Senator Aument E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • New “Grow PA” Plan Would Change the Way PA Looks at Higher Ed, Career Preparation
  • Bill Requiring Prosecutors to Notify ICE of Illegal Migrants Passes Senate
  • Senate Approves Bill to Keep Violent Criminals & Drug Dealers Off the Streets
  • Attracting Employers to Pennsylvania
  • Survey: Increasing Transparency in Government Spending
  • Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Alex Munro in Lancaster County
  • Ephrata Graduate Interns in Harrisburg
  • Beware of E-ZPass Scam
  • Increasing Student Safety, Eliminating Vehicle Owner Fee
  • April is National Financial Literacy Month
  • Students Tour PA Capitol; You Can Too!

New “Grow PA” Plan Would Change the Way PA Looks at Higher Ed, Career Preparation

Pennsylvania faces some significant economic and demographic challenges in the years ahead. Our population is projected to grow much slower than the national average over the next several decades, and too many young people are already pursuing job opportunities and educational options in other states.

To address these troubling trends and help more young people put down roots in Pennsylvania, I recently joined with several of my Senate and House colleagues to introduce the “Grow PA” plan to improve the way our state approaches post-secondary education and career preparation.

The goal of the plan is to make Pennsylvania more competitive in attracting and retaining students in high-priority fields of study like health care, agriculture, energy, and law enforcement. Just as importantly, our plan requires graduates to remain and work in Pennsylvania for a number of years after graduation.

The Grow PA plan would also move Pennsylvania to a performance-based funding model for state-related universities, which would prioritize funding to institutions that graduate students with degrees in those in-demand career fields. A performance-based funding model would help to hold universities accountable for results, safeguard taxpayer dollars, and help students secure meaningful employment after graduation by creating a direct pipeline from Pennsylvania universities to Pennsylvania jobs.

Finally, the plan would also expand existing educational programs that are working and encourage universal completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

More details about the Grow PA plan are available here.

Bill Requiring Prosecutors to Notify ICE of Illegal Migrants Passes Senate

The Senate approved legislation that would require prosecutors across the state to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whenever illegal migrants are charged with violating state law. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Currently in Pennsylvania, violations of state law by illegal migrants are not required to be reported to ICE, but Senate Bill 1127 would ensure illegal migrants who violate our laws are held accountable. The change will better safeguard our communities and protect Pennsylvania’s law-abiding citizens.

Earlier this year, two NYPD officers were assaulted in broad daylight by illegal migrants. Several of the offenders had been previously arrested but not reported to ICE and were released back on the streets. The shocking crime prompted New York City Mayor Eric Adams to call for ICE to be informed when illegal migrants have been charged with violations of state law.  

The goal of this bill is also very much in line with our local response to the Lancaster City Council’s recent decision to make Lancaster a “Welcoming City.” Immediately following the announcement of their plan, we issued a statement condemning the ordinance and strongly urging the council to rescind it and instead prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Lancaster County residents.

We wrote more about this dangerous decision by the Lancaster City Council and our opposition to it here.

Senate Approves Bill to Keep Violent Criminals & Drug Dealers Off the Streets

The Senate passed legislation this week to strengthen the bail determination process for dangerous individuals: repeat violent offenders, drug dealers trafficking fentanyl, and those who assault law enforcement officers, or evade arrest on foot.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and approximately 50 times more potent than heroin. Two milligrams of fentanyl – the amount that fits on the tip of a pencil – is enough to kill an average person. An average of 14 Pennsylvanians die every day from a drug overdose.

Therefore, while those who pose a threat to public safety await trial, Senate Bill 1120 would:

  1. Allow only cash bail to be used,
  2. Ban release on own recognizance, and
  3. Ban release on unsecured bail.

The bill is part of the Senate Republican effort to improve community safety across Pennsylvania. It now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Attracting Employers to Pennsylvania

This week, I joined some of my Senate Republican colleagues to highlight legislation that would positively impact the small business community. The bills we discussed would make the permitting process more transparent, offer website protections for small businesses, eliminate Pennsylvania’s Startup Penalty associated with the state’s tax structure, and improve small business bankruptcy protections.

