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In this update:
- Governor has until midnight to sign, veto or let bipartisan legislation become law to help struggling locally owned restaurants, bars and taverns, as well as VFWs
- Senate roundtable to review federal, state, local solutions to closing digital divide
- Streamlining state government explored by committee
- October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – here’s how we are addressing the issue in PA
- Celebrating 100th anniversary of Glen Rock Legion Post 403 during veteran car show benefit
- Grand opening of Spanish-American Multicultural Resource Center in York
- Volunteer fire companies can qualify for federal funding
- CDL and Commercial Learner’s Permits extended through Nov. 29
- Best places for fall leaf peeping in PA
- Open enrollment for Medicare runs through Dec. 7
- Learn about financial aid at upcoming PHEAA events
- Penn State Extension has your fall gardening tips
- Reminder: Important deadlines fast approaching for upcoming Election
- Upcoming PennDOT projects
- On deck
Governor has until midnight to sign, veto or let bipartisan legislation become law to help struggling locally owned restaurants, bars and taverns, as well as VFWs
The governor has until midnight tonight to decide on legislation I’ve shared with you that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the General Assembly to assist our struggling locally owned restaurants, bars and taverns.
House Bill 2513 would allow food and beverage establishments and event venues to operate at a minimum of 50 percent capacity for indoor dining while adhering to social distancing consistent with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The legislation would also allow those establishments to increase capacity to above 50 percent should the CDC deem it safe, or should the venue have appropriate physical barriers. The measure also removes the requirement that customers must order a meal to have an alcoholic beverage. Finally, it ends the prohibition on bar service.
Right now, these establishments must “self-certify” with the state to be permitted to increase capacity from 25 to 50 percent. Should a restaurant or bar certify, they are on a searchable public directory posted on the governor’s website.
Furthermore, the website to self-certify states, “enforcement agencies listed below will be able to access your information as part of their ongoing enforcement activities.” Those agencies include: Dept. of State, Dept. of Health, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Labor and Industry and the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control.
The governor’s self-certification process still imposes curfews on these establishments.
As I said when this legislation was approved by the Senate of Pennsylvania last month with a vote of 43-6, “These small businesses are critical employers and have been unfairly targeted by this governor while corporate owned big box stores operate with no restrictions, time limits or arbitrary metrics.”
While he ponders his decision, please let Governor Wolf know your stance on this legislation by contacting him here.
Senate roundtable to review federal, state, local solutions to closing digital divide
Next week, I will chair a Senate Communications and Technology Committee public roundtable to discuss what has been completed this session, as well as next steps to close our Commonwealth’s digital divide. This robust discussion will include federal officials, stakeholders from across the state and county and local government officials.
If you are curious to see what has been done and where we go from here on this critical issue, I hope you can tune in on Tuesday, October 20 at 9 a.m.
I recently sat down with Dennis Owens of ABC 27 to discuss the issue. He also spoke with a York County resident, Erika Beers, who voiced her frustration with the lack of high-speed internet. I will continue to fight for Erika’s family and every individual who continues to lack access to reliable broadband.
You can watch the story from ABC27 here.
All information from the roundtable will be posted to the committee’s website.
I will also stream the event live on my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SenatorKristin.
I hope you can tune in to this vital discussion next week!
Streamlining state government explored by committee
It is critical for lawmakers to continue to explore ways to streamline state government, reduce costs to taxpayers and ensure public dollars are used wisely and efficiently. The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee held a public hearing last week to review ideas to improve the delivery of government services and the management of government programs by consolidating state agencies.
The hearing included testimony from lawmakers as well as experts in business, industry, government and economic development. The conversation centered on legislation that would consolidate the functions of the Departments of State, Labor & Industry, and Community & Economic Development in order to reduce administrative costs and eliminate redundancies.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – here’s how we are addressing the issue in PA
National Cybersecurity Month is recognized throughout October. Last year, I stood up on the Senate floor to advocate for the pressing need to address our shortfalls when it comes to protecting our state’s IT systems.
As chair of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, we took decisive action on these issues in the past year. The committee held public hearings and approved legislation to remedy our state’s deficiencies.
Due to our bipartisan efforts, the Senate approved legislation earlier this month that would strengthen, secure and consolidate state government IT systems while saving taxpayer dollars, as well as a bill approved by the Senate in September would help minimize the damage caused by data breaches.
Celebrating 100th anniversary of Glen Rock Legion Post 403 during veteran car show benefit
Glen Rock’s Austin L. Grove American Legion Post 403 is celebrating its century of service to our local area veterans this year. This past weekend, I presented a congratulatory citation on behalf of the Senate of Pennsylvania commemorating their 100th anniversary. The event coincided with the annual veterans car show where I got to speak with so many veterans and neighbors.
