In this update:
FoxNews highlights new flexible instructional days law
The national news came to Pennsylvania this week to highlight a law I wrote providing school districts with the option to implement up to five flexible instructional days per year to address unplanned closures.
The idea grew out of a collaborative effort with four local school districts – Red Lion, Southern York County, Central York and Dallastown Area School Districts – that participated in a three-year pilot program with the Department of Education. This new law makes Pennsylvania one of the first states in the nation to allow schools to adopt technology and other 21st century teaching methods to provide for the continuity of learning even when schools are closed.
You can read more about this law here.
You can watch the FoxNews story here.
Holding Mt. Rose contractor accountable with new proposal
On Monday, I joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle from the House and Senate to introduce legislation known as the Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act for Taxpayer Accountability. The bill would essentially ensure the accountability and protection of taxpayer dollars in various state programs and agencies. The initial intent was to follow the advice of a Grand Jury report issued by the state’s Attorney General to recoup over $3 billion in fraudulent Medicaid charges.
As you know, Medicaid spending and our state’s Department of Human Services are some of our largest cost drivers for state government. Reining in these costs by fighting fraud is the best way to ensure those who genuinely need the services can continue to receive these services without creating new burdens on taxpayers.
However, the legislation would have other impacts, including a possible avenue to hold contractors like the one working on Mt. Rose interchange accountable for their actions.
I met with CBS 21 to discuss the issue, which you can watch here.
Major anti-human trafficking bill one step away from governor’s signature
The House Judiciary Committee approved seven major reforms to our state’s law addressing crimes for human trafficking.
One of these bills is legislation I crafted alongside Representative Seth Grove (R-York) and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, along with many anti-human trafficking advocates and victims of human trafficking.
Those involved in the fight against human trafficking in Pennsylvania note that York County is the epicenter of the issue due to its proximity to major cities and a major highway corridor (I-83).
The legislation increases penalties to a first-degree felony charge for an individual who solicits, recruits, entices, transports, harbors or advertises victims of human trafficking subject to sexual servitude. First-time offenders would be subject to a fine up to $1,000; second-time offenders would be subject to a fine between $5,000 and $25,000; and third and subsequent offenses would be subject to a fine between $10,000 and $25,000. The bill also makes it a super felony subject to fines between $10,000 and $50,000 if the victim subject to sexual servitude is a minor.
One of the bill’s key provisions is ending the demand for human trafficking by adding charges of a third-degree felony for first-time offenders who engage in sexual activity with a victim of human trafficking. Repeat offenders will be subject to first-degree felony charges.
Read more about this effort here.
You can watch my comments from the committee meeting below.
Where’s my plow tool helpful as winter finally arrives in region
Snow is in our forecast for this weekend, which means snowplows will return to our roads. It is important to be very cautious around snowplows. If you are interested in knowing the location of PennDOT snowplows, they have a created an online tool to track them using GPS.
You can access the information here.
There are also some very helpful tips for winter driving below. Please be very careful if you have to drive in the inclement weather!
Two Hopewell Township families awarded with Century Award for 100 years of farming
This past Friday, the Farm Show held an awards ceremony for two extraordinary families who achieved 100 and 200 years of farming in this Commonwealth. I was honored to meet with and present a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania to the McElwain and the Wilt families of Hopewell Township.
Representative Mike Jones (R-York) and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding joined in the celebration.
During my remarks, which you can watch below, I noted how much the families had to persevere through two World Wars, a depression, a recession and so much more! In fact, when the families were starting out in Hopewell Township, Babe Ruth was the homerun leader in the major leagues. It is an incredible testament to the dedication and fortitude of these families and we are very grateful they decided to call York County home over 100 years ago.
Here I am sharing a great moment with Daniel McElwain.
Honoring Jennifer Heasley and Peter Banko with Susquehanna SCORE awards
On Wednesday, I had the good fortune of congratulating Jennifer Heasley of Cooking With The Pros and Peter Danko of Peter Danko Designs, Inc. for earning the Susquehanna SCORE Next Step Grant award.
I was honored to present both of these hometown entrepreneurs with congratulatory certificates on behalf of the 28th Senatorial District.
Small businesses are the backbone of our community and we are extremely proud of their accomplishments.
The grant is funded by the York County Community Foundation.
Congratulations and best wishes on your continued success!
Protect pets in extreme temps
Extreme temperatures can be life-threatening for pets that are tethered outside.
Libre’s Law, which was signed into law in 2017, restricts tethering to less than 30 minutes when the temperature drops below 32 degrees or rises above 90 degrees.
Pets left in an unattended motor vehicle in extreme temperatures can also be rescued under Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act signed into law in 2018.
After a reasonable search by law enforcement and safety professionals for the vehicle’s owner, Act 104 of 2018 permits rescue of an endangered pet without fear of liability for damages to the vehicle or its contents as a result of the effort to rescue the pet.
Following the rescue, a note is required to inform the vehicle owner where to pick up their pet.
Report animal cruelty to your County Humane Society Officer, local or State Police, or the District Attorney’s office.
Go behind-the-scenes at the PA Dairymen’s Milkshake stand at the PA Farm Show
Last Friday, I volunteered with local dairy farmers at the PA Dairymen’s Milkshake stand in the food court at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. You can watch a behind-the-scenes video below of what it is like to work the most popular stand in the food court.
Recognizing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, many of us will celebrate the federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which marks the birthday of the late Dr. King. He served as an inspiration to so many and charted a course that many others would follow. The civil rights leader and trailblazer left a lasting legacy not only in the United States, but also across the world. We are forever grateful for his tireless advocacy for civil rights and equality.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed this holiday into law.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
You can see PennDOT’s maintenance projects planned for next week below:
Office closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Our Senate offices will be closed due to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 20. We will reopen at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 21.
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.