The Mehaffie Message 6/3/22 - Emailed Newsletter
Mehaffie Message
Turnpike Detour Planned

Motorists planning to travel the Pennsylvania Turnpike early this Sunday morning will encounter a detour while crews place overhead beams for a new bridge being erected at Milepost 250 in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County.

The beam placement is scheduled between 12:01 a.m. and 4 a.m. on June 5. During those four hours, all eastbound and westbound traffic between the Harrisburg East Interchange, Exit 247, and Lebanon Lancaster Interchange, Exit 266, will be detoured.

Eastbound drivers will have to exit at the Harrisburg East Interchange, Exit 247, and follow I-283 North to US 322 East to SR 72 to the re-enter the Turnpike at the Lancaster/Lebanon Interchange, Exit 266.

Westbound drivers will exit at the Lebanon/Lancaster Interchange, Exit 266, and follow SR 72 North to US 322 West to I-283 South to re-enter the Turnpike at the Harrisburg East Interchange, Exit 247.

The new bridge is expected to be done in the fall of this year.
State police and Turnpike personnel will be positioned in the closure area as well as message signs. The schedule could change depending on the weather.
House Approves Turnpike Consumer Protection Bill

Legislation to better protect consumers who travel the Pennsylvania Turnpike has been unanimously approved by the state House..

House Bill 2139 would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) to notify an E-ZPass account holder the first time the person incurs a v-toll in a calendar year. V-tolls are assessed when a driver’s E-ZPass transponder is not detected as their vehicle enters or exits the turnpike or travels through a toll plaza. In 2021, more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians were charged v-tolls and many were unaware of the charges.

The bill also would make several other changes to improve toll collection and increase penalties against drivers who either don’t pay or evade tolls:
  •   Decrease the threshold at which penalties can be assessed against drivers who don’t pay. A driver’s vehicle registration could be suspended after four unpaid tolls, rather than the current six, and after $250 in unpaid tolls instead of the current $500.
  •   Make technical updates to reflect the move toward cashless tolling and clarify what constitutes affirmative action by a driver to evade paying turnpike tolls.
  •   Require a feasibility study to review third-party processing and transaction accounts for toll collection.
  •   Require an annual report to the General Assembly summarizing collected and uncollected toll revenues for the previous fiscal year, projected collected and uncollected toll revenues for the previous fiscal year, and reasons for uncollected toll revenues.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Veterans Beware of ‘Pension Poaching’

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is urging veterans and their advocates to be on high alert for scammers looking to poach their VA pension benefits.

Veteran pension poaching occurs when scammers, unscrupulous players or dishonest financial planners charge veterans or their beneficiaries for help in applying for or submitting applications for VA pensions. The scheme often involves financial maneuvers such as advising claimants to hide their assets in trusts or annuity products sometimes resulting in lost investments and lucrative fees paid to the advisor.

Veterans and their advocates should remember to never share their VA login information, or deposit VA benefits directly into a third-party bank account unless the person is court appointed or a VA accredited fiduciary.

Veterans or their advocates should never pay for forms or to submit applications; to restructure assets in order to “qualify”; for the promise of eligibility for a pension; or to receive a lump sum payment on a pension.

There are approximately 200 veteran service officers in Pennsylvania who work within organizations such as the DMVA, county veterans affairs offices and several veterans service organizations.

If you have experienced or suspect a pension scam, contact the Office of Attorney General at 717-783-1944, email, or submit a complaint online at

I very much enjoyed the beautiful parade and ceremony in Hummelstown on Memorial Day. My thanks to organizers, who put together a moving tribute to those who sacrificed so much protecting our freedoms.

Esther Ponessa from Derry Township is celebrating her 100th birthday. She shared fascinating stories with me about the past century. Happy Birthday, Esther!

Last week, the Dauphin County Commissioners held a veterans breakfast in Lower Swatara Township. I was able to recognize Tony DiFrancesco for his work with the county's veterans affairs office.

City & State PA recognized its Power 100 list last week. The reception for the list’s unveiling was candy themed, so the media outlet invited me to speak about House Bill 2150 to have Hershey’s Kisses named the state candy. The children who are advocating for Hershey’s Kisses appeared via video link.