In this update:
Latest survey asks your opinion on school property tax elimination options
My latest survey asks for your opinion on school property tax elimination options currently under review in the General Assembly.
This is the number one issue I hear about across the 28th Senatorial District – the need for the legislature to address this crisis. I agree! I am supporting and sponsoring measures to address this issue. In fact, one of my first actions as your state senator was to prime sponsor Senate Bill 76, which would eliminate school property taxes in the Commonwealth.
I am one vote in the 50-member state Senate. In order to be successful, we need 26 votes in the Senate and 102 votes in the House of Representatives.
Several local residents asked about our last survey on recreational marijuana. The feedback was great, but some thought it was a professional poll. This is a survey, and as I said in my last email update – contacting me on issues important to you is critical for me to be effective as your voice in the state Senate. Read more on my last survey here.
Take my latest survey where I ask which plan or plans of school property tax elimination and reform you prefer here.
I will share the results later this month. As with any survey, you can always contact me after the survey has ended to let me know your opinion on any state-related matter. Until any measure comes up for a vote, I will continue to listen and value your input and opinion. You can always contact me via email or fill out a form on my website.
Small Business Saturday this month – check out my latest series with YCEA highlighting York’s small businesses
Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting small businesses throughout York County.
Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and as a proponent of these locally owned businesses, I want to highlight the goods and services we can buy in our own communities.
November 30 is Small Business Saturday, which is when we go out and shop local to buy gifts for the upcoming holidays for those special people on our list.
I am pleased to collaborate with Kevin Schreiber and the team at York County Economic Alliance to highlight several of these small businesses throughout our community.
Our first stop is Kaletta’s in downtown York.
I hope you enjoy this series of “Spotlight on the 28th.” Every week I will include another small business leading up to November 30.
And please remember: Shop small on November 30!
We are going mobile – check out convenient state Senate office locations in your community
Starting this month, our office will be mobile to meet you in your community!
These mobile offices will allow our office to help you navigate the complexities and nuances of your state government. We are able to assist with any state-related matters, including PennDOT casework, birth and death certificates, Property Tax Rent Rebate applications, unclaimed property and more.
Here are the details of our upcoming mobile office hours:
First Thursday of every month
Second Thursday of every month
Third Thursday of every month
Learn more here.
Governor signs election modernization law, making first significant changes in over 80 years
On Thursday, I joined fellow legislators and the governor for the signing of significant election modernization included in Senate Bill 421.
This new law includes many changes to existing statute, including:
The key takeaway from this process is that divided government – a Republican legislature and Democratic governor – does not have to be dysfunctional. This week’s significant compromise on election reform charts a bipartisan path that both sides can follow to address our most pressing issues, including much-needed and long overdue school property tax reform.
You can read more about this new law here.
PA spends over $1 billion in IT – I have a plan to make it better for taxpayers and the state
On Wednesday, the Senate Communications and Technology Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 810, legislation I am sponsoring with my colleague, Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), that would consolidate IT operations in state government as well as strengthen the Commonwealth’s cybersecurity efforts.
The hearing was a fact-finding mission to hear from the individuals who are in charge of the state’s IT programs and procurement. The state currently spends over $1 billion in IT. If IT were its own state agency, it would be the fourth-largest state agency behind Education, Human Services and Corrections.
You can view photos from our hearing here.
Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) is the sponsor of similar legislation in the House of Representatives. He testified on behalf of the legislation during our committee hearing.
You can watch our hearing in its entirety below.
Cleaning up outdated boards and commissions from the state
The Senate State Government Committee approved three bills on Tuesday. One of the bills will remove a handful of state boards and commissions from the books that are outdated and no longer utilized and/or relevant.
This legislation is a great start to reform and rightsize our state government.
We also approved two other proposals. One is a resolution that I am sponsoring that would urge Congress to join the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This is a priority for many local employers and farmers, as well as statewide business groups.
The other is a land conveyance for a property in Centre County.
I am currently serving as the acting chair of this committee in the Senate. You can learn more about this committee meeting here.
Senate approves bill to help student athletes and parents know signs of sudden cardiac arrest
The Senate of Pennsylvania unanimously approved Senate Bill 836, also known as Peyton’s Law, which will help student athletes and their parents take steps to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland), will require information to be provided to student athletes and their parents or guardians regarding electrocardiogram testing, and require notification of the option to request an electrocardiogram in addition to the standard physical examination.
