In this update:
My report to you – 2020 in review
As promised, below is my latest report (two-minute video) to you – the residents of the 28th Senatorial District – on what we have been able to accomplish, together.
Transparency needed – latest election findings alarming
Earlier this week, a group of state representatives, led by Certified Public Accountant Representative Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon) released information showing major (and alarming) disparities in the final tallies from Pennsylvania’s 2020 Presidential Election.
The findings compare the 2020 Presidential Election results recorded by the Department of State, using county data, and the SURE (Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors) system.
Here is a quick snapshot of this alarming find: “A comparison of official county election results to the total number of voters who voted on November 3, 2020 as recorded by the Department of State shows that 6,962,607 total ballots were reported as being cast, while DoS/SURE system records indicate that only 6,760,230 total voters actually voted. Among the 6,962,607 total ballots cast, 6,931,060 total votes were counted in the presidential race, including all three candidates on the ballot and write-in candidates.”
This is very troubling. Keep in mind that there were efforts at the federal level to question the legitimacy of the election in 2004 and again in 2016. Seeking transparency and accurate data is something I would think everyone would support. I have been working the last 10 weeks to ensure the integrity of our elections process. To date, this is the number one concern I have heard about from our neighbors.
Too little, too late for many small businesses with governor unilaterally removing restrictions next week
On Wednesday, Governor Wolf announced that his indoor dining restrictions would be lifted on January 4. The governor’s prior guidance (25 percent capacity limit, unless certified by the state, which would allow entities to serve up to 50 percent capacity) will remain in effect, along with other mitigation measures.
For many of these locally owned establishments, the holiday season is their busiest time of the year. And from day one, I have been abundantly clear: we can protect lives and livelihoods. These are not mutually exclusive goals.
Our local restaurants are owned by our neighbors and employ our neighbors. According to data from the governor’s office, restaurants can be traced to 1.08 percent of COVID-19 cases.
Restaurants are sanitizing tables, employees are wearing masks and they are doing everything they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 while providing a good and service to the community.
The governor has shown he is unwilling to work with the industry to provide ample notice (to account for food and beverage orders) or statistics to back up his unilateral mitigation measures on certain industries.
Here is a video of the governor’s announcement:
Judge recommends PUC deny construction of Transource high-voltage transmission line through Southern York County
Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth Barnes recently recommended that the Public Utility Commission deny the siting of the Transource powerline project through York and Franklin Counties.
In her 153-page report, Judge Barnes drove home the point so many local residents said when she wrote, “As this project appears to be a means for a foreign electric transmission provider to gain access to the Washington D.C./Baltimore metro-area market while subsidizing its costs through Pennsylvania, I recommend that the [Public Utility] Commission reject these siting applications and deny the accompanying two shelter petitions for zoning exemption at the Furnace Run and Rice substations as well as the 77 remaining pending eminent domain applications.”
She said that the project will have “detrimental economic and environmental impacts on real estate values, farming practices” and many other industries and entities.
While the ruling is not binding, it provides a huge step in the right direction on this important matter.
Ever since Dolores Krick and several local landowners got me involved over three years ago, we have been working diligently to show why this project would be very bad for Southern York County. From getting the Office of Consumer Advocate involved to demanding that public hearings be held in York County, we fought tirelessly to defeat this project.
I am grateful that Judge Barnes saw how detrimental this project would be for the affected communities and rendered a well-informed decision based on the facts and testimony provided at the public hearings. It is imperative that the PUC acts affirmatively upon her decision.
You can read the Judge’s full report here.
Swearing-In Day begins 2021-22 legislative session on January 5
New and returning members of the Pennsylvania Senate will be sworn into office to begin the 2021-22 Legislative Session on January 5.
Swearing-in day will look a bit different this year due to COVID-19. Only a limited number of guests will be permitted on the Senate Floor and in the Senate Gallery for the ceremony, and the usual television viewing areas in the Capitol Complex will be closed.
A live stream of the ceremony will be available at www.pasenategop.com.
View PA’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution dashboard
The Department of Health rolled out a new dashboard for residents to view the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine statewide. As I reported last week, York County healthcare facilities are administering the vaccine to those individuals in the first phase of the department’s vaccine plan.
You can access this new dashboard here.
Property Tax Rent Rebate deadline is today
Time is running out for eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities to submit applications for the state’s popular Property Tax Rent Rebate program for taxes or rent paid in 2019. Applications must be completed and postmarked by December 31 in order to be considered.
If you have already submitted an application, you can check the status of your claim at www.revenue.pa.gov by selecting “Where’s my Property Tax/Rent Rebate” or by calling 1-888-222-9190.
Virtual PA Farm show kicks off January 9
Although all in-person events for the 2021 Pennsylvania Farm Show have been cancelled due to COVID-19, many exhibits and events will still take place virtually. A schedule of events details the exhibits that will be available each day from January 9-16.
The exhibits will be focused on education and awareness, and the competitive events will not require the purchase of an animal. Forms and registration information are available here.
Reminder: Renew dog licenses now
The Department of Agriculture is reminding Pennsylvania dog owners that all dogs three months of age or older must be licensed by January 1.
The license fee is $8.50 annually, or $51.50 for a lifetime license. The fee is reduced to $6.50 annually or $31.50 for a lifetime license if the dog is spayed or neutered, and additional discounts are available for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Goodbye 2020 — Happy New Year!
After one of the most challenging and tumultuous years in recent history, many Pennsylvanians are anxious to turn the page on 2020 and begin looking forward to a brighter year ahead.
As we turn our calendars over, I extend my warmest wishes to all community residents for a happier, healthier and more successful year in 2021!