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In this email update:
Senate passes bipartisan bill on future state prison closings
On Tuesday, the Senate approved bipartisan legislation I introduced by a vote of 47-1 to reform future state prison closures in Pennsylvania.
Senate Bill 748 creates the Public Safety Facilities Act to require sufficient notice and feedback of any potential state correctional facility closure in Pennsylvania as well as other institutions where law enforcement staff is employed.
Co-sponsors of the bill include: Senator John Yudichak (D-14); Senator Lisa Baker (R-20); Senator John Blake (D-22); Senator Jay Costa (D-43); Senator Kim Ward (R-39); Senator John Rafferty (R-44); Senator John Gordner (R-27); Senator Wayne Fontana (D-42); and Senator Michele Brooks (R-50).
The bill received strong support from the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association and the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.
The Philadelphia Inquirer recently released an article about the $400 million state correctional facility that will be opening later this year despite the decrease in inmate population in Pennsylvania. Read the full story here.
DHS secretary refuses to support plans for getting able-bodied Medicaid recipients into the workforce
During the Senate Appropriations Committee’s final budget hearing with the Department of Human Services this week, I asked the secretary a series of questions regarding plans to get able-bodied Medicaid recipients into the workforce.
Unfortunately, the secretary failed to provide us with any concrete plans after the governor vetoed an important welfare reform measure in October.
Clearly, there lies an issue with our current system given the fact that over half (486,000) non-disabled, non-elderly Medicaid recipients aren’t working!
Watch my discussion here.
Reforming how we elect Lt. Governors
Reports about the dysfunctional relationship between the governor and lieutenant governor were blasted throughout the media with both the governor and lieutenant governor openly admitting that they go weeks without speaking to one another.
Pennsylvania’s residents simply deserve better. We need a shared vision, not division, between the #1 and #2 executive leaders.
Last week, the Senate unanimously approved bipartisan legislation, which I introduced, reforming the way the lieutenant governor is elected in Pennsylvania. The bill is currently under review in the House State Government Committee.
Head to my website to read more about my bill or a recent story on how several candidates for the office, on a bipartisan basis, support my bill in PennLive here.
Addressing gun violence in our schools
In light of the recent tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a gunman claimed the innocent lives of 17 individuals, several bills have been introduced that I have co-sponsored which aim to establish stronger school safety measures in order to prevent horrific acts like the one in Parkland, and in many other schools across the nation, from occurring.
You can read more about some of the bills I have co-sponsored here or here.
Following a number of committee hearings and meetings on ways to prevent these types of tragedies, several agreements have been made between groups involved with this issue, including:
Discussing agriculture issues with the Schuylkill County Farm Bureau
Last Friday, our local State Representatives and I met with the Schuylkill County Farm Bureau to discuss key concerns from our local farmers.
During this meeting, we discussed issues related to the agriculture industry, particularly with respect to funding items in this year’s state budget.
In case you missed it, you can watch my budget comments with the AG secretary here where I asked about the decline in milk prices and its impact on our local dairy farmers.
Nolan Daynorowicz, a young man with a keen interest in state government and politics
Nolan Daynorowicz, a fifth grade student at Trinity Academy in Shenandoah, has written to me numerous times since his visit to the State Capitol last year inquiring about state government and my experience as a legislator.
Last week, Nolan stopped by my office in Mahanoy City for a visit.
It’s always refreshing to see young people gain an interest in government at an early age!
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