In this email edition:
Fighting to Protect Jobs
The “pink slip” my great-grand father received as a miner
When the Governor announced his executive order to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which would impose a tax on carbon emissions for employers across the state, he essentially threatened thousands of local workers in Schuylkill and Berks County with a pink slip.
Shortly after the governor announced his executive order, I asked the residents of Schuylkill and Berks if they supported or opposed the Governor’s order to mandate Pennsylvania join RGGI. 80% of those that responded to the poll opposed the Governor’s unilateral decision.
The Governor believes that he has the unilateral power to impose this new tax without the approval of the constituents he was elected to represent. We disagree.
My parents and grandparents grew up surrounded by polluted streams and black mountains of coal waste; years later, I had hoped that my future grandchildren and my great grandchildren would not have to live with this sad legacy. When my wife and I graduated from Tamaqua Area high school, the mountain behind the high school was as bare as the surface of the moon. By the time our children graduated from the same high school, the mountain had turned green again, for the first time in generations.
By destroying what’s left of our coal industry, the Governor’s proposal directly threatens the environmental progress we’ve worked so hard for in places like Schuylkill and Berks Counties.
In this case, it’s not just the jobs that are important. Our environmental future is at stake as well. To me, that’s what this battle is all about.
Wolf Increases Restaurant Capacity to 50%… 1 Hour before Senate Committee was Set to Vote on Similar Measure
Governor Tom Wolf announced that restaurants may increase indoor occupancy to 50% starting September 21. Any restaurant wanting to increase to 50% indoor capacity on September 21 must complete online self-certification by October 5. Starting September 21 restaurants that have alcohol sales must close alcohol sales at 10:00 PM. Many Senators noted that he made this announcement just one hour before a Senate Committee was set to vote on similar legislation. You can read more about this issue here.
Next Week- Senate Majority Policy Hearings with Senators Judy Ward, Mastriano, Bartolotta, & Philips-Hill
Next week, the Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I chair, will be holding four hearings on various issues-
More information can be found here.
Senate Approves Bills on High School Sports and Broadband Internet
School districts would have the final say on whether to allow school sports, extracurricular activities and spectators during the 2020-21 school year under a bill approved by the Senate.
House Bill 2787 would allow school districts to develop their own health and safety plans that reflect the realities facing schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Senate unanimously approved legislation that would establish a grant program to extend deployment of broadband services in underserved areas of the state.
Senate Bill 835 would provide funding to improve access to high-speed broadband internet in rural areas of PA, which currently do not have access to reliable networks.
U.S. Justice Department Investigating Governor’s Handling of Nursing Homes
Last week, the U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to Governor Wolf and three other states alleging Governor Wolf required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients “often without adequate testing,” which “may have resulted in deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
Pennsylvania has some of the highest nursing homes deaths due to COVID-19 according to the CDC. You can read more about this report here.
Become a Poll Worker in Pennsylvania!
September 1st was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Those interested in becoming a poll worker can find more information at www.votespa.com/getinvolved.
Poll workers must be 18 years old and registered to vote in the county in which they wish to serve as a poll worker. Exceptions to the age requirement exist for high school students who are at least 17 years old who must meet additional requirements. Poll workers receive training and are paid by their county. Government officials and employees are not allowed to serve as poll workers.
If you want to become a poll worker in Schuylkill County click here or Berks County click here.
New Eagle Scout- Fourth Brother to Become Eagle Scout
Last Saturday, I attended an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Hunter Michael Wolfgang in the Tower City area. He joins his four other brothers and father in becoming an Eagle Scout. Congratulations to Hunter!
Senate Votes to Observe Moment of Silence Honoring Lives Lost in 9/11 Attacks
In recognition of the 19th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Senate voted this week to observe a moment of silence in schools to honor our fellow Americans who lost their lives on that fateful day. The bill also will ensure model curriculum is developed to help students understand the significance of these attacks in our nation’s history. In addition, the bill would create a similar moment of silence in recognition of Pearl Harbor Day on December 7.
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