In this update:
Senate sends Gov. Wolf bill to strip public pensions from those who cheat state government
The Senate gave its final approval to a bill that was authored by Senator John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry) that would strip public employees and lawmakers of their public pension if found guilty of, convicted of or plead no contest to a job-related felony.
When the bill was before the Senate earlier this session, I encouraged my colleagues to support this important reform measure.
The bill is in response to a former state senator, who had his $246,000 a year pension restored after being found guilty on federal conspiracy charges.
This legislation is now awaiting Governor Wolf’s signature.
Recognizing students who complete the Patriot Program at South Eastern Intermediate School
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to congratulate 165 fifth and sixth grade students who completed the Patriot Program at South Eastern School District.
The purpose of the Patriot Program is to promote American history and government, recognize patriots past and present, and encourage students to learn more about our country’s heritage.
Students participate in a myriad of activities, including reciting lines of the Star Spangled Banner, writing what patriotism means, identifying states on a map, listing key figures in various U.S. conflicts, and more.
It’s a wonderful program for the students and parents do a great job coordinating it. I presented each student with a pin (not paid for with taxpayer dollars) and congratulated each one for completing such an important program. I’m grateful for our next generation of patriots!
Flexible Instructional Days option for schools advances out of Senate committee
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), gave unanimous approval to my Senate Bill 440 on Tuesday. My bill would allow school districts to apply with the state’s education department to use flexible instruction days for certain courses, like English, math, social studies and science.
A flexible instructional day may be used in the instances of inclement weather, a public safety emergency, or other unforeseen circumstances when school buildings are unsafe for use.
Currently, the Department of Education is nearing the end of a flexible instructional day pilot program with 12 participating school districts across the state. If signed into law, this legislation would give this tool to all 500 public school districts, as well as career and technical schools and intermediate units.
This option for schools will give school districts another tool they to have the flexibility need to deal with the unpredictability of the school year, including weather or building issues and meet students’ educational needs.
Celebrating Women’s History Month in Pennsylvania
Several state agencies came together to host a Women’s History Month event at the Keystone Building in Harrisburg on Thursday afternoon. I was invited to be a guest speaker alongside the governor’s chair of the Commission for Women and Pat Jordan, who told the story of Carrie Chapman Catt, a noted suffragette who fought for the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.
I encouraged everyone in attendance to be the example for the next generation of leaders – both female and male—in whatever their field may be.
We MUST be the inspiration for the next generation so that they can be fearless and brave in their pursuit of what is right and build a better Pennsylvania for our grandchildren.
World Down Syndrome Day recognized on March 21 in PA
On Wednesday, the Senate declared March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day in Pennsylvania thanks to a resolution authored by Senator Scott Marin (R-Lancaster).
This resolution lends our collective voice as a Commonwealth to join with other states in our nation, as well as other countries, in recognizing not only the challenges, but celebrating the achievements of people living with Down Syndrome.
Local PennDOT news
PennDOT announced several projects throughout York County and I want to relay them along to you.
Earlier this week, PennDOT started setting work zone signing marking the start of a project to improve and reconstruct a new interchange at Interstate 83 Exit 4 for Route 851 and Shrewsbury Borough in southern York County.
The project includes replacing the northbound and southbound bridges that carry I-83 over Route 851 with two-span structures allowing enough clearance for Route 851 to be widened to four lanes and realigned into the DDI configuration. Work under this contract will also lengthen and reconstruct the on and off ramps within the interchange, replace the culvert that carries Deer Creek beneath the interchange, and install traffic signals, drainage, sidewalks, stormwater management facilities, highway lighting, guiderail, signs, and pavement markings.
You can read more about this project here.
PennDOT also announced a project set to begin on Monday, March 25 at 8:30 a.m. PennDOT’s contractor will begin daytime drainage work marking the start of a project to repair and resurface a 1.42-mile section of Route 462, West Market Street from just east of the U.S. 30 overpass in West Manchester Township to just west of Hoffman Lane in West York Borough.
Read more about this project here.
Thanking service animals in York County
Thank you to Leader Heights Animal Hospital for hosting the 2nd Annual K9 Veterans Day celebration this past weekend! I was honored to share remarks at the event that recognizes the contributions service animals and their handlers from all branches of the military, law enforcement, and other service organizations make to protecting and serving our communities and country.
I was very happy to be able to personally thank George and Barbara Leibert for donating the money for a new protective vest for York County, PA Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit Officer Dargo!
It was also great to join Rep. Mike Jones (R-York), West York Borough Police Department and K9 Detective Prince, York County, PA Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit and K9 Officers Dargo & Khan, York County Child Abduction Response Effort (C.A.R.E) and K9 Hero Haven along with many other K9 related charitable organizations and businesses at the event.
Save the date! Mark your calendars to join Leader Heights Animal Hospital at the 3rd Annual K9 Veterans Day Celebration next year on 3/21/20! For more information, email Crystal Bear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FFA Day in the Capitol
It was a pleasure to attend the Pennsylvania FFA Legislative Breakfast in Harrisburg on Tuesday. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with Future Farmers of America students from Red Lion Area School District and South Eastern School District!
These fine young women and men are well-informed on the issues facing agriculture and will be excellent future leaders for our community and state!
Local college students advocate for Penn State, higher education
On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with students and advisers of Penn State York, as well as students who attend Penn State’s University Park campus who are from York County.
We had a great discussion on the impact and opportunities of state government these students receive both here at home and across Pennsylvania.
New Eagle Scouts in York County
Last weekend, I had the privilege of congratulating James and John Devereux of Troop 811 in Pylesville, Maryland on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor for Harford County Councilman Chad Shrodes and me to join their family, friends, and fellow scouts to celebrate their significant achievements!
James and John are the sons of Janine and Francis Devereux. John built 5 benches and secured them on pavers at St. Mary’s of the Assumption Catholic Church and also built 2 benches inside the gazebo that his brother James built in the church garden for their Eagle Scout community projects.
Well done, James and John!
It was also nice to catch up with their older brother Jacob, who was one of the very first Eagle Scouts I had the honor to present a citation to on achieving the rank of Eagle!
Take a hike in York County
The York County Department of Parks and Recreation will host two hikes over the next two weekends:
Sunday, March 24
Join parks naturalist Andrew Wolfgang for a 1.2 mile hilly walk in search of early spring migrants such as palm warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, kinglets, blackbirds, woodpeckers, and northbound raptors.
Park in the back corner of Oak Timbers Lot close to the powerline. No fee, register at 717-428-1961.
Sunday, March 31
Hunt for the first buds, leaves, and flowers. Search and explore for signs of animals coming out of hibernation and returning from migration with naturalist Rachel Albright. This family exploration will examine fields, woods, and wetland habitats so wear your hiking boots. For ages six and up. No fee, no registration required.
For information on this and other programs, please visit yorkcountyparks.org.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, March 25 at 1 p.m.
You can find out more about next week’s Senate session by visiting www.SenatorKristin.com/session.