In this update:
Pennsylvania March for Life Rally
What a start to my week – the annual Pennsylvania March for Life rally was held on the Capitol steps where thousands of Pennsylvanians gathered to support the sanctity of life in our Commonwealth.
I was provided with an opportunity to share a few comments to the crowd. It was nice to see so many people from York County attend this important event. This is the largest rally every year at the state Capitol.
Senate Stands with Israel, Condemns Hamas
Following the murderous attacks of innocent people by the terrorist group Hamas, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution condemning Hamas’ Oct. 7 carnage.
Senate Resolution 185 shows Pennsylvania’s support of the Jewish people as they defend against this terrorist threat. It says that we stand “firmly with the people of Israel and their right to defend themselves.” It labels the attacks by Hamas as “shocking, barbaric and evil,” further adding they “amount to war crimes of the worst kind.”
The resolution further stipulates, “Israel has every right to defend itself with all due force” and noted Pennsylvania’s “special relationship” with Israel since the country declared independence in 1948. Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity also showed support by investing an additional $20 million in Israel bonds to continue the strong relationship between Pennsylvania and Israel.
Critical Support for EMS, Hospitals, and Nursing Homes Advances in Senate
This week, the Senate approved legislation advancing critical public health components of the budget process.
Passage of House Bill 1351 addresses the crucial public health needs for emergency medical services, hospitals and nursing homes and ensures Pennsylvanians continue to receive access to needed health care services.
Empowering Parents to Control Sexually Explicit Content for Their Children
The Senate Education Committee advanced a bill to provide parental control of student exposure to sexually explicit content, which Pennsylvanians over the age of 18 can view examples of here, in schools.
Prior to the vote, the committee held a public hearing on the measure.
Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
Let me be crystal clear: Senate Bill 7 would not ban any books from any Pennsylvania school curriculum or library, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school. Empowering parents is a priority of the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Based on overwhelming feedback from our citizens in our community about greater transparency in curriculum and empowering parents, I am hopeful the Senate can approve this measure sooner rather than later.
C. S. Davidson Celebrates Three Generations, Spanning 100 Years
Last night was a momentous occasion for C. S. Davidson, Inc. as they celebrated their 100th anniversary! Carl Shaefer Davidson, an engineer and registered land surveyor, established his own office in Hanover in 1923. Almost two decades later, the office was relocated to York and in 2019 the company became entirely employee owned through an employee stock ownership plan!
Throughout its history, the company has maintained a tradition of excellence, remaining responsive to the ever-changing needs and interests of our community. Its steady progress is a tribute to key leaders and dedicated employees who have carried it to its present heights and built a foundation for a bright future. Congratulations on this achievement! It was an honor to join in the celebration!
Senate Votes to Increase Access to Addiction Treatment Programs
To combat prevalent opioid addiction, the Senate unanimously passed legislation increasing access to licensed addiction treatment programs for Pennsylvanians.
Senate Bill 941 would provide regulatory flexibilities that can be used during an opioid epidemic to create real solutions to workforce shortages and directly help those in need of treatment get access quicker.
Additionally, Senate Bill 941 would establish annual reporting requirements to the General Assembly regarding unnecessary barriers to workforce recruitment and access to treatment.
Looking at the Future of the Trails Town Program
It was a pleasure to join the York County Economic Alliance for their Trail Towns Summit! It seems like just yesterday that I was approached about this idea of connecting our rail trail with our boroughs and local small businesses. The folks at YCEA showed me what the program could be, and we agreed – why NOT bring this program to Southern York County?
I cannot wait to see how this program continues to evolve and improve the lives of so many people across Southern York County.
Recognizing National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
In October, we focus on staying safe online by taking steps to protect personal data. Simple steps you can take include using strong passwords, using multifactor authentication, recognizing, and reporting phishing, and updating software.
I am continually working to put measures in place that will better shield Pennsylvanians from online threats.
Senate Bill 565 would protect students’ personal data from unauthorized or inappropriate disclosure. Senate Bill 563 would establish that commonwealth agencies have strong capabilities in place to discourage, combat and recover from ransomware attacks.
