Unprecedented Turnover: Governor Wolf’s Nominates his Fifth Secretary of State
Governor Wolf announced this week that Leigh Chapman will be replacing Veronica Degraffenreid as the Acting Secretary of the PA Department of State. Acting Secretary Chapman is the fifth person nominated to lead this troubled department since the governor took office. The Department of State does not typically deal with this much turnover: Governors Corbett and Rendell each only had one person serve in this role during their tenures!
Read more about this news here. Watch the clip of me addressing former Acting Secretary Degraffenreid above to learn more about the questionable history of the department under our current governor.
Bipartisan Remarks on Congressional Redistricting
After a recent voting meeting of the Senate State Government Committee, the committee’s Democratic minority chairman Senator Sharif Street and I issued a joint statement on congressional redistricting. Both of us renewed our commitment to drawing a fair, bipartisan map that can be approved by the Senate and the House, signed by the Governor, and upheld by the State Supreme Court. Watch the clip above.
Providing Parents with Access to School Curriculum
As the son of a school librarian, I voted in favor of legislation this month to require Kindergarten through twelfth grade schools to post curricula online in a standardized, user-friendly manner.
One of the biggest surprises we saw during the 2021 elections was Glenn Youngkin’s election as the Governor of Virginia. Throughout his campaign, Youngkin emphasized the importance of parental input regarding what their children are taught and the dangers of critical race theory which has created controversy at every level of government – from local school boards to state government.
This bill will ensure that parents have a voice in their children’s education here in Pennsylvania. Learn more about it here.
New Preliminary State Senate and House Maps
Every ten years, state legislative districts need to be redrawn to reflect changes in population. Pennsylvania’s preliminary map was released a few weeks ago.
These districts are drawn by the bipartisan Legislative Reapportionment Commission which consists of the Republican and Democratic leaders of the state legislature and a “neutral” Chairperson. Once approved by the commission, neither the legislature nor the governor can vote to approve or reject the final maps. The maps have been challenged in the courts in the past and will likely be challenged again this year.
The Senate map was approved by a vote of 5-0. The House map, which is much more controversial, was approved by a 3-2 vote.
The public now has the next 30 days to review the maps and submit comments to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. After the public comment period, the Commission will issue its final maps. Visit this link to view the full maps and share your thoughts.
Redesigned Constitutional Amendment Process Moves Forward
Due to critical mistakes by the Department of State, the Senate State Government Committee passed my bill this month by a bipartisan vote of 8-3 to restore public confidence in the process of amending the state Constitution.
Earlier this year, an unprecedented error by former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar derailed a constitutional amendment to protect victims of child sex abuse. Boockvar resigned in disgrace. Two months later, the Department of State published ballot questions that were widely criticized as biased.
After the reputation of the Department of State was tarnished by their mistakes, I introduced this bill to prevent future mishaps. Learn more about Senate Bill 940 here. Watch a hearing on the bill from earlier this year above.
Anti-Court Packing Measure Advanced by State Government Committee
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, continued its bipartisan work to improve how our government functions this month.
The committee passed Senate Resolution 67, which calls for a convention of states to amend the US Constitution for the sole purpose of keeping the number of US Supreme Court justices at nine.
Also passed was Senate Bill 992, which codifies the population data to be used for congressional redistricting. I expect the committee to consider a congressional map in the coming weeks, with ample time for public review.
Happy New Year!
Remember this Irish New Year’s Blessing as we begin 2022:
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