In this update:
Latest podcast episode looks at the need for energy independence and how governor’s unilateral action to join RGGI will only increase cost and reduce jobs
My latest podcast features a conversation with Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Chairman Gene Yaw. We discuss the massive inflation hurting Pennsylvanians at the pump, what the federal and state governments are getting wrong when it comes to energy production and solutions to address the issue.
We review his recent op-ed, “Are We Nuts? American Energy is Key to Undermining Putin’s War.”
You can listen to my podcast here.
Governor proposes to spend 10.9% more this year, but believes spending will be less than 1.4% each year over the next four years
My discussion during Thursday’s final day of Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearings focused on the governor’s future budget forecasts. In his budget materials, Gov. Wolf believes that General Fund spending will only grow by 1.4% (max) each year over the next four years. However, for this year’s budget, he proposed a 10.9% increase in General Fund spending, backed by one-time federal funds.
Projections from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office show that this spending will lead to massive budget deficits totaling up to $5 billion over the next five years.
I also reviewed my concern about productivity of state employees who work from home. I asked about metrics and how the various state agencies are tracking the effectiveness of the employees who work at home.
You can watch this discussion below.
Take my latest survey: What do you think about permanent Daylight Saving Time or Standard Time?
Last week, we moved our clocks forward by one hour, starting Daylight Saving Time. Every year, during this time of the year, and again when we set our clocks back an hour in the fall (and move back into Standard Time), many of our neighbors ask me to support legislation that would either keep the state in Standard Time or push Congress to move into permanent Daylight Saving Time.
This issue has even greater interest as the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation this week that would keep the United States in permanent Daylight Saving Time (the time we are in right now).
If you have an opinion on this matter and want to learn more about state solutions to the issue, please take my survey and feel free to forward this survey to your neighbors.
Congratulations Christopher Shenberger of Troop 69 who earned his Eagle Scout
Congratulations to Christopher Shenberger of Troop 69 in Jacobus on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor to present him with a congratulatory citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania.
Christopher is the son of Kevin and Jane Shenberger. He cleared and marked trails, created trail maps, and added benches along the trails for the Center for Spiritual Formation at Orchard Hill for his Eagle Scout project.
Well done, Chris!
Meeting with Red Lion, South Eastern FFA students
Thank you to the FFA students who were in Harrisburg this week to meet with legislators. The students were at the Capitol as part of the annual State Legislative Leadership Conference.
It was great to spend a few minutes discussing my role as a state senator and, more importantly, hearing about the students’ passion and future vision for agriculture in York County. The students I met with were from Red Lion Area and South Eastern School Districts.
Heads up: Met-Ed performing visual inspections of transmission lines with helicopter
Met-Ed will be performing routine visual inspections of their transmission line over the next two weeks. If you see a helicopter like the one in the image below, please do not be alarmed. The tail number for the helicopter Met-Ed will be using in our community is N5027P.
Supporting Veteran Service Officers in Pennsylvania
At another state budget hearing this week, I spoke with leadership of the state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. I encouraged support for our veteran service officers across our Commonwealth.
You can watch our discussion below.
Unemployment compensation cybersecurity, bank hijacking discussed
Many local residents expressed frustration that their unemployment compensation accounts were hijacked with payments going to bank accounts they do not own.
I asked about this concern and overall challenges with cybersecurity when Secretary Berrier of the Department of Labor and Industry testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.
You can watch our two-part discussion below.
Pushing state-owned universities on federal funding request
The chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees and operates more than a dozen state-owned universities, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. I asked about a federal funding provision he requested as part of his budget and asked whether this funding is for one-time use or will there be recurring expenses. We also picked up on a conversation about workforce development.
You can watch our exchange below.
How to protect yourself against tick-borne diseases
Lyme disease and the rare but dangerous Deer Tick Virus (DTV) have been found in ticks at high levels for the first time in multiple locations around the state.
The Deer Tick Virus is rare in the United States, but positive cases have increased in recent years. Initial symptoms of a DTV infection may include fever, headache, vomiting and weakness. Some people who are infected with DTV experience no symptoms, and therefore infection may go undetected. However, 91% of patients treated for DTV infections develop severe neuroinvasive disease.
Recommended precautions for anyone venturing outdoors include:
For more information about tickborne disease prevention, visit Department of Health’s Tickborne Diseases website.
Access nursing home inspections online
Pennsylvanians with loved ones in long-term care can access a searchable database of nursing homes to view the results of inspections and complaint investigations.
The database includes patient care surveys, building safety surveys, size of the nursing home, type of ownership and additional information about each of the nursing homes in the state. The Department of Health oversees 688 nursing homes with more than 88,000 beds.
If you see something that may jeopardize patients’ safety or well-being, you can file an anonymous complaint by calling 1-800-254-5164, filling out an online form, emailing email@example.com or sending a letter in the mail.
March is National Kidney Month
More than 37 million people in the United States are estimated to have chronic kidney disease and nearly 90% of them are unaware.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at higher risk for developing kidney disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has useful information during National Kidney Month and year-round.
Upcoming PennDOT scheduled maintenance
PennDOT shared with me the upcoming maintenance project list for next week. You can view that below.
Watch all of my Q&A from the 2022 Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearings
Did you miss my Veterans’ email update earlier this week? Sign up here!
Earlier this week, I sent an email update to veterans in our community who signed up to receive these informative e-newsletters containing information about upcoming events and state programs that are specifically geared toward the men and women who served our nation, as well as their loved ones.