In This Update:
Voters Will Decide Three Ballot Questions on May 18
When voters head to the polls on May 18, they will have the final say on three potential amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution. The way the Wolf Administration worded two of these questions has been roundly criticized as confusing and prejudicial, so it is critical for voters to understand what the questions really mean before casting their votes.
The first question asks whether the General Assembly should be allowed to terminate an emergency declaration if a governor continues to wield emergency powers long after the disaster has passed. A YES vote means the General Assembly could serve as a check on the governor’s power during an emergency to protect the rights of Pennsylvanians.
The second question asks whether future emergency declarations should be limited to 21 days unless extended by the General Assembly. A YES vote means the governor would be prohibited from maintaining unilateral control for an indefinite period of time during an emergency.
The third question asks whether new protections should be added for Pennsylvanians based on race or ethnicity. A YES vote means the rights of all state residents would be protected – regardless of an individual’s race or ethnicity – and the new protections at the state level would match those provided by the U.S. Constitution.
I encourage you to share this information with your family, friends and neighbors so everyone understands what a YES vote means for these critical ballot questions in May.
Hearings Continue to Examine Governor’s Budget Proposal
The Senate Appropriations Committee continued its comprehensive review of Governor Wolf’s state budget proposal this week. Some of the highlights included:
Enhanced “Move Over” Law Goes Into Effect April 27
Lawmakers approved legislation in October that will strengthen the state’s “Move Over” law to protect first responders, tow truck operators and other motorists near the scene of an emergency. The new law – which includes greater public awareness efforts and steeper penalties for violations – will go into effect on April 27.
The law requires motorists approaching an emergency response area to merge into a lane further away, or to slow down to 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit if they cannot safely merge. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reports 46 emergency responders were struck and killed in the U.S. in 2020, and 10 more have lost their lives so far in 2021.
PennDOT Urges Caution When Renewing Licenses and Registrations Online
Pennsylvanians who are renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration online should be on the lookout for copycat websites that may charge additional fees or steal their personal information. PennDOT will never ask for personal documents via text message or over the internet, so customers should be aware that any similar requests are coming from a third-party source that is not affiliated with PennDOT.
Online customers are encouraged to enter the web address of the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website (www.dmv.pa.gov) directly into their browser’s address bar, rather than relying on a search engine. Suspicious third-party sites should be reported to the Pennsylvania Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555.
Reminder: Share Your 2020 Election Experiences
The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform is inviting Pennsylvania voters to share their experiences from the 2020 election by taking an election survey. The information will be reviewed by the committee and will be considered as part of future election reform measures.
The panel held a pair of hearings last month to gather input from local and state election officials, as well as county commissioners on the administration of the 2020 election, and to review best practices in other states that allow mail-in voting. Video and testimony from both hearings is available at https://pasenelectioncommittee.com/.
The month of Ramadan begins on Monday, April 12 and ends Wednesday, May 12th. I wish you a happy and peaceful Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak!
Around the 40th District
It was wonderful this week to attend the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting ceremony for Mattie’s Strudel Haus in Bath Borough. Owner Kelly’s passion for her craft is infectious. Kelly is a 3rd generation artisan, producing pasties the same way taught to her by her mother and her Grandma “Mattie.” These authentic Hungarian strudel taste as good as they look. I commend Kelly for investing in the Bath community and wish her, her husband Tom, and the entire team great success! You can visit Matties at 126 W. Main Street in Bath or visit their website to find out more about the business and order online at https://www.mattiesstrudelhaus.com
Last Saturday morning, we joined our fellow Friends of Minsi Lake (FOML) members along the shore of Lake Minsi in Upper Mount Bethel Township. At a ceremony celebrating the opening of Trout Season, FOML Chairman John Mauser and Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure spoke about the progress made at the lake over the last several years. Construction of the new dam and spillway was completed last year and the lake has been restocked by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. This year there will be a bridge constructed over the spillway which will complete the trail all the way around the lake. Other additions to the lake will be new bathrooms, an ADA compliant kayak and boat launch/fishing pier, as well as new picnic tables and benches. I thank FOML, Northampton County, Upper Mount Bethel Township, and the PA Fish & Boat Commission for their hard work and dedication to renew the treasure that is Minsi Lake. I encourage you to visit and see the progress being made!
On Thursday, we attended Ertle Subaru’s “Share the Love” Event. We are so fortunate to have generous local family business owners like the Ertle’s who consistently provide support to the local community. At the event they made generous donations to the Knights of Columbus and the Pocono Mountains United Way. These two well deserving organizations provide resources and support to so many in our region. Thank you to Jim Ertle and the entire Ertle Subaru team for your generosity and community mindedness.
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