In this Update:
Voters to Consider Constitutional Amendments on May 18
In January, the Senate approved Senate Bill 2, legislation that placed three proposed constitutional amendments on the May 18 Primary Election ballot.
Under ballot question #1, a disaster emergency declaration could be terminated or extended by Legislative approval of a concurrent resolution, which does not need to be presented to the Governor for his signature.
This question is a direct result of the Administration’s one-size fits all approach to curtailing the pandemic. The Governor’s closure orders just did not match diverse nature of Pennsylvania. County governments – the ones who know their citizens the best – were stripped of the power to determine the best course of action in dealing with the crisis. We tried to bring some equity to the issue, but every legislative attempt to rein in the Administration’s unrestricted powers was met with a veto.
A YES vote on the first ballot question means a majority of state lawmakers, elected by the people, can vote to end emergency declarations and restrictions on citizens. A NO vote means a Governor retains the unrestricted power to continue emergency restrictions indefinitely — even if a legislative majority votes to end them.
Ballot question #2 would limit disaster declarations to no more than 21 days unless approved by the General Assembly. Currently, a Governor’s emergency declaration can last up to 90 days and be renewed by the Governor indefinitely.
A YES vote on this question means emergency declarations would be limited to 21 days unless the General Assembly, elected by the people, approves a longer duration. A NO vote means a Governor can unilaterally extend declarations, including “emergency” provisions, business closures, and restrictions indefinitely. Read More
May 11 Deadline for Primary Election Mail-in Ballot Applications
You must be registered to vote to request either ballot. You can check your registration status to review your registration information.
New Deadline to Obtain REAL ID is May 3, 2023
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has pushed back the deadline to obtain a REAL ID from October 2021 to May 3, 2023, due to pandemic-related delays.
Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID.
REAL IDs are now available to Pennsylvanians who want them. You can find applications and more here.
Senate Gives Final Approval of Living Donor Protection Act
Legislation to establish protections for living organ donors recently received final approval by the Senate and was enacted into law.
Living donors include those who donate kidneys, livers and other organs to save the lives of family members and others facing life-threatening illnesses.
Act 11 of 2021, the Living Donor Protection Act, prohibits insurers from declining or limiting coverage based solely on a person’s status as a living donor. It also requires the state Department of Health to provide public information on the benefits and impacts of live organ and tissue donation and protections granted to living donors.
Monday Deadline: Funding Available to Strengthen PA Poultry and Livestock Farming
State funding is available for research projects that will strengthen Pennsylvania poultry, swine, lamb, sheep and goat farming.
Proposals must be received by 11 a.m. on Monday, May 10. Details and applications can be accessed here.
The Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence, created by the General Assembly in 2019, supports projects to enhance biosecurity, diagnostic testing, veterinary telemedicine and other strategies to prevent, detect and manage animal diseases and protect the food supply.
Give Your Opinion of Automated Vehicles in PA
Pennsylvanians can take a survey seeking their understanding and opinions of Highly Automated Vehicles and their comfort sharing the road with them.
The survey comes from the Highly Automated Vehicles Advisory Committee. The panel was established by the General Assembly in 2018 to advise and consult PennDOT on developing technical guidance, evaluating best practices, and reviewing laws, regulations and policies related to these vehicles.
The survey doesn’t ask your name and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.
National Nurses Week May 6-12
Even before the pandemic hit, nurses played a vital role in the delivery of health care. Over the last year, their contributions reached heroic proportions.
Nurses exposed themselves to a deadly virus on a daily basis, putting their health at risk to save the lives of others and keep our healthcare facilities running.
National Nurses Week goes through May 12, which was the birthday of Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing. I hope you join me in recognizing the lifesaving, comforting roles nurses play in our healthcare system.
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