? All of the above? If one or all applies to you, then we’re of the same mindset. But it’s true and, sadly, it’s legal. PennDOT sells personal data such as information on drivers, registrations and titles to other individuals and businesses. Those third parties have the authority to resell that information for an unspecified fee and without the payment of any additional fee to PennDOT. Recently, in a published internal Budget Office audit, it was revealed that one of the vendors being sold information has been ignoring the security procedures laid out by the state, putting your personal information in jeopardy. Read more

 

State Rep. wants to prevent companies from selling your data

(May 05, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Pa -- New legislation in Pennsylvania may make your personal information more private. For years, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been selling drivers information. Last year, the state made more than $40 million dollars selling DMV records. That money goes to public transportation around the state and PennDOT says it relies on those funds each year. The companies that buy those records could be using it to get background checks on you. A recent audit shows that one company, Sterlingbackcheck, didn't follow all the security procedures. PennDOT says no driver's information was misused. but it did terminate its contract with sterling. State Representative Bob Matzie says the whole situation has him disgusted. "My main concern is the protection of this data." So, he introduced a new bill. Read more

 

Push to Change Law after Newswatch 16 Investigation

(May 05, 2016)

WILKES-BARRE -- A Newswatch 16 investigation could result in a change to state law. Last week, we revealed problems about how PennDOT sells drivers' personal information. We all need a license to drive on the road, but do we all want the info that's on our licenses sold and resold with little oversight? After a Newswatch 16 investigation discovered PennDOT sells drivers' personal information, one lawmaker is now more worried about how that snapshot into our lives could be exposed. "The investigation by your station really brought it back to my attention," said Rep. Robert Matzie, (D) Beaver County. Read more

 

Preventing third-parties from getting citizens' PennDOT information - interview with Mike Romigh of WBVP/WMBA

(May 04, 2016)

Discussing my bill that would prohibit third parties from selling personal driver and vehicle information obtained from PennDOT for profit -- recent media reports detailing the failings of third-party vendors used by PennDOT make it clear a legislative remedy is needed. Read more

 

Long awaited ride-sharing bill passes key committee vote

(May 04, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 4 – After several years of hearings and meetings, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today voted for bipartisan legislation at a House Consumer Affairs Committee meeting that would regulate transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, and allow them to operate in Philadelphia. Senate Bill 984, which was reported out of the committee with a 23-2 vote, would give companies like Uber and Lyft the authority to operate permanently within the state. Currently, transportation network companies operating in the state have been doing so under temporary authority granted by the Public Utility Commission. Matzie initially had concerns about background check and insurance requirements for the ride-sharing companies, both of which were addressed at the hearing. “In order to protect consumers, sufficient insurance requirements are vital. No one in Pennsylvania should have to worry about what could happen if a vehicle they are riding in as a passenger has an accident, regardless if it is a Lyft, Uber or traditional cab,” Matzie said. While the background check issue has been resolved, Matzie said he still remains concerned that the bill’s insurance requirements for ride-sharing companies doesn’t extend to those operating in Philadelphia. “Companies like Uber and Lyft use technology to revolutionize the market, but that doesn’t exempt them from the need to protect drivers. While I remain concerned about the insurance issue, especially in Philade Read more

 

Harrisburg Trying To Stop PennDOT From Selling Personal Information

(May 04, 2016)

There’s an effort in Harrisburg to stop PennDOT from selling personal information to third parties for a profit; KDKA's John Shumway reports. Read more

 

PennDOT makes millions selling your personal data, is it safe?

(May 04, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Pa -- For years, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been selling drivers information. That information is bought by seven different companies. "Under the law, PennDOT is allowed to charge $9 for each record that is accessed. This is a way Pennsylvania pays for critical transportation services," says Rich Kirkpatrick, a PennDOT Spokesperson. Last year, the state made more than $40 million dollars selling DMV records. That money goes to public transportation around the state and PennDOT says it relies on those funds each year. Read more

 

House adopts Matzie resolution recognizing World Asthma Day

(May 03, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – The State House of Representatives unanimously adopted House Resolution 834, authored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, that designates May 3 as World Asthma Day in Pennsylvania. There is no known cure for asthma, a chronic lung disease that affects about 25 million people in the United States, but most patients are able to maintain their quality of life through proper diagnosis and treatment. "One in 12 individuals in the United States faces the challenges that come with asthma every day, including symptoms like wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and chronic coughing," Matzie said. "While the disease may be daunting, patients should be empowered to know that they are able to take control of their asthmas and there is support to help them do just that." World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Asthma Partnership to raise awareness about asthma and to improve asthma care throughout the world. The first World Asthma Day was observed in 1998 in more than 35 countries. Read more

 

State Rep. Rob Matzie tries again to ban re-selling of PennDOT data

(May 03, 2016)

Following a critical audit and media reports, state Rep. Rob Matzie is taking another crack at prohibiting third parties from selling personal driver and vehicle information obtained from PennDOT for profit. “Obviously, there are situations where PennDOT should be providing information, like at the request of an insurance provider,” Matzie, D-16, Ambridge, said in a statement. “But, it is unacceptable for PennDOT to become a clearinghouse of personal data for anyone willing to pay the right price.” On Monday, Matzie reintroduced a bill to ban the practice, which he first did in March 2014. This time around, Matzie is pinning House Bill 2039 on recent reports of lax recordkeeping and the potential for personal data to be leaked. Read more

 

Our Opinion: Drivers’ information sold by PennDOT, but at what cost to privacy?