In 2017, as a member of the House of Representatives, we held a heart screening for more than 200 students. Of those screened, we found five individuals who had potentially life-threatening heart conditions. Without that screening, they may or may not be with us today.
I urged my colleagues to support this legislation during the vote in the Senate.
You can read more about this legislation here.
Congrats to Dallastown’s Brian Smith – the 2019 Assistant Principal of the Year
It was an honor to host Dallastown Area School District’s Brian Smith, the 2019 Pennsylvania Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year, on Tuesday.
We recognized him for his achievement during Senate session earlier this week. You can watch my remarks below.
We are very grateful for his hard work and dedication to our next generation!
York Tech working to grow workforce, fill jobs
Congratulations to York County School of Technology for the grand opening of their new Motor Vehicle Academy! The Motor Vehicle Academy is a great public partnership between Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and York Tech’s Adult Education Center. The partnership will allow the center to serve as a PennDOT certified testing center, offering CDL classes and job placement as well as PA driver license exams. The academy has a near 100% CDL job placement, online Driver’s Education using PA-approved “Virtual Drive,” behind-the-wheel training instruction and Driver’s License Testing Alternative. The facility will also allow people to take non-commercial driving exams with a quick turnaround on scoring and giving results.
It was a pleasure for our office to attend this York County Economic Alliance-sponsored ribbon cutting and offer support for York Tech’s advancement in workforce development.
In the age of Amazon and other online retail services, York Tech’s Motor Vehicle Academy will solidify our county’s importance as a strategic distribution center within the country that supports the creation of family-sustaining jobs for the community.
Telemedicine is one of the most promising quality of life opportunities
The Senate passed a bill this week that will help make telemedicine services widely available to Pennsylvania patients. The bill offers a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance, while at the same time reducing the costs of those services.
Telemedicine allows the delivery of health care services via advanced technologies, such as mobile apps, Skype and FaceTime.
As the chair of the Senate Communications and Technology Committee, I held a series of public hearings on the digital divide in Pennsylvania. One of the key topics was how the lack of high-speed internet is negatively affecting rural communities who lack treatment options and the ability to communicate with physicians and specialists across the state. The committee heard from leading healthcare experts who said connecting more Pennsylvanians to the internet will improve access to vital health care and health services.
Healthcare is no longer limited to the confines of traditional brick and mortar facilities. Telemedicine is one of the most promising quality of life opportunities we have for the people of this Commonwealth.
Learn more about this initiative here.
Wish Sam Crane a happy (belated) birthday – he turned 100 last weekend!
Last weekend, I spent some time with Sam Crane, who celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends.
It was an honor to present Sam with a congratulatory citation on behalf of the 28th District from the Senate of Pennsylvania to commemorate the momentous occasion!
Happy birthday, Sam!
Kreutz Creek Elementary tours state Capitol
In between meetings on Friday, Representative Keith Gillespie (R-York) and I met with students, faculty and chaperones from Kreutz Creek Elementary School on their visit to our state Capitol.
Kreutz Creek Elementary is part of the Eastern York School District. We were grateful to spend a few minutes with the students and show them around our beautiful Capitol building.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
You can see PennDOT’s maintenance projects planned for next week here.
Don’t forget to change your clocks (and replace batteries in your smoke detectors) this weekend
Before you go to bed on Saturday, do not forget to turn your clocks back an hour. This is also a good time to replace your smoke detector batteries.
Update on Marsy’s Law – a ballot referendum to amend the PA Constitution – and a court challenge
When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they could decide whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should offer additional protections for crime victims. Also known as Marsy’s Law, the proposed amendment would create a crime victims’ bill of rights, including the right to receive notification of proceedings in their criminal case; be present at court proceedings; be heard at plea or sentencing proceedings; assert additional statutory rights; and be treated with fairness, respect and dignity.
Due to a court challenge on this issue by advocacy groups (that include the ACLU and League of Women Voters) and an injunction granted by the Commonwealth Court, the final vote on the Marsy’s Law amendment will not be tabulated and certified immediately. However, if the court challenge to Marsy’s Law is ultimately defeated, then the election results will be counted and certified based on the outcome of the November 5 vote. Regardless of the outcome of the court case, it is important for all voters to weigh in on this important issue.
Office closed on Tuesday
Please be advised that our offices will be closed on Tuesday, November 5, for Election Day. We will reopen at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6.
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