In this email edition:
Senator Cris Dush Pushes Back on False Election Investigation Narratives
This week brought new developments in the ongoing court battle over the Senate investigation into the conduct of the 2020 and 2021 elections.
Will your personal information be jeopardized if it is provided to the Senate for this investigation? This claim was key to the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Senate Democrats. Yet as a new court filing by Senator Cris Dush (R-Jefferson) notes, the same information requested for the Senate’s investigation was provided to the League of Women Voters in 2012 as part of a lawsuit to overturn a previously passed voter ID law.
In response to this, Senator Dush stated, “If they gave that information to a private third-party group then, how can they possibly argue against transferring that data to another co-equal branch of government now?” Read more about this news here.
If you would like to receive updates from the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee on their investigation, visit this link.
Welcoming the Lithuanian Ambassador to Harrisburg
Audra Plepytė, the Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States, visited Harrisburg this week and addressed both the Senate and the House of Representatives on the importance of international ties between Pennsylvania and Lithuania. I introduced the Ambassador on the floor of the Senate, which you can watch above. My Lithuanian obviously needs more practice!
More than 6,000 of the people I represent have deep Lithuanian roots. The 29th Senate district has the highest population of people with Lithuanian ancestry in Pennsylvania. Read more here.
Senate State Government Committee Tackles Lobbying Reform, Redistricting Maps
Earlier this month, I chaired a hearing of the Senate State Government Committee reviewing a package of bills regarding lobbying reform. You can learn more about these bills here.
On Wednesday, I will be chairing a hearing reviewing citizen recommendations on how Congressional maps should be redrawn. This hearing will feature the Committee of Seventy, who put together their own draft map known as “The Pennsylvania Citizens Map”, as well as redistricting specialist Amanda Holt. Visit the State Government Committee’s website to watch the hearing live.
Election Fraud Cases in Georgia and Michigan
In recent weeks, cases in Georgia and Michigan highlighted the importance of the work of the Senate in identifying defects in our system of elections. In Georgia, just as early voting began for the 2021 General Election, two employees were caught shredding voter registration applications in Fulton County. While they were immediately fired, this kind of behavior is unacceptable and damaging to public trust. Learn more about this case here.
In Michigan, the Department of the Attorney General recently announced the results of three investigations into efforts to fraudulently vote. In one of these cases, a woman who was the legal guardian for legally incapacitated persons submitted 26 fraudulent absentee ballot applications without the knowledge of the persons under her care. Learn more about these cases here.
“Independent” Redistricting Flops in Virginia, New York
In the 2020 General Election in Virginia, voters approved a constitutional amendment to create a bipartisan, 16-member commission to draw the maps. Earlier this month however, members of the commission walked out of a meeting and stated they do not anticipate reaching a compromise on legislative maps for the state. Learn more here.
An almost identical situation happened in New York, where a 10-member commission failed to approve any maps, turning the issue over to the Democratic-majority legislature.
I’m hopeful that Pennsylvania can avoid this sort of spectacle in our map-drawing process. I’ve chaired multiple hearings of the Senate State Government Committee to gather input on what guidelines should be used to draw the maps. I will continue working to begin to roll back at least some of the hyper-partisan gerrymandering sins of the past, noted in my remarks above from a hearing earlier this year.
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