In this Update:
In case you missed it last week, my first legislative survey seeks your input on Governor Wolf’s plan to enter Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The survey will close on Monday, June 13.
In late 2019, Governor Wolf announced his desire to enter Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative through the regulatory review process, therefore bypassing the General Assembly.
Pennsylvania entering RGGI will result in all coal-fired power plants to close in the Commonwealth, raise every Pennsylvanian’s electric bill, and an independent study concluded entering RGGI will have no direct impact on the air quality of the Commonwealth.
Do you think Pennsylvania should join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative?
>>>LET ME KNOW HERE<<<
Capitol Rally Aims to Stop Wolf Bridge Tolling Plan
I joined the No P3 Bridge Tolls Coalition for a capitol rally Wednesday to voice opposition to the Wolf administration’s plan to toll interstate bridges in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) plan proposes tolling to pay for bridge projects and has received an overwhelming amount of disapproval, including citizens, members of the General Assembly, local officials and business operators.
PennDOT’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) bridge tolling initiative would cost the average commuter an additional $1,000 per year and was moved through the process without legislative input nor approval.
The Senate passed my Senate Bill 382, which reforms the P3 statute and voids PennDOT’s plan. However, Gov. Wolf has stated that he will veto the bill. Commonwealth Court temporarily halted the tolling plan. The Wolf administration has appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Laurel Highlands Free & Charitable Medical Clinic Ceremony
I had the honor and privilege of being present as my wife Cortney received designation from the Laurel Highlands Free & Charitable Medical Clinic in recognition of her patient care, advocacy, and dedication to the medically underserved. While I often have the opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals from the 35th Senatorial District, this event was an extremely proud moment for me as I watched Cortney be recognized for the important work, she does each and every day. I’d also like to recognize Mary Salvo and Nancy Piatek, recipients of the Linda Sobiesky Tribute Award. The staff and volunteers at Highlands Health staff are remarkable individuals doing amazing things and it was wonderful to see them receive their well-deserved recognition. Congratulations Cortney and all who were honored.
Pennsylvania Chamber Transportation Policy and Funding Panel
Thank you, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, for the invitation to speak on the Transportation Policy and Funding Panel during Chamber Day at the Capitol. It was great to see Amy Bradley from Cambria Regional Chamber and Kellie Goodman Shaffer from Bedford County Chamber of Commerce in attendance.
Meeting Boy Scout Luke Mock
It was great to meet with Boy Scout Luke Mock this week in Harrisburg as the Boy Scouts of America delivered their Annual Report to the Commonwealth. Luke is an incoming Junior at Chestnut Ridge School District.
Showcase for Commerce
It was great to be back at Showcase for Commerce this year and hear all of the positive things occurring in our community relating to the advanced manufacturing industry. I look forward to the further success of this event and the industry in our region!
Senate Approves Poll Watcher Empowerment Act to Increase Election Oversight, Integrity
The Senate approved the Poll Watcher Empowerment Act to ensure election laws are strictly adhered to and improve confidence in Pennsylvania’s elections.
Senate Bill 573 would allow all registered Pennsylvania voters to be eligible to be a poll watcher in any precinct in the state and ensures poll watchers can clearly observe the pre-canvassing and counting of all ballots.
The bill would stiffen penalties against any election official who blocks, impedes or otherwise intimidates a poll watcher on Election Day. It would not change any duties, powers or responsibilities of poll watchers. Senate Bill 573 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill is the third election integrity measure passed by the Senate this year, along with the elimination of controversial ballot drop boxes and prohibiting third-party funding of elections.
Scammers are Stealing Military Pensions
Pennsylvania veterans and their advocates should be aware of an increase in scammers looking to poach their VA pensions, warns the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
“Pension poaching” occurs when scammers or dishonest financial planners charge veterans or their beneficiaries for help in applying for or submitting applications for VA pensions. The scheme often involves financial maneuvers such as advising claimants to hide their assets in trusts or annuity products sometimes resulting in lost investments and lucrative fees paid to the advisor.
The DMVA says veterans and their advocates should remember to never share their VA login information, or deposit VA benefits directly into a third-party bank account unless the person is court appointed or a VA accredited fiduciary. More on avoiding pension poaching, and what to do if you know someone who was targeted, can be found here.
National Fishing and Boating Week
Pennsylvania has multiple settings for fishing and boating, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.
HuntFishPA.com is a good place to start to find out what you need to enjoy angling. The PA Fish and Boat Commission can help you find the best waters for fishing and information on fishing licenses, fishing seasons and more.
Boating Safety Education Certificates are required to operate a personal watercraft and for persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, to operate boats powered by motors greater than 25 horsepower. People who successfully complete an approved boating course are issued a Boating Safety Education Certificate good for a lifetime.