In this email edition:
What is the future of Berks and Schuylkill Counties in Congressional Redistricting?
This week, I travelled to Philadelphia to chair a hearing of the Senate State Government Committee on the process of redrawing the map of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. The hearing focused on how to properly ensure that “communities of interest” in eastern PA are not again split up into different districts—by the courts or by the legislature– and how to foster citizen participation in the process.
As I noted in my opening remarks, the process of redistricting has traditionally been incredibly controversial and marred by partisanship—for more than 200 years in the USA, and more than 800 years in England. My goal as the chair of the State Government Committee is to make the process more open and transparent and begin to roll back some of the hyper-partisan sins of the past, as well as to protect the interests of my constituents in Berks and Schuylkill Counties.
Watch the hearing above or visit this link to learn more.
August Argall Report: Pottsville’s Ongoing Bipartisan Revitalization
Michael Fromm, the chairperson of the Alvernia Board of Trustees, and I stand in what will soon be a new Alvernia branch campus in downtown Pottsville. This is just one example of the revitalization efforts underway!
The August edition of my local TV program focuses on the ongoing bipartisan revitalization of the city of Pottsville. The show highlights three recent events which showcase the ongoing progress being made in the city: the awarding of a grant to support renovations of the historic Yuengling Mansion, the announcement of a new branch campus of Alvernia University that will serve as a business incubator, and the opening of the new parking garage on Mahantongo Street.
This edition of the Argall Report will air on:
My show is also available online at https://www.senatorargall.com/argallreport/.
State House and Senate Bipartisan Redistricting Commission: Process will be more Open and Transparent than ever before
Wednesday’s hearing in Philadelphia was not the only public hearing this week discussing redistricting in Pennsylvania. The bipartisan Legislative Reapportionment Committee, which is responsible for redrawing lines for the State House and Senate, met to hear testimony from experts on map drawing and feedback from Pennsylvania citizens. Visit this link to learn more about these hearings.
The chair of this bipartisan commission, former Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, recently shared his thoughts about the progress of the commission in this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He stated that his experience so far has been positive, and that he believes all the members, which includes the Majority and Minority Leaders in both the House and the Senate, have the same goal of openness and transparency in this decade’s process.
Legislative Review: Pandemic Response
When Pennsylvania voters chose overwhelmingly this year to amend the state Constitution and limit the length of a governor’s unchecked emergency powers, they were weighing in on ballot questions created through Senate legislation.
Other measures passed by the Senate this year to safely respond to the COVID-19 pandemic include:
Act 1 of 2021, which provided almost $570 million for Rental and Utility Assistance, $197 million for education programs, and $145 million to support Pennsylvania’s struggling restaurants and taverns as they cope with the devastation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s long-term shutdown of our economy.
Act 67 of 2021, which allows family members to safely visit long-term care facilities during a pandemic as essential caregivers.
House Resolution 106, which terminated the pandemic emergency declaration and ended the governor’s power to close employers, limit occupancy, suspend state statutes or issue stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19.
You can find a full list of bills of note passed by the Senate in 2021 here.
Celebrating Five New Berks and Schuylkill County Eagle Scouts
This week, we celebrate five Scouts from Berks and Schuylkill Counties, as well as their parents and volunteer leaders, as they earn the rank of Eagle. Congratulations to Jeffrey Davenport of Maidencreek, Hunter Wood of Auburn, Timothy Bortner of Orwigsburg, Jathan Krall of Andreas, and Jack Tharp of New Ringgold for their hard work and dedicated service to the community!
Past Berks County Senator: William Muhlenberg Heister (1853-55)
Berks County has elected many members of the State Senate since it first came into being in 1791, but William Muhlenberg Heister is the only one to hold the position of Senate Speaker.
Heister was a Democrat and served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor William Packer after leaving the Senate. In the fateful presidential election of 1860, Heister originally supported Stephen Douglas, but became disillusioned with the party and ultimately threw his support behind Abraham Lincoln.
Learn more about his life here.
National Fraternity Magazine Spotlights my Public Service Efforts, in Harrisburg and in this Region
Check out this article from the magazine published by my college fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi, where I discuss how young volunteers from my Lycoming College fraternity helped to launch my years in public service, as well as my goals for the future.
If you do not wish to receive this email, click here to unsubscribe.