In this update:
Gov. Shapiro fails to deliver on promises
After Senate Republicans worked diligently to pass a bipartisan state budget, Gov. Josh Shapiro went back on one of his priority campaign commitments to school choice opportunities. He now says he will veto that provision. The governor has decided to betray the good faith agreement reached with legislative leaders, leaving an estimated quarter-million children in failing schools across Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) scholarship program would offer grants to low-income families with children in schools ranked in the bottom 15% for test scores and academic performance. Parents could use the funds for private school tuition, tutoring and other services.
In fact, one study revealed that 44% of teachers in Philadelphia send their own children to private schools – this is FOUR TIMES the national rate! Some of the loudest critics of this plan are either the beneficiaries of or send their own children to private school.
Every child in Pennsylvania deserves the opportunity for a quality education, which is why the budget plan passed by the Senate last week expanded educational programs and fully funded the governor’s requested amount for basic education for school districts at historic levels.
The Senate will continue to await legislative action by the House of Representatives on the remaining budgetary components as we work to enact a responsible spending plan that respects taxpayers and fulfills the governor’s pledge to save Pennsylvania children from failing schools.
Community Conversation to focus on broadband needs for southern York County
Pennsylvania is developing an action plan to make internet for all a reality, and York County has an opportunity to share our voice.
Join the upcoming community meeting on Tuesday, July 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Eureka Volunteer Fire & Ambulance Company, 82 N Main St, Stewartstown, PA 17363.
At the meeting the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, which I am a member of, the entity leading the state’s broadband expansion plan, will highlight its efforts to minimize the digital divide, supplying broadband service to unserved and underserved areas, and supporting digital skills enhancement. Ultimately, this meeting is intended to be a conversation so residents can share their experiences in accessing the internet and any associated challenges.
Next year, Pennsylvania will receive substantial federal funding for broadband expansion, adoption, and digital skills. As the state develops its plans, our input – as residents, businesses, local government leaders, and communities – is critical to ensuring our needs are clear. Hearing first-hand from people in York County is one of the first steps of the Commonwealth’s process, as our stories will provide a picture of what people in our area are experiencing.
Join the conversation on July 11 and learn more at https://dced.pa.gov/internet-for-all-community-event-registration-york/. Dinner will be provided, and registration is encouraged for an accurate headcount for meals needed.
Your input will help make a difference as we close the digital divide!
Senate protects sexually exploited children, human trafficking victims
The Senate approved legislation I co-sponsored to ensure that sexually exploited children who are human trafficking victims always have full access to appropriate services and support. This legislation was key on building upon the bipartisan success of Act 1 of 2020, the Buyer Beware Act.
Under current Pennsylvania law, any minor who is exploited for commercial sex must identify their third-party perpetrator to be considered a victim of human trafficking, unless their purchaser is charged as a trafficker.
Senate Bill 44 would ensure that third-party control is never a consideration for access to victim services. Senate Bill 45 would eliminate the third-party control requirement to access victim services under the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act.
This legislation will ensure that the most vulnerable victims of these heinous acts, children, are able to get the critical support services they need without hinderance.
You can learn more about these key pieces of legislation here.
I recently had the opportunity to meet and learn from Anne Basham, who is the founder and chair of the Interparliamentary Taskforce on Human Trafficking. She shared some startling statistics, including that less than 1% of all human trafficking victims are identified. Most victims are between 11 and 14 years of age. Additionally, the rising crime of “sextortion” has led to a rapid growth in suicides across the country. She shared examples of areas with localized task forces to address this issue that exists in every corner of our Commonwealth. Her perspectives serve as a troubling reminder that this crime continues to exist, and we must continue to do everything to eradicate it.
Commemorating the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Hanover
Last Friday, the Hanover community commemorated the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Hanover. It was the first battle of the Civil War to be fought on free soil.
FOX43 gave the Hanover Area Historical Society the opportunity to share this interesting time in our local history! You can find more information on the battle here.
Main Street Hanover trail wins statewide award
Congratulations to Main Street Hanover for winning the “2023 Townie Award” from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.
The Heart of Hanover Trails earned the award for the “Physical Improvements & Design-Public Space Improvements” category, competing against many other communities across the state.
There was no better time to celebrate their award-winning trail than on the 160th anniversary of the Battle of Hanover! The day started with at Guthrie Memorial Library with Songs & Stories of the Civil War, followed by an open house at the Neas House and guided tours of the Heart of Hanover Trails.
My team was honored to present a congratulatory citation on behalf of the Senate of Pennsylvania to commemorate this accomplishment!
You can find a map for self-guided tours through Hanover’s history here.
Helping children of National Guard and Reserve members adjust to new schools
Legislation that will reduce the educational challenges faced by children of National Guard and Reserve members was unanimously approved by the Senate.
Military families face frequent reassignments, posing educational challenges for children transitioning between schools in different states. Senate Bill 209 would give children of National Guard and Reserve members the same help provided to those of active-duty military families through the Military Interstate Children’s Compact.
The compact provides a consistent set of policies that make getting started in a new school, joining extracurricular activities, facilitating enrollment and meeting graduation requirements as easy as possible for military children.
Fourth of July Blast in Jacobus
I had a great time celebrating Independence Day in Jacobus at their Fourth of July Blast! Thank you to the Jacobus Lions Club, Goodwill Fire Company #1 of Jacobus, and the many volunteers for providing a wonderful community event that has become a tradition for so many families.
Congratulations to all the kiddie tractor pull participants! Thanks to Kim and Lance Beard, for bringing this event back again! And a big shout out to the master of ceremonies, Colonel Joe Innerst, for a great job announcing the event!
You can find photos from this event on my Instagram.
Bill to help medically fragile babies receives Senate support
The Senate approved legislation to provide critical care for medically fragile babies by expanding access to pasteurized human donor milk.
Senate Bill 500 would require Medical Assistance coverage for medically prescribed pasteurized human donor milk in both inpatient and outpatient settings for children who are less than a year old. The donor milk must be obtained from a milk bank licensed in Pennsylvania or through a hospital licensure process in accordance with the Keystone Mothers’ Milk Bank Act of 2020.
For very low birth-weight babies and other medically compromised infants, the use of donor milk is a proven, cost-effective way to improve health outcomes and lower health care costs. It protects against serious health complications that can lead to longer hospital stays, multiple medical and surgical procedures, readmissions, lifelong disability or even death.
To qualify for coverage, the child’s mother must be medically or physically unable to produce breast milk in an amount needed to meet the child’s needs.
Senate approves bill authorizing body cameras for parole agents
Legislation that would authorize state parole agents to wear body cameras was approved by the Senate.
Senate Bill 260 would allow state parole agents of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to wear body cameras capable of capturing encounters with parolees.
Under current law, state parole agents are not authorized to wear body cameras due to the Wiretap Act’s antiquated language. Other members of law enforcement including deputy sheriffs, municipal police officers and members of the Pennsylvania State Police are authorized.
Bill reforming Pennsylvania’s probation system passes Senate
The Senate passed legislation that would reform Pennsylvania’s probation system to give people a better pathway out of the criminal justice system.
Senate Bill 838 would establish a mandatory probation review conference for probationers, providing criteria for when they occur and a presumption that probation will be terminated unless the individual does not qualify.
It would also permit the review conference to occur earlier based on the good conduct of defendants by achieving certain educational, employment or other goals. A provision to allow for the waiving of the mandatory review conference in cases where all stakeholders agree it is unnecessary is also included.
Upcoming PennDOT maintenance projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below. If you have trouble viewing the schedule, please click here.