In this update:
Proposed constitutional amendments one step closer to voter input
To ensure that citizens are heard, the General Assembly approved a measure that would put five proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot for voters to decide. The measure must be approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session to go before the voters.
The proposed amendments would:
The process of amending the constitution is lengthy and deliberative. It will give citizens across the commonwealth the appropriate time to weigh the merits of the proposals and have their voices heard.
Chief Uncas, 1912 electric boat, now at Susquehanna National Heritage Area
This week, my team and I met with Mark Platts and his team to check out the latest addition to the Susquehanna National Heritage Area – a 1912 electric-powered boat named the Chief Uncas.
We had a great discussion on how we can work together to make this national landmark and local treasure an even better place for guests young and old. The Chief Uncas is an incredible asset to our community, and I look forward to seeing many new memories made along the Susquehanna River due to Mark and his team’s tireless efforts.
View more photos from my visit here.
You can learn more about the Susquehanna National Heritage Area here.
Touring York County Quick Response Team
Thank you to York County District Attorney Dave Sunday for providing Sen. Mike Regan, Rep. Seth Grove, Rep. Kate Klunk and me with a hands-on tour of the York County Quick Response Team site.
This top-notch entity is comprised of our local law enforcement community leaders in partnership with county, state, and federal law enforcement and fosters collaborative specialized police units to handle the most difficult situations throughout York County.
Thank you to all of our law enforcement officers for your tireless efforts to keep York County safe for everyone.
Public hearing focuses on concerns regarding Governor and Lieutenant Governor disability procedures
The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing Monday to review the legal requirements for incapacitated governors or lieutenant governors.
According to the Committee Chairman, Sen. Dave Argall, these procedures came into the spotlight in May when Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman underwent a pacemaker operation following a stroke. President Pro Tempore Jake Corman served as acting lieutenant governor from May 17-23. Since his stroke, Lieutenant Governor Fetterman has not presided over the Senate.
You can learn more about this week’s public hearing here.
Crime victims will receive more support under new law
Legislation passed by the Senate and signed into law this month gives crime victims legal standing in court, updates crime victim compensation, provides notice of events in the judicial process and enhances victim confidentiality for domestic and sexual violence crimes.
This law ensures victims can now stand in court and assert their own rights, and it gives them recourse when their rights are ignored.
Giving victims standing was part of Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment to guarantee crime victims’ rights. More than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians voted in favor of the amendment in 2019. However, the outcome was set aside by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court due to a technicality with the ballot question.
New laws aim to improve information sharing and health outcomes
Bipartisan legislation designed to improve the ability of health care providers to treat the overall health of patients is now law.
Act 32 and Act 33 of 2022 amend the Mental Health Procedures Act and the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act to allow for sharing of patient information among providers, facilities and insurers. The changes would also meet existing Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements to ensure patient confidentiality.
Under current law, mental health and physical health information cannot be fully shared among providers in Pennsylvania. The proposed changes would bring Pennsylvania in line with the majority of states that already share this information and are seeing improved patient outcomes.
Call 988 for suicide prevention and crisis support
Pennsylvanians now have an easier way to connect to behavioral or mental health crisis services. Dialing 988 will connect callers directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The Lifeline’s trained crisis response professionals support individuals considering suicide, self-harm, or any behavioral or mental health need for themselves or people looking for help for a loved one. Lifeline services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the caller.
988 counselors located at 13 crisis call centers around Pennsylvania can immediately provide phone-based support and connections to local resources.
Logan Shearer earns Eagle Scout
Congratulations to Logan Shearer of Troop 127 in Abbottstown on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout!
Chloe Mandara, who serves as Legislative Director for our office and grew up across the street from Logan, was honored to present him with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania to commemorate his significant achievement.
Logan, the son of Rebecca and Mark Shearer, erected three flagpoles in Heidelberg Park for his Eagle Scout community service project.
Well done, Logan!
National Guard needs mentors for at-risk teens
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs needs adult mentors to work with at-risk teens in the Keystone State ChalleNGe Academy (KSCA) at Ft. Indiantown Gap.
The program provides Pennsylvania teens who are struggling an opportunity to achieve the discipline and skills necessary to succeed as productive and responsible citizens through an engaging and structured residential experience. Cadets will be guided to improve their academic standing and increase their potential for future employment or further education.
Each mentor will be counted on to meet with a cadet on a routine basis to ensure they are progressing in residency and then achieving their post-residency goals. Mentors will participate in training sessions during the residential phase to ensure they are fully prepared for their critical role. All mentors will be required to pass state and federal level background checks as a condition of volunteering. You can read more about the program and volunteer here.
Sign up for my forthcoming veterans email update
Next week, I will be sending my second update on veteran-specific issues and events important to our community. If you are interested in receiving this update from me next week, please sign up here.