Senator Aument E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Republicans Secure Historic Tax Cuts for Working Families
  • Legislation to Curb Distracted Driving Set for Enactment
  • Senate Acts to Bolster Telemedicine in PA
  • Scholarship Bill Wins Bipartisan Support
  • Senate Votes to Create Statewide Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking System
  • Should School Funding be Based on Performance?
  • Scott Russell Recognized for Local Government Excellence
  • Celebrating Three New Centenarians
  • Touring COBYS Family Services
  • Learning About Support for Foster Children
  • Visiting Oak Street Health Facility
  • Preventative Care Protects Moms, All Women

Senate Republicans Secure Historic Tax Cuts for Working Families

Sen. Aument speaks in favor of historic tax cuts for PA working families on the Senate floor.

Working families, job creators, and energy consumers in Pennsylvania would see their taxes reduced by approximately $3 billion a year under a bill approved by the Senate with a strong bipartisan, veto-proof majority. It would represent the largest tax cut for working families in Pennsylvania history, saving taxpayers more than $13 billion over the next five years.

Senate Bill 269 would reduce the personal income tax (PIT) rate from 3.07% to 2.8%, putting more money in the wallets of every Pennsylvanian who earns a paycheck. The bill would also eliminate the gross receipts tax on energy, effective Jan. 1, 2025, providing critical relief from high energy costs.

The tax cuts would add more money to Pennsylvanians’ paychecks, lower utility bills, and inject an additional $3 billion into the state’s economy. The plan is a sharp contrast from Gov. Josh Shapiro’s calls for $3.2 billion in new government spending, as well as legislation introduced by House Democrats to nearly quadruple certain taxes paid by small businesses. Instead, Senate Republicans continue to protect taxpayers against unnecessary tax increases, new spending, and unchecked growth in the size of government.

Read more here.

Legislation to Curb Distracted Driving Set for Enactment

Legislation passed by the Senate to prohibit the handheld use of cellular and other devices while driving is set for enactment into law.

Senate Bill 37 would enhance driver responsibility by prohibiting the use of handheld cellphones or other communication devices while operating a motor vehicle on a Pennsylvania highway or trafficway. While hands-free use of devices when driving would remain legal, handheld use of devices would only be permitted when the vehicle is parked on the side or shoulder of a roadway and the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

To inform drivers about the new law, law enforcement must issue warnings for violations during the initial 12 months following the bill’s enactment.

Senate Acts to Bolster Telemedicine in PA

The Senate approved legislation aimed at expanding the use of telemedicine in Pennsylvania.

Telemedicine is the remote delivery of health care services and medical information using telecommunications technology. It allows medical services to be provided to some of the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians who otherwise would not be able to receive them due to location or other circumstances. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it saw rapid growth in Pennsylvania.

Senate Bill 739 requires insurance providers or managed care organizations to reimburse health care providers for services provided to a patient through telemedicine. Services provided through telemedicine must meet the same standard of care as health care services provided in person.

Scholarship Bill Wins Bipartisan Support

The Senate Education Committee advanced bipartisan legislation to provide more educational options to children in low-performing public schools through scholarships to attend the school of their choice.

Senate Bill 795 would establish the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) Program. During Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget address earlier this year, he referenced his continued support for “scholarships that let poor families in struggling school districts put their kids in the best position for them to succeed – whether that’s paying for extra tutoring, books and computers, or yes, going to another school.”

The bill, which now heads to the full Senate for consideration, is part of a larger Senate Republican initiative to preserve the role parents have in their children’s lives.

Senate Votes to Create Statewide Sexual Assault Evidence Tracking System

To assist survivors of sexual assault, the Senate approved Senate Bill 920, which would establish a sexual assault evidence tracking system. Using the system, individuals could follow the path of a rape kit throughout the collection and testing process.

Sexual assault forensic exams are conducted using what are commonly referred to as rape kits, in which DNA evidence is collected from the assault victim’s body, clothes, and other personal belongings. The process can increase the likelihood of criminal prosecution.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have established rape kit tracking systems. Enactment of the legislation would enable Pennsylvania to receive additional federal funds.

Should School Funding be Based on Performance?

Currently, Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education receive funding based on need. Another way to fund them is by a performance-based model, which would consider graduation rates, retention rates, employment rates and salaries, and other key indicators of success when allocating funding. High-performing colleges and universities would be rewarded with funding, and under-performing institutions would not.

I would like to know if you think the current funding model, based on need, or a performance-based model is better for our state-related universities. Please fill out my one-question survey here.

H. Scott Russell Recognized for Local Government Excellence

Congratulations to H. Scott Russel, who is an East Hempfield Township supervisor and former township manager for East Cocalico Township, for being honored with a 2024 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence.

He was nominated in recognition of his contribution to local government by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS).

H. Scott Russell has been vice chair of the East Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors for 14 years. He is a senior project manager with McMahon Associates, an engineering firm offering a solid background in Pennsylvania municipal government operations and transportation roadway design. Russell currently serves on the Executive Board of PSATS, Lancaster County Association of Township Officials, as founder of the Central Lancaster County Council of Government, and the Governor’s Local Government Advisory Committee.

Celebrating Three New Centenarians

Happy belated 100th birthday to New Holland resident, Esther Sideman! Born in Hazleton, she graduated from the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing in 1945 and volunteered on bloodmobiles for the American Red Cross. She was the beloved wife of Leonard Sideman for 25 years prior to his passing and is the proud mother of three children. Esther has also been blessed with seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Congratulations to Elizabethtown resident, Mary Barr, upon celebrating her 100th birthday! Mary was the beloved wife of Harry M. Barr for 42 years prior to his passing and is the proud mother of three children. She has also been blessed with five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Happy 100th birthday to New Holland resident, John Dougherty! John graduated from Millersville University, served in the United States Army during WWII in the China-Burma-India Theater, and then spent the next 30 years teaching at Chichester School District in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. He was the beloved husband of Dorothy Dougherty for 56 years prior to her passing, and he is the proud father of two children. John has also been blessed with five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Touring COBYS Family Services

I recently had the opportunity to visit, tour, and learn more about COBYS Family Services in Lancaster, a tremendous organization devoted to providing foster care, adoption, counseling, family life education, and permanency services for children and families at risk in Lancaster County and the surrounding area.

Learning About Support for Foster Children

I visited Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster and Lebanon counties and met with the Executive Director, Jessica Laspino, who shared more information about CASA’s mission and the support it provides for foster children in our communities. Learn more about CASA’s critical work here.

Visiting Oak Street Health Facility

I visited the Oak Street Health facility, which serves patients from Lancaster, Columbia, Lititz, and Ephrata areas. Since opening its Lancaster location in 2023, Oak Street Health has strived to ensure health care equity for all, with a social mission to provide quality care for the underserved Medicare population in our area. It is a true community partner, having opened its doors to host outside events and even aided with food, housing, and other essential needs of our neighbors.

Preventative Care Protects Moms, All Women

Happy Mother’s Day to the women who play a critical role in their families as they care for their loved ones. Often, they are so focused on supporting everyone else that meeting their own needs takes a back seat.

However, when it comes to breast cancer, that’s simply not safe to do. It’s important for all women who are at least 40 years old to carve out time to get a mammogram every two years. Know your risk and family history because Act 1 of 2023 eliminates all costs associated with screening breast MRI, ultrasound, genetic testing, and counseling for individuals with high risk.

The comprehensive breast cancer screening bill will save lives so we can enjoy more time with the mothers and all other women in our worlds.


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