In this update:
Senate approves bill recognizing local fallen Marine
The Senate gave its unanimous approval to a bill I sponsored that would name the portion of Iron Stone Hill Road (State Route 2087) over the East Branch Codorus Creek as the Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle and Tosca Memorial Bridge.
I sponsored the legislation on behalf of Sgt. Wrinkle’s family to ensure we commemorate his legacy forever.
I humbly asked my colleagues in the Senate for their support of this fitting tribute for Chris’s service to our nation and our community, which you can watch in the video below.
The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.
A sad reminder that freedom is not free
Earlier this week, we learned the tragic news of three United States Marines who were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan while fighting ISIS and the Taliban.
Two of the Marines had ties to our local community.
2006 Dallastown grad & U.S. Marine Benjamin Hines and U.S. Marine Christopher Slutman, whose parents live in the 28th District, tragically lost their lives due to a roadside bomb near their military base.
We are eternally grateful for Benjamin and Christopher for answering our nation’s call.
On Wednesday evening, I wrote to Governor Wolf asking for the flags in the Commonwealth to be lowered to half-staff to honor our fallen Marines on behalf of the residents of the 28th Senatorial District. On Thursday morning, his office called to inform me that the flags will be lowered through Sunday, April 14. I am extremely grateful he honored our request to commemorate the lives and ultimate sacrifice of these brave Marines.
President Truman said, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” We know that our freedom, that many of us take for granted, is not free and we will never forget those that paid the ultimate price for it.
Senate and House hold rare joint special session to remember the lives lost in the Tree of Life Synagogue attack
On Wednesday, the Senate of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives held a rare joint session to commemorate and remember the lives lost during the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
It was the first time, outside of state budget addresses by governors, that the General Assembly held a joint session since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The attack on the people of the Jewish faith is another painful reminder of the hatred that exists in our society.
During session on Wednesday, I stood up to echo the very reason we were founded as a Commonwealth. William Penn believed in a society where all people of all faiths can coexist.
Please take a few minutes and watch my speech I delivered to my Senate colleagues below.
President Abraham Lincoln said, “The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.”
I agree — let’s heed the words of President Lincoln.
Let’s create that future that William Penn always envisioned for our Commonwealth.
April 7 – 13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in PA
This week, the Senate of Pennsylvania voted on several bipartisan measures to ensure crime victims have more opportunities to participate in the judicial process.
The package includes measures to give crime victims more rights to attend criminal trials; expand the rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism to provide testimony; provide hearsay exceptions for statements made by young witnesses of cases of sexual assault; shield rape victims against irrelevant cross examinations; and provide for a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors.
The package includes:
Senate Resolution 68, which designates the week of April 8-14 as “Crime Victims’ Rights Week.”
Senate Bill 399, which provides for a comprehensive bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault.
Senate Bill 425, which amends Pennsylvania’s Crime Victims Act to allow victims to attend the entirety of criminal trials.
Senate Bill 431, which shields rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
Senate Bill 469, which would apply the existing Tender Years Exception – which allows certain out-of-court statements to be admissible as evidence – to include individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism.
Senate Bill 479, which would expand the Tender Years Exception to apply to a wider variety of crimes, including serious sexual offenses. This exception currently only applies in cases of homicide, assault, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and a narrow number of sexual offenses.
I also spoke about the importance of my Senate Bill 60, the Buyer Beware Act. I took the opportunity to speak about the need to end the demand for victims of human trafficking. You can watch my remarks below.
State Government Committee approves three measures, supports Secretary Topper to remain in charge of Dept. of General Services
As the Vice Chair of the Senate State Government Committee, I supported the nomination of Curt Topper to serve as Secretary of the Department of General Services. Secretary Topper has been helpful in my bipartisan efforts to bring high-speed internet to residents throughout the state.
Specifically, I have a proposal that would require the Department of General Services to do an inventory of all state-owned assets for the potential deployment of high-speed internet. This includes salt sheds used by PennDOT, towers and other communications devices in areas that are unserved and underserved by broadband companies.
I also voted in support of Senate Bill 22 which would allow voters to amend the state Constitution to create a commission to draw election maps. I also supported Senate Bill 48, which would delay the impending mass decertification of current voting machines until the governor and the legislature can agree on an appropriate plan and the method by which it will be paid for. Finally, I supported Senate Bill 178, which requires the electronic filing of campaign finance reports with the Department of State.
You can find more information about our committee meeting here.
Meeting with AARP to outline issues important to our senior citizens
On Wednesday, I was fortunate to meet with several members of the greater York community who are active with AARP. The advocates are excellent surrogates for seniors all across the 28th Senatorial District.
We had a great conversation about issues ranging from concerns about rising energy costs to ensuring our older population has access to affordable medication. I appreciate their continued efforts to educate me about issues important to our senior citizens and look forward to pushing forward on reforms they suggested during our meeting, including greater transparency in drug pricing and further reforms to pharmacy benefit managers in Pennsylvania.
Pharmacists discuss importance of local pharmacies for patients and communities
On Tuesday, in addition to advocating for greater transparency of drug pricing, several individuals representing our local pharmacies were in the Capitol to meet with me.
Representatives from Minnich’s Pharmacy in York and Red Lion Pharmacy in Red Lion, as well as pharmacy students from the 28th District, discussed the challenges they are facing from larger pharmacy chains and the role they play in our community to educate patients on benefits and risks of various medications. These local pharmacies play a critical role in the care of our seniors.
Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to meet with me!
A strong advocate for aging in place in York County
Russell Myers, a 90 year old resident of the 28th District, was in Harrisburg to advocate for home and community based care. Russell was very kind and invited me to celebrate his 90th birthday earlier this year.
On Tuesday, I invited Russell up to the Senate Chamber to thank him for his continued advocacy for seniors to age in place. Russell is under the care of Visiting Angels of York. I was honored to take a photo with Russell and his caretakers, who do an outstanding job of empowering Russell, as well as many seniors throughout our community, to live their golden years at home.
Indian Rock Elementary students visit Capitol
In addition to their regularly scheduled tour around the state Capitol, I was able to provide a behind-the-scenes tour for many students and teachers of Indian Rock Elementary, part of the York Suburban School District, on Wednesday.
It was a pleasure to show them the floor of the Senate and answer their questions about what I do as a state Senator and the workings of our state capitol in Harrisburg.
REAL ID event on Monday at 10 a.m. in New Freedom
Representatives Klunk, Jones and I will host a REAL ID pre-verification event on Monday, April 15 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The event will be held at the New Freedom Community Center at 150 E. Main Street, New Freedom.