In this update:
Gov. Shapiro Changes Motor Voter Process Without Your Input
A recent maneuver by Gov. Shapiro has immediately changed your experience at PA Driver License Centers from an “Opt In” to an “Opt Out” motor voter registration process, when a new application or renewal of your driver’s license is processed. This motor voter registration change was a unilateral decision made by the Executive Branch without input by the General Assembly.
The truth is there is no necessary reason to make this abrupt change in our voting process. Since 1993, federal law has been in place and already required state departments of transportation to provide the opportunity for simultaneous voter registration for federal elections when applying for or renewing a driver’s license and a photo ID.
Strengthening election integrity and access in Pennsylvania remains a key focus, as we firmly believe the foundation of a healthy and vigorous republic requires free, fair, and secure elections. Over the last few years, we have been actively working to address election concerns raised by Pennsylvanians from across the political spectrum, by increasing transparency, implementing a ‘Zuckerbucks’ ban, mandating continuous counting of ballots on election nights, and passing legislation which would implement Voter ID.
I am committed to continuing to look out for the millions of Pennsylvania voters who are lawfully eligible to vote and reviewing the changes to determine the best next steps for Pennsylvanians.
New Podcast Episode: Flooding 1,000 Acres of York County Land for Pumped Storage Facility
The Philadelphia Inquirer broke news earlier this year about out-of-county developers seeking to take 1,000 acres of land to build a pumped storage facility along the Susquehanna River near Chanceford Township.
The developers sought the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin the multi-year process of building a massive, pumped storage hydroelectric facility. The process would require taking and flooding of many properties, including farmland as well as recreational and historical sites along the Susquehanna River.
In part two of my conversation with Mark Platts, president of the Susquehanna National Heritage Area we discuss the adverse impact of the proposed project along the river.
Since the podcast was recorded, FERC has rejected the initial application submitted by the Berks County based developers. However, developers have pledged that they will re-apply. Learn about how this project could impact York County by subscribing to my podcast on your favorite platforms, including: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Weigh In: Pending Legislation on PA Vehicle Inspections, Emissions Testing
I heard from many of our neighbors who have differing opinions on a proposal that will soon be introduced in the Senate that would reform the annual vehicle inspection. I’ve also received a lot of positive feedback to date to end annual emissions testing for vehicles that are five years old or newer.
As always, that is where you come in. I want to hear your opinion!
As we all know, York County vehicle owners must have their vehicles inspected for safety and emissions annually.
The first proposal, which has yet to be introduced, would change the annual requirement of vehicle inspections to only requiring an inspection when a vehicle is sold, or the title is transferred.
The other proposal would eliminate annual vehicle emissions testing for vehicles that are five years old or newer. Neighboring Adams County does not require any emissions testing for any vehicle.
As I said earlier, I have heard very different opinions on this issue, so let me know your thoughts! And please feel free to forward my legislative survey to any neighbors you know who have an opinion on the matter.
Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
There will be a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at approximately 2:20 p.m. The test is to ensure the systems continue to effectively warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.
The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The EAS portion will be sent to radios and televisions.
In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.
Basic Education Funding Commission Comes to South Western School District
This week I hosted the Basic Education Funding Commission meeting right in our community!
The bipartisan committee hearing was held at the South Western Administration Building and we heard testimony about the trends in basic education funding formula factors. You can find the hearing in its entirety here.
The Basic Education Funding Commission was established in 2014, under former Gov. Tom Corbett. The commission is tasked with developing and recommending a new formula for distributing state funding for basic education to the General Assembly. Put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, the reconstituted commission has recently begun meeting to update recommendations from the 2015 Commission report.
WWII Army MARS Taskforce Reunion Tours State Capitol
It was an honor to be a part of the annual reunion for the WWII Army MARS Taskforce. Thank you to the Veterans and their families who asked PA State Rep. Wendy Fink and I to join them during their Harrisburg visit! It was a pleasure to host you around our beautiful state Capitol and show you the House and Senate chambers.
You can find more photos from the tour on my Instagram.
Hanover Area Arts Guild Receives Grant to Improve Safety
Congratulations to the Hanover Area Arts Guild for receiving a grant from the Walmart Fountain! The grant will help make improvements to their exterior lighting, which will improve safety and create greater visibility for the entire block in downtown Hanover.
It was an honor to join leadership of the Arts Guild, Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, and Jason Klipa of Walmart for the check presentation earlier this week!
Fiscal Restraint Means More Good News for PA’s Financial Position
Pennsylvania has been upgraded from stable to positive regarding debts issued, according to S&P Global Ratings. The state maintains its A+ rating on its general obligation bonds.
S&P highlighted the well-established priority of repaying debts and adding to the Rainy Day Fund as reasons for the improved rating. My Republican colleagues in the Senate and I knew these efforts would benefit the state and its residents, which is why we insisted on making the responsible decision even as others wanted to spend the money we had and even take on additional debt.
This promising news follows a similarly encouraging rating improvement by Moody’s Investor Services when it recently revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to positive.
Look Out for Surprise Hotel Fees, Larger Bills
As a way to win business, some hotels have employed practices like “drip pricing,” which is when fees are gradually disclosed to consumers as they go through the online booking process. Customers are lured to the hotel or online travel agency with a competitive rate and don’t know the actual cost until the final page of the online booking process – or not even until they check in at the hotel.
People deserve to have access to accurate pricing upfront so they can make appropriate decisions for their budget. However, Choice Hotels – which owns Quality and Comfort hotels – was making that nearly impossible.
Pennsylvania, as well as a handful of other states, reached a settlement with Choice. The company has now committed, by the end of this year, to prominently disclose the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website as part of the total room rate.
Apply Now to Enhance Pennsylvanians’ Safety
Because of legislation the Senate supported, $5 million is available in nonprofit security grants and applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11:45 p.m.
Eligible applicants must be a nonprofit based in Pennsylvania and serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included in a bias motivation category, such as religion, sexual orientation, race, disability, and gender.
Grants can be used for the purchase of equipment and security-related technology, training, threat assessments, and specialty-trained canines. Learn more and apply here.
Thank You for the Input on Moving the 2024 Presidential Primary
As promised, here are the survey results on moving up the 2024 presidential primary.
Out of 318 total responses, 82% of you were in favor of moving up the date to March 19, 13% of you wanted to keep the date at April 23 and 5% were undecided so far.
Last week the Senate passed the legislation to move up the primary date with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill is now in the House of Representatives for consideration.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
The Senate voted to designate September 2023 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to raise awareness and encourage men to complete recommended screenings.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Pennsylvania men. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While there is no way to completely prevent prostate cancer, men can reduce their risk by choosing a low-fat diet filled with fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising most days of the week.
REMINDER: Springettsbury Mobile Office Oct. 11
My mobile office will be setting up in Springettsbury Township on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this month! Located at the York Area United Fire and Rescue Station, my staff will be available to answer questions relating to state-issues, including pending legislation, PennDOT, birth and death certificates, Property Tax Rent Rebates, unclaimed property, and more.
If you are interested in stopping by let me know by either emailing me back or call the District Office at 717-741-4648 to ensure we have staff available!
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, Oct. 2, at 1 p.m. Follow me on Twitter for all the latest updates on session convening times. You can watch all the Senate votes and view our agenda here.