In this update:
Estimated 72,000 Pennsylvanians have data leaked from vendor in charge of contact tracing efforts
The Department of Health confirmed that at least 72,000 Pennsylvanians may have had their data leaked from a third-party vendor – Insight Global.
Last year, I hosted a public hearing to study privacy concerns I had with a state-sponsored COVID-19 contact tracing smartphone app. This data leak is not related to the app.
According to the Associated Press, “Agency spokesman Barry Ciccocioppo said in an email it recently learned workers at Atlanta-based Insight Global ‘disregarded security protocols established in the contract and created unauthorized documents’ outside the state’s secure data system.”
You can read more about this issue here.
The Department of Health indicated that a toll-free hotline — 1-855-535-1787 — will open on today (April 30) for anyone concerned that their information might have been subject to this security incident. The hotline will be staffed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. While no financial information was included, credit monitoring and identity protection services will be offered at no cost to anyone impacted by this incident.
Helping our small businesses as major overhaul to state’s regulatory system wins committee approval
Legislation I am sponsoring to overhaul the state’s regulatory process received the approval of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee earlier this week.
The bill is part of the Prioritize Pennsylvania: Small Businesses initiative I am sponsoring with Senators Ryan Aument, Camera Bartolotta and Judy Ward that would remove bureaucratic red tape, increase transparency and provide for greater legislative input and oversight into the state’s regulatory process.
Senate Bill 28 would require all state agencies that issue permits to increase transparency by requiring agencies to post information about the permits that they grant on their publicly accessible website. State agencies would also be required to create an accessible tracking system for applicants to check the status of their applications and to clearly state the legal authority that the agency relies on when rejecting a permit application.
My comments on Senate Bill 28 can be viewed below.
Senate Bill 32 would create the Independent Office of the Repealer to review regulations, receive and process recommendations, evaluate the merits of recommendations in accordance with decision rules and quantitative and qualitative criteria, and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor and Executive agencies for repeal, modification or revision.
The bill would also require that for every new regulation added, two regulations must be repealed.
Finally, the General Assembly would be required to approve economically significant regulations and the bill would require each state agency to be more transparent and accessible when it comes to assisting constituents with permits and regulations.
My comments on Senate Bill 32 can be viewed below.
You can read more about these bills here. Learn more about the Prioritize Pennsylvania Small Businesses initiative here.
Discussing vaccine passports in my latest podcast
My latest podcast episode features my fellow prime sponsor of legislation addressing vaccine passports in Pennsylvania.
Senator Judy Ward, who represents a senate district a little west of York County, joined me for my latest podcast episode. The short six-minute discussion focuses on the bill we’ve sponsored to ban the state or any local taxing authority from imposing and requiring vaccine passports.
You can listen to our discussion here.
Subscribe to my podcast here.
Senate committee explores deployment of 5G in Pennsylvania
Earlier this week, the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, which I chair, held the first of two public hearings to discuss the state’s rollout of 5G wireless technology.
Closing the digital divide continues to be a focus of the committee, as well as reflected in my legislative agenda.
Walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccine at WellSpan
WellSpan has administered over 290,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine across southcentral Pennsylvania. Starting today and every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, WellSpan is accepting walk-in vaccinations from noon until 3 p.m. at the York County Community Vaccination Site at 351 Loucks Road, York.
This is open to anyone 16 years of age or older.
April is Donate Life Month in Pennsylvania – I share how an organ donation saved my family
This week, I spoke about the importance of organ donation as April is National Donate Life Month.
I reflected on a few stories that weigh heavily on my family and our community.
You can watch the remarks I delivered during session earlier this week to commemorate April as Donate Life month in Pennsylvania.
Mixed messages on the Mt. Rose Interchange completion deadline
The never-ending Mt. Rose Interchange continues to create angst among many York County motorists.
My Q&A at last week’s Senate Appropriations Committee, where the Secretary of PennDOT said that the project would be completed by May 11, has drawn the attention of our neighbors and local media.
I sat down with Michael Gorsegner of CBS 21 to discuss the public hearing and my major skepticism in the Secretary’s response, which you can watch here.
In fact, I found out through our local newspapers that there is a dispute on the timing and final paperwork between PennDOT and the contractor that will likely delay the project another 90 days.
You can read more in the York Daily Record and York Dispatch about these constant delays.
Fill the Boot to stop forest fires
Great to join the Eastern York County Forest Fire Crew, Inc. and Smokey the Bear at Dallastown Family Restaurant to support their fill the boot drive last weekend!
The Eastern York Crew makes up a larger team within the District for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that responds to forest fires from the Susquehanna River to Chambersburg.
Senate approves program to train next generation of PA firefighters
The Senate approved creation of a pilot program to train high school students interested in firefighting and help alleviate the pressing need for volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania.
According to the bipartisan SR 6 report on the serious problems facing volunteer fire companies, Pennsylvania is experiencing a severe shortage of volunteer firefighters. The current number of volunteers is down to less than 15 percent of the number in the 1970s.
The legislation creates a pilot program for Pennsylvania community colleges and universities to give interested high school students training in firefighting. The goal is to demonstrate that students receiving training will show an interest in becoming the next generation of firefighters. The bill requires a follow-up study to measure the program’s success.
Senate passes plan to establish a new funding stream for pediatric cancer research
The Senate went “gold” for pediatric cancer awareness and for the passage of a bill that could provide up to $100 million in private donations to fight childhood cancer.
The legislation establishes a tax credit program for qualifying donations to a Pennsylvania pediatric cancer research hospital.
The program would be capped at $10 million per year over the next 10 years.
More children die from cancer than any other disease and currently, less than 4 percent of National Cancer Institute research dollars are spent on pediatric cancer. Since 1975, pediatric cancer incidence rates have increased every year.
Latest survey results show major concern with third-party entities funding election operations
My latest survey asked you for your feedback on whether it is appropriate that third-party nonprofit entities should fund our election operations in Pennsylvania.
The overwhelming response was against allowing third-party groups to contribute to elections operations in counties.
The results are as follows:
Total survey responses from citizens of the 28th Senatorial District: 513
Should counties be allowed to continue to receive funding from third-party, nonprofit entities to carry out free and fair elections?
Yes 53 10.3%
No 439 85.6%
Undecided 21 4.1%
If you took the time to complete my survey, thank you! Several state representatives are seeking support for a bill to address this issue. You can read more about that here.
Today is the deadline to submit comments to Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform
Today is the final day for Pennsylvanians to share their experience from last year’s election with the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform.
The surveys seek input from Pennsylvanians who voted by mail or in person in 2020.
The committee is expected to use the survey responses and testimony gathered during its series of public hearings to produce a report with recommendations that will be presented to the General Assembly.
“Move Over” law now in effect
Pennsylvania’s new “Move Over” Law took effect earlier this week, with steeper penalties for failure to move over or slow down when approaching an emergency response area.
The goal of this new law is to reduce crashes and deaths involving police, tow truck operators and other first responders.
There are more than 350 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania every day that put first responders in harm’s way, and they requested these changes to improve their safety.
You can learn more about this new law 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.
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