Senate Bill 284 would establish a standalone Office of Information Technology (OIT) under the Office of Administration. The OIT would create a strategic plan for future IT projects across state government, as well as manage and maintain all future IT procurement within state agencies.
Cybersecurity poses a serious threat, and we must all stay vigilant against malicious attackers.
Royalty Visited the Capitol This Week
It was an honor to host Olivia Mummert, the 2023 US American Miss Junior Princess, during Senate session this week! Ms. Mummert was recognized during both the Senate and House sessions for her achievement. Olivia and her family reside in Penn Township. Congratulations, Olivia!
Bill Enhancing School Bus Safety Receives Senate Support
The Senate passed a bill to improve school bus safety by increasing penalties for those refusing to follow the law.
Senate Bill 897 would give judges the discretion to increase fines above the current $250 for refusing to stop for a school bus when red lights are flashing or a stop arm is extended. It would also require repeat offenders to complete a PennDOT Driving Improvement School. Additionally, it would establish a new penalty for individuals who fail to proceed with caution past a school bus with flashing amber lights.
According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, approximately 1,000 drivers annually are convicted of passing a stopped school bus with signals flashing. Many more citations are issued without resulting in a conviction.
Celebrating 100 Years of Service with Friendship Fire Company of Hellam
Last weekend, the Hellam community celebrated Friendship Fire Company for their 100 years of service!
The department was founded in 1923 as an all-volunteer fire department, named the Hellam Fire Company. The fire company created bylaws and a constitution in 1924 and formed its Ladies Auxiliary in 1930. The name was also changed through the years to adopt its current moniker.
Throughout the past one hundred years, the members of Friendship Fire Company of Hellam have faithfully endeavored to preserve and protect the health, safety, and welfare of their fellow citizens. Thank you to all the members, past and present, for your tireless devotion to duty.
Rev. Jesse North Opens Senate Session This Week
Thank you to Rev. Jesse North of Wrightsville Presbyterian Church for serving as guest chaplain of the Senate of Pennsylvania this week. This is Rev. Jesse North’s third time opening the Senate Session with prayer but first as a reverend since his recent ordination on Sep. 24.
You can watch his opening prayer here.
I enjoy hosting our local faith leaders at the Capitol to serve as our guest chaplain. If you or someone you know is interested in serving in this capacity, please feel free to contact me.
Commemorating a Local Police Chief’s Career
While I was in session this week, the Spring Garden Township Police Department celebrated its chief’s retirement and his career spanning 43 years! My team was able to attend the luncheon and present Chief George Swartz with a Senate citation congratulating him on his well-earned retirement.
Thank you, Chief Swartz, for faithfully endeavoring your duty to preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of your fellow citizens.
Grants Available to Prep PA for New Businesses
To attract and retain more businesses in the commonwealth, PA SITES (Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites) will make $10 million in grant funding available to help locations become “shovel ready.”
Eligible projects must be in Pennsylvania and support the development of competitive sites. These include undeveloped sites and sites that were previously utilized or underutilized – such as former industrial, commercial, military, school, or hospital sites or buildings.
Municipalities, economic development organizations, redevelopment authorities, municipal authorities and industrial development agencies may apply for the funding here through Wednesday, Nov. 8.
ICYMI: Talking Basic Education Funding Commission on This Week in PA
Last weekend, I joined Rep. Mike Sturla to discuss the ongoing work of the Basic Education Funding Commission with Dennis Owens on “This Week in Pennsylvania.” Rep. Sturla and I co-chair this important commission to come up with recommendations to the state’s funding formula for basic education. You can watch the discussion here.
Upcoming PennDOT Maintenance Projects
You can view PennDOT’s list of scheduled maintenance projects for next week below. If you have trouble viewing the schedule, please click here.
The Senate of Pennsylvania reconvenes on Monday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m. Follow me on Twitter for all the latest updates on session convening times. You can watch all the Senate votes and view our agenda here.