In this update:
Governor Wolf allows taxpayer transparency bill to become law without his signature
On Sunday evening, the governor chose not to sign or veto House Bill 2463, sponsored by Representative Seth Grove. If a bill sits on the governor’s desk for more than 10 days, it automatically becomes law.
Even though every single member of the General Assembly voted in favor of this bill, Governor Wolf called the legislation ill-conceived and threatened a veto. However, in the face of enormous public pressure, he backed down and allowed it to become law.
Under this new law, Governor Wolf and future governors are prohibited from directing a state agency to ignore citizen requests for government records during an emergency declaration.
You can read more about this legislation here.
Latest podcast features Citizens Volunteer Fire Chief Jimmy Williams
Volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services (EMS) are facing significant challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic throughout York County.
In my latest podcast, I discuss the many issues confronting volunteer first responders with Jimmy Williams, Fire Chief of Citizens Volunteer Fire Company of Fawn Grove.
In 2020, Chief Williams’ department has responded to more than 100 calls to date. In Pennsylvania and across York County, most residents are covered by volunteer fire companies and EMS companies.
One study estimated that volunteer first responders save taxpayers over $6 billion each year.
We know these services are not free, and these local fire and ambulance companies rely heavily on donations and fundraisers.
Williams said that the coronavirus has put a financial strain on many local departments.
Senate public hearing on safe reopening of schools
Earlier this week, I participated in a Senate Majority Policy Committee workshop discussion with education professionals to discuss the safe re-opening of Pennsylvania schools.
The hearing featured testimony from several education stakeholders from across the state, along with senators and representatives.
My line of questioning focused on liability protections needed for school districts amid any safe re-opening plan. You can watch below.
You can watch the hearing in its entirety here.
Did you receive suspicious seeds in the mail from China?
Pennsylvanians are receiving unordered seeds from overseas labeled as jewelry as part of a scam.
These seeds may contain plant diseases or invasive plants that could harm Pennsylvania farms and ecosystem. Please discard and report the package to the United States Department of Agriculture confidential hotline at 1-800-877-3835 or email SITC.Mail@aphis.usda.gov.
Learn more here.
Today is the deadline for employers to apply for hazard pay for employees
Today (Friday, July 31) is the deadline for Pennsylvania employers in life-sustaining occupations to apply for state reimbursement of COVID-19 hazard pay for critical front-line employees.
Employers may apply for up to $1,200 per eligible full-time equivalent employee.
Employers can find eligibility requirements and applications here.
I will be on PCN at noon on Monday, August 3
On Monday, I will appear on the Pennsylvania Cable Network at noon to discuss legislation I am sponsoring with Senators Baker, Stefano and Brooks to provide pandemic liability protections. My legislation applies to businesses and schools. You can read more about our legislation here.
You can find the PCN Channel Listing here. I hope you can tune in!
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT shared with me the upcoming maintenance project list for next week. You can view that below.
PennDOT will also be conducting work at the Mt. Rose Interchange this weekend. Details can be found here.