In this update:
Bill to Punish Looters Wins Bipartisan Senate Approval
In the aftermath of widespread looting in Philadelphia and many other cities, the Senate approved legislation to prevent these crimes by a bipartisan vote.
According to the United States Chamber of Commerce, organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to more than $125 billion in economic losses. While large retail stores have been the primary target, 54% of the state’s small business owners said they have seen an increase in shoplifting in the past year. These hardworking Pennsylvanians who are trying to provide for themselves and their families rightly deserve our support.
Senate Bill 596 would create a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $20,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them. The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.
Babies Receive Life-Saving Care with New Law
Legislation approved by the Senate to provide critical nourishment for medically fragile babies is now law.
In very low birth-weight babies and other medically compromised infants, human donor milk protects against serious health complications that can lead to longer hospital stays, multiple medical and surgical procedures, readmissions, lifelong disability or even death.
The law grants children who are less than a year old access to medically prescribed pasteurized human donor milk by requiring Medical Assistance coverage in inpatient and outpatient settings. To qualify for coverage, the child must meet medical necessity requirements or the child’s mother must be medically or physically unable to produce breast milk in an amount needed to meet the child’s needs.
New Law Makes It Easier for Students of Military Families to Enroll in School
Recently signed into law, Act 24 of 2023 makes it easier for an estimated 185,000 students of relocating military families to enroll in school.
Previously, students of military families that transferred on official military permanent change of station orders were not eligible to register in classes, enroll in specialized academic programs, or participate in lotteries for charter or magnet schools until they were physically located within the district boundaries. The delay caused students to miss deadlines, requiring them to shift their planned courses of study, which forced some to take summer classes, or even graduate later than expected.
The new law allows such families to establish residency for purposes of enrollment in the school district in which they will be residing by providing the school district with a copy of their military transfer order. This enables them to access registration and enrollment at the same time it is open to the general population.
Take my survey: Should PA Help its Dairy Farmers?
Sens. Elder Vogel and Judy Schwank plan to introduce legislation and I want your opinion! Over the last several years, the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board has heard from farmers across the state about the dairy premium.
Farmers have held many concerns about the premium stating that it does not benefit producers as much as it could and does not benefit farms equitably. Last year, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding said that the 34-year-old premium generates about $20 million a year and only half of that money appears to get to farmers.
If you have neighbors who you think would like to weigh in on the topic, especially local dairy farmers, please feel free to forward this survey to them!
Christmas in Hanover is in Full Swing
On Saturday, Rick and I attended Christmas in Hanover’s tree lighting! It was a wonderful event filled with holiday cheer. We spent the rest of the evening shopping small in downtown Main Street Hanover.
Last Mobile Office in Springettsbury Twp. for 2023
Next Thursday, Dec.7, is the last day my staff will be offering state-related services at the York Area United Fire and Rescue Station, located in Springettsbury Township, for 2023!
If you are interested in attending, please call the district office at 717-741-4648 or email me. My staff is able to answer questions relating to state issues, including pending legislation, PennDOT, birth and death certificates, Property Tax Rent Rebates, unclaimed property, and more.
ICYMI: B. Leigh’s Coffee and Stewartstown Christmas Night Market
Last week B. Leigh’s Coffee celebrated its grand opening in Stewartstown! A huge congratulations to John and Brittany Barnette for making this dream a reality.
After years of planning and hard work, B. Leigh’s Coffee is located in the Stewartstown Square Shopping Center along with neighbors the new Aviator Brew Hub and the Stewartstown Night Market! After grabbing a cup of coffee at the grand opening, Rick and I enjoyed our evening over at the Stewartstown Christmas Night Market. Their Christmas market runs Friday – Sunday evenings from now until December 17. You can find more information on the market here.
PennDOT Innovations Challenge Encourages High School Students to Compete
High school students are invited to participate in the seventh annual PennDOT Innovations Challenge. The statewide competition pushes teams of students to use their problem-solving, creative, and strategic-thinking abilities to solve real-world transportation challenges.
Regional winners will be selected by PennDOT’s Engineering Districts. Those winners will move on to a statewide competition where an overall winner will be selected.
Students can find the details of the 2023-24 challenge and project guidelines here. All submissions must be received by Jan. 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.
Celebrating 20 years of Merlin’s Coffee!
It was my absolute pleasure to present a Senate Citation to Merlin’s Coffee on 20 years of roasting, brewing, and serving fresh, delicious coffee in Hanover! As Donna and Eric say, “Life’s too short to drink bad coffee!”
Safely Discard Your Unwanted Prescription Drugs
Help keep your loved ones and community safe by discarding old and unwanted prescription medications through Pennsylvania’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Program.
Items that can be accepted include over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, prescription patches, prescription ointments, vitamins and pet medicines. Hydrogen peroxide, thermometers, iodine-containing medications, compressed cylinders or aerosols, alcohol and illicit drugs cannot be accepted.
There are nearly 900 locations statewide. Find one near you here.
Remembering Pearl Harbor
“A date which will live in infamy…” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Dec. 7 marks 82 years since the surprise attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After a decade of strained relations between the United States and Japan, that act drew the United States into World War II. While thousands of lives were lost, they were not lost in vain. The gruesome and exhausting war ultimately ended in a victory of Allied powers around the globe.
As we enjoy our American ideals and freedoms because of battles fought and wars won, please thank a veteran for his or her service.
Southern York County Business Association
It was a pleasure to join the Southern York County Business Association for its annual luncheon and share a brief update on what is happening in state government.
Thanks to Savant Wealth Management, formerly Domani Wealth, for graciously hosting the event in Hanover!
PA Capitol Christmas Ornament Winners Announced
Each year, we draw two winners who attended our open house and gift them a Pennsylvania Christmas tree ornament designed by the Capital Preservation Committee (not paid for with YOUR taxpayer dollars). Funds generated from the sale of these ornaments goes to the care and maintenance of our Capitol building.
A big congratulations to Maria H. of Hopewell Township and Jennifer Y. from York Township who both won a 2023 ornament!
If you would like to purchase an ornament, please visit their store here.
Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below.