In this update:
Legislation would ban “Zuckerbucks” from our elections process
The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing on Tuesday to review legislation I am sponsoring alongside Sen. Lisa Baker that would ban third party entities from funding our elections process.
Last year, I conducted a legislative survey and more than 85% of the responses were in favor of banning third-party groups from contributing to fund the process of our elections.
In 2020, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) contributed more than $22 million to certain counties. Further research shows that these counties were largely Democratic. The hearing on Tuesday revealed email correspondence between county officials, state officials and individuals involved with CTCL.
The integrity of our elections has been, is and will always be the bedrock of our Republic.
Sen. Baker testified at the hearing and noted that if we do not close the door, this could escalate. “Once this precedent becomes accepted, we will be playing a no-limits game. This will undermine election integrity,” she said.
She joined me this week for Episode 25 of my podcast, Kristin’s Corner. If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to listen to our discussion on this legislation and why we need to pass Senate Bill 982.
Survey results show support for permanent Daylight Saving Time
The results are in! Thank you to our neighbors who participated in my latest legislative survey on proposals that would put Pennsylvania into permanent Standard Time or a resolution calling on Congress to move Pennsylvania into permanent Daylight Saving Time.
Below are the results.
Thank you to Pastor Chris Starr for serving as Guest Chaplain
Thank you to Pastor Chris Starr of Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Brogue), who served as the guest chaplain of the Senate of Pennsylvania this week. Pastor Starr was joined by his wife, Jenny; daughter, Alyssa; and family friends, Eric Haywood, Sr. and Eric Haywood, Jr.
You can watch his opening prayer below.
Cheers to South County Brewing Co. on its massive expansion
Last week, Rep. Mike Jones and I attended the ribbon cutting of the South County Brewing Company’s flagship brewery. This new brewery, located at 170 Crossway Drive in York Township (just off the Leaders Heights exit), will delight guests of all ages.
Congratulations to the Terroso and Heaps families on this incredible venue.
It was an honor to celebrate the occasion along with many community supporters, including Kevin Schreiber of the York County Economic Alliance.
The brewery opens to the public on April 13th.
You can read more about this expansion here.
Something new is brewing at the York JCC
This week, Rep. Mike Jones and I stopped by the York JCC for a cup of coffee brewed by Belmont Bean. Congratulations to Belmont Bean on opening this new location.
However, despite the new location, they still have the same great coffee, and it is perfect way to start the day!
State court blocks Gov. Wolf’s $781 million carbon tax pending further order
In a win for Pennsylvania consumers and workers, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court this week ruled Gov. Tom Wolf’s $781 million carbon tax could not take effect pending a full order from the court.
The ruling came a day after Republicans stood united in an attempt to override the governor’s veto of the resolution that disapproves of Pennsylvania joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
The effort came up one vote short when Democrats voted against the state’s economic interests in favor of a policy that will spike residential electricity bills 30% and kill 22,000 jobs.
Just last week, impartial analysis from the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) concluded RGGI could nearly quadruple new electricity costs for consumers above the administration’s own year-old projections for the program. The IFO also warned members “those costs would be pushed through to final customers.”
As for environmental benefits, multiple independent reports show emissions from Pennsylvania’s power sector declined at a comparable rate to the other 10 RGGI states over the last decade.
The Wolf Administration is attempting to enter this pact through the regulatory process without the approval of the legislature. Every other participating state entered RGGI through the legislative process – not unilateral executive action. A bipartisan majority of legislators has consistently voted against RGGI when the issue has been brought to the floor for a vote.
Senate votes to expand sexual assault law to cover crimes against care-dependent Pennsylvanians
The Senate voted to expand the law against institutional sexual assault to include assaults by caregivers on care-dependent individuals, closing a loophole that allows perpetrators to escape punishment.
Current law against sexual assault applies to institutions such as prisons, schools and law enforcement.
It is premised on the fact that truly consensual sexual acts are not possible where someone is in a position of power over another.
Passage of Senate Bill 704 recognizes the same power disparity exists between caretakers and those in their care. Such individuals face additional challenges to reporting sexual abuse due to the circumstances that make them dependent upon others, including physical or cognitive disabilities, and mental and physical health struggles.
Expanding the law against institutional sexual assault eliminates the loophole that permits perpetrators to falsely claim the victim consented. Senate Bill 704 will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Expanding the law against institutional sexual assault is just the latest action taken by the General Assembly to stand together against this vile crime.
In recent years, lawmakers enacted measures strengthening the rights of sexual assault survivors and bolstering their ability to obtain justice.
Need help? Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a local sexual assault service provider.
Grants available to help drug and alcohol recovery houses
Effective treatment for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder is essential for healthy communities. State grants are available to help recovery houses with facility upgrades to comply with federal, state, and local laws and receive a state license.
Grants up to $50,000 for a 12-month period beginning July 1 will be awarded to eligible applicants for health and safety upgrades including demolition, debris removal, rehabilitation improvements, environmental remediation costs, and construction and inspections to comply with state regulations.
Applicants must meet several qualifications to be eligible. More information is available here.
Saturday is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
Saturday is a day to remember the half-million American service members taken prisoner in battles since the Revolutionary War.
It’s commemorated on April 9 because that day in 1942 was the prelude to the Bataan Death March in the Philippines, the forcible transfer by the Imperial Japanese Army of up to 80,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war. Up to 650 American and 10,000 Filipino soldiers died during the brutal, 65-mile march.
We must never forget the ordeal faced by prisoners of war during captivity and the emotional toll on those fortunate enough to survive.
Correction from last week’s email update
Last week, I accidentally stated that the Patriot Program was held by the Southern York County School District. The Patriot Program is conducted by the South Eastern School District at the South Eastern Intermediate School. I apologize for any inconvenience. Thanks to astute reader Beverly O. for pointing this out!
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, April 11, at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.
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