Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Lawmakers review 2020 Election concerns
  • Governor rejects new protections for schools, businesses, health care providers
  • No COLA this year for legislators
  • PA Dept. of Health Travel Order guidance…from a reader
  • Legislative Update: 25 bills signed into law
  • Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor
  • Upcoming PennDOT projects

Lawmakers review 2020 Election concerns

In the weeks since the 2020 election, hundreds of community residents have contacted me to raise concerns about the way that the election process was handled. Last week, the Senate Majority Policy Committee held a hearing to vet these issues and learn more about the irregularities that have been reported.

Many of the concerns raised during the hearing were the direct result of the blatantly partisan actions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Department of State in the days and weeks leading up to the election. Passing new reform measures to protect the integrity of our elections must be among our highest priorities when the General Assembly reconvenes next month to begin the 2021-22 Legislative Session.

Representatives Grove, Klunk, Keefer, Jones and Senators Regan, Mastriano, Arnold and I are leading a bicameral effort to:

  • Request that the Attorney General appoint an independent prosecutor to review election accusations in order to prosecute violations of the election law and make recommendations to the General Assembly to close internal control failures.
  • Request that the Pennsylvania Inspector General review the Department of State’s internal processes of the 2020 election to make recommendations to improve the department’s internal processes and make recommendations to the General Assembly to close internal control failures.
  • Notify the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation of their ability to object to Presidential Electors if they see fit.

You can read our letters below:

Attorney General

Inspector General

Congressional Delegation

Governor rejects new protections for schools, businesses, health care providers

I led an effort with Senators  Lisa Baker, Michele Brooks and Pat Stefano to advance a bill recently that would have protected school districts, colleges, universities, non-profits, health care providers and small businesses against lawsuits when they acted in good faith and followed the directives of the CDC and the Department of Health.

Unfortunately, the governor vetoed the legislation this week, leaving these organizations vulnerable to financial ruin – even when they followed every piece of guidance and every rule put in place by the Wolf Administration.

From day one of this pandemic, the governor and his administration have operated without consultation of the General Assembly. Even after a non-profit, school, hospital or small business complies with his ever-shifting and confusing guidance, they can still run the risk of being sued by trial attorneys.

The phrase of ‘we’re all in this together’ seems to have been completely forgotten now that he is ignoring the needs of those entities that have tried to do what is asked of them by public health officials in the face of this global pandemic. This veto means they can still run the risk of being hit with a lawsuit even when they tried to do the right thing.

You can read my full statement here.

No COLA this year for legislators

In light of the fiscal challenges we face, and as someone who has spoken out about the perks in the legislature, I am grateful to see we can finally agree to make some changes in a positive direction.

Led by Representative Frank Ryan, the members of the General Assembly will not receive an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) this December. This law that allows for the automatic COLA was approved back in 1995. I am supportive of repealing this outdated and archaic law.

Furthermore, I am one of a very small number of lawmakers who outright declined to participate in the Senate healthcare plan and the pension program, and I do not accept per diems and post all of my receipts on my website.

You can watch my interview with ABC 27 here. 

PA Dept. of Health Travel Order guidance…from a reader 

To date, the Department of Health still has not responded to my letter seeking clarity to the out-of-state travel restrictions. You can read my original letter here.

One of our neighbors was kind enough to forward me an email his church received when it came to seeking clarity on the out-of-state travel guidance.

“The order is for those traveling into the state of PA in a manner that is inconsistent with their normal daily routine. If you live on the border and must travel across state lines to attend classes, worship services, work, shop or live your day-to-day life, you can continue to do so without issue.” 

As I said, I want to provide clarity and I am extremely grateful for a local resident who was able to relay this information to me so I could share with you. 

Legislative Update: 25 bills signed into law

A total of 25 bills approved by lawmakers during the final week of the 2019-20 Legislative Session were signed into law recently, including measures that will:

  • Support the deployment of broadband coverage in underserved areas.
  • Provide more flexibility for schools to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Expand health screening requirements for newborns.
  • Streamline certification of temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Improve transparency of prescription drug pricing and practices of pharmacy benefit managers.
  • Stabilize the state’s organ donation trust fund.
  • Require the state’s pension systems to perform annual audits.

Details on many of these bills are available at pasenategop.com.

Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, resulted in the deaths of more than 2,400 Americans and is widely considered one of the key turning points in World War II. Each year on December 7, the nation pauses in reverence for those who lost their lives on that fateful day.

More details on scheduled events in observance of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day are available through the National Park Service. 

Upcoming PennDOT projects

PennDOT shared with me the upcoming maintenance project list for next week. You can view that below.


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