In this update:
Pennsylvania is first state in nation to have voters reject unilateral decisions
On Tuesday, voters across the Commonwealth approved two changes to their state constitution addressing executive emergency powers.
In total, Pennsylvania voters approved four ballot questions, including two constitutional amendments that will improve the way the state responds to emergencies.
The primary election results demonstrate our system of government works better when we work together. Pennsylvanians want to see more collaboration and better results from state government when responding to emergencies. This has been evident when the legislative task force took control of the vaccine rollout.
You can listen to my discussion on that issue with Senator Ryan Aument of Lancaster County, who is a member of the task force, here.
Collaboration and input from legislators (who have had their doors open, working in their offices for the last year) work. I look forward to working with my colleagues when the legislature returns to session next week to restore lives and livelihoods.
(Continue reading this email to see my plans)
Bill banning vaccine passports to get a vote next week
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will meet on Monday to consider legislation I am sponsoring to ban the states (or any local government or school district) from requiring vaccine passports.
I recently sat down with Senator Judy Ward of Blair County, who is sponsoring the bill with me, to discuss our efforts and what the bill accomplishes. You can listen to our discussion here.
The committee considering this legislation is chaired by Senator Michele Brooks of Mercer County. Senator Brooks is also a sponsor of this much-needed legislation to preserve and protect our privacy.
You can learn more here.
Joining Auditor General to call for transparency, oversight, accountability with federal funds coming into state
On Thursday, I joined Pennsylvania Auditor General Tim DeFoor calling for greater coordination and oversight to ensure accountability and transparency when it comes to the massive cash infusion from the federally approved American Rescue Plan of 2021.
Auditor General DeFoor is working with legislators to prevent waste, fraud and abuse with the incoming federally approved funds. The General noted that this will the single largest deposit of federal funds in our state’s history.I indicated that we have seen many individuals work to cheat the system, taking away valuable taxpayer resources from other individuals and entities in need. I am grateful for General DeFoor’s leadership and proactiveness on this important matter. As I noted during my comments, while these may be federal funds and not state funds, it all comes from the wallets of the hardworking taxpayers. Fraud is fraud and we must do everything we can to prevent it from happening in Pennsylvania.
You can watch our event below.
You can view pictures from our event here.
Transource application rejected by Public Utility Commission
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced on Thursday that it disapproved the applications submitted by Transource.
Transource sought to build high-voltage transmission lines through southern York County. This announcement is a major win for landowners and our agricultural community who would have been adversely impacted by these transmission lines to export electricity from Pennsylvania to Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Congratulations to the local advocates who fought hard to preserve their land throughout this tedious and tireless battle.
I began working on this issue with landowners when I was a state representative. I am thrilled to see this issue finally put to rest after many difficult years.
Addressing data breach with Department of Health contact tracing vendor
Next week, the Senate Communications and Technology Committee will consider legislation to codify the process when there is a data breach of personal information within state government.
I am supporting an effort to not only have this legislation cover possible data breaches that occur within state government, but also extend it to include third-party vendors that contract with state agencies.
As you may recall, earlier this month, the committee convened for a public hearing to get answers to a data breach with the Department of Health’s vendor tasked with contact tracing COVID-19 positive individuals.
The data breach impacted over 72,000 individuals, where their personal health data was exposed.
At the time, the department planned to allow the contract of the third-party vendor (Insight Global based in Georgia) to run its course and expire at the end of July 2021. I planned to ask the department, before officials canceled their appearance before the committee, why they would not immediately cancel this contract.
I was notified yesterday that this contract will now be canceled next month.
You can learn more about our upcoming committee meeting here.
Groundbreaking celebration at York County YMCA
Congratulations to the YMCA of York and York County on the groundbreaking of the new Urban Park.
As the co-chair of the YMCA Caucus, we have seen the incredible value and importance of YMCAs in York County and all across the Commonwealth over the last year.
This new park will provide an incredible space for our next generation to play, learn and grow.
The project is made possible due to the generosity of donors who contributed to the YMCA’s capital campaign.
The YMCA is led by Larry Richardson, who has been a tireless advocate for families all across the greater York community. I give him and his team a lot of credit for this project.
Photo credit: Randy Flaum
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, May 24 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.