In This Update:
Senators Continue to Highlight What a YES Vote Means on May 18
A group of senators held a news conference at the Capitol this week to highlight what a YES vote means when voters go to the polls to decide proposed Constitutional amendments on May 18.
Lawmakers approved three potential amendments to the Constitution that will appear on the ballot for voters in the May 18 election, including one question to prohibit discrimination based on race or ethnicity and two questions designed to improve the way the state responds to future emergencies.
The Wolf Administration has been widely criticized for wording the emergency response questions in a way that is deeply confusing and prejudicial.
A YES at the ballot box means voters favor:
A new webpage offers a detailed explanation of what the proposed amendments would accomplish.
Senators Call on Governor to Halt Unilateral Action on Carbon Tax
Pennsylvania Senate Republicans sent Governor Tom Wolf a letter Wednesday informing him that none of his nominations to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) will be considered by the Senate if he continues to pursue a unilateral carbon tax on Pennsylvania employers and customers.
The letter notes that the governor’s effort to force Pennsylvania to join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without the input of the legislature is a clear violation of the checks and balances provided by the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Hearings Examining Governor’s Budget Proposal Conclude
The Senate Appropriations Committee completed a series of 21 public hearings that closely examined the details of Governor Wolf’s state budget proposal.
The comprehensive review of the Governor’s proposed $40.2 billion General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, which includes a massive increase in state spending, a substantial personal income tax rate hike, imposition of Marcellus Shale extraction tax, and elimination of funding for broadband expansion and vital agricultural and health programs.
The complete coverage of the hearings can be found here.
Senate Votes to Extend Program Helping Schools Find Substitute Teachers
Pennsylvania schools could have additional opportunities to find qualified substitute teachers under a bill approved by the Senate this week.
Lawmakers created a program in 2016 that allowed individuals training to be teachers to serve as a substitute teacher, provided the individual has valid clearances and at least 60 credit hours. However, the program is set to expire on June 30.
The legislation approved this week would make this temporary program permanent. As a result, schools, intermediate units and career and technical schools can ensure qualified substitutes are available to meet the needs of students.
Protecting the First Amendment Rights of Teachers
The Senate approved a critical bill this week to ensure the First Amendment rights of teachers are better protected. The legislation would repeal a provision of the School Code which prohibits teachers from wearing any garb, mark, emblem or insignia that would indicate they are a member of or adherent to any religious order or sect while in the performance of their duties as a teacher.
Although federal courts have held that the school’s religious affiliations policy violates the free exercise of religion and free speech clauses of the Constitution, these provisions are still in place and public school directors can be held criminally liable for failing to enforce this prohibition. Pennsylvania is the last state in the United States with this provision still in place.
Comments on 2020 General Election Due by Friday, April 30
This is the final week for Pennsylvanians to share their experience from last year’s election with the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Election surveys for Pennsylvanians who voted by mail or in person will be accepted through Friday, April 30.
The committee is expected to use the survey responses and testimony gathered during its series of public hearings to produce a report with recommendations that will be presented to the General Assembly.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day – Saturday 4/24
TOMORROW is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addressing a crucial public safety & public health issue. Events on these days provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction & overdose deaths. To find a drug collection site near you click here and enter your location information.
The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.7 million people misused prescription pain relievers, 4.9 million people misused prescription stimulants, and 5.9 million people misused prescription tranquilizers or sedatives in 2019. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.
Help Shape the Future of the Minsi Lake Corridor
Northampton County is in the process of developing the Minsi Lake Corridor Greenway & Stewardship Plan. The plan will address the compatibility of outdoor recreation, with the conservation of sensitive habitats in the Greenway, in which Minsi Lake is the centerpiece.
The plan will include recommendations for an interconnected system of passive recreational infrastructure & conservation initiatives, linked by a system of trails that allow access throughout the Greenway.
In order to gain greater public input for the planning process, please consider taking part in the survey &/or commenting on WikiMapping at the links below. Also please consider sharing these flyers with friends, neighbors & family, who recreate at Minsi Lake or in the greater Minsi Lake Corridor Greenway, which also includes Bear Swamp Park & Archery Complex & Totts Gap Conservation Area.
Two Ways to Give Your Input:
Around the 40th District
Last weekend I was pleased to join Stephanie Nicolas and her family at the grand opening of their second location of Kids Campus Nursery & Daycare in Wind Gap. Best of luck at this new location!
I recently I joined PA State Rep. Jack Rader and Adrienne Fors from Grand Central Landfill and Hauling/Waste Management at The Growing Place Child Care Centers in Kresgeville for a check presentation ceremony today through Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Thank you to Waste Management for its generous $5,000 donation to support student scholarships. The Growing Place operates three centers that provide high-quality early care and education to about 500 children in our area.
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