In this update:
Expedited process to rebuild infrastructure in Philadelphia should be norm
Gov. Josh Shapiro recently released an op-ed touting the successful, temporary fix on Interstate 95 that took 12 days to complete. The governor credits strong leadership, speeding up bureaucracy, encouraging creativity, and working together for the speedy infrastructure fix.
Meanwhile, our community was forced to endure a dragged out, seven-year project, due to PennDOT awarding the contract to update the Mt. Rose Interchange to the “lowest responsible bidder,” a bidder, that with a simple online search, has a well-documented and known history of change-order scheming.
While the lowest bid sounds good on the surface, the state should do its homework to make sure we do not allow documented bad actors win major contracts that inevitably cost the taxpayers more dollars and as we know all too well, many, many headaches.
The state’s procurement code requires state agencies to award bids to the lowest responsible bidder. However, the law provides stipulations for suspension or debarment of contractors based on work performed only in Pennsylvania.
This is why I have introduced legislation that would expand the review into a bidder’s performance in other states, including the ability to meet deadlines and unbalanced bids.
You can find more information on this initiative here.
In addition, earlier this session year, the Senate of Pennsylvania passed permitting reform legislation. Sponsored by Sen. Greg Rothman and me, the legislation is aimed to streamline and expedite the state’s historically sluggish permitting process.
Celebrating the Central PA Direct Care Worker of the year
This week, I visited the Visiting Nurse Association of Hanover & Spring Grove to present Marsha Spangler with a congratulatory citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania for being named the 2023 Central PA Direct Care Worker of the Year!
When I arrived, nurses, administrative staff, and board members were lined up to celebrate Marsha. The love and admiration for Marsha and the impact of her work was radiating! Marsha has been with the VNA for more than 40 years and currently serves as a hospice aide, but more importantly, a role model for her coworkers and the next generation of caregivers.
It was such an honor to help celebrate such a special person who has made an incredible difference in the lives of so many community members. Congratulations again, Marsha!
Student opportunities for success examined by Senate committee
Parents and advocates said they need expanded learning opportunities during a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee.
The version of the 2023-24 state budget, approved by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, contains $100 million to fund the PASS (Pennsylvania Award for Student Success) Program, which would provide low-income students in low-performing schools with scholarships to attend the school of their choice. Gov. Josh Shapiro has threatened to line-item veto this funding after previously voicing support for the program.
However, there is still time for the governor to uphold his promise to not just Senate Republicans, but also the children and their parents all across Pennsylvania by supporting the budget he agreed to.
If you agree, please sign my petition here.
Funding the PASS Program would empower parents and families in the education of their children and would not take a single dollar away from public schools. The state budget passed by the Senate also includes a $567 million increase in basic education funding.
What’s brewing in our York County Trail Towns
I had a great time at the York County Economic Alliance’s Economics Club Breakfast! The July installment was a panel discussion with representatives from some of the breweries in our York County Trail Towns.
Jared Barnes from Collusion Tap Works, Richard Foard from Vortex Brewing and Mike LaHatte from AleCraft Brewery all participated!
I was also able to present the York County Trail Towns a citation for their recent state-wide Townie Award for Community Asset Enhancement at the PA Downtown Center Awards! With the partnerships between YCEA, local governments, residents, and business owners I look forward to seeing how we can continue the flourishing trail towns initiative and making our communities vibrate hubs for trail users!
PA State Universities hold the line on tuition
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) board of governors voted to freeze tuition for the fifth consecutive year, a decision made possible by the financial support provided in state budgets passed by the General Assembly.
The budget passed by the House and Senate would provide an increase of $33 million, or 6%, to PASSHE universities. Offering Pennsylvanians education empowerment and access has been and will continue to be a Senate Republican priority.
The cost for students, had it kept pace with inflation since 2018, would be 21% higher today. In addition to keeping in-state undergraduate tuition at $7,716 for the sixth year, PASSHE students will receive $125 million in university-funded financial aid to help them afford their education.
Grand opening of Level Up Beauty Academy
It was great joining the York County Economic Alliance for the grand opening of Level Up Beauty Acadamy! Jaxi Rodriquez’s entrepreneurial spirit was shining through as she cut the ribbon for her new cosmetology school.
Level Up Beauty Academy has programs specializing in nail technicians, braiding, and estheticians. Good luck and congratulations again, Jaxi!
REAL ID Extension allows access through May 2025
Pennsylvania residents will be able to use their current driver license to access federal facilities through May 7, 2025, under an extension granted by the federal government last week.
REAL ID is a federal law that affects how states issue driver’s licenses and ID cards if they are going to be acceptable for federal purposes, such as boarding a domestic commercial flight, or entering a military installation or federal facility that requires ID.
REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards are available now to consumers who wish to obtain them. Learn more, including whether you need a REAL ID and what information you must provide if you do, here.
Free help available to PA small businesses
There are 15 Small Business Development Centers in Pennsylvania that provide free, confidential consulting and low-cost training to small businesses across the state. Trainings cover a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investing funding opportunities and more.
York County is served by the Shippensburg Small Business Development Center, which you can find here.
Whether you have an idea for a new business, want to improve your existing business or would like to buy or sell a business in Pennsylvania, experienced business consultants are available to help you. Read more here.
Thomas Pokrivka achieving the rank of Eagle Scout
Congratulations to Thomas Pokrivka of Troop 48 in Glen Rock on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor to present him with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania in recognition of his significant achievement!
Thomas, the son of Martin and Jill Pokrivka, refurbished a storage shed at Austin L Grove Post 403 American Legion in Glen Rock for his Eagle project. Well done, Thomas!
Observing World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
Sunday, July 30, is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. By observing this solemn day, we hope to raise awareness of this disturbing exploitation and how to spot trafficking in action. If you suspect human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or the ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313.
Building upon my legislation that turned into Act 1 of 2020, the Senate unanimously voted to help child human trafficking victims by granting them full access to appropriate services and support. Tragically, 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 services, and Senate Bill 45 would eliminate the third-party control requirement to access victim services under the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Notification Act.
You can find more information on both Senate Bill 44 and Senate Bill 45 here.
Thanks for coming out to Stewartstown, check out your local National Night Out next week!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to see my team and me at the Stewartstown Carnival last weekend! It was great to see so many familiar faces.
This Tuesday, Aug. 1, is National Night Out. I will be with the Penn Township Police Department, but I encourage you to visit your local police department’s event!
National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. There is food and fun for all ages!
Local job openings
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