In this email edition:
Voters will decide Ballot Questions regarding the Governor’s Emergency Powers on May 18th
When voters head to the polls on May 18, we will have the final say on three potential amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution. The way the Wolf Administration worded two of these questions has been roundly criticized as confusing and biased, so it is critical for voters to understand what the questions really mean before casting their votes.
The first question asks whether the General Assembly should be allowed to terminate an emergency declaration if a governor continues to wield emergency powers long after the disaster has passed. A YES vote means the General Assembly could serve as a check on the governor’s power during an emergency to protect the rights of Pennsylvanians.
The second question asks whether future emergency declarations should be limited to 21 days unless extended by the General Assembly. A YES vote means the governor would be prohibited from maintaining unilateral control for an indefinite period of time during an emergency.
The third question asks whether new protections should be added for Pennsylvanians based on race or ethnicity. A YES vote means the rights of all state residents would be protected – regardless of an individual’s race or ethnicity – and the new protections at the state level would match those provided by the U.S. Constitution.
Remember this KEY fact: ALL registered voters are permitted to vote on these three questions during the Primary Election, Independents and members of ALL political parties!
Watch this clip to learn more about the differing perspectives over the governor’s emergency powers.
Wolf Administration agrees to finally remove the Deceased from PA Voter Rolls
A recent settlement agreement between the Wolf Administration and the Public Interest Legal Foundation commits the Pennsylvania Department of State to removing dead people from the voting rolls along with those who have moved. This is in response to a lawsuit that alleged at least 21,000 dead Americans were on the state’s voter rolls less than a month before the 2020 presidential election. State officials have promised to compare death data sets from a national database with the full voter registration database before the 2021 Election.
Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage to face possible Impeachment by the PA House and Senate
I have heard from many members of the Schuylkill County community, including Schuylkill Women in Crisis, about the serious allegations leveled against Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage, and whether impeachment is an option to remove him from office if these allegations are ultimately found to be true. I am currently working with Rep. Jerry Knowles, Rep. Joe Kerwin, and Rep. Tim Twardzik to review this option with attorneys from the Senate and House of Representatives.
Several of you have asked to read the letter sent to me by Schuylkill Women in Crisis, as well as my response. Here are both letters:
Pottsville Revitalization continues with Grant to renovate Yuengling Arts and Ethnic Center
The Schuylkill County Council for the Arts (SCCA) has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to support their ongoing effort to renovate the historic Yuengling Mansion. The money will be used to make repairs to this beautiful old home, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and preserve it for future generations to visit.
This project is part of a wider effort by the public and private sectors to revitalize the city for both visitors and local residents. Other examples of recent progress include new and expanded businesses such as Pressed Coffee and Books, The Crimson House, Black Rock Brewing Company, and the new parking garage under construction on Mahantongo Street.
The loss of this historic structure, which was threatened by years of decay, would have been irreplaceable to the region. I’m very pleased Pottsville was chosen to receive this highly competitive grant.
Read more here.
Our Town Foundation of Hamburg awarded Grant to support Community Revitalization
The Our Town Foundation, an organization dedicated to revitalizing downtown Hamburg, was awarded $50,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development. This grant is part of the Supporting Elm and Main (SEAM) grant program, which was created to support community revitalization organizations that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term shutdown of our economy.
The pandemic brought an incredible amount of uncertainty into the Our Town Foundation’s fundraising efforts to revitalize Hamburg. I’m very pleased they were chosen to receive this grant funding. This organization works very diligently to improve their home, and this extra support will help them continue those efforts despite the odds stacked against them by the pandemic.
The Our Town Foundation has undertaken many community improvement efforts over the years, including the annual Taste of Hamburg-er Festival and the preservation of the Hamburg Strand Theater. Read more here.
Pennsylvania lags behind in Economic Momentum
A recent analysis of the economic health of all the states in our country ranked Pennsylvania 35th, according to Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh), who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. The study is based on three measures: personal income growth, employment growth, and population growth. Pennsylvania ranks below the national average in every category. We must continue to pursue policies that bring employers to Pennsylvania and create well-paying, sustainable jobs. Read the full Monthly Report from Senator Browne here.
PHEAA offering Free Webinar on Financial Aid for Students
The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is offering a free webinar to help prospective students understand the financial decisions they may need to make when considering higher education. The webinar will discuss higher education costs, the types of financial aid available, and how to apply for financial aid. Visit this link to register for the webinar, which will take place on April 21st.