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 Applauds SCOTUS Ruling
Earlier today, I issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion:
“I attended my first March for Life in Washington, D.C. in 1993 – 20 years after Roe v. Wade was decided. We’ve been waiting 49 years for this moment, where we the people can finally protect the unborn!
“Consider the 15-week law at issue in Dobbs. At 15 weeks an unborn baby can suck her thumb, has fully formed eyes, lips, nose, and mouth, and can feel excruciating pain. This SCOTUS decision finally gives power to the states and voters to advance human rights and protect vulnerable lives.
“But as we celebrate this good news, know that Pennsylvania’s State Supreme Court may be on the brink of making the same error that SCOTUS made in Roe v. Wade — taking away the power of the people to protect unborn children and setting abortion policy through the courts. A case before our state’s supreme court asks the justices to find a right to taxpayer funded abortion — and abortion itself — in Pennsylvania’s constitution. Such a ruling could even result in abortions after six months.
“That’s why I support Senate Bill 956, a proposed constitutional amendment that will allow the people through their elected representatives, rather than the courts, to set abortion policy.”
Bills to Limit Sexual Content in PA Schools Pass Senate Education Committee
Two bills that I sponsored along with Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) that would give parents a voice in discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in Pennsylvania schools advanced out of the Senate Education Committee.
Senate Bill 1277 would require districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content. Senate Bill 1278 would prohibit classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students, consistent with the timeline for when the existing academic standards on general sex education begins in sixth grade.
The proposals are in response to concerns we’ve received from parents that age-inappropriate conversations about these sensitive topics are occurring prematurely and without parental knowledge in elementary school classrooms around the state.
Information about what Senate Bill 1278 does and does not do, examples of situations that concerned parents have reported from classrooms around the state and other important information can be found here.
Legislation Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs Approved by Senate
The Senate approved legislation to improve workforce development initiatives and better prepare Pennsylvania students for jobs that will be in demand after they graduate.
House Bill 723 would bring state law in compliance with the federal requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by updating state and local workforce development board membership requirements and making other changes. The state and federal acts work in concert to help train individuals for family sustaining jobs.
This bill also requires the state Department of Labor and Industry to collect data on emerging and projected future employment sectors in Pennsylvania and send it to educational institutions. Schools would be required to use the information to develop career education programs and for providing career guidance to students. The amended bill will return to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Raising Workers’ Wages by Lowering the Corporate Net Income Tax
One of the most compelling arguments for lowering the Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate is the benefit that it would provide to Pennsylvania working families. Decades of research demonstrate that there is a direct correlation between lower CNI rates and higher wages for working class families.
Unfortunately, when politicians talk about lowering corporate taxes, many middle- and lower-class working families are skeptical that such a policy would benefit them. Though many believe reducing corporate taxes would only help upper-class chief executive officers and large corporations, the data clearly shows that this is false and that individual employees and their families will also benefit greatly by enjoying higher wages.
Learn more about my proposal to reduce Pennsylvania’s CNI tax and how it would raise workers’ wages here.
Senate Acts to Reduce PA Lyme Disease Cases
With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the incidence of Lyme disease, the Senate approved legislation to require insurance coverage for testing and treatment, and raise awareness of tickborne diseases.
Senate Bill 1188 also requires the Department of Health to work with the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University to develop an electronic database to better track possible cases and provide access to the latest research. The measure will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Left untreated or improperly treated, Lyme disease can lead to debilitating symptoms, which include fevers, arthritis, joint aches and more. If treated within the first 30 days, 10% or fewer patients will progress to severe symptoms.
Bill to Curb Welfare Abuse Passed by Senate
A bill to halt wasteful spending in the Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs was approved by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 1124 requires the Department of Human Services to check death certificates with the Bureau of Vital Statistics so that the payments can be halted immediately when a recipient’s death is recorded.
An audit by former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services paid benefits to 2,324 dead people. In one case, $800 in benefits intended for a woman who passed away was used by another individual for a shopping spree.
Honoring U.S. Merchant Marines with Memorial
It was an honor to speak at the dedication of the new Merchant Marines Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. I was pleased to join the Lancaster Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Lititz Springs VFW Post 1463, Blankets of Honor, and many others to honor our Merchant Mariners.
