In this update:
Every LEGAL vote should be counted
Over the last few days, I have received hundreds of calls, emails and web contacts from local residents who have very valid concerns about the way this election was handled in Pennsylvania. I completely support and have been a vocal advocate for the integrity of our election.
Let me be crystal clear: every legal vote should be counted.
The key word: LEGAL.
By way of background: The Senate, led by Republicans, and the House of Representatives, led by Republicans, passed a bill that was signed into law by Governor Wolf, a Democrat, last year to make the most significant changes to our state’s election laws in over seven decades.
One of these changes included a statutory deadline that all mail-in and absentee ballots MUST BE received no later than Election Day at 8 p.m.
Keep in mind that absentee ballots were required to be received by county elections offices the Friday before Election Day up until last year (and this was never an issue in prior elections).
Senators and Representatives were working in good faith with the Wolf Administration in September on several critical election security measures that would have prevented many of the issues we are seeing today, but these negotiations were halted after the elected state Supreme Court ruled that ballots could be counted even if they were received after Election Day. After that ruling, Governor Wolf made it clear he would veto any bill to provide enhanced election security.
Without the support of the governor, it is up to state and federal courts – including the U.S. Supreme Court – to ensure the integrity of our electoral process for the 2020 election.
Prior to the Election, Justice Roberts (an appointee of President George W. Bush) sided with the Democrats on the bench, which led to a tie decision on our appeal to not allow any ballot submitted AFTER the election to count (as written in the law that passed last year).
The tie decision deferred to the state Supreme Court.
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has an odd number of Justices, I am hopeful the court will take up the matter as soon as possible.
Please keep in mind that legal teams all across the state have assembled to ensure the voices of voters are not drowned out by potential fraud and abuse. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision looms large in this mess.
The Secretary of State was advised by the U.S. Supreme Court to segregate ballots that came in AFTER Election Day. Initially, she told county elections offices to segregate these ballots. Then, on Sunday after 10 p.m., she revised her guidance to say that these ballots should be canvassed with the rest of the ballots.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman held a press conference calling for her resignation and outlining the reasons why, which you can watch below.
As we have seen from the onset of the pandemic, the state Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds time and time again. The time, place and manner of our elections is up to the legislature (and not the courts).
Earlier today, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Speaker of the House of Representatives Bryan Cutler provided an update, which you can watch below.
We are in a constitutional crisis in Pennsylvania. I will always fight for the integrity of our elections process.
Thank you to our Veterans!
Communities throughout the country will join together next week on November 11 to celebrate Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our nation in the military.
Our nation has paid a dear price to protect freedom and make the world a safer place, and we must never forget the individual and collective sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have endured to protect the principles and values that make America the greatest country in the world.
That is why I encourage you take a few minutes to watch Representative Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), who offered remarks at a recent bridge dedication ceremony I hosted, where he told the story of Corporal Michael Cohen’s ultimate sacrifice and how he died fighting for the freedoms of others.
We are forever grateful for brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served in our armed forces.
Paul Saylor turns 95 years young
It was an honor to join Representative Stan Saylor (R-York), Red Lion Mayor Walt Hughes and the Family of Paul Saylor to celebrate his 95th Birthday and present him with a congratulatory citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania commemorating this milestone event!
Mr. Saylor is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Washington.
He had a 35-year career as a bookkeeper, account and comptroller and served the community for several years as a York Township Commissioner.
Happy birthday, Paul!
New laws support first responders, veterans, and more
Several critical measures approved by the Senate recently were signed into law over the past two weeks, including bills to support Pennsylvania’s first responders, veterans and military families, and much more.
A bill I authored with Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) was signed into law that would ensure all active volunteers and integral members of a volunteer fire, ambulance or rescue company are covered through the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF).
This legislation was brought to me by a local fire department. You can read about it here.
Other new laws include:
Celebrating Red Lion’s Field Hockey Coach’s success
Earlier this week, I congratulated Red Lion Field Hockey Head Coach Carol Gillmen on reaching an incredible milestone of 300 wins in charge of the Lions.
Coach Gillmen reached her 300th victory after a win against Spring Grove on October 7. Congratulations to Coach Gillmen on all of her success and for putting together a very strong program that helps student athletes learn skills and lessons that go beyond the field.
Congratulations to York County’s latest Eagle Scout, David Craley
Congratulations to David Craley of Troop 28 in Red Lion on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout! It was an honor to present him with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania in recognition of his significant achievement.
David, the son of Timothy and Andrea Craley, created a walkway with pavers and bricks at Saint Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Bridgeville for his Eagle project. Well done, David!
Low-Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) open now
Pennsylvanians who have a heating emergency or are struggling to pay utility bills can apply now for assistance through the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program is open to households earning less than 150 percent of the federal poverty rate.
LIHEAP provides grants to help low-income families pay heating bills during the coldest months of the year. Crisis grants are also available for heating emergencies such as a broken furnace, utility termination or fuel shortage. Eligibility and grant amounts are based on income and the number of people living in a household.
Applications for LIHEAP can be completed online on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website at www.compass.state.pa.us.
New scams target pandemic EBT benefits, unemployment compensation
The Departments of Human Services and Labor & Industry are warning Pennsylvanians to be vigilant of new scams targeting Pandemic EBT benefits and Unemployment Compensation payments. Both scams involve individuals receiving unsolicited phone calls asking for personal information such as their Social Security number or account passwords. Neither department will ever contact individuals to request this kind of personal information.
If you have questions about whether a call, text or letter regarding EBT benefits is legitimate, contact the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930. More information on how to identify and report fraud related to Unemployment Compensation benefits is available here.
Open enrollment in PA Health Exchange is available through January 15
The open enrollment period for Pennsylvania’s new state-based health insurance exchange is open now through January 15. The state exchange – also known as Pennie – was created by lawmakers last year to transition Pennsylvania away from the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, and allow the state to take local control of operations and customer service to reduce costs to consumers.
The Pennie system is designed to help Pennsylvanians shop for quality health insurance and access financial assistance that may be available to them. State residents can learn more and enroll at Pennie.com.
According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, insurers offering coverage through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange will provide plans in 2021 with a statewide average decrease of 3.3 percent for individual market plans.
Discussing issues with the Eastern Pennsylvania Hemophilia Foundation
Last week, I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about hemophilia and bleeding disorders from constituents who are Advocacy Ambassadors with the Eastern Pennsylvania Hemophilia Association. We had a lengthy discussion about YOUR state budget, medical research and healthcare.