In this update:
House overwhelmingly approves anti-human trafficking bill
The demand for human trafficking exists in every corner of our Commonwealth. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved my legislation to ensure the predators who seek the services of these victims will be punished to the full extent of the law, while giving law enforcement new tools to punish those criminals.
The “Buyer Beware Act” significantly increases penalties against criminals who traffic and advertise victims of human trafficking, as well as the individuals who knowingly use services of the victims of human trafficking. I introduced Senate Bill 60 in the Senate while Representative Seth Grove (R-York) introduced House Bill 12 in the House of Representatives.
Also on Wednesday, advocates on behalf of the countless victims of human trafficking, along with York County’s District Attorney, Dave Sunday, held a rally to support Senate Bill 60 along with a package of legislation aimed at ending human trafficking in Pennsylvania.
Here I am pictured with House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, Rep. Seth Grove and District Attorney Dave Sunday.
This legislation now heads to Governor Wolf’s desk for his signature. You can read more about this effort here.
Next month kicks off broken budget process
On Tuesday, February 4, Governor Wolf will deliver his sixth budget address to the Commonwealth to outline his vision for how state tax dollars should be allocated. I recently wrote an op-ed about how broken the entire budget process has become.
While the governor and legislature go back-and-forth on spending and come to an agreement by June 30 on how much the state should spend for the ensuing Fiscal Year, budget gimmicks have played out over the years that allow the governor to spend above that allotted amount. In my opinion, this makes the process a complete sham and lacks any sense of transparency.
If you have a few minutes, please take the time to read why I think the taxpayers should have a greater say in our state budgeting process through a proposed constitutional amendment I am sponsoring.
Senate hearing scheduled for Monday looks at election reforms, will feature York Township Judge of Elections
York County had major challenges this past General Election and with major bipartisan changes to our state’s Election Law, it is important to bring together all stakeholders – state, county and local officials – into the same room and learn how these changes are being implemented ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.
I have asked Senator Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill/Berks) to hold a hearing through the Senate Majority Policy Committee to explore these issues to ensure the integrity of our elections in 2020.
Locally, Dennis Heinle will testify in his capacity as the Judge of Elections for York Township 5-1. It is imperative that in addition to hearing from state and county officials, the public can benefit from hearing from those individuals who work tirelessly in our local precincts on Election Day.
You can learn more about this upcoming hearing here.
Meeting with Chief Hoff of York Area United Fire and Rescue
Earlier this week, I was fortunate to meet with Chief Daniel Hoff of York Area United Fire and Rescue. Chief Hoff was in our local office to discuss the Senate Resolution 6 report, which addresses the major shortage in volunteer firefighters across York County and the Commonwealth.
A package of bills has been introduced to address this shortage that encourages more brave men and women to step up and answer their community’s call to serve as a first responder. You can read the Senate Resolution 6 report here.
York County Clerk of Courts Dan Byrnes discusses Justice Reinvestment Initiative 2
As part of the state’s ongoing commitment to reduce recidivism and rehabilitate criminals, the legislature passed and the governor signed the Justice Reinvestment Initiative 2, or JRI 2, into law.
JRI 2 included Senate Bill 500, sponsored by Senator Lisa Baker, and Senate Bill 501, sponsored by Senator Tom Killion. The bills address many challenges within our criminal justice system. These new laws address the high cost of incarceration in the state, strengthen support for county probation programs, fix inadequate sentencing guidelines, and reform the post-trial criminal justice system to ensure work towards rehabilitation of individuals and preparation to reenter society, rather than creating further risks for recidivism.
Earlier this week, I met with York County Clerk of Courts Dan Byrnes to discuss the county’s implementation of these reforms that have proven successful in other states at reducing both recidivism and cost.
Day of Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Several groups across York County honored the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this past Monday. I was honored to participate in the Crispus Attucks MLK Day of Service with community members.
On Sunday night, the Lincoln Charter School hosted their 8th Annual MLK Sunday Supper to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a strong focus on children and education.
After attending these events each year, I walk away more inspired and grateful for the service and legacy of Dr. King. His work continues to this day all across York County and this nation for civil rights and equality.
Mark your calendar: Rally to support school property tax elimination at Capitol on Feb. 3
In less than two weeks, the state Capitol will see the outpouring of support for the number one issue I am fighting for – school property tax elimination. Dozens of advocates for the elimination of school property taxes will come to the Capitol to hold a rally in support of efforts to rid our Commonwealth and its taxpayers of this burdensome tax on February 3 at 8 a.m. in the Rotunda.
The event is free and open to the public. I look forward to speaking at this event and sharing why this issue is so important to the citizens I am honored to represent in the Senate of Pennsylvania.
Mobile office hours for February
As a friendly reminder, our office will be mobile on the first, second and third Thursday during the month of February. Our office hours at these locations are from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
On Thursday, February 6, you can find our mobile office in Fawn Grove at the Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market Street, Fawn Grove, PA 17321.
On Thursday, February 13, we will be at the York County Economic Alliance, 144 Roosevelt Avenue, York, PA 17401.
On Thursday, February 20, we will be at the Manchester Township Office Building, 3200 Farmtrail Road, York, PA 17406.
More information about our office hours can be found here.
Deadline to enter into scholarship contest is Friday, Jan. 31
Calling all middle and high school students! The deadline to submit a video in this year’s “Talk to your State Senator” video contest is Friday, January 31.
The contest allows middle school and high school students to submit a video to discuss how the state can support its number one industry: agriculture. Scholarship prizes range from $1,000 for third place to $2,500 for first place.
More information can be found here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
You can see PennDOT’s maintenance projects planned for next week here.
(Please be advised that this link is updated by PennDOT and may not be updated to reflect next week’s schedule until Monday.)
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, January 27 at 1 p.m.