In this update:
Pennsylvania expands and accelerates vaccine schedule
The COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force and the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that the timetable for vaccine eligibility will be accelerated.
As a result, state residents who work in law enforcement, grocery stores, the food and agriculture industries and firefighters are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
In addition, all residents in Phase 1B will be eligible to begin scheduling vaccination appointments on April 5, and all residents in Phase 1C can start scheduling appointments on April 12. A breakdown of individuals included in the various phases is available here.
All other state residents can start scheduling appointments to be vaccinated beginning on April 19.
As I noted in my special email update last weekend, there are several opportunities for local residents to receive the vaccine, including a clinic at the Church of the Open Door.
Details can be found below.
For any additional information, please visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine location dashboard here.
Don’t follow Cuomo, PA doesn’t need vaccine passports
Senators Michele Brooks, Judy Ward and I will soon introduce legislation to block Pennsylvania from following New York Governor Cuomo’s lead on imposing mandatory vaccine passports.
We are still playing catch up with many states when it comes to getting COVID-19 vaccine shots in arms. Whether a Pennsylvanian chooses to not receive the vaccine for personal, health or religious reasons, or simply cannot obtain a vaccine because of lack of access, there is no way any government should be asking its own citizens to reveal personal health information.
You can read more about our forthcoming bill here.
New guidance will help more schools return to in-person instruction
New guidance from the state Department of Health and Department of Education will make it easier for schools to return to in-person instruction in the near future. The updated recommendations on social distancing align with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that only require students to stay 3 feet apart, rather than the previous recommendation of 6 feet of separation.
The guidelines also include recommendations for how schools should handle confirmed cases of COVID-19, including shorter closures in certain cases. The new guidance goes into effect on April 5.
The Senate Education Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing last month that included testimony from teachers, superintendents, students, parents and other key stakeholders about the importance of returning to in-person instruction.
Share your voting experience in 2020 – take this survey
The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform is inviting Pennsylvania voters to share their experiences from the 2020 election by taking an election survey. The information will be reviewed by the committee and will be used in consideration of future election reform measures.
The panel held two hearings last month to gather input from local and state election officials, county commissioners on the administration of the 2020 election, and to review best practices in other states that allow mail-in voting. You can find more information related to this committee here.
Furthermore, the House State Government Committee, chaired by Representative Seth Grove, held a public hearing on election integrity and accessibility. You can learn more here.
Summer camps to resume this year
The Pennsylvania Department of Health, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, released new guidance that will allow summer camps to resume this year at up to 75 percent of maximum occupancy. Camps and other congregate activities were prohibited last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the chair of the Senate YMCA Caucus, this was a top priority for the Ys all across the state, including our own in York.
Youth and summer camps are encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations to protect the health and safety of participants and staff.
Have an opinion on the State Transportation Plan? Submit your comments by April 14
Every two years, PennDOT updates its 12-Year Program to prioritize infrastructure projects and ensure the state’s transportation needs are met. The Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission is seeking input from members of the public regarding improvements not only for motorists, but also for recreation, public transit and other modes of transportation.
State residents can submit feedback on the plan during the public comment period, which is open through April 14.
Discussing impact of small business shutdowns with local restaurant owner
Thank you to Maria Favorito and your team at Central Pizza in Red Lion for the hospitality and engaging discussion on how we get small businesses to not only get back on their feet, but thrive.
I am pleased to hear feedback directly from those who have been affected by arbitrary shutdowns and restrictions. Our conversation only reaffirms that we need to Prioritize Pennsylvania’s small businesses! Learn more at https://senatorkristin.com/prioritize-pa/
York County Trail Town Bloom Grant Program – apply now!
The York County Economic Alliance (YCEA) has launched a grant program titled the YoCo Bloom Grant: Trail Towns Edition. This grant is exclusive for businesses located within one of the five York County Trail Towns: City of York, Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad and New Freedom.
The program is intended for businesses who are looking to improve the trail user-friendly experience at their business. Project examples include marketing and promotions aimed at trail users, expanding inventory, physical improvements (such as better lighting, storefront enhancements, façade repairs), addition of bike-friendly amenities (such as bike racks, water, restroom improvements), or other creative ideas.
The deadline to apply is Sunday, April 11 at 5 pm. The simple application will require a brief narrative (applicants will describe their concept, its expected impact on their business, and the benefit to trail users) and budget. Applicants will also have the option to submit any relevant supporting documents, such as renderings, pricing quotes, or a business plan.
Finalists will be required to participate in a virtual pitch competition (via Zoom) on April 28.
For complete information, please visit here.
Local jobs from PA CareerLink
PA CareerLink shared with me their latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT shared with me their list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects, which you can view below.
State budget hearings resume next week
The Senate Appropriations Committee will continue its review of the governor’s state budget proposal. You can view our schedule below.
You can tune in to my Facebook Page to watch these hearings live.
Opening Day of Trout Season this Saturday
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission announced that this Saturday, April 3, at 8 a.m. will kick off the 2021 Trout Season.
According to a news release from the Commission, anglers are reminded that this Saturday’s opening day is a single, statewide event for all 67 counties. This change was implemented in 2021 to provide anglers with two more weeks to enjoy trout fishing statewide, reduce travel associated with multiple opening days, and minimize overcrowding on many popular waterways to allow anglers to comply with social distancing guidelines associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To participate in trout fishing, anglers ages 16 and older must obtain a Pennsylvania fishing license and a trout permit. Licenses and permits are available using the FishBoatPA mobile app, online at www.fishandboat.com, and in-person at nearly 700 license issuing agents.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover
I want to wish you and your family a Happy Easter and Happy Passover.
This week is especially important to our friends and family members of the Christian and Jewish faiths.
Last week, our Jewish neighbors celebrated the beginning of Passover. On Sunday, our Christian neighbors will celebrate Easter.
Our offices will be closed today in observance of Good Friday. We will reopen on Monday, April 5 at 9 a.m.