In this email edition:
Wasted COVID-19 Vaccines
According to a recent article from Spotlight PA, the Wolf Administration is declining to disclose details of how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been wasted. This continues a trend throughout the pandemic of the Department of Health using a law from 1955 to refuse to release information about their pandemic response to the public. The public may never know the full details of Pennsylvania’s pandemic response due to the Administration’s reliance on this law.
In the near future, I plan to introduce a bill that would require the Department of Health to be transparent about how many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been wasted. Learn more here.
Editorial: Voters can Limit Power of the Governor
A recent editorial by Nathan Benefield, the Vice President of the Commonwealth Foundation, highlighted the importance of the ballot question that voters will decide during the upcoming election on May 18th. He states this in regard to the long-term shutdown of our economy by Governor Wolf, “one year is too long for one person to wield such extraordinary authority.”
I agree 100 percent. That’s why I voted in favor of this constitutional amendment to limit the powers of the executive branch during future emergency declarations, to restore our system of checks and balances. Read the full editorial here.
Hamburg Office Reopens
Now that Hamburg Borough is reopening its Borough hall, the office which I share there with Rep. Jerry Knowles will reopen to the public on April 7th. Visit on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays from 9 am- 1 pm if you need assistance with any state related issues. This office is located at 61 N 3rd St, Hamburg, PA 19526. If you need assistance outside of those hours, call 610-562-3411.
Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage to face possible impeachment by the PA House and Senate
Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage has come under fire after four women filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexual harassment and discrimination. An investigation by the Schuylkill County solicitor’s office and human resources office determined that if Commissioner Halcovage was an employee, they would have recommended that he be terminated. Many local residents have asked about the process of removing him from office.
The possible impeachment of a county commissioner is a very serious and difficult matter, taking into account the legal rights of the alleged victims as well as the alleged perpetrator.
This will require considerable research, testimony from both sides, and a full debate in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate.
It’s a sad day in Schuylkill County but we must address this matter in a way that is fair to all. Read more here.
From troubled bar to a center for the arts?
Across this large Senate district, we can always find everyday examples of both good news and bad news. The Tiki Room in Tamaqua is another great example of what volunteers can do to improve their community.
This Mauch Chunk Street (Route 309 North) property was once home to the Tiki Bar, which was closed due to a string of legal issues. The Tiki Bar was purchased by Tamaqua Area Community Partnership and turned into the Tiki Room, a community music hub which is an extension of the nearby Tamaqua Area Arts Center and offers a wide variety of music lessons and live performances.
This revitalization of the property was funded solely by private citizens and received zero dollars from any local, state, or federal government entity. The Tiki Room shows just how powerful efforts like this can be when they are backed by citizens who deeply care about making their home a better place. Any time a troubled property can be utilized in the development of a growing community arts and entertainment district, with the community’s completely restored 1874 train station, local restaurants, the arts center, and two new brewpubs, we should all celebrate!
People in Tamaqua always remind me that much work remains to breathe new life into this old town, but when you compare its downtown with the downtown of the 1980s, the progress can be seen by all.
Watch this video to learn more.
Election Hearing Highlights
The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform has now held two hearings reviewing Pennsylvania’s 2020 General Election. In case you missed the first hearing, which reviewed best practices of election integrity and security from other states, watch this 90-second video to see some of the highlights of what the committee learned from officials from Utah, Colorado, and Florida.
The Push for Funds for Route 61 Improvements
A long-awaited project to reconstruct a stretch of Route 61 between Frackville and Saint Clair has faced continuing delays due to funding issues. This stretch of road is heavily used and is in poor condition. PennDOT made a commitment to me and Rep. Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill) years ago that this project would be fully funded and yet the reconstruction has faced one delay after another. Read this article from the Republican Herald to learn more about a bipartisan effort to end this long stalemate.
Happy Easter and Passover
No matter what faith you observe, I hope all of you have a week full of joy and peace with your families as we celebrate our respective religious holidays.
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