Governor Wolf Proposes his Final Budget
Our lame-duck Governor, with less than a year left in his final term, is now proposing to leave Pennsylvanians with a multi-billion dollar deficit after he leaves office. We need to make responsible decisions now so this Governor cannot force a tax increase on all of us after he has left the capitol.
One perfect example, after seven years of fighting my legislation to eliminate school property taxes, is his new recommendation for one-time property tax rebates which would end when he leaves the capitol building. He’s focused on short-term political gimmicks instead of working with us to provide a permanent solution to the thousands of Pennsylvanians who suffer under this burden every year.
The unchecked spending that this Governor has advocated for year after year is no different than the irresponsible policies of progressive Democrats in Washington.
Read more about the reaction to his proposal from members of the House and the Senate here. Watch comments I made on the Governor’s proposal below.
Protecting the Rights of Corrections Officers
This week, my bill ensuring the constitutional rights of corrections officers and forensic employees passed with bipartisan support in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.
A few years ago, eight corrections officers in Pittsburgh were suspended without pay and benefits for almost a year. None of them were permitted to defend themselves from their accusations – they weren’t even given a hearing.
Any corrections officer or forensic employee found guilty of a crime should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. However, this legislation will guarantee and preserve the constitutional rights of the accused, so they are not punished without due process.
I’m proud to support our brave officers who put their safety on the line every day to protect us. Watch my comments on this bill above.
New Senate District Boundaries Await Court Review
Last week, the five-member commission responsible for drawing new state Senate and House districts for Pennsylvania every decade approved two new maps, which you can view here. Under the proposal, Schuylkill County will remain whole and a part of the 29th Senate district, as it has since the county was created in 1811. The 29th will now also include all of Carbon County and parts of southern Luzerne County.
The Pennsylvania Constitution now requires a 30-day period where legal challenges can be filed against the new maps. House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff has already stated that he plans to file a lawsuit against the House map. Only when the courts have finally ruled on these maps can they take effect.
While I’m pleased Schuylkill County will remain whole, if this map takes effect I would no longer represent my current constituents in Berks County. Whatever happens, I will continue to work with my Senate neighbors, both Republican and Democrat, on issues that are important to us all.
Almost all the communities in Berks County in my current district may soon be part of the 48th district, which is currently represented by Senator Chris Gebhard (R-Lebanon). Senator Gebhard is one of the newest members of the Senate and has already shown his commitment to election integrity and fiscal responsibility in his short time in office.
Spring Township and Sinking Spring may soon join the 11th district, represented by Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks), who has served Berks County as a county commissioner and as a state senator for many years.
Chris and Judy and I will never agree on every single issue but whenever possible, we will continue to work together as a team for the people of this region, regardless of partisanship.
I will provide information about the new House districts next week. Learn more about this news here.
Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Funding Comes to Schuylkill County
Anyone who has spent time in Schuylkill County is familiar with the scars left behind from decades of coal mining in the region. There has been significant progress in rehabilitating this land over the years by our local coal refuse plants and other community groups, as seen in the picture above. We’ve seen black and grey wastelands transformed into forests and meadows once again, and many of our once-polluted creeks and rivers now again run clear.
According to the Republican Herald, projects to remediate mine land in New Castle Township and McAdoo will now move forward due to new federal funding.
During this year’s budget process, I will advocate for additional state support to continue this transformation. As a sponsor of the original Growing Greener program, I have seen the dramatic impact these environmental improvements can have on our region, including the reclamation of abandoned mine land. Learn more about this valuable state grant program here.
Boy Scouts of America Celebrate 112th Anniversary
This week marked the 112th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America.
One of the very best things my parents ever did for me was sign me up for Cub Scouts at the age of eight. I have literally travelled the world as a scout and as a volunteer leader. From camping in my own back yard with my son to exploring New Mexico, Canada and Bavaria, Scouting has given me and so many others the opportunity to expand our horizons.
Watch the video above to see my message on how this program, just in my one Troop, has positively impacted almost 100 of my fellow Eagles, who now range in age from 18 to their 70s.
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