Senator Phillips-Hill E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Department of Health releases updated guidance on traveling and masks
  • Senate approves COVID-19 liability protections
  • Dominion Voting Systems backs out of public hearing at last minute
  • Protecting your Second Amendment rights
  • Fighting for our hospitality industry
  • Bill would provide flexibility for teacher certifications, Keystone Exams
  • General Assembly approves bill cracking down on repeat DUI offenders
  • Legislation supports organ and tissue donation
  • Upcoming PennDOT projects

Department of Health releases updated guidance on traveling and masks

On Tuesday, the Department of Health released updated “guidance” on traveling in and out of Pennsylvania as well as updated rules on wearing a mask. This updated “guidance” went into effect today (Nov. 20). You can find the department’s guidance here.

I raised concerns in a letter I submitted to the Department of Health seeking clarification as the new travel guidance impacts many residents in York County.

In my letter, I wrote: “Your guidance provides five exemptions to the department’s travel restrictions including: work, medical care, military, transit through the state and additional exemptions issued by the department.

Many residents who reside in communities along the Maryland border travel to Maryland for groceries, dry cleaning, fuel and other automotive services, as well as other goods and services.

York County also has several volunteer fire companies that provide fire and rescue mutual aid services to our Maryland neighbors. How does this guidance apply to volunteer firefighters who are asked to assist in calls across the Mason Dixon line?

Conversely, how will your guidance impact Marylanders who patronize businesses for goods and services, as well as first responders who assist in calls in York County and other border communities?

Under the department’s guidance, it is unclear how this guidance will impact York Countians.”

Read my full letter here.

As of 3 p.m. today (November 20), I have not received any information or updated guidance from the department…

Senate approves COVID-19 liability protections

On Thursday, the Senate approved legislation that would provide liability protections for many entities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

House Bill 1737, which incorporated a bill I sponsored, would provide COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers, small business owners, manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), school districts, colleges, universities, non-profits and government service providers.

11/19/20 – Amendment to HB 1737

The measure will protect the abovementioned entities from facing lawsuits during the COVID-19 pandemic as long as those entities are following CDC guidelines for mitigation efforts.

The House passed this bill earlier today and is headed to the governor’s desk.

You can learn more about this legislation here.

Dominion Voting Systems backs out of public hearing at last minute

On Friday, the House State Government Committee was supposed to hold a public hearing with officials from Dominion Voting Systems, the vendor that provides the voting machines in York County.

At the last minute, Dominion canceled their appearance at the public hearing.

I have received many complaints and concerns from local residents on these machines. This hearing would allow those concerns to be answered (and hopefully refuted) in a public setting.

Their 11th hour cancellation is very concerning and raises more red flags.

Here is the deal (and I’ve received a ton of emails on this from many concerned citizens) – NO ONE is hoping to find any wrongdoing or misconduct.

Please keep in mind that our state has an Auditor General whose sole job is to go in and review state agencies, school districts, etc. to ensure the letter of the law is followed and they are complying with their legally mandated responsibilities. The Auditor General does not go in hoping to find wrongdoing, it is to assure taxpayers that their funds are being spent in accordance with the laws. Auditing our election is no different. The General Assembly and governor passed laws pertaining to our election last year. Those laws were changed by the state Supreme Court in the days leading up to the election. That matter is pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. As I’ve said: every LEGAL vote should count.

Auditing the election will ensure the integrity of our state’s elections process. If there was no wrongdoing or misconduct, then there should be no fear of an audit.

You can watch the news conference I attended earlier today that occurred in lieu of this public hearing below.

11/20/20 - News Conference: Rep. Seth Grove

Protecting your Second Amendment rights

Two bills approved by the Senate this week would ensure the Second Amendment rights of Pennsylvanians are protected during emergency declarations. Both bills were sent to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Under current law, the rights of law-abiding citizens to open carry firearms can be limited during a state of emergency. The Senate approved a bill that would ensure these rights are not infringed during a state of emergency. The bill would also ensure firearm sales are not prohibited during an emergency declaration.

The Senate also approved a bill that would establish the Hunting, Firearm, and Ammunition Life-Sustaining Business Act to ensure shooting ranges, sportsman clubs, hunting facilities and firearm and ammunition manufacturers, retailers and distributors are considered life-sustaining businesses that will not be shuttered by state government during an emergency declaration. 

Fighting for our hospitality industry

Locally owned restaurants, bars and taverns have been unfairly targeted with shifting mandates and shutdown provisions throughout this pandemic, causing several to shut their doors for good.

This week, the industry held a news conference that I attended in front of the Capitol to seek support to end the unfair targeted mitigation efforts on this industry. You can watch the event in its entirety below.

11/18/20 – Rally: PA Restaurant and Bar Covid Response Alliance

Bill would provide flexibility for teacher certifications, Keystone Exams

Schools would have more flexibility to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic under legislation that was approved by the Senate this week. The bill would ease many certification and staff development requirements that are difficult to fulfill during the pandemic and extend certain emergency permits when staff development requirements cannot be completed.

The bill would also delay the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement until the 2022-23 school year. Additional provisions are also included to deal with problems related to pupil transportation.

General Assembly approves bill cracking down on repeat DUI offenders

A bill that would crack down on dangerous repeat DUI offenders was approved by the Senate this week. The bill would increase jail time for certain repeat offenders, double the amount of time that repeat offenders must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle and ensure repeat DUI offenders with two or more prior offenses serve their sentence consecutively to any other sentence imposed by the court.

The legislation, also known as Deana’s Law, also mandates the use of continuous alcohol monitoring devices as a condition of probation, parole or bail. The devices, which are similar to home arrest monitors, are strapped to the wearer and automatically test for the presence of alcohol.

The legislation was named in honor of Deana Eckman, a Delaware County woman who was killed in 2019 in a head-on collision with a repeat DUI offender who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

Legislation supports organ and tissue donation

The Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund was created in 1994 to encourage residents to become organ donors. The program allows Pennsylvanians to voluntarily donate $3 to the fund through a check-off box when they renew driver licenses, photo ID cards and vehicle registrations.                                                                                                                     

The General Assembly approved a bill recently that updates the program to reflect the fact that Pennsylvanians can now complete vehicle registrations on a biannual basis. The legislation allows state residents to donate $6 instead of $3 when they complete a biannual registration. 

Upcoming PennDOT projects

PennDOT provided me with a list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects for York County, which you can view below.

In addition to the projects above, PennDOT announced a lane restriction for this Sunday along northbound I-83 between Exit 22 and Locust Lane in Manchester Township.

Northbound I-83 will be restricted to a single lane from 7 p.m. Sunday, November 22, to 6 a.m. Monday, November 23, while the contractor mills and paves a deteriorated section of the roadway.

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