In this update:
Senate advances legislation with bipartisan support that will protect women’s sports
Legislation, known as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, that I sponsored along with Sen. Judy Ward was approved by the Senate of Pennsylvania this week.
The bill protects the integrity of women’s sports in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 1191 states that school athletic teams designated for women should not be open to those of the male sex. The bill defines “sex” as the biological distinction between male and female, based on reproductive biology and genetic make-up.
Sen. Ward and I introduced the bill earlier this year after concerns grew about preserving the increased athletic opportunities female students have gained since Title IX was enacted 50 years ago next week.
You can read more here.
Hearings explore data breach notification in state government, blockchain technology
The Senate Communications and Technology Committee, which I chair, held two days of public hearings with the House State Government Committee.
Our hearing on Tuesday reviewed legislation that would require timely notification to victims of a state or local government data breach. This was a result of the massive data breach with the state’s third-party vendor tasked with COVID-19 contact tracing that impacted more than 70,000 victims, including children. You can watch the hearing in its entirety below.
The public hearing on Wednesday focused on blockchain technology and its impact and role in state government. You can watch the hearing in its entirety below.
Unanimous support for my bill to help locally owned restaurants, bars, taverns, breweries
The Senate unanimously approved my legislation that would allow for amplified sound during certain hours at restaurants, bars, breweries, clubs and hotels.
Currently, only limited wineries are afforded this option in our antiquated liquor laws. However, this change will open the opportunity to all liquor license holders.
Our Commonwealth experienced the second most restrictive economic shutdown during the pandemic. The hardest hit industry was our hospitality sector. This legislation will provide a much-needed boost to our locally owned establishments across York County, especially during the warm summer months.
You can learn more here.
Senate approves Poll Watcher Empowerment Act to increase election oversight, integrity
The Senate approved the Poll Watcher Empowerment Act to ensure election laws are strictly adhered to and improve confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections.
Senate Bill 573 would allow all registered Pennsylvania voters to be eligible to be a poll watcher in any precinct in the state and ensures poll watchers can clearly observe the pre-canvassing and counting of all ballots.
The bill would stiffen penalties against any election official who blocks, impedes or otherwise intimidates a poll watcher on Election Day. It would not change any duties, powers or responsibilities of poll watchers. Senate Bill 573 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill is the third election integrity measure passed by the Senate this year, along with the elimination of controversial ballot drop boxes and prohibiting third-party funding of elections.
Capitol rally aims to stop Wolf bridge tolling plan
The No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition was joined by lawmakers at a capitol rally Wednesday to voice opposition to the Wolf administration’s plan to toll interstate bridges in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan proposes tolling to pay for bridge projects and has received an overwhelming amount of disapproval, including from citizens, members of the General Assembly, local officials and business operators.
PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) bridge tolling initiative would cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input nor approval.
The Senate passed Senate Bill 382, which reforms the P3 statute and voids PennDOT’s plan.
However, Gov. Wolf has stated that he will veto the bill. Commonwealth Court temporarily halted the tolling plan. The Wolf administration has appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
As I wrote to you last week, bridge tolling has strong opposition among our neighbors.
Upcoming podcast to feature newly hired state Broadband Development Authority Executive Director
My next podcast episode will feature a conversation with Brandon Carson, the newly hired executive director of the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority.
The Authority, on which I serve as the Senate Republican Caucus’ representative, is tasked with deploying federal tax dollars aimed at closing the digital divide. The Authority was created after months of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations to best position the state to be effective stewards of taxpayer dollars for this purpose.
If you are interested in our upcoming conversation, please subscribe on your favorite podcast platform:
You can learn more here.
10th Annual Fallen Heroes Ride raises awareness
This past weekend, veterans and advocates for our American heroes came together for the 10th Annual Fallen Heroes Ride at American Legion Dallastown Post 605. They rode for those who can’t – First Lt. Daren M. Hidalgo, Sgt. Christopher M. Wrinkle and Staff Sgt. Tosca, Staff Sargent Benjamin S. Hines and Navy Seaman Gatlin Scott Green.
Thank you for raising awareness and continuing to forever remember the legacy of these local fallen heroes! You can view more photos from the event here.
Welcoming job shadow Esperanza Trevino of Windsor Township to the Senate of Pennsylvania
This week, I had the opportunity to host Esperanza Trevino of Windsor Township as a job shadow during a busy session day at the state Capitol.
Ms. Trevino has an interest in public service and, more specifically, state government. It was an honor to host her for the day.
You can watch Esperanza, or Espe as she’s known to her friends, introduced during Senate session here.
Scammers are stealing military pensions
Pennsylvania veterans and their advocates should be aware of an increase in scammers looking to poach their VA pensions, warns the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
“Pension poaching” occurs when scammers or dishonest financial planners charge veterans or their beneficiaries for help in applying for or submitting applications for VA pensions. The scheme often involves financial maneuvers such as advising claimants to hide their assets in trusts or annuity products sometimes resulting in lost investments and lucrative fees paid to the advisor.
The DMVA says veterans and their advocates should remember to never share their VA login information, or deposit VA benefits directly into a third-party bank account unless the person is court appointed or a VA accredited fiduciary. More on avoiding pension poaching, and what to do if you know someone who was targeted, can be found here.
Youth Field Day a success!
Thank you to the York Area Sportsmen for Youth, Izaak Walton League Chapter 67, Hopewell Fish & Game Association, and all of the amazing volunteers that gave more than 150 children and their families the opportunity to experience a variety of great outdoor activities on Youth Field Day last weekend!
The canoeing and kayaking, fishing, archery, sporting clays, and conservation briefings with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the National Deer Association will help foster a love of the outdoors in the next generation! You can view more photos from the event here.
National Fishing and Boating Week
Pennsylvania has multiple settings for fishing and boating, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
HuntFishPA.com is a good place to start to find out what you need to enjoy angling. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission can help you find the best waters for fishing and information on fishing licenses, fishing seasons and more.
Boating Safety Education Certificates are required to operate a personal watercraft and for persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower. People who successfully complete an approved boating course are issued a Boating Safety Education Certificate good for a lifetime.
Local job postings
Upcoming PennDOT maintenance projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below.
The Senate of Pennsylvania will convene on Monday, June 13, at 1 p.m. You can watch all of the Senate votes and view our agenda here.