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 to Host Telephone Town Hall to Discuss His Proposal for Primary Runoff Elections & Other Legislative Priorities
I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting on Wednesday, June 21, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. to provide constituents the opportunity to ask me questions or share their thoughts about my proposal to create a primary runoff election system in Pennsylvania and other state-related issues.
The call will enable us to interact just as we would at a traditional town hall meeting – except you don’t have to leave your home.
If you would like to be invited to join my telephone town hall meeting, please click here to sign up. At the time of the event, you will receive a telephone call from me inviting you to participate. Simply stay on the line, and you will be connected to the call. You can also choose to audio stream the event live via your smartphone or PC here.
I look forward to talking with you soon!
Commission to Redesign Pennsylvania’s Education System Organizes
To begin the process of creating a long-term plan to align the education system with job demands, the Pennsylvania Commission on Education & Economic Competitiveness (CEEC) held its first meeting today and appointed Rep. Peter Schweyer (D-134) and me to serve as its co-chairs.
The current education system is antiquated and unable to adequately meet the needs of our students or the state’s workforce. To address this problem, the members of the CEEC will:
The commission is bipartisan and includes members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration. Additionally, a subcommittee will inform the work of the commission.
I am eager to work with the various stakeholder groups and my colleagues across the aisle to think big and come up with innovate ideas to reshape our education system in a way that benefits students, teachers, parents, and employers.
Learn more here.
Honoring Lives Lost on Memorial Day
While recognizing the men and women who gave their lives serving our nation is always a solemn occasion, I enjoyed visiting with veterans and their families at the Lancaster County Vet Center Memorial Day Picnic. The freedoms we cherish have been purchased at a very high price. We must always remember that freedom never had a greater friend than the American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman.
State Would Automatically Return Unclaimed Property Under Bill Approved by Senate
The Senate unanimously approved legislation authorizing the state to return unclaimed property without the need for rightful owners to search for it. It now advances to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 24 would authorize the Pennsylvania Treasury Department to automatically return single-owner property for living individuals valued up to $5,000 after a thorough identification and verification process. The legislation streamlines the return of unclaimed money and property by eliminating the need for citizens to search and file a claim. For larger and more complex claims, owners would still be required to complete a claim form and provide additional information to confirm their identity and rightful ownership.
This commonsense initiative, which exemplifies how government should work to better serve its citizens, would return more money to hardworking Pennsylvanians who may be unaware of their unclaimed property. Search Treasury’s unclaimed property database here.
Ephrata Cloister Museum Celebrates 65th Anniversary
Visitors to Ephrata in the 1700s found a unique monastic settlement they labeled a Cloister. Later that century, nearly 80 Brothers and Sisters lived there following a life of work balanced with hours of private prayer.
I recently went to Ephrata to join in the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Ephrata Cloister Museum Store, which has an incredible selection of local art, candles, blacksmithing, and woodworking. In addition to being a site that draws tourists, it also shares the heritage of our community.
Visiting Ephrata Area School District & Celebrating Student Achievements
I love visiting our Lancaster County schools and recently spent time in the Ephrata Area School District. First, I toured the new and improved Ephrata High School music addition, Ephrata Virtual Academy, and Project Build a Better Future.
I also visited Fulton Elementary School. Fulton Elementary third graders were very proud to show off their Life Ready skills with the help of the MakerBus.
Congratulations to Ephrata High School seniors Jason Keiser and Melany Bedoya who won the Good Citizenship Award from the Pennsylvania Senate. Ephrata gave out $1.7 million in scholarships on its senior night this year!
Protecting Pennsylvanians from Unauthorized Tracking Devices
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to protect Pennsylvanians from the unauthorized use of electronic tracking devices. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
While tracking devices have been used for decades, the release of the Apple AirTag has resulted in a low-cost proliferation of such technology. Rather than using them to locate commonly misplaced items, some people place them in people’s purses or on their vehicles when unaware. Current law is vague on criminal culpability.
Senate Bill 159 would make it a misdemeanor of the second degree to use such devices to track another person without consent. Exceptions include law enforcement agencies conducting investigations and parents keeping tabs on their children.
Touring Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc.
I joined Lisa Riggs, John Beimiller, and the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County for a visit to Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc. (ACT).
ACT is a premier thermal management solutions company, focusing on custom applications of two-phase heat transfer technology. The company’s thermal management designs and products are deployed in numerous commercial satellites, military vehicles, medical devices and imaging equipment, Primary calibration equipment, and HVAC systems.
I appreciated the opportunity to speak to the team and thank them for the mission critical work they are doing right here in Lancaster County.
Simplifying Government, Ensuring Adequate Funding for Roads and Bridges
Legislation sponsored to replace Pennsylvania’s Alternative Fuels Tax on electric vehicle owners with a flat fee was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee. It would simplify the process for electric vehicle owners and ensure all drivers are contributing toward the maintenance of roads and bridges.
Currently, owners of electric vehicles are required to file monthly statements with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and remit the alternative fuel tax on how much electricity their vehicle uses. However, most electric vehicle owners do not do this, or are inconsistent at doing so, due to the cumbersome process or simply being unaware.
Senate Bill 656 would exempt electric vehicle owners from the tax and replace it with a flat annual fee of $290. The fee was calculated based on the average annual gas taxes paid by owners of gas-powered vehicles. Like the gas tax, the revenue from the flat fee will be deposited into the Motor License Fund for highway maintenance and construction.
Manheim Township School District Elementary Schools Tour PA Capitol Building
Students from Brecht and Reidenbaugh elementary schools in Manheim Township School District visited the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg to learn about the history of our Commonwealth, take in the beautiful sights, and see their government in action.
Tours are free and informative. If you’re interested in learning more about this national historic landmark, book your tour here.