In this update:
Unanimous: Bill strengthening teachers’ First Amendment rights passes Senate
Following the swearing in of the governor and lieutenant governor on Tuesday, the Senate began the new legislative session in earnest Wednesday by passing several pieces of legislation, including Sen. Judy Schwank and my Senate Bill 84.
The measure, which was unanimously approved, would eliminate the prohibition on teachers from wearing any dress, mark, emblem or insignia reflecting their faith or denomination.
You can watch my comments on this matter below:
The legislation would align Pennsylvania with every other state in the nation in preserving and protecting First Amendment rights for educators. The measure was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
You can read more about this effort here.
Senate acts to help farmers meet rising demand for home delivery
Legislation to help farmers meet the rising demand for farm products delivered to homes was approved by the Senate.
The current vehicle code allows for home deliveries via a commercial vehicle registration, but prevents the commercial vehicle from being registered as a farm vehicle. As a result, a farmer needs to purchase, register and maintain a separate commercial vehicle for at-home delivery, while also maintaining a farm vehicle to deliver agricultural commodities to places of business.
Senate Bill 95 would remove this duplicative, unnecessary and overburdensome requirement. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives.
Measure to boost volunteer fire company membership approved
To address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters across Pennsylvania, the Senate passed legislation to create a pilot program giving interested high school students training in firefighting.
Senate Bill 114 would award grants to one higher education school each in eastern, central and western Pennsylvania to establish fire training programs for students in high school, with the hope they will remain firefighters for years to come.
The number of Pennsylvania volunteer firefighters has plummeted from 300,000 in the 1970s to fewer than 37,000. Senate Bill 114 was sent to the House of Representatives.
Conversation with PA Ag. Secretary, Russell Redding
Last week at the Pennsylvania Farm show, Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was gracious enough to take some time to meet with me. We were able to discuss issues impacting York County farmers.
If you are interested, you can watch our conversation below:
New to the 28th District: Penn Township Board of Supervisors
Thank you to the Penn Township Board of Supervisors for the warm welcome at their township meeting earlier this week!
Due to reapportionment, I am honored to now represent this municipality and its more than 17,500 citizens in the Senate of Pennsylvania.
Reviewing heinous crime of human trafficking with stakeholders
On Thursday, Congressman Lloyd Smucker hosted a roundtable discussion with local stakeholders, including law enforcement from the local and county levels, as well as victims, victim advocates, legislators and other community partners.
The discussion was critical for us as we continue to find additional ways to combat human trafficking in our Commonwealth.
In 2020, Rep. Seth Grove and I worked together with District Attorney Dave Sunday and other key stakeholders to get the “Buyer Beware Act” across the finish line as Act 1 of 2020.
FestivICE in the Trail Towns
FestivICE started nine years ago as an ice festival that was only held in downtown York. While that is still a main attraction of the festival, last weekend marked the third FestivICE event that has been expanded out into our Trail Towns.
In 2021, they expanded FestivICE to bring ice sculptures to the communities along the York County Heritage Rail Trail.
I was lucky enough to join a train ride through the festival and see some of the ice sculptures along the way. Thank you to the team at Northern Central Railway for your continued support of the York County Trail Towns initiative!
Shrewsbury Elementary School visit
Thank you to the students, teachers and parents of Shrewsbury Elementary School who took the time to visit the Capitol earlier this week!
It was an honor to spend a few minutes with you and show you the Senate Chamber after session. You can view more photos from the visit here.
Blood donation is easy and safe
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs donated blood. Blood donors help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, those battling cancer and others.
Upcoming PennDOT maintenance projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below.