In this update:
Senate approves election reforms aimed at ending outside funding in election administration, banning unmonitored, unsecure drop boxes
In a strong step forward to safeguard the integrity of Pennsylvania’s elections, the Senate approved two bills on Wednesday that would prevent the future use of unsecured ballot drop boxes and ban private money to fund election operations.
The latter measure is one that I sponsored along with my friend and colleague, Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), to address the new phenomenon of outside partisan money paying for election operations in our state.
As I wrote to you last week outlining this issue, the Senate gave strong, bipartisan support to our legislation that would prohibit outside funding into our election process. The final vote in the Senate was 37-12.
If you are interested in more background on this issue, please feel free to listen to my latest podcast episode on this issue, featuring Sen. Baker: Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts. More information on my podcast can be found here.
The other legislation the Senate approved this week was Senate Bill 1200, which would require mail-in ballots that are not returned in the mail to be returned only to the County Board of Elections office, effectively eliminating drop boxes in Pennsylvania.
Drop boxes were permitted by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in 2020, despite the fact that they were never authorized or intended by the General Assembly through the legislative process. Since that time, numerous examples of drop boxes being misused have been discovered throughout the state, including:
Both bills go to the House of Representatives for further consideration. You can learn more here.
Welcoming the 2022 PIAA State Champs – the Central York Panther Bowling Team – to the Senate
This week, Senator Chris Gebhard (R-Lebanon) and I hosted the Central York High School Panther Bowling Team, which recently captured the gold medal at the 2022 PIAA State Championships.
The team, in its first year of PIAA competition, made quite an impression throughout its incredible playoff run earlier this year.
Congratulations to the 2022 PIAA State Champs! It was an honor to host the team, coaches, their families and give the team the recognition it earned!
Congratulations to CASA Volunteer of the Year: York County’s Mary Slegel
Congratulations to York County’s Mary Slegel for earning the CASA Volunteer of the Year Award. Mary has provided exceptional dedication for 25 years to children in need in our community through York County CASA.
According to CASA, “The Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes one extraordinary volunteer for their valuable and selfless devotion, dedication, and contribution to improving the lives of child victims of abuse and/or neglect.”
I had the honor of presenting Mary with a congratulatory citation on behalf of the residents of the 28th Senatorial District.
Senate Education Committee votes to Protect Women’s Sports
This week, the Senate Education Committee advanced a measure I am cosponsoring along with Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair) that would establish the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act in Pennsylvania.
I noted during the committee meeting that without the passage of this bill, young girls and women lose the opportunity for athletic success that every female deserves.
Women have fought too hard to earn the right to their own competitive sports, and the dangerous trajectory we are on could alter that forever.
You can learn more about our effort here.
Senate boosts crime victim protection and support
The Senate approved a package of bills aiding crime victims by providing stronger protections, increasing support and improving access to services. The bills now advance to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 1179 extends the Domestic and Sexual Violence Victim Address Confidentiality Act to give victims of child abduction and human trafficking access to substitute mailing addresses and allows applications for address confidentiality to be submitted electronically.
Senate Bill 118 expands Megan’s Law to require offenders convicted of any sex trafficking-related offenses to register.
Senate Bill 1040 requires law enforcement to make reasonable efforts to ensure a murder victim’s family has been notified before releasing the victim’s identity to the public and media.
Senate Bill 1172 expands access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) to better provide quality care for victims. SANEs have specialized training in trauma and forensic nursing and are vital to a complete care system for survivors of sexual assault.
Legislation to aid rural remote working passes Senate
Legislation to help more rural Pennsylvania communities establish remote workplace facilities was approved by the Senate. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 962 would create the Rural Co-Working and Innovation Centers Grant Program within the Department of Community and Economic Development to help rural communities create facilities equipped with high-speed broadband, furniture, and security systems for teleworkers.
According to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, 48 out of 67 counties and 1,592 municipalities are rural and could benefit from this program.
Office closed today for Good Friday – Happy Easter & Happy Passover
Please be advised that our Senate offices are closed today, Friday, April 15, in observance of Good Friday. We will reopen on Monday, April 18, at 9 a.m.
To our Christian neighbors, I want to wish you all a very blessed and joyous Easter holiday!
To our Jewish neighbors, who begin celebrating Passover this evening, Happy Pesach!
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