In this update:
General Assembly votes to terminate governor’s emergency declaration
On May 18, voters all across the Commonwealth weighed in on two proposed constitutional amendments to address the governor’s unilateral emergency powers. In York County, the constitutional amendments were approved with at least 63 percent of the vote. Statewide, both issues were approved by voters leading to major changes to YOUR Constitution.
Listen to my comments here.
This week, the legislature took the next step to terminate the governor’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, as well as approve legislation to ensure many of the state regulations and red tape that have been waived would remain in place.
The votes I made this week reflect the overwhelming majority (63% in York County) support to restore checks and balances in YOUR state government.
You can learn more about this issue here.
Senate approves my bill banning vaccine passports
The Senate approved legislation I co-authored with Senator Judy Ward (R-30) that would ban the state or any local municipality or school district from imposing a proof of vaccination requirement.
The legislation was amended this week to ban colleges and universities that receive direct state taxpayer funded subsidies from requiring proof of vaccines. Furthermore, the bill also would prohibit the Secretary of Health from imposing face mask requirements, travel restrictions, social distancing, shelter in place and closures of privately owned businesses.
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
You can learn more about my Senate Bill 618 here.
Three-Time State Champ Tiffani Baublitz recognized in Senate
It was an honor to meet and host Tiffani Baublitz, a three-time state champion of the Pennsylvania Girls Wrestling Tournament, in the Senate this week.
Tiffani was with several other state champion wrestlers to be formally recognized by the Senate of Pennsylvania for their significant accomplishments.
Tiffani and her peers continue to compete across the Commonwealth and nation, earning accolades with every victory. Tiffani wrestled for Kennard-Dale High School and will be attending King University in Tennessee to continue her success on the mat in one the nation’s top female wrestling program.
She is ranked second in the nation in her weight class, according to USA Wrestling.
After Wolf Administration failed victims, I am proposing Constitutional amendment accountability
This week, I introduced legislation that would require the Pennsylvania Department of State to publicly post to an online tracker the steps they take to comply with proposed constitutional amendments.
This legislation would address the Department of State’s failure to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment that would retroactively extend the timeline for victims to file litigation against their abusers.
Listen to my comments here.
The Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General noted in its report that “internal systemic failures” and lacking “consistent communication” led to the failure of the Wolf Administration’s role to carry out the constitutional amendment process.
My bill is simple; Senate Bill 738 would require the Department of State to create a publicly accessible website that will provide a detailed account of each action taken to publish a proposed constitutional amendment.
You can learn more about my legislation here.
Local pastors open up session in prayer
As I noted in my email update last week, York County is blessed to have many great religious leaders in various denominations and faiths.
Several of those leaders have agreed to serve as a guest chaplain of the Senate of Pennsylvania, where they pray for the Senate, the state and the people of this Commonwealth.
This week, I was pleased to host two local pastors who provided thoughtful and meaningful prayer before our Senate session.
On Tuesday, Pastor Beth Holz of Mount Nebo United Methodist Church in Delta served as our guest chaplain. You can watch her prayer below.
On Wednesday, Pastor Adam Bower of Praise Community Church in York served as our guest chaplain. You can watch his prayer below.
Robby Brick, a rising junior at Central York, spends a day at the Capitol
Robert, or Robby, Brick of Manchester Township shadowed me for the day on Monday. Robby and his mother, Sarah, sat in on several legislative meetings I held during the session day in Harrisburg.
During the day, Robby also got to tour the state Capitol and sit in on our legislative session. Robby will be a junior at Central York this fall, plays varsity soccer for the Panthers and is a member of Student Council.
Prior to session, Robby and I grabbed a quick photo and ran into Lt. Governor Fetterman. A fellow Panther, the lieutenant governor was gracious enough to show Robby the rostrum where he presides over our Senate session.
Contact tracing data breach issues pile up
As you know, the Department of Health entered into a sole source contract with a Georgia-based vendor tasked with conducting contact tracing for people who contract COVID-19. The vendor, Insight Global, was inked a one-year, $22.9 million contract.
Last month, the committee I chair attempted to hold an oversight hearing on a massive data breach impacting more than 72,000 Pennsylvanians who had their personal health care information sitting on the Internet for anyone to access. The Department of Health backed out the Friday prior to our public hearing.
Now Spotlight PA is reporting that this information is still sitting on the Internet, including information on individuals under the age of 18.
You can learn more about this very troubling issue here.
July 25, 2020: Dept. of Health signs $22.9 million contract with Georgia-based Insight Global to conduct contact tracing. Contract runs through July 31, 2021.
Feb. 25, 2021: Whistleblower alerts Dept. of Health of data breach with contact tracing information, according to media reports.
Apr. 30, 2021: WPXI-TV reports that Insight Global posted more than 72,000 personal health care records of individuals subject to contact tracing online.
May 3, 2021: Senate Communications & Technology Committee, which I chair, plans a public hearing on the data breach.
Friday, May 7, 2021 at 6 p.m.: Department of Health backs out of testifying at public hearing.
May 11, 2021: Senate Communications & Technology Committee conducts public hearing to ask questions on data breach.
May 20, 2021: Department of Health announces they will terminate the contract with Insight Global, effective June 19, 2021.
June 9, 2021: Spotlight PA reports the data “is still available online in a document accessible to anyone with a link more than a month after the company responsible said the data had been secured.” Data contains personal health care information of individuals, including minors.
Recognizing Cystic Fibrosis Month in Pennsylvania
As the co-chair of the Cystic Fibrosis Caucus in the Senate, I was pleased to sponsor the resolution to recognize “Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
In the 1950s, children living with Cystic Fibrosis would be lucky to live long enough to attend elementary school.
Today, we have individuals with a Cystic Fibrosis diagnosis who live long and productive lives.
This resolution thanks the medical breakthroughs we have had on this disease to date while we still search for a cure to eradicate this disease.
Senator Chris Gebhard sworn in
Congratulations to Senator Chris Gebhard, who was sworn in during Senate session yesterday. Senator Gebhard represents all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York Counties.
In York County, he represents: Conewago Twp., East Manchester, Twp. Newberry Twp. and Springettsbury Twp. as well as Goldsboro, Lewisberry, Manchester, Mount Wolf and York Haven.
I look forward to working with Senator Gebhard on issues important to the people of York County.
You can learn more about Senator Gebhard here.
Local jobs from PA CareerLink
PA CareerLink shared with me its 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 its list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects, which you can view below.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes for voting on Monday, June 14, at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.