In this update:
Senate passes Deana’s Law – named in memory of Delaware County woman killed by drunk driver
On Tuesday, the Senate took important action on a new measure that would increase penalties and require the use of new technology to strictly monitor repeat DUI offenders as a way to curb a major problem in York County and the southcentral Pennsylvania region.
Senate Bill 773, also known as Deana’s Law, was named in memory of Deana Eckman, a Delaware County woman who was killed by a drunk driver who had five previous DUI convictions.
We want those who have an issue with alcoholism and abuse to seek the help they desperately need, but they should never imperil the lives of innocent Pennsylvanians. Deana’s Law will provide law enforcement and prosecutors with more tools to keep these irresponsible individuals off the road.
The bill will require individuals arrested for a third or subsequent DUI to wear a continuous alcohol monitoring device, or CAM. The CAM is strapped to the wearer and will randomly sample the individual’s perspiration for alcohol and transmit the results to the court-designated monitoring agency.
The bill also increases penalties on repeat DUI offenders. You can read more about this bill here.
Administering Oath of Office for local fire police
On Monday, I administered the oath of office to local fire police officers who are carrying on the tradition of 65 years of service through the York County Fire Police Association. I also thanked their families for their support as this position demands time and attention away from family and friends.
As I said in my remarks, this service will entail a lot of cold suppers due to that call coming in when you least expect it. We are grateful for their service to our community.
Oversight hearing for election law changes to ensure state, county, local on same page for 2020 Presidential Election
The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing at my request on Monday morning to review the recent changes to the state’s election law that included the biggest changes in decades.
With the challenges we faced in York County this past November, I wanted to make sure all sides are communicating to give voters the confidence they need when heading to the polls this spring and fall.
You can watch my opening remarks, which give a bit more detail on the purpose of the hearing.
We were fortunate to have Dennis Heinle testify at the hearing. Dennis is the Judge of Elections for York Township 5-1. It was really important to include Dennis since a lot of these issues are discussed at the state and county level and do not usually include the individuals who actually make Election Day run smoothly. Dennis brought up some very valid points during his testimony.
If you are interested, you can watch the entire hearing below, or on the committee’s website.
Welcoming local school directors to the Senate of Pennsylvania
On Tuesday, several local school directors came to the state Capitol where we had a great discussion on state-related matters. Prior to session, I was even able to give them a quick tour of the Senate Chamber.
They were there along with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to advocate for several measures pending the General Assembly. I find these meetings extremely beneficial as we continue to work together at the state and school district level to improve the lives of our next generation.
The visit included: Carol McGinn, board member from Red Lion Area School District; Rich Robinson, board member from York Suburban School District; Todd Gettys, board member from West York Area School District; Jim Roberts, board president from South Eastern School District; Maurice Gaskins, board member from Spring Grove Area School District; Kyle King, board member from Central York School District; Lynn Kohler, PSBA Ambassador; Trisha Steiner, PSBA Sectional Advisor; Bandy Shope, board member of West York Area School District; John Hartman, board member of Dallastown Area School District; Eric Wolfgang, former board member from Central York School District and current PSBA President.
I was able to recognize them as well as declare January as School Directors Recognition Month in Pennsylvania. As a former school director, I know the importance of this pivotal job that includes budgeting, personnel and staff, curriculum and so much more. Most importantly, in addition to being an elected position, it comes with no pay.
Upcoming events to focus on school property tax elimination efforts
On Monday, various advocates for the elimination of school property taxes are hosting an event in the Capitol Rotunda at 8 a.m. I will be speaking along with my colleague, Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York), and we will be joined by our other colleague, Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry).
Senator DiSanto is also holding a public meeting through the Senate Majority Policy Committee on the issue. The event will bring together advocates and how we find a way forward on this most pressing issue.
I held a similar event at Penn State York last year and this is the follow-up to that event. I look forward to attending and continuing to advocate for this issue.
Meeting WWII Veteran Sgt. Rossi – part of the Greatest Generation
Earlier this week before session, I had the great fortune of meeting U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Tom Rossi.
Sgt. Rossi turned 100 years old and served in World War II.
He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal two years ago for his service in the Office of Strategic Services, which is now known as the CIA and Special Forces. Sgt. Rossi is a resident of Bucks County and was the guest of Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks).
It is always an honor to meet members of the Greatest Generation and we were so fortunate to have Sgt. Rossi join us at the Capitol. What an absolute honor!
Outlining how we curb human trafficking in the to-be-signed Buyer Beware Act
The members of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association have done great work in the field of helping victims of human trafficking. As part of that ongoing commitment, they asked me to share a few updates on the latest of the “Buyer Beware Act” – legislation that is currently pending Governor Wolf’s signature.
As I’ve said in prior emails, this is legislation I am sponsoring along with Representative Seth Grove (R-York) that would strengthen penalties on those who traffic victims as well as patronize victims who are subject to sexual servitude. This bill really flips the script of how we address this issue in the Commonwealth.
You can watch my remarks below, which discusses how this modern day slavery is occurring right in our own community.
In addition to their advocacy, two newspaper editorials were published this week outlining the importance of addressing human trafficking through the Buyer Beware Act and other legislative proposals. You can read those in the links below.
You can read the Lancaster Newspaper’s editorial here, titled “Pa. lawmakers take laudable measures to stop human trafficking. We can help to halt it, too.”
You can read the Sunbury Daily Item’s editorial here, titled “Heavy hand of network honchos.”
Moving up the Presidential Primary Election for 2024?
Pennsylvanians could play a more prominent role in future Presidential primary elections under a bill approved by the Senate earlier this week.
In current practice, most Presidential primary elections are already decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast their ballots in late April.
Senate Bill 779 would move up the date of the primary in Presidential election years from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in March. This would allow voters in Pennsylvania to cast their ballots the same day as other influential states, including Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
The bill would not take effect until the 2024 election, and election dates would not change in non-Presidential years. Read more about this bill here.
York City Sewer Authority receives state loan to upgrade system
The York City Sewer Authority will receive a loan to upgrade their systems to mitigate wastewater discharge.
Specifically, the loan will pay for infrastructure upgrades in order to alleviate the increased flow that has been placed on the system in recent years. Between 2012 and 2016, increased wastewater flows caused discharge, which resulted in a violation of the authority’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
You can learn more about this loan, which will help improve our local infrastructure, here.
Mobile Office in Fawn Grove this upcoming Thursday (Feb. 6)
On Thursday, February from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., our office will be in Fawn Grove as part of our ongoing commitment to make your state Senate more accessible to you. More details can be found here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
You can see PennDOT’s maintenance projects planned for next week listed below.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, February 3 at 1 p.m. Also next week, the governor will outline his budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 before a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, February 4 at 11:30 a.m. The legislature and governor have until June 30 to finalize a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. I will have more information available on Facebook and Twitter.
You can find out more about next week’s Senate session by visiting www.SenatorKristin.com/session.