In this update:
Curbing Wasteful Welfare Spending
Why would anyone be against removing the dead from the welfare rolls?
My bill to halt wasteful welfare spending was approved by the Senate this week by a vote of 30 to 20. I introduced it because we should ensure SNAP and Medical Assistance benefits go to those in genuine need – NOT dead people.
An audit by former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found 2,324 deceased Pennsylvanians were paid $693,151 in taxpayer dollars. I’m disappointed that so many Democrats declined to support this important bill, especially considering a former Democratic Auditor General highlighted this waste and abuse in our welfare system.
Read more about the bill here.
Limiting Exposure of Sexually Explicit Content in PA Schools
Two bills that would give parents a voice in discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in Pennsylvania schools advanced out of the Senate Education Committee. As the son of a school librarian, I will continue to support bills that ensure parents have a say in their children’s education.
Senate Bill 1277 would require districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content. Senate Bill 1278 would prohibit classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students.
The proposals are in response to concerns of parents that age-inappropriate conversations about these sensitive topics are occurring prematurely and without parental knowledge in elementary school classrooms around the state.
Repairing Blighted and Vacant Homes
A blighted home that collapsed in Mahanoy City
The Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee approved two bills I strongly support to fund the replacement of blighted and decaying buildings this week.
Blight affects us all; it doesn’t care if you live in a Democratic-leaning community or a Republican-leaning community. With housing availability becoming an increasingly serious problem in Pennsylvania, we need to look for ways to improve existing housing stock.
Senate Bill 1135 will create a new fund to allow low-income homeowners to repair their homes, which will prevent blight before it starts. Senate Bill 1281, which I introduced, will provide funds to finish rehabilitation projects for vacant and decaying buildings.
Read more about the votes here.
Protecting the Rights of State Corrections Officers
State corrections officers keep us safe from dangerous criminals every time they go into work. We must ensure their constitutional right of due process is not violated when they are accused of wrongdoing.
My bill to protect these rights for state corrections officers was approved by the Senate this week by a bipartisan vote of 42-8. I introduced this bill after eight officers were suspended without pay and benefits for almost a year without the ability to ask questions or to defend themselves.
Reducing PA Lyme Disease Cases
With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the incidence of Lyme disease, the Senate approved legislation to require insurance coverage for testing and treatment and raise awareness of tickborne diseases.
Senate Bill 1188 also requires the Department of Health to work with the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University to develop an electronic database to better track possible cases and provide access to the latest research.
Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Left untreated or improperly treated, Lyme disease can lead to debilitating symptoms, which include fevers, arthritis, joint aches and more. If treated within the first 30 days, 10% or fewer patients will progress to severe symptoms.
Increasing Transparency in State Government
I chaired a public hearing of the Senate State Government Committee reviewing potential revisions to the Right to Know Law, which allows PA residents and organizations to request information about the operations of state and local government.
Every Pennsylvanian has the right to know what actions their government is taking on their behalf. The hearing was incredibly valuable as the committee continues to review ways to further improve the transparency of all governmental bodies in Pennsylvania.
Free Screening of Youth Suicide Prevention Documentary in Minersville
Schuylkill County Mental Health/Development Services is hosting a free screening event of My Ascension, a documentary about Emma Benoit, a suicide attempt survivor who travels the country to spread a message of hope to young people. The screening will take place at Minersville Jr/Sr High School on Saturday, June 25th.
Promoting Work, Not Welfare
The June edition of my local TV program features efforts to reduce fraud and abuse within Pennsylvania’s welfare system and promote work for able-bodied individuals currently receiving benefits. With so many employers across Pennsylvania looking to hire new employees, our government assistance programs should guide people back to the workforce.
This edition of the Argall Report will air on:
Every edition is also available on my website.