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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Jason Altmire

U.S. Reps.

Jason Altmire, D-4th, and Tom Rooney, R-Fla., recently introduced the American Legion Charter Modernization Act that would allow Legion members to pay their dues and renew their membership online through the use of a credit or debit card.Currently, members must pay their dues or renew their membership in the American Legion by cash or check. This change, Altmire noted, would give Legionnaires a new, more convenient option to meet their financial obligations directly to their local post.In 2010, the American Legion National Convention adopted an amendment to the American Legion National Charter authorizing this change. Under current law, all changes to the Legion’s charter must be approved by Congress and signed by the president.———Legislation sponsored by state Sen.

Mary Jo White, R-21st, that seeks to shed light on funding for parks and recreation projects received final legislative approval last week and was sent to the governor.The Senate approved the bill in April. The state House passed it June 29.The measure requires state agencies that receive funding under the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund Act to submit annual reports to the governor and General Assembly, including grants awarded from the fund, the recipient’s name, the location, a description of the project and costs, and post the information online.Agencies required to report include the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Education, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the State System of Higher Education.“More than ever, the commonwealth has to track every dollar spent, and by putting these reports online, taxpayers as well as legislators will be able to see what is being spent what kind of projects are being funded,” White said.In the 2010-11 fiscal year, DCNR alone awarded $15.1 million grants for recreation projects and an additional $6.1 million to land trusts.———The final phase of implementation of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act passed by Congress in September 2007 occurred last week,

Altmire, announced.The act cut interest rates on subsidized student loans. The final reduction that occurred July 1, reduced the student loan interest rate from 4.5 percent to 3.4 percent. Overall, the act reduced rates from its highest of 6.8 percent in 2008.Once fully phased in, the law will save typical student borrowers about $4,400 over the life of their loan.Altmire was appointed to the conference committee in 2007 to negotiate the final bill that was signed into law.