Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 36th Senatorial District and look forward to working with you toward building a stronger Pennsylvania. This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Lancaster County and what I am doing as your State Senator in Harrisburg – I hope that you find it helpful! Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please DO NOT reply to this email; instead, please feel free to contact me here.
In this Update:
Aument Introduces Bill to Clean Up Voter Registration Records
As part of continuing efforts to increase the integrity of Pennsylvania’s election system, I introduced legislation earlier this week that will help to reconcile any errors, duplicate files, or irregularities within Pennsylvania’s voter registration records.
While the mainstream media would have us believe that every attempt to improve election integrity is part of an effort to cast doubt on the 2020 General Election outcome, this could not be further from the truth. There are legitimate issues and irregularities within Pennsylvania’s election system that must be fixed so we can be confident in any election results produced by that system. Despite opponents’ claims that nothing is wrong with our elections, independent third-party audits have shown this is false, and I would be doing a disservice to my constituents if I did not act to correct these problems.
Senate Bill 1018 will incorporate into statute the recommendations made by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in his 2019 audit report of the Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE). SURE is the program the Department of State uses to maintain a complete list of all registered voters in the Commonwealth.
In 2019, the Auditor General released his report which detailed 50 recommendations to the Department of State related to security protocols, information technology general controls, and interface controls to “improve the security of Pennsylvania’s voter registration system and the completeness, accuracy, and auditability” of the voter registration records.
Read my full press release on the bill here.
What are the Top 3 Issues for State Legislators to Address in 2022?
Public safety, school choice, economic opportunity & jobs – what do you think are the three most important and pressing issues for state legislators to address in 2022?
Tell me what you think on my 2022 legislative survey, now available on my website. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete the survey and share your views on some of the important issues in our state today.
The survey is available here. Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts!
Prioritizing PA’s IT efforts & Strengthening Cybersecurity
Legislation that I sponsored along with Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) that would create the new “Office of Information Technology” and require cybersecurity best practices across state agencies received the approval of the Senate of Pennsylvania earlier this week.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are a growing concern as our society continues to rely more heavily on technology, and particularly since the pandemic facilitated a swift transition to virtual work. Consolidating the state’s IT will ensure that our digital assets are managed more efficiently and safely, with the ability to identify and eliminate any threats to sensitive information more quickly. In fact, continual data breaches within state agencies impacting Pennsylvanians necessitates these substantial reforms.
Under the measure, the Office of Administration would house the Office of Information Technology (OIT). The role of the OIT would be to establish a strategic plan for future IT projects across state government, as well as manage and maintain all future IT procurement within state agencies. The OIT would also be tasked with implementing cybersecurity standards for state government and provide recommendations how to future-proof Commonwealth IT assets.
The legislation is the result of public testimony to review best practices in other states, as well as feedback from the state’s Chief Information Officer.
Read the full press release here.
Connecting with Residents of the 36th District
I recently stopped by the home of Gladys Showalter in East Hempfield to wish her a happy 100th birthday!
After a meeting with East Hempfield Township Police Chief Stephen A. Skiles, I spoke briefly with my new friend Easton who came to the department with his mom because he wanted to meet a police officer.
I am grateful for Lancaster County’s law enforcement community. We are exceptionally well served!
Federal Government Launches Website to Provide Home COVID Tests
The federal government has launched a website to order at-home rapid COVID-19 testing kits.
Each household is eligible to order four tests. According to the website, orders will usually ship in 7-12 days and there is no cost.
These are rapid antigen at-home tests, also referred to as self-tests or over the counter (OTC) tests. They produce results within 30 minutes and no lab drop-off is required.
To place an order, provide your name and residential address. You don’t have to provide ID, credit card or health insurance information. You can find answers to frequently asked questions here.
Transition to 5G Service Will Cause 3G Cell Phones to Stop Operating in 2022
Residents with older cell phones are being urged by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania State Police to prepare for the phase-out of 3G cellular networks and service, which could come as early as next month.
If your mobile phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade your device before your provider shuts down its 3G network and you lose service – including the ability to call 911. You should contact your cellular service provider to determine if your devices are compliant to ensure you don’t lose connectivity.
The nation’s three major wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) have announced plans to shut down their 3G networks to accommodate more advanced services, including 5G, as early as February. That will cause many older phones to be unable to make or receive calls and text messages or use data services. It could also affect other devices that rely on 3G connectivity, such as medical alert devices, tablets, smart watches, home security systems, and in-vehicle safety, security and roadside assistance systems.
Low-income individuals concerned their 911-only phones will no longer be supported can apply for service through the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program.
Tax Form Arriving Soon for Pennsylvanians Who Claimed Unemployment Benefits in 2021
According to the Department of Labor and Industry, 1099 tax forms will be mailed no later than Jan. 31 to Pennsylvanians who claimed unemployment benefits in 2021 and need the form to file their federal income taxes.
Claimants of all unemployment programs offered during 2021 will receive a 1099 tax form detailing their benefit payments. This form will be available online soon and viewable in the same system where claimants file their weekly claims. All claimants also have the option to view 1099 tax forms from previous years, if applicable.
The receipt of a 1099 form by a person who didn’t file for unemployment may indicate a case of identity fraud. If someone who didn’t file for unemployment receives what looks to be a 1099 tax form in the mail, they should report this suspected fraud immediately so the department can correct their income with the IRS and prevent any issues with the victim’s taxes.
Applications Being Accepted for PennDOT Summer Employment Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) offers a summer employment program for students who are registered as full-time college students for the Fall 2022 semester.
The deadline for receiving summer applications is Feb. 18, so I encourage anyone interested in the program to contact my office.
In addition to contacting my office, those interested must also fill out an online application with the PennDOT College Student Summer Worker posting under the open summer jobs section of the website.
The hourly rate is $14.61. Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time college student for the Fall 2022 semester, have a valid PA driver’s license and be 18 years of age before beginning work.
Free Tax Preparation Services for Eligible Residents
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offers free tax preparation help to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, available at nine locations in our area. Click here to find out if you qualify for free tax prep.
In-person appointments are available. Properly worn masks are required the entire time within the VITA Tax Site. Only the taxpayer and spouse, if applicable, will be allowed to enter the site.