In this update:
Senate Communications and Technology Committee set to address York County’s challenges
I was honored this week to be appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore to serve as chair of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee.
I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to play a leading role in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing not only the 28th Senatorial District, but also the entire commonwealth.
Rural broadband will be one of the top issues the committee will tackle in the weeks and months ahead. Many local communities still lack access to high-speed internet, so the committee will work to close the digital divide. If we are to remain competitive and an attractive place to live, work and raise a family, access to high-speed internet is a virtual necessity in today’s tech-focused society.
The committee also will look at the state’s data collection and protection in order to ensure the information you submit to your state government does not fall into the wrong hands.
You can watch my reaction to this appointment in the video below.
Read more about my appointment here.
Senate approves optional flexible instructional days to address unplanned school cancellations
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved my legislation that would pave the way for all school districts in Pennsylvania to have the option to use flexible instructional days.
This important tool allows school districts to provide instruction on math, social studies, science and English when schools close due to inclement weather, building problems, threats, etc. This ensures students have continuity of learning and are not forced to make up days later in the year.
The legislation does not create any new mandates – it merely provides schools with another option to educate young people without extending the school year further into the summer.
Flexible instructional days are currently in a pilot program with the Department of Education. York County has four of 12 school districts involved in the pilot program. Red Lion Area School District is one of the 12 schools participating in the program, and the feedback from parents is encouraging – see below:
Read more about the passage of this new tool for school districts here.
Remembering fallen law enforcement officers, including York’s Alex Sable and Chris Hill
My colleague from northern York County, Senator Mike Regan, sponsored Senate Resolution 102, which designates May 6 as Police Officers’ Memorial Day, as well as the week of May 12-18 as National Police Week in Pennsylvania.
Prior to the Senate vote on Wednesday, I spoke about the life, legacy and example set by fallen York City Police Officer Alex Sable. You can watch my remarks below.
York County is truly blessed to have so many brave men and women serving in our law enforcement community. Thank you to those who serve to keep our communities safe!
Pennsylvania’s revenues are more than $800 million above estimate
At the close of April – the state’s largest tax collection month – we found out the state’s revenue projects are more than $800 million above original estimates.
I joined colleagues from both the Senate and House to discuss how fiscally responsible policies have allowed Pennsylvania’s economy to grow above projections. When the economy took a nosedive in 2008, many of our surrounding states resorted to raising taxes to pay for the shortfall. Pennsylvania lawmakers took a different approach because keeping that money in taxpayers’ wallets is a better policy than increasing taxes.
The debate was not unlike the conversation many families have around the kitchen table – hard decisions were made, and the state found ways to rein in spending.
While the news of April’s revenue collections is good news, it’s not a reason for a full victory lap by any means. We have a lot more work to do to ensure Pennsylvania’s economy can grow at the same rate as the federal economy. It’s why last week, I joined colleagues from the Senate and House to call for comprehensive regulatory reform to grow jobs, empower employees and get government to be more efficient and responsive.
#NeverForget – Holocaust Remembrance Day
On Wednesday evening, I joined York City Mayor Michael Helfrich and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly at the York Jewish Community Center for the Yom Hashoah Community Commemoration and lit a candle to solemnly remember the 6 million Jews and millions of others murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
We honored the memory of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, friends, and neighbors who lost their lives, and we reaffirmed our responsibility to #NeverForget.
Welcoming Paradise Elementary to the state Capitol
On Thursday, I was privileged to spend a few minutes with students and teachers from Paradise Elementary, part of the Spring Grove Area School District, during their tour and visit to the state Capitol.
If you or anyone you know would like to tour the state Capitol this spring or summer, please feel free to contact me!
Sharing ideas with advocates on Humane Society’s advocacy day at the Capitol, and meeting Hulu
On Monday morning, the Humane Society of Pennsylvania invited me to say a few words about their ongoing efforts to protect animals across the state. Based on conversations and correspondence I’ve received from local residents, it is clear that the majority of individuals from the 28th District are concerned about the legality and cruelty of puppy mills.
I am a cosponsor of Victoria’s Law, named after a German shepherd that recently passed away after years of inhumane breeding practices at a puppy mill. After the event, I met with Hulu – a puppy mill survivor who is a 14-week-old blind and deaf puppy available for adoption, along with her three brothers, at A Tail to Tell Rescue.
House Transportation Committee advances bill honoring Sgt. Wrinkle
Legislation designating the portion of Iron Stone Hill Road (State Route 2087) that crosses the East Branch of the Codorus Creek as the Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle and Tosca Memorial Bridge advanced out of the House Transportation Committee earlier this week.
Sgt. Wrinkle was a 2001 Dallastown High School graduate. Following graduation, he served as a Special Operations Multi-Purpose K9 Handler for the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Company G and Marine Special Operations Team 8221 in Herat Province, Afghanistan. He was deployed on July 1, 2011, and died later that month on July 31 while trying to rescue his service dog, Tosca, from a barracks fire.
I’m grateful for the support of Representative Mike Jones, who helped shepherd this important legislation through the committee.
Senate Bill 441 now advances to the full House of Representatives. Learn more about this here.
New section of rail trail open for more recreational opportunities for local residents
On Thursday, I was delighted to join Gwen Loose of the York County Rail Trail Authority and York City Mayor Helfrich, County Commissioners Byrnes and Reilly along with many other local officials to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the newest section of rail trail open to the public connecting Rt. 30 to North George Street in York.
This section completes a 5.7-mile section of rail trail throughout and around York City.
Our county is fortunate to have so many outdoor recreational opportunities available to local residents by way of rail trails that connect York to Maryland.
My recent email update contained various evening bike rides hosted by the York County Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesdays through May 21.
You can read about those evening rides here.
York Educational Federal Credit Union celebrates 50th anniversary
Representative Carol Hill-Evans and I hosted leadership from York Educational Federal Credit Union (YEFCU), including Cathy Henry, Jason Kreiger, David Baker and Robert Jensenius, at the state Capitol. YEFCU was at the Capitol to celebrate their 50th anniversary. YEFCU was originally founded in 1969 by a group of 10 educators who signed a charter to establish the York Suburban Federal Credit Union.
Today, the credit union has a membership of more than 3,300 members and assets in excess of $30 million. We were also fortunate to spend time with Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, who graciously opened his office to these local residents.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, May 6 at 1 p.m.
You can find out more about next week’s Senate session by visiting www.SenatorKristin.com/session.
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