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:
I Am Cautiously Optimistic of Accomplishing Republican Priorities in State Budget
Pennsylvanians expect and deserve results. In divided government, that means working together on issues that matter to residents and that will make Pennsylvania a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
While I certainly don’t agree with Gov. Shapiro on everything, I’m looking forward to working together on important issues we do agree on, like:
I’m cautiously optimistic that we can work together on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania to accomplish meaningful reforms in these areas where we agree. However, if Pennsylvania is truly to succeed, we must also support families and students who want school choice, and we must remove our state from the job-destroying Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – both are efforts that Shapiro said he’d support while on the campaign trail.
I look forward to continuing to elevate the priorities of my constituents throughout the budget negotiations in the coming months.
Historic Breast Cancer Screening Bill Unanimously Passes Senate
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 8, a comprehensive breast cancer screening and genetic testing bill. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill eliminates out-of-pocket costs associated with BRCA-related genetic testing and counseling, as well as supplemental screening such as breast MRIs and ultrasound for women at high-risk. High-risk conditions covered by the bill include dense breast tissue, a personal or family history of breast cancer, genetic predisposition and prior radiation therapy.
The legislation expands on Act 52 of 2020, which required insurers to cover breast MRIs and ultrasounds for women with high-risk factors. Senate Bill 8 is step two, eliminating costs including co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance for those screenings and BRCA-related genetic testing and counseling.
Senate Acts to Protect Citizen Data with State Employee TikTok Ban
The Senate approved legislation to shield citizen data from unauthorized access by prohibiting state-owned devices and networks from downloading and using TikTok. The bill now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Pennsylvania state government holds sensitive information in the form of birth certificates, driver’s licenses, occupation certificates, taxes and more.
Senate Bill 379 would mandate that all state agencies, departments and commissions remove the application from state networks. It would also require that policies are put in place to block application installation, as well as network-based restrictions to prevent its use and access.
Across the nation, both Democrats and Republicans have voiced growing concerns about the security and potential manipulation of the popular social media app TikTok. At least 29 states have addressed the risk to government systems posed by TikTok, and Congress prohibited its use across a wide array of federal agencies and departments.
Please Join the Conversation on March 20
I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting on Monday, March 20, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to provide constituents the opportunity to ask me questions or share their thoughts on state-related issues. Of course, I will also provide information about important legislation and topics that may affect Commonwealth residents.
The call will enable us to interact just as we would at a traditional town hall meeting – except you don’t have to leave your home.
If you would like to be invited to join my telephone town hall meeting, please click here to sign up. At the time of the event, you will receive a telephone call from me inviting you to participate. Simply stay on the line, and you will be connected to the call. You can also choose to audio stream the event live via your smartphone or PC here.
I look forward to talking with you soon!
Measure Preserving Community Energy Choice Passed by Senate
Legislation ensuring that state residents have options when it comes to fuel availability was approved by the Senate. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 143, known as Energy Choice legislation, would prevent municipal entities from banning a specific type of fuel source for appliances and heating homes or businesses.
The measure was developed after cities across the nation took steps to ban fuels, such as natural gas and heating oil, in newly constructed buildings. The legislation is an important component of a sound energy policy for Pennsylvania that’s inclusive of all energy options residents may want or need to access.
Senate Approves Legislation to Increase PA National Guard Health Care Providers
The Senate approved legislation that would allow more health professionals to participate in the Medical Officer Health Incentive Program, helping to ease the shortage of medical specialists in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
The Medical Officer or Health Officer Incentive Program was created in 2014 to provide a tuition reimbursement incentive to those who qualified through their time in the armed services. Even though the program was successful in attracting health care providers into National Guard service, some health professionals, like dentists and physician assistants, were inadvertently left out of the program.
Senate Bill 162, which fixes that oversight, now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
2023 Priority: Helping All Students Succeed
In 2023, I will continue my work to ensure all Pennsylvania children have access to high-quality, world-class schools that best fit their educational needs – regardless of their zip code.
One way to ensure all students have access to a quality education is through the Lifeline Scholarship Program. I am disappointed that Gov. Josh Shapiro did not follow through on his campaign promise to fund the program when he presented his budget address this week.
Under this program, parents with children in grades 1-12 who reside within the attendance area of a school in the bottom performance metrics based on state testing would be eligible to receive a scholarship. Lifeline Scholarships can only be used for qualified education expenses associated with the new education instruction.
Another key provision that gives families more options to meet their children’s educational needs is the Earned Income Tax Credit Program. Even though it would help students struggling in their current learning environment, Gov. Shapiro did not allocate any additional funding in his budget proposal for it. In the 2022-23 fiscal year, the program directed $340 million to schools in Pennsylvania as a result of contributions businesses make.
For years, I have worked diligently to expand educational opportunity and improve student outcomes. That will continue to be my focus in the years ahead, especially because our state government is divided. We must be more dedicated than ever for the benefit of Pennsylvania’s students.
Local Student Shadows Me at the PA Capitol
I was glad to host Penn Manor High School graduate Autumn Gager as a shadow at the Capitol recently. After high school, Autumn attended West Chester University to study political science and play field hockey. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at West Chester.
Penn State Health has New Aeromedical Helicopter in East Hempfield Township
Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center recently announced some exciting news – they have a new aeromedical helicopter and Life Lion helipad! The Life Lion crew consists of 20 paramedics, 19 nurses, 11 pilots, and five aviation maintenance technicians.
Life Lion’s helicopters have transported more than 45,000 patients since 1986, averaging 1,200 transports per year.
Thanks to the team at Penn State Health for bringing more critical care opportunities to Lancaster communities.
Wishing WGAL-TV8 Sports Anchor Well in Retirement
Sen. Scott Martin and I recently honored the career and legacy of Mike Hostetler, former WGAL-TV8 sports anchor of 32 years. For more than three decades, Mike made it fun for viewers to watch as he went skydiving, filled in as a goalie for an impressive peewee hockey team, and participated in a synchronized swimming routine.
During his career, he received several Associated Press Broadcasting Awards and a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for “Football Friday.”
Mike was a part of our homes for many years, and we were lucky to enjoy his segments. I want to wish Mike the relaxing and fulfilling retirement he so richly deserves.
Share Your Thoughts at the Lancaster Train Station Small Area Plan Public Open House
The Lancaster Amtrak station is the second busiest Amtrak station in Pennsylvania. With PennDOT’s construction of a large surface parking lot off Keller Avenue and the forthcoming pedestrian bridge across the tracks to connect to it, there’s a renewed sense of urgency to redevelop the area as a gateway community with a combination of mixed land uses, high density housing, and bike and pedestrian friendly accommodations.
Share your opinion at a public open house on Tuesday, March 21, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ross Elementary Gym, 840 N. Queen St., Lancaster.