Senator Ryan Aument E-Newsletter

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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.

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In this Update:

  • Senate Approves Measures to Support Police and Crime Victims
  • Sexual Content in Schools is Unnecessary and Wrong
  • Health Care Reform Measure Receives Final Approval
  • The Fight for Election Integrity Continues
  • Senate Acts to Add Sex Traffickers to Sex Offender Registry
  • Measure to Improve Notification of Government Data Breaches Sent to Governor
  • Meeting Students from Lititz Mennonite School
  • Participating in a Career Day Panel with the Building Industry Association
  • Last Chance to Fill Out My Student Loan Survey
  • Mail-In Ballot Application Deadline is Nov. 1
  • Recognizing the Contributions of First Responders
  • Time for Trick or Treaters

Senate Approves Measures to Support Police and Crime Victims

Taking further action to stem the rise in violent crime in Pennsylvania, the Senate this week passed measures to support law enforcement and crime victims.

House Bill 103 seeks to better protect our law enforcement officers against harassment by strengthening penalties against criminals who intentionally spit on or throw bodily fluids at officers.

House Bill 1546 further protects law enforcement officers by prohibiting the release of a public safety official’s home address or telephone number.

While criminal prosecutions punish offenders, restitution for crime victims often falls short. When that happens, victims often turn to the civil justice system.

The Senate passed House Bill 2525 to make it easier for crime victims to obtain relevant information learned by law enforcement during the investigation of the crime. Crime victims can then use that information in civil legal actions to recover damages for their injuries.

In addition, the Senate approved House Bill 140 to help fight rampant crime in Philadelphia. It requires the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute crimes committed within its mass transit system.

These efforts build on the work that has been accomplished over the past two years to protect crime victims, prevent human trafficking and strengthen penalties for criminals who seek to elude officers.

Sexual Content in Schools is Unnecessary and Wrong

Certainly more than what we experienced growing up, children today are inundated with sexual content. Despite how hard we as parents try to limit our children’s exposure to explicit content, it often feels unavoidable in this digital era. However, one place our children should be free from adult content is in school.

They deserve to focus on learning without the distractions of unnecessarily graphic content. They deserve to go to the library in search of age-appropriate books without experiencing confusion from concepts not intended for children. They deserve to have sensitive topics introduced to them for the first time by their parents in a safe environment, not from a book in the school library without parental knowledge or consent.

In a recent op-ed, I argued that schools exist to educate children from all backgrounds and should teach students to be loving and accepting of every individual. However, reasonable people can agree that this can be achieved without the use of sexually explicit materials and performances. Read the full op-ed here.

Health Care Reform Measure Receives Final Approval

The Senate gave final approval of a measure that would standardize and streamline the process of prior authorization and step therapy for medical services.

Prior authorization is the process in which health care providers obtain advance approval for purposes of payment coverage and reimbursement from an insurer before a specific procedure or service is delivered to the patient. Step therapy allows insurers to recommend different drug treatment option(s) to patients to address costs.

A recent survey of physicians found that 91% of doctors said prior authorization delays can lead to negative clinical impacts on patients, and 78% of doctors said that prior authorization delays can lead to their patients abandoning treatment plans.

Senate Bill 225 would create standards and timely feedback for commercial health insurance plans, as well as Medicaid plans, when health care providers seek prior authorization approval from insurers. The bill also reforms step therapy protocols. The bill was sent to the governor to be signed into law.

The Fight for Election Integrity Continues

When lawmakers created the state’s mail-in voting law, the language was clear that all ballots must have a handwritten date and signature on the outer envelope in order for those votes to count. Unfortunately, court rulings and guidance from the Department of State have muddied the waters on how counties should approach that issue.

Several voters, along with state and national Republican Party officials, recently filed a lawsuit to ensure the law is followed in the upcoming 2022 election, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis.

While it is currently unclear what the court will decide and whether counties will or will not count any undated mail-in ballots they may receive in the 2022 General Election, the best way voters can be sure their vote will count is to follow the instructions included with the ballot, and date and sign the envelope before mailing.

I was proud to join members of the Senate Republican Caucus in filing a brief in support of this lawsuit this week, similar to prior briefs we have filed in other litigation on this same question. This filing is the latest in a long list of actions we have taken to promote election integrity.

A complete timeline of Senate actions to ensure fair elections is available here.

Senate Acts to Add Sex Traffickers to Sex Offender Registry

A measure requiring offenders convicted of a sex trafficking-related crime to register as sex offenders received final legislative approval this week.

Senate Bill 118 adds these crimes to the reporting requirements of Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law. The law requires the State Police to maintain a public, online registry of persons who reside, work or attend school in the Commonwealth and who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to certain sexual offenses in Pennsylvania or another jurisdiction.

Most defendants in the FBI’s human trafficking cases had prior criminal records and are prone to recidivism. The Megan’s Law Registry has proven to be a deterrent to subsequent sexual offenses committed by those who are on it. The bill was sent to the governor for enactment.

Measure to Improve Notification of Government Data Breaches Sent to Governor

Legislation requiring that state agencies, their contractors and local governments provide timely notification to victims of a data breach received final approval.

Breaches involving personally identifiable information must be reported within seven days of such a breach being determined, under Senate Bill 696.

In addition to timely notification, the measure requires the state Attorney General to be notified of a state-level breach and county district attorneys to be notified of county, municipal and school district breaches. The bill was sent to the governor for enactment.

Meeting with Students from Lititz Mennonite School

It was a pleasure to meet with sixth-grade students from Lititz Mennonite during their field trip to the State Capitol last week! These students were unable to tour the Capitol when they were in fourth grade because of the pandemic. I am glad that, while the experience was delayed, they were still able to learn about their state government and how it works.

I also recently visited fourth-grade students at Lititz Mennonite to talk about state government and answer any questions they had about the role of a state senator.

Participating in a Career Day Panel with the Building Industry Association

I recently participated in the Building Industry Association of Lancaster County’s “BIA Building Futures: A Construction Career Day,” a free, public event promoting industry careers, connecting local builder members with their future workforce, and highlighting the efforts of community partners.

Local legislators were invited to discuss the importance of the homebuilding industry, the employment the industry generates, and the workforce of Lancaster County.

This well-attended event included representation from our local schools and community partners such as Thaddeus Stevens College, Millersville University, LCCTC, SACA Tec-Centro, Career Ready Lancaster!, and Hands-on House.

I was joined by some of my Lancaster colleagues: Reps. Keith Greiner, Brett Miller, Steve Mentzer, and Mike Sturla.

Last Chance to Fill Out My Student Loan Survey

The last few weeks, I have been asking residents of the 36th District to share their opinions about how best to address the student loan crisis, and the survey is soon going to close.

Please submit your comments here by Monday, Oct. 31, at 9 a.m.

Mail-In Ballot Application Deadline is Nov. 1

Tuesday, Nov. 1, is the deadline to apply for mail and absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 General Election. 

Applications can be requested online or you can download the form and return it to your County Voter Registration Office no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 1.

Instructions for preparing and returning your ballot can be found here. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Recognizing the Contributions of First Responders

We sometimes take for granted the sacrifice and dedication of first responders, without whom our communities could not safely function.

Thank you, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and everyone else who answers the call, anytime, day or night.

Time for Trick or Treaters

Communities will be holding Halloween nights between now and Oct. 31. In addition to stocking up on candy, please keep an eye out for distracted children crossing streets and scurrying about.

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