In this update:
Senate Votes to Let the People Decide Voter ID, Legal Relief for Sexual Abuse Victims, Regulatory Reform
This week, the Senate passed three proposed constitutional amendments to establish voter ID requirements, open a two-year window for sexual abuse victims to sue their abusers, and allow the Senate and the House to review regulations. The bill now moves to the House for its consideration.
The people of Pennsylvania should have the right to decide if these three separate measures should be a part of our state Constitution.
As Requested by my Constituents in Luzerne, Carbon, and Schuylkill Counties: Blocking an Increase to the Gas Tax
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.
My New Role as Senate Education Chairman, plus other Committee Assignments for 2023-24
I have been appointed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward to serve as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
My Grandfather Argall once taught in a rural one-room schoolhouse where he was paid partially in vegetables. My mother was discriminated against because young mothers in the 1950s were told to “stay home, teach later.” We’ve made considerable progress since those days, but our students, parents, teachers, and staff still face significant obstacles in too many of our schools, public and nonpublic.
My goal is to further improve the education of all Pennsylvania students, from pre-school to grad school, in our smallest towns and villages to our largest cities.
I chaired my first meeting of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, approving two bills unanimously. These bipartisan votes are just the beginning of our efforts this session to protect the rights of students, parents, and teachers and encourage the creation of better career pathways.
I will also serve as the Vice Chair of the Senate State Government Committee and as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Finance, Rules and Executive Nominations, Transportation, and Urban Affairs and Housing Committees.
Mahanoy City, Tremont, Weatherly Parks Awarded State Grants
Three parks in Schuylkill and Carbon counties will be upgraded thanks to newly awarded state grants.
The blighted Kaier Brewery, which was torn down in 2017.
Kaier’s Park – which will soon see even more upgrades thanks to this funding!
Kaier’s Park is the culmination of many years of hard work by the people of Mahanoy City and was awarded $80,000 for more improvements. Because of past efforts, a blighted eyesore is now a beautiful park that the whole community can enjoy. I’m thankful they were awarded this highly competitive funding to continue improving the site.
The park was built at the site of the former Kaier Brewery. Decades ago, the building was abandoned and over time became blighted. It was demolished in 2017.
Additionally, Tremont Borough Park was awarded $276,000 to construct a new pavilion, walkways, a parking area, and new playground equipment AND Eurana Park in Weatherly Borough was awarded $238,700 to construct basketball courts, pickleball courts, and new walkways.
Improved parks are a key ingredient in revitalized communities, large and small. Further developing all three of these parks will benefit children, parents, and the entire community.
National Guard 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.
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.
Stoker’s Brewing Company Wins Best Belgian Ale at PA Farm Show
Photo by Jacqueline Dorner, Staff Photographer for the Republican Herald
Congrats to Stoker’s Brewing Company of Tamaqua for its big win at the Pennsylvania Farm Show this week. Doug is an excellent example of a successful entrepreneur who has breathed much-needed new life into a vacant downtown storefront—one which I am happy to visit!
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