In this update:
A discussion on proposed constitutional amendments
Sen. Ryan Aument of Lancaster County joined me as my first guest for 2022 on my podcast. Sen. Aument and House Speaker Bryan Cutler are sponsoring proposed changes to the state constitution. This legislation is currently the topic of my latest survey, as well.
Our conversation focuses on how these constitutional amendments seek to restore the balance of powers in YOUR state government. As with any constitutional amendment, these measures, should they be approved by the General Assembly in two consecutive sessions, head to the voters for the ultimate approval.
One of the reasons Sen. Aument is pursuing his proposed constitutional changes is due to the sheer number of executive orders authored by Gov. Wolf throughout his time in office.
Sen. Aument points out that the Wolf Administration issued 52 executive orders to date, compared to an average of just over 16 executive orders by the prior four administrations. Read his op-ed for more information.
If you listen to podcasts and want to receive the latest updates on the happenings in YOUR state senate, please subscribe and learn more at SenatorKristin.com/podcast.
Appointment to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority
This week, I was appointed to serve as the Senate Republican Caucus’ nominee on the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.
We have an obligation to assure that these taxpayer dollars are used to address the problem of high-speed internet connectivity in unserved and underserved areas. We worked through the legislation establishing this authority in a bipartisan manner. I believe we can find solutions to close our digital divide in the same spirit with keeping a taxpayer-focused approach to effectively and efficiently using every resource to connect more Pennsylvanians to high-speed internet.
You can learn more about this authority and my appointment to this position here.
The genesis of this authority was the focus of my recent podcast episode, which you can listen to here.
Honoring Senator Mike Waugh during Farm Show competition
Each year, the Pennsylvania Farm Show holds the Senator Mike Waugh Celebrity Draft Horse Feed Scurry Event, named in honor of my late predecessor, to raise funds to benefit the Friends of the Farm Show Foundation. The Foundation benefits educational opportunities and events related to the annual Farm Show.
York Township’s Connor Rogers was an excellent teammate during the Feed Scurry Event.
You can view a quick highlight of the event below.
Duke, who was the horse of Sen. Waugh, participated in his 20th and final competition at the Farm Show this week. I wish Duke nothing but the best in his well-deserved retirement!
You can view more photos from the Farm Show here.
Senate Accomplishments: Education
Building on last year’s efforts, Senate Republicans will continue their work in 2022 to ensure students receive a proper education during the shifting elements of the pandemic.
In 2021, the Senate acted to allocate $500 million in federal funds to help ensure schools reopened, sustained safe operation and addressed student needs resulting from the pandemic. For students who experienced learning loss, the Senate passed a new law allowing parents the option to have their child repeat a grade level during the 2021-22 school year due to COVID-19.
Other legislation passed by the Senate eased school staffing shortages by making permanent a temporary program that gave schools an option to use teachers-in-training as substitutes and, my amendment, which provides schools with more hiring flexibility for day-to-day substitutes.
You can find more key education bills passed by the Senate here.
Farmers and mental health discussed by Senate committee
The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which I serve as vice chair of, this week held a discussion about mental health in agriculture at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.
The panel heard from Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, mental health professionals and others about the unique challenges faced by farmers.
Pennsylvania recently received a two-year, $500,000 federal grant to bolster mental health services and resources for the agricultural community, and the Department of Agriculture is launching a statewide education and awareness campaign in February. The department is working with the national AgriSafe Network to provide a 24/7 mental health hotline for agricultural producers in the near future.
You can view more photos from the public hearing here.
Homeowner assistance program opens Feb. 1
Beginning Feb. 1, income-eligible Pennsylvania homeowners facing unforeseen financial hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for assistance.
The Pennsylvania Homeowner Assistance Fund (PAHAF) will help Pennsylvania homeowners whose household income is at or below 150% of the area median to prevent or ease mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, displacement and utility disconnection.
The General Assembly allocated $350 million in federal funds for the program. The legislature also established a Construction Cost Relief Program to support the production of developments by addressing financial deficiencies directly attributed to the effects of the pandemic.
Homeowners can learn about PAHAF and see a list of organizations that can assist them by visiting www.pahaf.org or by calling the PAHAF call center at 888-987-2423 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Caring for dogs in winter – know the law
As the Senate co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, we have prioritized the safety of our beloved pets throughout the year.
With cold weather (and snow) upon us, this is a friendly reminder of the 2017 law designed to prevent animal cruelty in harsh conditions, particularly involving dogs.
Under Act 10 of 2017, an unattended dog may be tethered for no more than nine hours in a 24-hour period and must meet the following criteria:
Penalties range from up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine for neglect to seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 for aggravated cruelty. You can read more about Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws here.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day across America. It’s a time to rededicate ourselves to bridging divides and fostering true racial harmony.
I look forward to participating in the Day of Service at the United Church of God in Christ in York on Monday.
“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.” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Our offices will be closed on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tax assistance for local senior citizens
It’s that time of year again as we head into tax season.
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is again offering FREE tax service for taxpayers of all ages, especially adults 50 and older, during the 2021 tax season.
Below is a flyer that was shared with me about tax services offered by AARP to senior citizens across York County.
If you think this would be helpful for a family member or friend, please feel free to forward this email to them! Thank you!
2021: By the numbers
In my update last week, I shared with you a short video outlining everything my team and I addressed throughout the past year. Being accountable to you – the people of the 28th District – continues to be a priority for me. Here is how our office was able to serve the needs of the residents of the 28th Senatorial District in 2021.
Local job openings
PA CareerLink shared with me its latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Tuesday, January 18, at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.