In this Update:
Senate Votes to Let Citizens Decide Voter ID, Legal Relief for Sexual Abuse Victims, Regulatory Reform
The Senate passed legislation this week that will let voters decide whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to create a voter ID requirement, provide sexual abuse victims with a way to sue their abusers and reform the state regulatory review process.
I introduced Senate Bill 1 as a standalone amendment focused on requiring valid identification be presented by voters when they vote. The bill was later amended to include the other separate proposed amendments.
Thirty-five states, the world’s developed countries and many developing ones have voter photo ID requirements, and a 2021 Franklin and Marshall College poll found that 74% of Pennsylvania voters said the commonwealth should join them in making elections more secure.
Senate Bill 1 also includes a proposed constitutional amendment that will create a two-year window to allow sexual abuse victims to sue their abusers. Victims of sexual abuse who were abused as children have been unable to seek justice after the age of 30 due to a statute of limitations provision in Pennsylvania law.
In addition, Senate Bill 1 includes a separate proposed amendment that would allow the General Assembly to reject a regulation by majority approval, as opposed to a two-thirds vote, in both legislative chambers.
Under Pennsylvania’s current regulatory review process, the executive branch has circumvented the General Assembly and the normal legislative process, ignoring any legislative or public input that runs counter to executive branch regulatory goals.
The General Assembly previously approved the amendments in the 2021-22 legislative session. Approval of Senate Bill 1 this session would let voters have their say.
Senate Approves Bill to Eliminate Gas Tax Increase, Help Pennsylvanians at the Pump
Taking significant action to protect Pennsylvanians’ wallets, the Senate approved a bill to stop the automatic gas tax increase for 2023. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.
For the first time, the average wholesale price of gasoline exceeded $2.99 per gallon last year, triggering an automatic increase in Pennsylvania’s gas tax that went into effect Jan. 1.
Senate Bill 35 would eliminate the automatic gas tax increase for 2023 moving forward, preventing what would produce the second-highest gas tax in the nation behind California, and permanently set the average wholesale price at $2.99 per gallon. The bill also requires the Department of Revenue to reassess this year’s gas tax structure.
Projections indicate the average Pennsylvania household will spend nearly $2,500 at the gas pump in 2023. This includes approximately $380 per driver in gas taxes alone.
My Senate Committee Assignments for the 2023-24 Legislative Session
In addition to serving as the chairman of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, I have been appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee for the 2023-24 Legislative Session.
Pennsylvania has a rich history of outdoor recreational activities and I’m excited about continuing to serve on a committee dedicated to protecting and enhancing this aspect of the Commonwealth’s heritage. During the last six years, I have been and will continue to be committed to standing up and speaking out on behalf of the sportsmen, sportswomen and anglers in our district and across Pennsylvania.
I will also serve on the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee; Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee; Labor and Industry Committee; and Rules and Executive Nominations Committee.
My Office Now Offers Spanish-speaking Option for 49th District Residents
My office now has the capability of aiding Spanish-speaking constituents in their primary language.
Erie County has a growing Spanish-speaking population and I want to make sure all 49th District residents are able to effectively communicate their needs to my staff so they can receive the help they need. Constituents wishing to converse with staff in Spanish can indicate that when they call my Erie or Harrisburg office and they will be transferred accordingly.
This Week’s Hot Jobs in Erie County
Check out Erie County Hot Job listings at PA CareerLink.
For more information on the postings below, type in the job number at https://www.pacareerlink.pa.gov/jponline/.
Virtual Job Fair Set for Wednesday, Jan. 18
The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will be holding a virtual job fair Wednesday, Jan. 18.
Jobseekers should be prepared to interview online with hiring managers and recruiters from top hiring companies. This online chat will connect the public directly with organizations.
After signing in, participants will be able to explore the available information and opportunities and participate in live one-on-one, text-based chats with representatives from participating organizations. Participants may also visit the job fair before and after the live event to continue making connections with top employers.
Assistance Available for Local Historic Preservation
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and local governments for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program.
Grants support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic and archaeological resources in Pennsylvania for the benefit of the public and community revitalization.
Two categories of grants – construction and planning – are available for historic resources in Pennsylvania that are listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants may apply for only one type of grant. Prospective applicants for construction grants can attend a webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. A planning grant webinar will be held Thursday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m.
Anti-Litter Contest Open to K-6 Students
Entries are now being accepted for the Litter Hawk Youth Award Program, a way for students in kindergarten through sixth grade to promote anti-littering efforts through art, words or video.
Two entries will be selected as winners in each grade level. First place will receive a $50 gift card. First runner-up will receive a $25 gift card. All participants will be recognized with certificates. The deadline to participate is Jan. 31. Winners will be announced in April.
Kids can participate individually or as part of a lesson initiated by schools, home-schools, scout troops, 4-H clubs, environmental clubs or other organized groups. More information and entry forms are available here.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Nearly 60 years after he shared his dream in an Aug. 28, 1963, Washington, D.C. speech, Martin Luther King Jr.’s wish is shared by the overwhelming number of Americans of all backgrounds. We must defend this unifying ideal for the well-being of our children and nation.
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