In this update:
Talking vaccine passports with Dom Giordano
The idea of a statewide, blanket mandate to require vaccine passports to patronize restaurants, get a haircut or enter a store created a very scary scenario where every individual would be required to have a smartphone with a QR Code, or access to a printer to print off a “passport” to do day-to-day errands in our local communities.
New York recently launched a $2.5 million vaccine passport program. I joined Dom Giordano of 1210 WPHT to discuss the concern I have about a statewide approach to requiring every citizen to produce a vaccine passport.
You can listen to our discussion here.
Latest podcast episode features Sen. Ryan Aument, who sits on COVID-19 vaccine task force
Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) serves as the Senate Republican’s representative on the bicameral and bipartisan COVID-19 Joint Task Force to coordinate the state’s vaccine rollout.
Governor Wolf created this task force to help turn around the initial dismal COVID-19 vaccine rollout just days after the General Assembly approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow voters to weigh in on whether or not a governor should be required to work with the duly elected General Assembly during a disaster declaration lasting longer than three weeks.
Senator Aument joins me on the latest episode of my podcast – “Kristin’s Corner” – to discuss where the state was before the task force (ranked 49th) to where we currently stand (first in 1st doses administered compared to 10 most populous states; 12th among all states as a percentage).
You can listen to our discussion here.
If you listen to podcasts, I am on all the popular platforms. If you want these updates automatically on your podcast app, you can subscribe on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox, iHeartRadio and Spotify.
Learn more about this episode here.
Getting proactive on fraud with influx of federal dollars
Newly elected Auditor General Timothy DeFoor and I discussed how the state can be proactive in combatting waste, fraud and abuse with the influx of federal tax dollars flowing through the state and to entities and individuals who are most impacted by the pandemic.
Our discussion, which took place during Wednesday’s Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing, can be viewed below.
Small businesses crushed by unilateral decisions, hear directly from one York County small business owner
Over the last year, small businesses have had to bear the brunt of unilateral COVID-19 mitigation efforts. One small business owner discussed how the last year has impacted her business and how a package I am working on with my colleagues will not only boost her small business during this most difficult time, but let this local employer flourish here in the Commonwealth over the next several years.
You can watch her testimony below.
You can learn more about the Prioritize PA Small Businesses legislative package I am working on here.
Christian Snouffer earns very rare award through Boy Scouts
Congratulations to Christian Snouffer of Troop 69 in Jacobus on being honored with the William T. Hornady Silver Medal by the Boy Scouts of America.
Created in 1975, this medal is the highest conservation award available to youth members. To date, less than 200 individuals have received this award.
Christian, the son of Jackie and Brad Snouffer, earned nine merit badges in conservation and environmental topics and planned, organized and executed four major conservation projects to receive this award. The projects included a battery and small electronics recycling event at Dallastown Area Intermediate School, installing a riparian buffer at the Hidden Valley Scout Reservation, a hazardous material disposal event for Yoe Borough and York Township and a project to help preserve the endangered little brown bat population in Perry County.
It was an honor to attend the ceremony last weekend and recognize this tremendous accomplishment with a citation from the Senate of Pennsylvania.
Asking Agriculture Secretary about restaurant closures
Secretary Redding oversees the Department of Agriculture, which is tasked, among many other things, to inspect eating establishments for food safety issues. However, during the unilateral shutdowns and closures of these entities, his department has been enforcing the governor’s orders. We discussed it during this week’s budget hearing, which you can watch below.
Oversight of Department of Labor and Industry topic of Q&A
During the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing with the Department of Labor and Industry, I asked Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier about the response to fraudulent UC & PUA claims.
I also stressed the need for oversight of spending specially allocated federal funds.
You can watch our conversation below.
Discussing the need for Veteran Service Officers during budget hearing
During the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, I stressed the need for additional Veteran Service Officers across the Commonwealth based on feedback I’ve received from our local veterans and their advocates.
You can watch my Q&A with the department below.
What is the return on your higher education investment? I asked our state-related universities
Student loan debt continues to be a major challenge for both recent college grads as well as individuals who are many years removed from their college days.
One of the major challenges is how our higher education institutions provide as much transparency about career and job-readiness information for prospective and current students who are choosing a major and career field.
You can watch my back-and-forth from this week’s budget hearing with the state-related universities, which includes Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln, below.
Increasing transparency of your tax dollars
Treasury Stacey Garrity and I had an exchange during a Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing about how information on publicly funded grants can be accessed by every taxpayer to ensure greater transparency. Over the year, the Treasury has increased public access through a new transparency portal.
You can watch our discussion below.
Pandemic highlighted state-owned liquor monopoly failures
Pennsylvania was a major outlier during the pandemic when the Liquor Control Board unilaterally shut down all of its retail operations and left customers scrambling to use an antiquated online ordering system.
During last year’s budget, I asked about their e-commerce business before the pandemic began. I was told that they were still working on a website and would be up and running within three to four months.
My line of questioning highlighted how a state-controlled monopoly over the retail liquor operation led to a complete failure and lack of convenience for customers as well as major revenue losses, while other states experienced massive gains. You can watch my discussion below.
Tune in Sunday to Face the State on CBS-21
On Sunday, at 8:30 a.m., I will be on CBS-21’s Face the State with Ryan Eldredge. On the program, we will discuss how I am working on a package of bills to help our small businesses, which I discussed earlier in this email, as well as an exchange I had with the Attorney General over election-related concerns.
I hope you can tune in and I look forward to your feedback!
Local jobs from PA CareerLink
PA CareerLink shared with me their latest list of local job openings, which you can view below. You can also find job postings shared with the York County Economic Alliance here.
Upcoming PennDOT projects
PennDOT shared with me their list of upcoming scheduled maintenance projects, which you can view below.
Furthermore, PennDOT advised me that they will be performing work over the next several months in Hellam Township.
A project to repair Accomac Road (Route 1037) in Hellam Township, York County, is scheduled to begin next week. A section of the road was washed out by flash flooding between Dark Hollow Road and River Drive in 2018. The road currently is reduced to a single lane with traffic controlled by a temporary signal.
The contractor will begin work on Monday, April 12. A long-term closure will begin Wednesday, April 14. A detour will be in place using River Drive and Furnace Road (Route 1008).
Work is expected to be completed and the road open to traffic by August 30, 2021.