Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • York County Trail Towns will enhance already nationally renowned rail trail
  • Take my survey on fireworks
  • New law will forever remember York County native Corporal Michael Cohen
  • Senate Education Committee Chairman sends Education Secretary letter seeking clarity
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on COVID-19 data disparity in state nursing homes
  • Supreme Court rules against bipartisan legislative majority seeking to end emergency declaration
  • Deadline for small business grants is July 14
  • Fuel Their Fire Scholarship award winners
  • Guidelines and registration info available for COVID-19 Fire and EMS grants
  • Upcoming PennDOT projects
  • On deck

York County Trail Towns will enhance already nationally renowned rail trail


Over the last several weeks, I joined key stakeholders, including the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA), local elected officials, small business owners and neighbors to participate in “walk shops” in several boroughs along the York Heritage Rail Trail.

The “walk shops” are part of an information gathering effort to enhance the connection with the rail trail with communities.

I was pleased to work with the YCEA on the rollout of this program. According to their website, the YCEA touts that this initiative will bring economic benefits, employee recruitment and retention opportunities, business recruitment, health and wellness benefits, transportation benefits, community and education benefits, among many others

The launch of this program will include five communities: York City, Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad and New Freedom.

You can learn more about this collaborative effort that will make an already nationally renowned rail trail even better here and here. Stay up-to-date on the latest with Trail Towns by liking their Facebook Page here. 

Take my survey on fireworks


With Independence Day in the rearview mirror, I am continuing to hear from our neighbors who are sharing horror stories when it comes to firework activity in our community.

Legislation is currently being debated in Harrisburg to address these issues.

In 2017, the legislature approved and the governor signed into law Act 43, which legalized “consumer fireworks,” paving the way for individuals to purchase and set off fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman candles.

The law also prohibited these fireworks from being set off from within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

I voted against this legislation as a state representative because of the many concerns raised by local residents and the firefighting community.

My latest survey seeks your input – the citizens of the 28th Senatorial District – on what, if any, changes should be made to the existing law.

Please take a minute to fill it out and please feel free to share it with your neighbors. The more feedback I receive, the better!

Take my survey here.

New law will forever remember York County native Corporal Michael Cohen


The governor recently signed a measure into law that will dedicate a bridge near Lake Redman in honor of fallen U.S. Marine Corps. Corporal Michael Cohen.

This dedication was made possible by the family and friends of this fallen hero who contacted me about this proposal. I am grateful that this could be done to forever remember this local Marine who paid the ultimate sacrifice on November 22, 2004. Corporal Cohen’s personal story is inspiring and should serve as a reminder that we can never thank those enough who put on the uniform to answer our nation’s call.

You can read more about this new law here.

Senate Education Committee Chairman sends Education Secretary letter seeking clarity 

Senator Wayne Langerholc, chair of the Senate Education Committee, sent Pennsylvania Department of Education Secretary Rivera a letter seeking clarity given the latest confusion on school reopening plans and local efforts to date to ensure students, teachers and administrators can return safely this fall.

I thought it was important to share this letter with you as I continue to hear feedback from parents on behalf of students, as well as meet with every Superintendent within the 28th Senatorial District. You can read his letter here.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on COVID-19 data disparity in state nursing homes 

This past weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a report about a data disparity within Pennsylvania’s long-term care and nursing home facilities.

The article states, “In the last month, several Pennsylvania nursing homes have reduced the number of COVID-19 related deaths they had previously reported after the state told them residents who died after testing positive for the disease did not have to be counted if they had ‘recovered’ from the disease before they died.”

To learn more about this latest development, you can read the story here.

Supreme Court rules against bipartisan legislative majority seeking to end emergency declaration

Although precautions are still needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there is clearly no longer a need for Pennsylvania to remain under an emergency declaration. The only purpose the emergency declaration serves at this point is to allow Governor Wolf to bypass state laws, spend money without the authorization of the General Assembly, and ignore the will of the people – something the founders of our Commonwealth set out to prevent.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers voted to end the emergency declaration last month by a concurrent resolution. Unfortunately, the Democrat majority of the state Supreme Court sided with Governor Wolf last week and refused to force him to do his Constitutional duty to end the emergency declaration.

The General Assembly presented the resolution to Governor Wolf this week for his signature.

Although the resolution is highly unlikely to earn the governor’s signature, I am hopeful that the fact that the measure drew nearly enough support to override the governor’s veto will serve as a reminder of the need to abandon unilateral decision-making and work together to do what is in the best interest of all Pennsylvanians.

Although the court’s partisan ruling is a serious setback, I will continue to collaborate with the other legislative leaders to accomplish the important work that the Supreme Court refused to carry out – to limit the damage caused by the governor’s unilateral and flawed decision-making, and to restore the system of checks and balances that our government was founded on. 

Deadline for small business grants is July 14


Small businesses that were affected by COVID-19 can apply now through July 14 for state grants to offset financial losses caused by the statewide business shutdown order. The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance program will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to affected businesses that have 25 or fewer employees and meet other eligibility criteria.

Applications submitted after July 14 will be considered in future rounds of funding. Eligibility criteria, application details and other information on the program are available at

Fuel Their Fire Scholarship award winners

Last week, I was grateful to attend the Fuel Their Fire Scholarship Fund scholarship presentation at the York City Department of Fire/Rescue Services Station 1- Rex Laurel and present congratulatory certificates to scholarship recipients Makenna Caruso, Ashley Coggins and Griffin Kuhn.

It was a very poignant ceremony remembering the service and ultimate sacrifice of York City’s finest, Fire Fighters Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony, and celebrating the accomplishments of these exceptional students.

The Fuel Their Fire Scholarship Fund was established following the tragic building collapse on Broad St. on March 22, 2018 that killed York City Fire Fighters Flanscha and Anthony as a way to honor their legacy by awarding three $2,000 scholarships to deserving recipients each year…. hopefully forever. All of the money for the fund is raised by a committee of volunteers, led by Erik Swanson, through private donations and fundraising efforts and is administered by the York County Community Foundation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this effort! 

Guidelines and registration info available for COVID-19 Fire and EMS grants

Volunteer fire and EMS companies can register now for grants to help deal with the increased costs for services and reduced fundraising opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the program guidelines announced this week, the COVID-19 Crisis Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program will provide a one-time grant to all companies that received funding through the Fire Company Grant Program and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program (FCEMSGP) in the latest round of funding. Companies that were awarded funding through the program earlier this year must register to receive the additional funding from the new one-time program.

All surplus funding in the program will be distributed to each eligible company that meets the funding criteria and that submits a completed registration, including those that did not receive a 2019-2020 FCEMSGP grant award.

Companies can register for the grants at the Office of State Fire Commissioner’s website by following the COVID-19 Fire, Rescue and EMS Grant Instructions.

I sent a letter earlier this week to all of the fire companies and EMS stations across the 28th Senatorial District with this information.

Upcoming PennDOT projects 

PennDOT published their list of scheduled maintenance projects across York County, which can be viewed below.

In addition to those projects, PennDOT scheduled a weekend detour in Hellam Township to repair the Cool Creek Road over Kreutz Creek. You can learn more about that project here. PennDOT also announced this week online plans to display the planned Route 2079 (Red Lion Road) Bridge replacement in Felton Borough and the Route 851 (Bryansville Road) Bridge replacement in Peach Bottom Township.

On deck

The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, July 13 at 1 p.m. 

You can find out more about next week’s Senate session by visiting

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