In this update:
How Do We Keep Pennsylvania Schools Safe?
Senator Mike Regan (R-31), who also served as a U.S. marshal, and I discuss how to keep our schools safe at a Policy Committee hearing.
Since I agreed last week to speak at a rally for safer schools, our world became a much darker place. This week, one question kept parents, teachers, students, and lawmakers awake at night: how do we make our schools safer?
We have an obligation to protect our children, educators and staff – regardless of their zip code and where they receive their education.
As the chair of the Senate Majority Policy Committee, in 2018 I conducted ten public roundtables across Pennsylvania on this terrible issue. The result was a bipartisan agreement to send tens of millions of dollars in grants each year to our public and nonpublic schools to prevent violence, purchase safety and security-related equipment, and provide training and compensation for school resource and police officers.
Our hearts are broken for the people of Uvalde, Texas. There are no simple, 100% perfect solutions, but we need to do much more.
The Revolving Door of Governor Wolf’s Cabinet
Thirty-three and counting: that’s how many Cabinet level appointees have left the Wolf Administration so far with almost eight months to go in his final term. No gubernatorial administration has seen this many high-level departures since the 1970’s.
Is Governor Wolf that difficult to work with? It’s impossible for any state agency to get its job done efficiently when they don’t know who their boss will be the next day. Eight departments are now led by “acting secretaries.” Who knows how long those people will remain in office?
See the full list of Governor Wolf’s cabinet officials and the reasons they left office here.
The Blight Stops Here: A New Proposal to Repair Homes
I was invited to speak at a bipartisan press conference this week to keep Pennsylvanians safe in their homes and to prevent the number of blighted buildings from continuing to grow in our communities.
As a housing shortage continues to grip Schuylkill County, maintaining the existing housing stock in our older communities is critical. Making this investment now prevents blighted, decaying, rat-infested homes from marring our neighborhoods in the future.
Watch my full remarks here.
Kielbasi Festival and Parade of Nations in Shenandoah
From left to right: me, Rep. Tim Twardzik, the Talerico family
This year’s Kielbasi Festival and Parade of Nations in Shenandoah was a great success!
Rep. Tim Twardzik and I presented a certificate to this year’s parade marshal, Geri Talerico, who was there on behalf of the late Thomas “Tally” Talerico. Congratulations to all who work to bring this special event to life every year. It’s one of my personal favorites!
Learn more about this year’s event here.
Students from Tilden Elementary Visit the Capitol
Senator Chris Gebhard (R-48), Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124), and I spoke to students from Tilden Elementary Center while they were in Harrisburg to tour the Capitol this week. Starting next year, Senator Gebhard will be representing much of Berks County due to last year’s redistricting process, while the district I represent will be shifting to Schuylkill, Carbon and southern Luzerne counties.
Please contact my Harrisburg office at 717-787-2637 if you are interested in touring the beautiful Pennsylvania State Capitol building.
Reducing Partisanship in Redistricting
One of my key priorities as the Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee has been to begin to roll back the hyper-partisan gerrymandering sins of the past. Last year’s process highlighted some key points of controversy.
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, took action by advancing two constitutional amendments I introduced to reform future redistricting efforts.
Senate Bill 1182 changes how the Chairperson of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission is selected in the event of a stalemate. Senate Bill 1209 would ensure that the federal Census count is used to redraw maps without adjustments which would count state prison inmates at locations other than the prison where they have been incarcerated. Learn more about these bills here.
Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Woes
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate of 4.8% continues to be significantly higher than the national average of 3.6%. Our state now ranks 47th in the country, with the only three states with higher unemployment rates– Alaska, Nevada, and New Mexico. The states with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, 1.9%, are Nebraska and Utah.
Minersville Native Wins East Stroudsburg University Leadership Award
Magdelynn Wigoda of Minersville was awarded the University Leadership Award at East Stroudsburg University’s graduation ceremony. This award is one of the highest non-academic honors a graduating senior can receive. Read more about her college success story here.
Celebrating Pine Grove Eagle Scout Hayden Kielbowick
Commissioner Gary Hess and I attended the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Hayden Kielbowick of Pine Grove on Saturday. Congrats to Hayden on your hard work and service to the community!
Memorial Day: Our Duty to Remember
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