In this update:
Senate to begin posting all expenses online next month… I’ve been posting my expenses dating back to the start of my term
The Senate of Pennsylvania has developed a new reporting system to make all Senate expenses available without additional filing requirements beginning on September 1.
In May, The Caucus, a watchdog publication based in Harrisburg, noted that I am one of four lawmakers who they determined “exceeds expectations” when it comes to the best combination of transparency and accuracy when it comes to reporting of expenditures.
In the article, The Caucus wrote that Senator Lindsey Williams and I “were the only legislators in either chamber who posted the actual monthly expense reports from the chamber’s internal computer system.”
My expenditures can be found here.
The information will include all office leases, reimbursements, lodging, supplies, mileage, meals, office maintenance, per diems and much more.
Transparency is the hallmark of good governance and one that I take very seriously as a state senator. I am pleased to see the entire Senate of Pennsylvania take this much-needed step.
Learn more here.
Meet York County’s six newest Eagle Scouts!
This past week, I had the great fortune of presenting Senate of Pennsylvania citations to several Eagle Scouts from York County.
Michael Fisher of Troop 90 earned his Eagle Scout after designing and installing a gear drying rack for the Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Company for his Eagle project. His efforts will save he and his fellow firefighters valuable time and resources. Well done, Michael!
I also celebrated four new Eagle Scouts last weekend. Congratulations to Ethan Shaffer, Jonathan Cunnings, David Willis and Ethan Maddox of Troop 43 in Dallastown who all achieved the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor to join their family, friends, fellow scouts and scout leaders to celebrate their significant achievements!
For their Eagle Scout projects, Ethan constructed a fire pit at the Bridgeway Community Church in York. Jonathan repainted the dining hall at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Seven Valleys. David renovated the stage area of the Christ Lutheran Church social room. Ethan renovated the storeroom at the Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.
Congratulations to Jason Bruder of Troop 94 in Shiloh for earning his Eagle Scout this past weekend!
Jason installed two flagpoles, designed and installed a sign, and landscaped the area outside the York College of Pennsylvania’s Veterans Lounge for his Eagle project. Well done, Jason!
We are incredibly honored to have so many young men in our community who have achieved this significant rank within Scouts. I look forward to their future endeavors and continued success!
Hearing examines COVID-19 policies for the upcoming school year
With the start of the new school year approaching, the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing last Friday on COVID-19 policies and guidance for Pennsylvania schools.
The committee questioned Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam, Education Secretary Noe Ortega and Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Sherri Smith. Committee members questioned the constitutional authority for school districts to impose pandemic-related mandates on students without an emergency declaration.
You can view the hearing and read testimony here.
Touring York County Food Bank – here is how you can help
I recently had the opportunity to tour the York County Food Bank (YCFB) with their hard working staff and dedicated volunteers. The YCFB, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and their partner agencies continue to provide healthy, nutritious food to those in need throughout our community. If you or someone you know currently needs food assistance, please visit the “Find Food” page on www.centralpafoodbank.org or call 717-564-1700.
You can also sign up to volunteer or donate food on their website.
More info can also be found here.
Federal unemployment benefit programs end Sept. 4
Reminder for affected Pennsylvanians: Federal unemployment benefit programs, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), will end September 4.
This includes the additional $300 per week provided by the federal program.
The state’s regular unemployment compensation program and those receiving benefits from it are unaffected.
Individuals currently enrolled in PEUC and PUA can take advantage of free jobseeker services offered through PA CareerLink. These services include access to a free job database, resume assistance, information about reskilling opportunities and more. To schedule an appointment, contact your local PA CareerLink office listed here.
Legislative Review: Supporting emergency responders
The police, fire and rescue, and EMS organizations that lead local emergency response are critical components for ensuring public safety. The Senate passed several bills in 2021 to support the men and women who support our communities.
Senate Resolution 96 directs the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to conduct a performance audit on Pennsylvania’s critical 9-1-1 System and make recommendations in advance of the reauthorization of the 9-1-1 Law.
Senate Bill 36 provides for license fee exemptions for service dogs used by a fire department, sheriff’s office or in the performance of rescue services or medical emergency services.
Senate Bill 83 creates grants to establish fire training programs for students in high school.
Senate Bill 158 provides for medals of commendation for law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.
Senate Bill 243 allows volunteer fire departments, veterans organizations and other non-profits to conduct small games of chance fundraisers online until May 1, 2022 to make up for fundraising revenue lost during the pandemic.
You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.
Volunteer to help those in our community with their taxes
The AARP Tax-Aide Foundation Program is expanding its team of volunteers in York County for the upcoming tax season. Tax-Aide is a program that offers free tax filing help for those who need it most, especially adults 50 and older, during tax season. AARP membership is not required.
Annually in York County, nearly 100 AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers file more than 4,000 Federal, PA and local tax returns throughout York County. The program is offered at 15 locations in: York, Hanover, Delta, Dover, Lewisberry, Manchester, Mt Wolf, Red Lion, Shrewsbury, Spring Grove and Wrightsville.
For more information on how to get started as a volunteer, contact Dick Hershey at 717-640-5006 or email@example.com.
Join 700+ of our neighbors who have made their opinions known on the Gov. Wolf’s commission’s report on future transportation funding – take my survey
Many of our neighbors have weighed in on my latest survey seeking feedback on a report issued by the governor’s commission tasked with studying new ways to pay for maintenance of our roads, bridges and highways.
After reviewing preliminary feedback, I see a lot of concern over the lower cost to drive an electric vehicle in Pennsylvania compared to the high cost to drive a gasoline vehicle due to the state’s excessively high gas tax the legislature and governor pushed through in 2013 (before my time in the legislature).
Act 89 of 2013 pushed Pennsylvania’s gas tax to the second highest in the nation, which continues to frustrate motorists, and rightfully so!
My survey seeks your input on yet another major tax hike on Pennsylvania motorists. Let me know what you think and learn more about this commission’s report here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT will post its list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects to its website. You can view the schedule for next week here.
Ramp closures Sunday through Tuesday at Exit 4 (Shrewsbury) Interchange
Please be advised that there will be ramp closures over the coming days at the Exit 4 (Shrewsbury) Interchange. Here is the latest from PennDOT:
“Weather permitting, the southbound I-83 off- and on-ramps to and from Route 851 will be closed from 9 PM Sunday, August 15, to 5 AM Monday, August 16.
Motorists on Route 851 can access southbound I-83 by traveling north on I-83 to Exit 8/Glen Rock to south on I-83. Motorists on southbound I-83 wishing to access Exit 4 from north of the interchange should take Exit 8/Glen Rock to westbound Route 216 to southbound Susquehanna Trail.
The northbound I-83 off- and on-ramps will be closed from 9 PM Monday, August 16, to 5 AM Tuesday, August 17.
Motorists on Route 851 can access northbound I-83 by traveling north on Susquehanna Trail to eastbound Route 216, to Exit 8/Glen Rock and northbound I-83. Motorists on northbound I-83 wishing to access Exit 4 from south of the interchange should continue north to Exit 8/Glen Rock, then travel south on I-83 to Exit 4.
These closures will allow the contractor to perform final paving on the ramps.”