In this update:
Empowering the people of Pennsylvania to finally have a say after 10-months of unilateral decisions
On Tuesday, I voted in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would, if approved by Pennsylvania voters, limit a governor’s emergency declaration to 21 days before requiring the support of the General Assembly to renew and extend the declaration beyond three weeks.
For Pennsylvania to amend its constitution, the legislature must approve the same legislation in concurrent sessions, then the question heads directly to the voters for an up-or-down vote.
Last session, the legislature approved this measure. Senate Bill 2 of 2021 mirrors last session’s legislation.
I’ve heard you loud and clear: Many of our neighbors feel that their voices are not heard, phone calls go unanswered and clarity is impossible to find. Life-changing decisions, like placing COVID-19 positive patients into nursing homes, picking and choosing winners and losers with our economy, failing to account for how the second-most stringent economic shutdown in the nation would lead to major shortcomings with our outdated unemployment compensation system, and prioritizing smokers over teachers, first responders and police officers for the vaccine are just a few of the many complaints I have received since March.
This proposed constitutional amendment would give you the final say.
Whether you support or oppose this constitutional amendment, you may get the final say, should the House of Representatives approve Senate Bill 2.
What is your opinion on this issue? Please let me know by taking a few minutes to fill out my latest survey here.
You can learn more about this constitutional amendment here.
Senate approves use of federally appropriated funds to entities most affected by prolonged shutdown
The Senate took an important step this week to allocate federal funds to entities and individuals impacted by the prolonged economic shutdown.
Senate Bill 109 allocates $569.8 million for Rental and Utility Assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling hospitality industry as it copes with the devastation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s mandated closings and restrictions.
I appreciate the feedback from the residents of the 28th District who have contacted me to express the need for assistance for our locally owned bars, restaurants and taverns that have borne the brunt of the governor’s unilateral economic shutdown. This assistance will be provided to those entities most in-need during this most difficult time.
You can read more about this measure here.
Red Sand Project spreads awareness of human trafficking
The YWCA York and YWCA Hanover are raising awareness throughout York County as part of the nationwide Red Sand Project.
The Red Sand Project is a nationwide awareness campaign to spread red sand in sidewalk cracks to recognize those who are most at-risk and often overlooked of being subjected to human trafficking. In 2020, Governor Wolf signed my bill into law as Act 1, also known as the Buyer Beware Act, which is one of the first-in-the-nation reforms to specifically target criminals who solicit and patronize the services of human trafficking victims.
By ending the demand, we can make a huge impact in eradicating human trafficking in Pennsylvania.
Many thanks to the survivors and advocates, Representative Grove, who sponsored the House version, District Attorney Dave Sunday and Jan Wilson of Sparrow Place for spearheading this much-needed human trafficking deterrent.
Legislation advances to enhance penalties for child pornography
The late Senator Dave Arnold, who represented parts of York County, was a champion to protect our commonwealth’s most vulnerable population – our children.
Senator Arnold tragically lost his life to brain cancer last week, however, the senate advanced legislation he sponsored to forever remember his legacy as a champion for innocent children. His wife and daughter were present as the Senate overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 87, which would boost penalties in cases of child pornography in which the child is under the age of 10 or is prepubescent. This includes penalties for anyone who views, possesses, disseminates, photographs, videotapes or otherwise depicts these children engaging in sexual acts.
Society should never tolerate individuals who abuse positions of authority to victimize others, especially when that abuse involves children.
You can learn more here.
In time for tax season – Ribbon cutting for Balanced Books & Beyond
Last Friday, I joined community leaders to welcome Balanced Books & Beyond, LLC, a locally owned tax preparation and payroll servicer. Balanced Books & Beyond is owned by Tania Turner, who fulfilled her dream (through a lot of hard work and perseverance) to open her first office in West York Borough.
Congratulations, Tania, on this momentous occasion! You can learn more here.
House State Government Committee conducts public hearing on Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system
The House State Government Committee, chaired by Representative Seth Grove, held a public hearing earlier this week to get an update on the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors system, also known as the SURE system.
The hearing featured elections officials from across the Commonwealth along with one of the top officials from the Department of State to provide an overview on the SURE system.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program reopens
The Department of Labor and Industry reopened the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) on Sunday. The program provides additional benefit weeks to qualified individuals who have exhausted their regular Unemployment Compensation benefits.
Claimants can receive an additional 11 weeks due to the extension of the program. More details are available here. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to either of my two offices to seek further assistance.
Remembering Stewartstown’s Bonner Smith
It was with a heavy heart that I presented a condolence citation to the family of Stewartstown’s Bonner Smith, who passed away at the end of December.
Dr. Smith had an incredible career that stretched from minor league baseball player to shock trauma. He was one of the leaders in Maryland to pass a bicycle helmet law.
For York Countians, we remember Dr. Smith for all of his contributions as the former Mayor of Stewartstown Borough.
It was very nice of his family to stop by the district office and share stories of this local stalwart and his contributions to southern York County.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT shared with me their upcoming maintenance project list for York County. You can view those projects below.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, February 1 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.