In this update:
Voter ID, Drop Boxes, and Ballot Harvesting
During this week’s hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewing the budget for the Department of State, I asked Acting Secretary Leigh Chapman what her department is doing to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
I asked the Acting Secretary of State if she believed people dropping off more than one ballot at a drop box was a problem (this is illegal in Pennsylvania).
Her Answer: I’m not aware that’s an issue in Pennsylvania.
As a recap: Governor Wolf admitted that he broke the law when he had the First Lady of Pennsylvania drop off the ballot for him. Under current state law, dropping off someone else’s mail-in ballot is punishable with up to one year in prison and a $1000 fine.
The legislature approved legislation which would have allowed someone from the same household to drop off their mail-in ballot…but the Governor vetoed that legislation.
I asked about what additional safety measures, including voter ID requirements, the department is putting in place. I also questioned the Acting Secretary about whether the department plans to secure drop boxes for ballots, which the Supreme Court and NOT the legislature established.
Acting Secretary Chapman is now the fifth person to serve in this important role during Governor Wolf’s two terms. Our previous two governors each only had one Secretary of State and although the Constitution says the Governor shall fill vacancies, the acting Secretary was unaware if the Governor was willing to submit her name to the Senate for confirmation.
Fighting for Energy Independence
I’ve heard from many of you about the record-setting rise in gas prices in Pennsylvania during the past few weeks. It’s clear that we need to better prepare so we never see a spike like this in the future again. I signed on as a cosponsor to multiple proposals this week championing American energy.
Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) introduced a resolution calling for an end to restrictions on domestic oil and natural resources and increased investments in oil pipelines. As Senator Yaw points out in his memo, energy independence is a matter of national security. That’s why policies like forcing Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative can be so dangerous.
Senator Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria), Senator Joe Pittman (R-Indiana), and Senator Yaw introduced a resolution urging President Biden to reopen the Keystone XL Pipeline. This project was cancelled on President Biden’s first day in office and would have transported hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day.
Read more here about how policies in Pennsylvania have benefited the Russian government.
Bridge Tolling in Lenhartsville Moves Forward
PennDOT announced this week that they are awarding the contract for the controversial plan to toll nine bridges across Pennsylvania, including the Lenhartsville Bridge in Berks County, to an Australian-based company. This marks the latest step in PennDOT’s unilateral attempt to force a new fee on Pennsylvania drivers in the midst of an unprecedented spike in gas prices.
Senator Langerholc, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, immediately condemned this move. He also introduced Senate Bill 382, which I supported, to ensure that unelected bureaucrats at PennDOT cannot tax Pennsylvanians without the oversight and approval of the Senate and the House.
Scouts Support Ukraine
In response to the humanitarian crisis caused by the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Government, many different volunteer groups immediately jumped into action. One group many of you are familiar with—Scouting volunteers— quickly raised $100,000 to provide necessary supplies and support for young people and communities impacted by the conflict.
As a volunteer Scout leader in the 1980s, prior to the fall of Communism, I worked for a summer with West German boys and girls in Bavaria. I never imagined that today, we would see a return to the darkest days of the 1930s as tragedy again strikes Europe.
You can learn more about this effort here.
Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend
Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 13, at 2 a.m., so it’s time again to turn clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.
This is also a good time to check batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, which should also be replaced every 10 years.
Daylight saving time will end on Nov. 6.