In this Update:
Senate Special Committee Releases Report on Election Reforms
The bipartisan Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform released a report this week detailing its findings and recommendations to strengthen Pennsylvania’s election system.
The committee was created to review all aspects of the November 2020 election. The panel held a series of hearings in March and April to review election security and best practices in other states, state and local perspectives on the administration of elections, and the management of elections in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties.
In addition, the committee created a webpage to encourage Pennsylvanians to share their experiences in the 2020 General Election. The survey generated more than 20,000 responses.
The testimony and feedback received by the committee led to a series of recommendations to boost election security, improve voter access and support counties in the efficient administration of elections. You can read the report here.
ATC Trail to Town Family Jamboree THIS SATURDAY!
This Saturday, June 19th, I will again partner with Wind Gap Borough to hold the ATC Trail to Town Family Jamboree.
The event will be held on Saturday from Noon until 3 p.m. at Wind Gap Park.
I hope you can join us for all the family fun and vendors!
Bill to Improve Safety in Daycare Facilities Approved by Senate
The Senate approved a bill to improve safety in state-regulated daycare facilities and sent the bill to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The legislation designates the locations where smoke detectors must be installed and requires that they are interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all go off.
The measure was introduced in response to a tragic fire that claimed the lives of five young children in Erie on August 11, 2019. Only one smoke detector was found in the building and it was located in the attic.
Senate Votes to Permit “Mixed Drinks to Go” Permanently and Enacts Other Steps to Help Hospitality Sector Employers
In the ongoing effort to help employers in the hospitality sector get back on their feet following COVID-19 restrictions, the Senate voted to permanently allow “mixed drinks to go” from restaurants and hotels, extend sales for outdoor dining and expand the number of locations where ready-to-drink mixed drinks can be sold.
The measure makes permanent the sale of mixed drinks to-go by restaurant or hotel licensees for off-premises consumption. Originally, mixed drinks to-go was a temporary measure allowed during the COVID-19 disaster declaration. It also allows larger outdoor dining spaces, off-premises catering permits without restrictions, and more.
It also allows a different type of product called Ready-to-Drink cocktails to be sold by restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and beer distributors for off-premises consumption. Restrictions are set on alcohol-by-volume content and container size.
Legislation Preserving Nursing Home Visits During a Pandemic Approved by General Assembly
Legislation to allow family members to safely visit long-term care facilities as essential caregivers for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens was approved by the Senate and sent to the governor for enactment.
During the pandemic, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities were closed to visits from friends and family. The prolonged separation negatively impacted the overall health and well-being of facility residents.
The measure would allow a designated essential family caregiver to be named for each resident of a licensed long-term care facility. Protocols would be put in place to screen the essential caregivers and require additional steps to gain access to the facilities.
Senate Approves Bill Requiring Legislative Approval of RGGI Deal
In a bipartisan vote, the Senate approved legislation requiring legislative approval before Gov. Tom Wolf can have Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
Under the measure, the Pennsylvania Carbon Dioxide Cap and Trade Authorization Act, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would be required to provide a public comment period of at least 180 days and hold a minimum of four public hearings in locations that would be directly affected economically by the proposal.
Following the public comment period, DEP would be mandated to submit a report to the House and Senate Environmental Resources & Energy committees detailing the specific economic and environmental impacts that joining RGGI and imposing a carbon tax would have on affected communities, the PJM Interconnection region and ratepayers. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Observes Juneteenth Holiday
Senate offices will be closed Friday to observe the Juneteenth holiday.
The June 19 holiday honors the end of slavery by commemorating the date in 1865 when Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced to enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they were free. Granger’s proclamation came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Happy Father’s Day
To all fathers: I hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day this Sunday. This is the day when we celebrate your essential role in family and community. May your day be filled with love and gratitude.
Around the 40th District
In Harrisburg on Tuesday, I met with four Executive Directors from CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA seeks to provide a qualified and compassionate court-appointed volunteer advocate to every child who is abused and neglected, to ensure the fundamental human right of having a safe, nurturing, and permanent home is met. Thank you (Left to right) Joan Erney, Corey Korinda, Esq, Jennifer DeBalko, and Jessica Laspino for taking the time to meet with me and discuss you admirable mission and ways we can work together to achieve CASA’s goals.
Last Friday afternoon, I joined PA State Rep. Ann Flood and representatives from Senator Toomey, State Senator Boscola, and Congresswoman Wild’s offices to get a sneak peak at the newest hospital in the 40th district, Lehigh Valley Health Network LVH – Hecktown Oaks. I was extremely impressed by the state-of-the-art facility located off of Hecktown Road in Lower Nazareth. You may have seen their new sign along Route 33.
This new 201,000 square-foot facility will be opening next month. The site includes a new hospital – including a 24/7 ER, and surgical center, cancer institute and medical office building. You can find out more information here.
Recently, I joined PA State Rep. Ann Flood, The Greater Bath Area Chamber of Commerce, and officials from Borough of Bath at the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Caravan Cigar Company. Always wonderful to see another new business taking root in our community!
On Wednesday evening, we attended a meeting of the Moor Township Lions Club at Woodstone Country Club. At the event, we presented Ms. Anne Schweitzer with a senate citation to honor her 37 years of dedicated service to the organization. Amazingly during those 37 years Anne maintained a perfect attendance record at the club’s meetings! Any definition of a full and productive life must include service to other and Anne is a shining example for our community. Congratulations Anne!
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