Thank you to everyone who made this event a success!
You can view more photos from the event on Instagram.
Grand opening of Spanish-American Multicultural Resource Center in York
Last weekend, I joined local officials and community leaders to celebrate the grand opening of the Spanish-American Multicultural Resource Center (SAMRC). The SAMRC is the result of a lot of hard work and tireless advocacy of York City Councilman Lou Rivera.
The center serves as a “connector hub” for the greater York community to assist those in need with food, healthcare, housing and other supportive services. SAMRC is located at 426 South George Street in York, or at 717-356-2947. You can also find them on Facebook. Congratulations!
Feel free to head over to my Instagram to view more photos of this grand opening.
Volunteer fire companies can qualify for federal funding
Volunteer fire departments can apply now for a new round of federal funding designed to assist with the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other related supplies. Applications for the second round of grants from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant – COVID-19 Supplemental Program must be submitted by November 13 at 5 p.m.
Preference will be given to applicants requesting reimbursement or immediate use of PPE. The program is also open to combination career/volunteer fire companies.
CDL and Commercial Learner’s Permits extended through Nov. 29
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently extended the expiration dates for commercial driver licenses (CDL), commercial learner’s permits and hazardous materials endorsements through November 29. Previous deadlines that were extended for non-commercial driver licenses, photo ID cards and camera cards during the COVID-19 pandemic expired on August 31.
A list of driver license and photo licenses centers is available at www.dmv.pa.gov.
Best places for fall leaf peeping in PA
Biking and hiking bring leaf peepers up close and personal with Pennsylvania’s blaze of fiery fall color, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Throughout the weeks of leaf peeping, leaves change color first in the northern portion of the state.
The Fall Foliage Report will tell you where the best changes and colors can be seen across Pennsylvania.
Paved, natural, or gravel, Pennsylvania’s urban trails wind their way through woods, across bridges, and along waterways, passing historical sites and manmade creations. Those preferring to leaf peep from the comfort of their vehicle will find satisfying fall scenic driving tours, including the Northern Loop and the Southern Loop, to take in the beautiful colors from the ridges and valleys.
Open enrollment for Medicare runs through Dec. 7
The annual open enrollment period for Medicare allows new beneficiaries to sign up for prescription drug coverage and health plans, and it offers current beneficiaries a chance to review and change coverage to meet their individual health care needs. The open enrollment period is open now through December 7.
Medicare-eligible individuals can receive free, objective advice and information on coverage options through the APPRISE Program by calling the APPRISE Helpline at 1-800-783-7067 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Counselors are available to provide information on eligibility, enrollment, prescription benefits, financial assistance and more.
Learn about financial aid at upcoming PHEAA events
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has scheduled a series of free informational webinars in October and November for students and families to learn more about financial planning and aid options for students.
The hour-long webinars cover two main subject areas: understanding financial aid offers, and covering the gap in aid. The full list of available webinars is available here under the PA Forward Student Loan heading.
Penn State Extension has your fall gardening tips
According to the Penn State Extension, trees, shrubs, and hardy perennials should be planted at least six weeks before the first frost to allow the root system to establish itself in the new soil.
When cool fall temperatures arrive, planting hyacinth, narcissus, and tulip bulbs will brighten your landscape next spring. Planting should occur during cool autumn temperatures but before the first hard frost.
Warm-season vegetable growers are encouraged to improve soil quality by growing grain or legumes as cover crops during the off-season. Cover crops help with erosion, soil compaction and organic soil enrichment.
Filling in bare patches, over-seeding, or planting a new lawn are recommended for late summer to early fall to escape hot summer days.
I hope this information from the Penn State Extension can be useful to you and your family this fall.
Reminder: Important deadlines fast approaching for upcoming Election
There is still time for Pennsylvanians to register to vote before the November 3 general election. State residents can register online or return a completed voter registration form to their county voter registration office by this Monday, October 19, in order to be eligible to cast their ballot in this year’s election.
Pennsylvania voters will have the option to vote in person or by mail this year. To vote by mail, you must apply online by 5 p.m. on October 27 to receive a mail-in ballot.
Additional details on completing mail-in ballots are available on the “Your Vote Matters” resource page found on my website at www.SenatorKristin.com. This resources also includes updates on voting resources, mail-in voting, polling place locations, key election dates and other critical election information to make sure your voice is heard at the polls in November.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT shared with me their upcoming planned maintenance projects for next week across York County. You can view their scheduled projects below.
The Senate of Pennsylvania will convene on Monday, October 19 at 1 p.m.
You can watch session live and review our agenda at SenatorKristin.com/session.