(May 03, 2016)

State Rep. Rob Matzie, a Democrat who represents portions of Beaver and Allegheny counties in western Pennsylvania, this week reintroduced a bill that would ban third parties from profiting through the sale of PennDOT-supplied driver and vehicle information. “Obviously there are situations where PennDOT should be providing information, like at the request of an insurance provider,” Matzie said in a news release. “But it is unacceptable for PennDOT to become a clearinghouse of personal data for anyone willing to pay the right price.” Read more

 

Matzie bill would address PennDOT privacy concerns

(May 02, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – In an effort to ensure constituents personal information is secure, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, reintroduced a bill today that would prohibit third parties from selling personal driver and vehicle information obtained from PennDOT for profit. Matzie, who introduced similar legislation in 2014, said recent media reports detailing the failings of third-party vendors used by PennDOT made it clear to him that a legislative remedy was needed. "Selling data when consumers are paying for services from the government is simply bad policy. While I would be thrilled to support infrastructure improvement efforts, this is not the way to do it," Matzie said. "Now it has come out that some of the vendors that PennDOT has been entrusting with our personal and sensitive information have been ignoring the procedures laid out by the state. This situation is precarious, especially as a data breach is inevitable under the current conditions." The transportation funding plan (Act 89 of 2013) gave PennDOT the authority to sell personal data such as information on drivers, registrations, titles and security interests to other individuals and businesses. The act also gave those third parties the authority to resell that information for an unspecified fee and without the payment of any additional fee to PennDOT. Matzie’s bill, H.B. 2039, would prohibit third parties from reselling information obtained from PennDOT. "Obviously there are situations where Pen Read more

 

Matzie announces $170,000 in fire, EMS grants in the 16th District

(Apr 20, 2016)

AMBRIDGE, April 20 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that 14 fire and ambulance companies in his legislative district will receive more than $170,000 in state grants.The grants are from Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and were awarded in February. In all, 2,538 grants were awarded statewide. The grants are funded partly by gaming revenue."Public safety has been and will remain one of my top legislative priorities," Matzie said. "This investment from the commonwealth will provide our first responders with the resources they need to ensure they are at the ready if called upon."Grant recipients include:•Aliquippa Bureau of Fire, $13,789;•Ambridge Volunteer Fire Department, $12,650;•Baden Volunteer Fire Department, $11,739;•Conway Volunteer Fire Department, $13,789; •East Rochester Borough Volunteer Fire Department, $11,511;•Economy Volunteer Fire Department, $13,106;•Freedom Volunteer Fire Department, $11,511;•Hopewell Township Volunteer Fire Department, $11,967;•Monaca No. 1 Volunteer Fire Department, $11,000; •Monaca No. 4 Volunteer Fire Department, $12,422;•Monaca No. 5 Volunteer Fire Company, $11,600;•Rochester Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 1, $13,789;•Rochester Volunteer Fire Department, $12,878;•Leetsdale Fire Department, $12,194;Grants can be used toward repairing, building or renovating facilities. Grant money also can be applied toward the purchase of new eq Read more

 

Matzie applauds passage of medical marijuana bill

(Apr 13, 2016)

HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today supported the final passage of a bill to legalize medical marijuana, sending the legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. "I am glad that patients in this state are one step closer to being able to legally acquire the medicine they need," Matzie said. "Patients and their advocates have fought long and hard to accomplish this feat and I am glad the General Assembly was willing to listen to the will of the people." Matzie said legalizing medical marijuana will help people who are suffering in their daily lives, including children who are experiencing daily seizures, veterans enduring post-traumatic stress disorder and many others who need this medication to relieve their pain. "Today’s historic vote is bound to help Pennsylvanians from every corner of the commonwealth, including Leah and Olivia McGurk of Beaver County," Matzie said. "The McGurk family fought for the passage of this bill and are true inspiration that I will never forget." Under the bill, authorized doctors would be only be able to prescribe medical marijuana for the following conditions: intractable seizures, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington's disease, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, autism and neuropathic pain and certain spinal cord injuries. A bipartisan task force met last year to craft an effective bill that would be supported by a House majority. Read more

 

Matzie welcomes the Quips to Harrisburg

(Apr 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today presented the Aliquippa High School Boys’ Basketball Team with an official citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to honor them for their historic season and state championship title. In March, the Quips defeated Mastery Charter School North 68-49 to win the 2015-2016 PIAA State Class AA Boys’ Basketball Championship. "The Quips worked tirelessly all season and just last month, right up the road from Harrisburg at the Giant Center in Hershey, their hard work paid off with a state championship," Matzie said. "That is a great accomplishment of course, but even more impressive is how the Quips ended the season – with a perfect record." The Quips went 14-0 in their conference and 30-0 overall for the season, making them only the 13th team from the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and only the 33rd team statewide to achieve a perfect season. "The Quips’ perfect season is sure to be discussed long after these young men have graduated, and their names are sure to serve as inspiration for many local athletes to come," Matzie said "But, as I am sure the whole team would agree, Head Coach Nick Lackovich and Assistant Coach Dwight Hines also deserves credit for leading their team to greatness." On Saturday, Lackovich was named Class AA Coach of the Year by the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Sports Writers. Seniors Chucky Humphries and Jassir Jordan were also recognized with Cla Read more