In this Update:
One-Size-Fits-All Mask Mandate is WRONG for Pennsylvania
Earlier this week, Governor Wolf announced that he will be requiring all school students, teachers, and staff across Pennsylvania to wear masks, citing his authority to do so under the Disease Control & Prevention Act. This announcement came after repeated statements by both the Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Alison Beam, and the Governor himself that they would not force a mask mandate on Pennsylvania schools.
In response to this policy reversal, I issued a statement opposing the Governor’s one-size-fits-all approach and calling for local control. I encourage you to read my entire statement here.
I am concerned about the way that Governor Wolf and his administration have abused their authority throughout this pandemic. As such, I have signed on to legislation sponsored by Senators Judy Ward, Pat Stefano, & Kristin Phillips-Hill that would amend Pennsylvania’s constitution to clarify that the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health’s powers to respond to emergencies stem only from an existing public health disaster emergency declaration. After Pennsylvanians voted in the May Primary Election to amend our Constitution to limit the Governor’s emergency powers, any emergency declaration would now be limited to 21 days unless an extension is approved by the General Assembly.
Aument to Sponsor Bill Giving Parents Flexibility to Send Their Child to a School With COVID-19 Policies of Their Choice
Earlier this week, I announced that I would soon introduce legislation that will utilize a universal fund to give families the flexibility to send their child to a school with COVID-19 policies that best meet their child’s health, safety, and academic needs.
As a strong supporter of both school choice for families and local decision making throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I view this proposal as a more reasonable alternative to the Governor’s heavy-handed, statewide school mask mandate.
Read more about my proposal here.
Pennsylvania Senate Expense Reports Now Posted Online
Pennsylvania Senate expense reports are now available to the public online, increasing transparency in state government.
The reports, available at www.pasen.gov/RTKL/monthlyExpenses.cfm, detail all expenses for each individual senator’s office and institutional offices. Expense reports for July 2021 were posted this week, and the system will be updated with new reports every month going forward.
Categories of expenses available in the reports include:
Expenses for each caucus service office are listed under the respective leader reports. Other categories of information are already available online, including:
Senator Aument’s Upcoming Town Hall Event AT CAPACITY
I am excited to announce that my Town Hall event next week is AT CAPACITY! Thank you to all who are attending – I look forward to hearing your questions and ideas. For those who couldn’t make it this time, please check my website, e-newsletter, & social media periodically for future events.
Senators Aument & Martin Honor Retiring EMS President Michael Fitzgibbons with Senate Citation
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of joining Senator Scott Martin to present a Pennsylvania Senate Citation to outgoing Susquehanna Valley EMS President Michael Fitzgibbons, who is retiring after 43 years of service.
Mr. Fitzgibbons began his career in emergency services in 1979 with the Landisville Fire Department, where he held the position of Chief for five years before ending his tenure in 1993. He was named as Emergency Management Director for East Hempfield Township in Lancaster County in 1995 and served in this position through April 2009. Mr. Fitzgibbons has served as President and CEO of Susquehanna Valley EMS since 1991, and he has further served in the same position with Susquehanna Valley Fleet and Auto since 2011.
Throughout his tenure with Susquehanna Valley EMS, Mr. Fitzgibbons has faithfully endeavored to preserve and protect the health, safety, and welfare of his fellow citizens. He has earned the respect and gratitude of all those who have received the benefit of his tireless devotion to duty.
The Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pays tribute to Michael Fitzgibbons upon his richly deserved retirement.
REMINDER: Federal Unemployment Benefit Programs End September 4
Reminder: Federal unemployment benefit programs, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), end THIS WEEK on September 4.
The state’s regular unemployment compensation program and those receiving benefits from it are unaffected. Individuals currently enrolled in PEUC and PUA can take advantage of free jobseeker services offered through PACareerLink.pa.gov.
Aument Visits American Legion Post 466 in Marietta to Celebrate Its 100th Anniversary
I was pleased to join members of the American Legion Post No. 466 in Marietta in celebrating the momentous occasion of its one hundredth anniversary last month.
Comprised of more than 800 members, the post hosts the Legionnaires, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary, and the Legion Riders. To its great credit, it sponsors a baseball field at the War Memorial Park and supports the Pioneer Fire Company, the Marietta Community House, and the Marietta Historical Society. American Legion Post No. 466 has developed a strong reputation for the highest quality of service throughout its history. By steady adherence to the principles of fairness, reliability, and integrity, it has become a leader in the community and a model that is worthy of emulation.
Congratulations to the American Legion Post No. 466 in Marietta for reaching this significant milestone!
Free Webinars Connect Military Veterans with Agriculture Business Funding
A free webinar series begins this month to connect military veterans who are considering starting or expanding an agriculture business with resources, funding and planning tools they need to succeed.
The first session will be held Sept. 14 from 7-8 p.m. and will cover grants, business planning and other resources. A web link or phone number to join the session can be obtained by contacting PA Preferred Program Manager Gwyn Rowland at RA-AgPaPreferred@pa.gov.
Future sessions will explore the PA Preferred Homegrown By Heroes program, which gives military veterans tools to brand their PA-made and PA-grown agricultural products for consumers who want to buy local and support veterans in their communities; sustainable agriculture opportunities through the PA Preferred Organic program; and other resources for transitioning, diversifying and expanding agricultural businesses.
National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood cancers take many forms, from blood disorders to various types of tumors and rare genetic diseases.
In recent years, the General Assembly created the opportunity for contributions to be used for pediatric cancer research. These contributions are deducted from a tax refund and may be made as a $5 contribution when renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration.
Have a Happy Labor Day
Workers across Pennsylvania and the U.S. had their lives disrupted during the pandemic, and many are still striving for a return to normalcy.
I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, as we celebrate the past contributions and hopeful future of the American worker.