In this Update:
Legislative Review: Pandemic Response
When Pennsylvania voters chose overwhelmingly this year to amend the state Constitution and limit the length of a governor’s unchecked emergency powers, they were weighing in on ballot questions created through Senate legislation.
Other measures passed by the Senate this year to safely respond to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Act 1 of 2021 amending the state Fiscal Code to allocate $569.8 million for Rental and Utility Assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling restaurants and taverns as they cope with the devastation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s mandated closings and restrictions.
Act 21 of 2021 ensuring all waivers previously effective under the COVID-19 emergency will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2021, unless sooner terminated by the authority which initially authorized the waiver.
Act 67 of 2021 allowing family members to safely visit long-term care facilities during a pandemic as essential caregivers.
Senate Resolution 90 extending the emergency temporary rules adopted to maintain continuity of operations of the Senate during the COVID-19 disaster emergency.
House Resolution 106 terminating the pandemic emergency declaration and ending the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.
You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.
Standing Up for Fulton County Election Rights
I was proud to stand with Fulton County Commissioner Stuart Ulsh in his request to the Acting Secretary of State to rescind her decision decertifying the voting machines used in the 2020 election.
I find it very troubling that Acting Secretary of State Degraffenreid has followed through on decertification of Fulton County’s voting machines as the Department of State is supposed to be a neutral arbiter that allows counties to conduct elections under the authority of the County Boards of Election.
The election code clearly articulates counties are charged with administering elections and have the authority to investigate irregularities – whether real or perceived.
Fulton County opted to undertake an assessment of the election and they should not now be punished for attempting to provide transparency.
The Wolf Administration and the Secretary of State’s decisions to decertify these machines is a strong-arm move designed to intimidate other counties and keep them from demonstrating to their residents that their elections were fair and accurate. This aggressive move is just another example of why we need meaningful election reform.
Senate Hearing Explores the Impact of the PA Workforce Shortage
The economic impact of the workforce shortage facing Pennsylvania employers was the topic of a public hearing Wednesday by the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.
Pennsylvania is facing a serious workforce crisis that is threatening our employers and slowing our economic recovery. Businesses across the Commonwealth have been forced to curtail their hours of operation or even close because of a workforce shortage. The panel heard from the PA Chamber of Business and Industry, local employers and the PA Restaurant and Lodging Association in order to fully identify the employers’ needs and the role the General Assembly can play in creating an environment for economic growth and job creation.
You can view hearing video and more here.
Tyrone John P. Conrad Bridge Dedication
I was honored to be part of a bridge dedication in Tyrone for John P. Conrad. John was a railroad bridge engineer who designed the 9th Street bridge observatory near the Tyrone Museum. John designed 580 bridges in his career. He passed in February 2019.
DMVA: Important to Safeguard DD-214 Military Paperwork