In this update:
Senate votes to let citizens decide voter ID, legal relief for sexual abuse victims, regulatory reform
The Senate passed legislation this week that will let voters decide whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to create a voter ID requirement, provide sexual abuse victims with a way to sue their abusers and reform the state regulatory review process.
Thirty-five states, the world’s developed countries and many developing ones have voter photo ID requirements, and a 2021 Franklin and Marshall College poll found that 74% of Pennsylvania voters said the commonwealth should join them in making elections more secure. Even President Biden’s home state of Delaware has a voter identification requirement, which I pointed out in my remarks.
You can watch my comments on this critical matter below, where I shared the feedback I received from our community on this topic:
Senate Bill 1 also includes a proposed constitutional amendment that will create a two-year window to allow sexual abuse victims to sue their abusers. Victims of sexual abuse who were abused as children have been unable to seek justice after the age of 30 due to a statute of limitations provision in Pennsylvania law.
In addition, Senate Bill 1 includes a separate proposed amendment that would allow the General Assembly to reject a regulation by majority approval, as opposed to a two-thirds vote, in both legislative chambers.
Under Pennsylvania’s current regulatory review process, the executive branch has circumvented the General Assembly and the normal legislative process, ignoring any legislative or public input that runs counter to executive branch regulatory goals.
The General Assembly previously approved the amendments in the 2021-22 legislative session. Approval of Senate Bill 1 this session would ultimately give you, the voters, the power to amend YOUR state constitution.
You can read more here.
Pumping the brakes on the automatic gas tax increase
During the last few days, hundreds of our neighbors signed my legislative petition to put pressure on my colleagues to roll back the automatic gas tax increase that we all have to pay when filling up our cars or trucks at the pump.
I am glad to share with you, the Senate approved a bill to stop the automatic gas tax increase for 2023.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.
For the first time, the average wholesale price of gasoline exceeded $2.99 per gallon last year, triggering an automatic increase in Pennsylvania’s gas tax that went into effect Jan. 1.
Senate Bill 35 would eliminate the automatic gas tax increase for 2023 moving forward, preventing what would produce the second-highest gas tax in the nation behind California, and permanently set the average wholesale price at $2.99 per gallon. The bill also requires the Department of Revenue to reassess this year’s gas tax structure.
Projections indicate the average Pennsylvania household will spend nearly $2,500 at the gas pump in 2023. This includes approximately $380 per driver in gas taxes alone.
You can watch Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Wayne Langerholc’s comments below.
Results from latest legislative survey on deer firearms season opener
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in my latest legislative survey on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s change of the deer firearms season opener day from Monday to Saturday. I look forward to continuing to engage you on topics relevant to your interests in the 2023!
Honoring Sen. Mike Waugh during Farm Show competition
This week I was able to participate in the Sen. Mike Waugh Celebrity Draft Horse Feed Scurry Event, named in honor of my late predecessor. The event raised funds to benefit Friends of the Farm Show Foundation, which yields educational opportunities and events related to the annual Farm Show.
You can view a quick highlight of the event below, featuring some friendly competition with my friend and neighbor in the Capitol, Senator Judy Ward.
Committee assignments for 2023-24 session announced
Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward announced the new 2023-24 senate committee assignments.
As I shared before, I was elected by my colleagues to serve as the Senate Majority Caucus Chair for the session. In addition, I will serve as the Vice Chair of the Senate Communications & Technology Committee, and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, and the Senate State Government Committee.
I am eager to serve on these respective committees and continue to work for you on issues important to our district.
You can learn more here.
Congratulations to Quinten Silar for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout
Quinten Silar, of Troop 43 in Dallastown, recently achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and I had the honor to present him with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania. Quinten built and installed eight new trash bins for Leg Up Farm.
Congratulations to Quinten for achieving this honor and a job well done to his parents, Kim and Vaughn Silar!
AARP tax-aide program begins Jan. 17
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is again offering FREE tax service for York County taxpayers, especially adults 50 and older with low or moderate income, during the 2023 tax season.
Last year in York County, nearly 100 volunteers filed more than 3,800 Federal, PA and local income tax returns at 16 different locations throughout York County.
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers can prepare most personal income tax returns, including those with basic self-employment income. They are not trained to do business returns such as corporate, partnership, limited partnership, farm income or rental income. These types of returns are beyond the scope of the Tax-Aide program.
Beginning mid-January, you can make an appointment by calling these locations or online at https://www.yorkaarptaxaide.com/.
Again, there is no fee and AARP membership is not required. You can find more information on the program and what seniors should bring with them to their appointment here.
Virtual job fair set for Wednesday Jan.18
The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will be holding a virtual job fair Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Jobseekers should be prepared to interview online with hiring managers and recruiters from top hiring companies. This online chat will connect the public directly with organizations.
After signing in, participants will be able to explore the available information and opportunities and participate in live one-on-one, text-based chats with representatives from participating organizations. Participants may also visit the job fair before and after the live event to continue making connections with top employers.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Nearly 60 years after he shared his dream in an Aug. 28, 1963, Washington, D.C. speech, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish is shared by the overwhelming number of Americans of all backgrounds. We must defend this unifying ideal for the well-being of our children and nation.