Special thanks to Vietnam Veteran Clyde Snyder and Lititz Springs VFW Post 1463 for sponsoring the memorial.
Recognizing Retiring Law Enforcement Officers
I had the opportunity to thank two men who have dedicated decades of their lives to protecting Ephrata’s residents and visitors and wish them well in their retirement.
Detective Peter Sheppard entered into law enforcement on Jan. 1, 1997 and joined the Ephrata Police Department on Feb. 3, 1997. He served in the positions of police officer and school resource officer prior to becoming a detective. Lauded for pioneering the school resource officer program with the Ephrata Area School District in 2006, Detective Sheppard built a culture of trust between the school and the agency, and the partnership led to a beneficial ongoing relationship with the school district and the students. He is retiring after 25 years of service.
Officer Matthew Lucky entered into law enforcement on Jan. 3, 1996 and joined the Ephrata Police Department on June 6, 1996. He served in the positions of emergency services unit team leader and field training officer. Officer Lucky was recognized with a Life Saving Award, a Meritorious Service Award, and life membership to the Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team. He is retiring after 26 years of service.
Regional Transportation Projects Open to Review
Pennsylvanians have until June 30 to participate in a comment period on the draft 2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
The draft 2023 STIP reflects the first four years of the 12-Year Program. It lists prioritized projects identified for federal, state, local and private funding in each federal fiscal year between 2023 and 2027.
The draft 2023 STIP can be viewed on the Talk PA Transportation website. Citizens can view projects by county and comment by filling out the online comment form or emailing RA-PennDOTSTC@pa.gov. You can also call PennDOT at 717-783-2262 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrating the 100th Birthdays of Four District Residents
It’s pretty incredible that I am able to honor four district residents as they celebrate their 100th birthdays: Peter Boccabella, Stanley “Whitey” Von Nieda, Isabel Pesci, and Gladys Greiner.
Mr. Boccabella served our country with honor in the Navy during World War II. Following his military service, he worked for the United States Postal Service for many years before retiring as the head of maintenance at the main branch in Washington, D.C. He has been married to his wife, Matilda, for 75 years and they have one child.
Mr. Von Nieda was a paratrooper in the Army during World War II. He also excelled in basketball and led the country, on both college and service teams, in scoring 1,062 points in 44 games. After that, he enjoyed a long career in sales and worked part-time as a bartender until the age of 85.
Ms. Pesci was married to her husband, Alphonse, for 38 years before he passed in 1985. She is the proud mother of five daughters and has been blessed with seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Ms. Greiner worked as a certified reflexologist for more than five decades. She was also employed as an Avon representative, a cook in a high school cafeteria, and as an optometrist’s assistant. She is known for preparing food for charity events and donating baked goods to churches, fire companies, and veterans’ organizations. She was married to her husband, Bud, for 64 years before he passed and is the mother of four children.
Welcoming a Local Student as Our Summer Intern
This week, I welcomed to the Capitol our intern, Connor Vogelsong, a sophomore at Penn State Harrisburg originally from Elizabethtown. Connor exemplifies what it means to be from Lancaster County, and we are honored to have him in the district office for the summer. Watch my introduction of Connor on the Senate floor here.
Older Mobile Phone Services Shutting Down
Mobile carriers are shutting down 3G and other older services to make room for 5G and other more advanced network services.
The Federal Communications Commission says T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS and Sprint 4G LTE services will be shut down by the end of June and Verizon’s 3G by Dec. 31.
If your device uses the 3G wireless spectrum, you will not be able to make 911 calls on the device after the 3G phase out occurs. In addition to older mobile devices, some home security systems, life/medical alert systems, vehicle SOS services, and other tablets that rely on 3G are also impacted. More information and help can be found here.
National Dairy Month and PA Dairy Farmers
Pennsylvania is second only to Wisconsin in the number of dairy farms in America, with 5,200 throughout the state.
The commonwealth’s 474,000 cows produce more than 10 billion pounds of milk annually. Pennsylvania dairy production is critical to our commonwealth and nation, and keeping it strong is a top priority.