If we want the commonwealth to be an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family, we must prioritize pro-growth policies that make the state more economically competitive. Because studies show that entrepreneurs prefer states where they aren’t at risk of losing their homes and other property if the business fails, I sponsored legislation that would provide a fair, yet measured system to protect the homes and other assets of hard-working residents when they are faced with a financial crisis.

Watch a short clip of my remarks at the press conference here.

Watch the full press conference here.

Survey: Increasing Transparency in Government Spending

Each year, taxpayers spend an average of $28 million as part of an archaic Pennsylvania law that requires local government entities like school boards and municipal governments to advertise any upcoming public meeting in a newspaper of general circulation.

Newspaper circulations have dropped by more than 50% during the last 17 years, and there’s no easy way for the public to know what’s being spent on these mandated advertisements.

I’m curious if you would support requiring the cost of advertisements to be published for taxpayers to view. Also, given dwindling newspaper readership, is there a better way to share information about these meetings? Please fill out my short survey here.

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Alex Munro in Lancaster County

It was bittersweet to present a Senate of Pennsylvania condolence citation with Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) to Judy Munro, who was married for 62 years to the late Alex Munro who sadly passed in January.

After graduating from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Alex worked as a bricklayer and stonemason for the first 30 years of his career. He later served as executive director of the Thaddeus Stevens Foundation and president of the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Alumni Association for approximately 30 years prior to his retirement at the age of 79.

Known for his hardworking and generous nature, Alex enjoyed camping, horseback riding, hiking, bird watching, building ornamental ponds, and spending time in nature. He will be greatly missed.

Ephrata Graduate Interns in Harrisburg

I was pleased to run into a young constituent, Olivia Schlinkman, in the Pennsylvania Capitol building recently! Olivia is currently interning with my colleague, Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-19). She is originally from Ephrata and attends West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

Beware of E-ZPass Scam

A new phishing scam is targeting E-ZPass account holders requesting information to settle outstanding toll amounts. The texts claim to be from “Pa Turnpike Toll Services” and center around urgent requests with your account that would result in a late fee if the balance does not get settled. Similar scams have been reported by toll agencies across the country in the past several days.

Customers who receive an unsolicited text, email, or similar message suggesting it is from E-ZPass or another toll agency should not click the link. E-ZPass account holders can use approved safe methods to check their accounts such as the PA Turnpike E-ZPass website or the PA Toll Pay app available from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Those who receive a fraudulent text can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at The site is dedicated to sharing information on internet crimes across law enforcement agencies.

Increasing Student Safety, Eliminating Vehicle Owner Fee

As a result of action taken by Senate Republicans, students will be safer on their journey to and from school. Because of legislation now in effect, school districts may install and operate automated camera systems on school buses to capture violations committed by motorists.

Violations identified by the camera system will be reviewed by police under agreement with the school district. After that review, the school district may issue a violation and a $300 fine to the vehicle owner. These violations are civil penalties only and no points will be assessed to driver’s licenses.

Vehicle owners may request a hearing before a PennDOT hearing office, at no cost to the vehicle owner, if they feel they are innocent. Before the passage of the legislation, the vehicle owner was responsible for paying applicable civil filing fees.

April is National Financial Literacy Month

In April, we recognize National Financial Literacy Month, a time to celebrate work being done to improve the knowledge that helps people achieve their money-focused goals.

Senate Republicans recognized that young adults face financial decisions that can come with long-term consequences and passed legislation to arm high school students with money management skills. The new law requires completion of a half-credit personal finance course to graduate high school.

The course will give high school students the understanding they need about topics like credit and credit scores; savings and investments; college, home, and auto loans; and planning for postsecondary education and retirement.

Students Tour PA Capitol; You Can Too!

This time of year, students of all ages travel to Harrisburg to tour our beautiful and historic State Capitol building and learn more about how state government works. Of course, everyone is welcome to visit this national historic landmark, and tours are free. Books yours here.

Homeschool Together

Bucher Elementary School in Manheim Township School District

To view photos of all the tour groups from Bucher Elementary, check out my Instagram page later this weekend.

Mountville Elementary School in Hempfield School District

Visit my Instagram page later this weekend to view photos of all the tour groups from Mountville Elementary.

Dayspring Christian Academy in Mountville

Ephrata Mennonite School in northern Lancaster County


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