In this update:
UPDATE: Lawmakers approved a concurrent resolution last week that requires Governor Wolf to terminate his COVID-19 emergency declaration, clearing the way for businesses to reopen safely statewide. The measure would not affect the state’s ability to receive federal funding or impact the ability of Pennsylvanians to receive unemployment and other federally funded benefits.
To date, the governor has refused to do his Constitutional duty to end the disaster declaration. Senate leaders have petitioned the courts to force the governor to end his emergency declaration, and the state Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the case in less than two weeks. Unfortunately, this means that until the issue is settled in the courts, all of the governor’s current orders remain in effect. However, this could change if the courts rule in favor of ending the declaration.
In the meantime, I will continue to share information on the governor’s orders and guidance for informational purposes.
Hearing explores accountability, equality in law enforcement and criminal justice system
Two Senate committees held hearings on Wednesday and Thursday to gather input on potential reforms that would ensure accountability and equality in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The hearings included more than 40 participants who shared ideas and perspectives on issues like improved police training, updating use of force policies, parole reform and the potential consequences of defunding police.
Testifiers on Wednesday included Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, district attorneys, the NAACP, ACLU and other activists. Experts in law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice testified on Thursday.
While I am not a member of either committee, I watched and listened to the testifiers present their suggestions and solutions on this important matter.
I was most pleased with our District Attorney, Dave Sunday, who provided a great story of when he joined the Navy that should resonate with each and every one of us. You can watch his opening statement below.
Video of the second day of hearings is available here.
You can view my comments on the importance of listening and acting during this difficult time below.
Grants available to meet health and safety needs of students
I supported a bill that was signed into law several weeks ago that dedicates a portion of the state’s funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to create a new grant program for schools to better protect the health and safety of students, teachers and school employees.
The application period for the new COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grants program is open now through June 30. The program is designed to help schools manage new responsibilities in light of the pandemic, including cleaning and sanitizing, purchasing supplies, training staff, modifying school facilities, providing resources for distancing learning and more.
In addition, a second grant program was created to support non-public schools. The new COVID-19 Disaster Emergency Targeted School Health and Safety Grants program allows Intermediate Units (IUs) to apply on behalf of non-public schools. Applications for that program must be completed by July 8.
I strongly encourage our local school districts, area career and technical centers, IUs, charter schools, regional charter schools and cyber charter schools to apply. More information on the grants is available on the School Safety and Security Committee’s website.
Training program supports elder abuse reporting
Pennsylvanians who are responsible for the wellbeing of older state residents can learn more about mandatory reporting requirements through a new training module created by the Department of Aging.
The training module takes about 30 minutes to complete and includes a great deal of information on how to protect older Pennsylvanians against abuse and neglect. Anyone with an existing account on the Department of Aging Learning Management System can access the training module here. Individuals who do not have an account can request one here.
Capitol reopens to visitors on Monday
The Pennsylvania Department of General Services has announced the Capitol Complex will reopen to the public on Monday with modified infection prevention protocols. Visitors to the Capitol will be required to wear a mask to enter the building and adhere to social distancing protocols.
If you’d like to take a virtual tour of your Capitol building, please take few minutes to watch the following video I put together below.
Change in restaurant industry guidance supports small breweries
Restaurant industry guidance issued by the Wolf Administration included a number of concerning provisions, including a prohibition on refilling food and beverage containers. This restriction would have severely impacted small breweries since refilling growlers is a big part of their business.
The Department of Health recently reversed course on this decision, mandating that beverage containers brought in by customers can be refilled without contact with the tap, containers are sanitized before each use, or if the tap is sanitized before and after each use.
PennDOT maintenance projects planned for next week
Below is a list of PennDOT maintenance projects planned for York County next week.
Please be advised that today through Tuesday morning, the York Railroad Company will replace a railroad crossing along W. Market Street in West Manchester Township. Details of the road closure and detour can be found here.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, June 22 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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