In this Update:
Senator Aument Responds to Governor Wolf’s Call for Statewide Mask Mandate in Schools
To be very clear, I remain opposed to any effort to impose a statewide school mask mandate.
While the Governor is calling on the Legislature to impose a statewide school mask mandate, I firmly support local decision making by school boards when it comes to masks. I trust their ability establish policies that best meet the needs of students, district staff, and our local communities.
Earlier today, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Jake Corman, and the Speaker of the House, Bryan Cutler, sent Governor Wolf a letter that also endorsed the local decision-making approach. You can read a copy of that letter here.
How Would Lowering PA’s CNI Tax Rate Benefit You?
Lowering Pennsylvania’s Corporate Net Income (CNI) tax rate would have a ripple effect across the Commonwealth’s economy, benefitting small businesses, working class families, and communities alike. Research shows that lowering a state’s CNI tax rate:
Not only does the data show a strong connection between lower CNI rates and higher population, home values, and workers’ wages, but these goals are able to be achieved without impacting general fund revenue or raising taxes on Pennsylvanians.
For that reason, I have proposed Senate Bill 771 which would gradually reduce the state’s CNI tax rate to attract new employers and promote economic growth in the Commonwealth.
It is my hope that making Pennsylvania more economically competitive by lowering our CNI rate will benefit working class families, reverse our stagnant population growth, and ensure that Pennsylvania is an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family for generations to come.
Learn more about my bill to increase economic opportunity for all Pennsylvania residents here.
Hearings Begin on Department of State Controversies
The Senate State Government Committee held the first in a series of hearings reviewing controversial actions recently undertaken by the Department of State.
The first hearing discussed post-election audits undertaken by the Department of State after the 2020 election with Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid. The panel heard from the acting secretary, Deputy Secretary of Elections and Commissions Jonathan Marks and members of the department’s Risk Limiting Audit Work Group.
The State Government Committee will hold five additional hearings prior to the confirmation hearings for Acting Secretary Degraffenreid, covering the following:
Legislative Review: Combatting Human Trafficking
The General Assembly enacted several measures in recent years to combat human trafficking. That effort has continued in 2021 with the passage of measures to prevent this hideous practice and help victims.
Act 32 of 2021 prohibits defendants from introducing evidence of a human trafficking victim’s past sexual victimization in any human trafficking prosecution.
Act 38 of 2021 requires that a court consider whether a party or member of that party’s household has been convicted of human trafficking prior to awarding child custody.
Act 45 of 2021 requires any offender that subjected a minor to sexual servitude (human trafficking) to undergo treatment while in prison, helping to reduce recidivism.
Act 52 of 2021 permits expert witnesses in cases of domestic violence and human trafficking.
You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.
Aument Visits New Holland Early Learning Center to Celebrate Its 40th Anniversary
I recently had the opportunity to visit the New Holland Early Learning Center and join them in celebrating the momentous occasion of its 40th anniversary.
The New Holland Early Learning Center began as a ministry of the New Holland Mennonite Church in 1981 and was incorporated in 2000 as a nonprofit organization that is still housed in the New Holland Mennonite Church. To its great credit, it was recently rated as a Star 4 Center by the Keystone STARS program.
I joined students in enjoying a snack and learning about worms on my visit, where I also had the privilege of presenting the Center with an official Senate of Pennsylvania citation congratulating them on celebrating their 40th anniversary.
Warmest wishes to the New Holland Early Learning Center for a future full of ever-increasing success!
Preserving Services for Seniors & Adults with Disabilities
The Senate Aging & Youth Committee and the Senate Health & Human Services Committee held a joint public hearing with the House Human Services Committee and House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee this week on an issue affecting Pennsylvania seniors and adults with disabilities.
The hearing focused on the intent of the Department of Human Services (DHS) to contract with the firm Maximus US Services as its independent enrollment broker as part of the commonwealth’s Medicaid enrollment process. Members discussed the impact it will have on seniors and adults with disabilities. DHS was unable to testify due to ongoing litigation.
The panels heard about the problems caused by shifting the process from local contacts to an out-of-state vendor. You can view hearing video and testimony here.
Throwback Thursday – Concealed Carry Seminar with Local Law Enforcement (2019)
From left to right: Chris Leppler, Lancaster County Sheriff; Mark Fetterman, Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office; Senator Ryan Aument; Representative Steve Mentzer; Chief Kerry Nye, Lititz Police Department.
Taken in April 2019, this photo is from a Concealed Carry Seminar I hosted with Representative Steve Mentzer (R-97), the Lancaster County Sheriff’s office, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office, and the Lititz Police Department.
These events are intended to help community residents better understand the rights and responsibilities of gun owners. It was a great success and I look forward to working with law enforcement in the future to host more Concealed Carry Seminars around the 36th Senatorial District.
Reducing the Impact of Invasive Species
Reducing the impact of invasive species on Pennsylvania’s economy, agriculture and natural resources was the topic of a hearing by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania this week.
The Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a bipartisan legislative agency made up of Senate and House members, and others, that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
In 2019, the negative economic impact of the spotted lanternfly was estimated to be $13.1 million. Other invasive species include the gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, hydrilla and reed canarygrass.
The panel heard from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Penn State Fruit Research and Extension Center and other experts. You can watch the hearing here.
School Buses are Back on the Roads
Children are returning to school, which means school buses are back on the roads.
Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended. PennDOT has a breakdown of the state School Bus Stopping Law, as well as tips for parents and students for getting to and from school safely.
Tell Senator Aument What You Think – Take the Survey HERE
Currently, colleges and universities in Pennsylvania that receive taxpayer dollars are able to receive that funding regardless of “results,” such as graduation rates, success of graduates, or whether the degrees those institutions are awarding are in high demand in the current job market.
Would you support a policy that would prioritize funding for those state colleges and universities that produce better “results” through the use of a performance-based funding model* to hold them accountable?
*a performance-based measure is a method of budgeting that only allocates funding to a particular program if the success of the program can be appropriately demonstrated through statistical analysis – the benefits must equal or outweigh the costs of implementing the program, or funding will not be allocated.
Submit your response here.