In this update:
Latest survey looks at bill advancing in General Assembly addressing third-party nonprofits funding election operations at county and state level
Our elections should be free and fair. This last year, many news stories highlighted how a nonprofit largely funded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided over $17 million to certain Pennsylvania counties, as well as the Department of State.
This has raised concerns from local residents about how “free” and “fair” our elections process is.
Several members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation to require any third-party funding to come to the state to be distributed to counties in a more equitable fashion.
I want to get your opinion on the matter in my latest survey. You can let me know your thoughts here.
As always, I appreciate your feedback on any state-related issue. These are extremely helpful for me as there are over 4,000 bills introduced in the General Assembly during our two-year legislative session. In fact, your feedback was critical in how I voted and supported a compromise to a Sunday hunting law that passed with YOUR suggested compromises.
I plan to share results of my last survey on bridge tolling at our upcoming public hearing on the Governor’s proposed state budget next week. More on that later in this email update…
Updated COVID-19 vaccine schedule
Earlier this week, I sent out an email update to those individuals who are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 Legislative Task Force along with the Acting Secretary of Health and Governor announced that the vaccination rollout will be expedited so every Pennsylvanian, age 16 and older, is now eligible to receive the vaccine, should they so choose.
Only YOU can amend YOUR state constitution – YOU have the opportunity to do so on May 18
Earlier this session, the Senate and House approved in the second consecutive session two proposed constitutional amendments to require this governor and any future governor to have the legislature’s support to extend an emergency declaration beyond 21 days. As you know, we are over a year into unilateral decisions pertaining to reopening Pennsylvania.
Since they are proposed constitutional amendments, the voters will decide their fate.
On Tuesday, May 18, every voter regardless of affiliation will be presented with several ballot questions – two of which pertain to this exact issue.
The Department of State and governor have been accused of writing the ballot questions in a way that may confuse voters, as evidenced in the headlines below.
Here is a link to the Department of State’s website listing all four ballot referendum questions you will see on this year’s Primary Election Day ballot on May 18. Here are the headlines for each proposed amendment related to the governor’s emergency powers.
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1
PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 2
Below is the argument I made in support of Senate Bill 2, which is why we have these proposed constitutional amendment questions on the ballot on May 18.
Learn more in an op-ed I wrote last month here.
I also have had many people ask me what other states do to have checks-and-balances when it comes to the executive and legislative branches. Here is a nice summary of the laws in other states pertaining to emergency powers.
Discussing the state budget with community college students
Earlier this week, I had a great conversation about the critical role our community colleges play all across the state. I had a lengthy dialogue with Harrisburg Area Community College students and college president John J. “Ski” Sygielski.
We discussed how community colleges provide valuable services to students of all ages as well as how the proposed state budget will impact community colleges, including HACC-York.
State budget hearings conclude next week – tune in to hear me ask about Mt. Rose Interchange, and other critical questions about YOUR tax dollars
Starting on Wednesday, April 21 at 2 p.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will convene for two days of hearings on YOUR state budget.
Below is our agenda.
You can see all of our hearings in their entirety here.
Celebrating 2021 Northern Central Railway of York kickoff
Congratulations to the Northern Central Railway of York! On Thursday, they unveiled their fourth passenger coach, a 1860s replica three years in the making, and announced the release of their first children’s book “A is for All Aboard” by Dr. Anthony D. Fredericks.
Thursday also marked the kickoff to their 2021 season! Their schedule is filling up for the spring and summer months. This family fun treasure in our community continues to delight children and adults alike. Check out all the Northern Central Railway has planned for 2021 here.
Free PHEAA webinar offers financial aid advice for students and their families
Navigating the financial aid process for higher education can be complicated and confusing for many families. As a board member of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I am pleased to announce that they will host a free Financial Aid 101 webinar on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. to help families learn more about higher education costs, the types of financial aid available and how Pennsylvania families can apply.
You can register to participate in this free webinar here.
Senate hearings look at education, COVID-19 impacts and infrastructure
Although the Senate will not return to session until next week, several Senate committees studied issues this week that could set the stage for future action in the General Assembly.
The Senate Education Committee held a hearing on Monday to review potential education reforms, including accountability, school choice and charter school reforms. The hearing featured testimony from teachers, students, parents, administrators and other stakeholders in both public and private education.
On Tuesday, the Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing on the economic impact of COVID-19 business closures on the tourism and hospitality industries. The hearing highlighted the consequences of closures and restrictions for bars, restaurants, amusement parks, resorts and many other businesses during the pandemic.
The Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee held two days of hearings in southeastern Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the economic impact of the technology and energy infrastructure industries in Pennsylvania. Lawmakers also toured the Philadelphia Steamfitters Local Union 420.
Committee meetings and hearings scheduled next week are available online.
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.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, April 19 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.