Senator Dush E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Budget Hearings Focus on State of Election Integrity
  • 2024 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule Available
  • Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments
  • Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend

Senate Budget Hearings Focus on State of Election Integrity

This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee concluded the public hearing review of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal, which totals more than $48.3 billion.

His plan would increase state spending by more than $3.2 billion, or about 7.1% above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will be all but impossible to balance budgets in the next five years without deep spending cuts, massive tax increases and draining Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund. 

All the governor’s projections fail to meet the required Budgets and Financial Plan criteria, clearly and concisely outlined in Article 8, Section 12 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

During the Department of State budget hearing, the committee focused on the department’s requested $5.2 million increase for “Voter Registration and Education” activities throughout the commonwealth. Committee members sought assurances the outreach would occur in rural, urban and suburban areas.

As chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, I engaged Secretary Al Schmidt about the authorization, composition and funding of the governor’s Pennsylvania Election Threats Task Force, as well as how its creation completely bypassed the People’s Legislature.

Our state Constitution requires elections to be free and equal, and Pennsylvania voters deserve rules that guarantee it’s hard to cheat and easy to vote.

This means EVERY voter should be verified, EVERY ballot should be secured and EVERY voting machine should be inspected and verified—because EVERY ELECTION MATTERS.

Watch my Department of State Budget Hearing Q&A with Secretary Schmidt by following the links below:

At the Department of Human Services budget hearing, I requested an explanation about the Shapiro administration’s plans to spend billions of new taxpayer dollars to expand Medicaid to cover services that do not pertain to physical or behavioral health.

Examples include moving expenses and household items like pots and pans, furniture and air conditioning units for eligible recipients, including recently released prison inmates.

Watch my Department of Human Services Budget Hearing Q&A by following the links below:

The Department of Transportation hearing covered ongoing concerns about the sustainability of the Motor License Fund and Commonwealth transportation funding.

Replacing funds lost to electric vehicle use remains a challenge as the phasing-out of the funding of the State Police by the Motor License Fund continues.

The committee also received a status update for the replacement of the six interstate bridges that were included in a replacement program opposed by Senate Republicans.

Watch my Department of Transportation Budget Hearing Q&A by following the links below:

Thursday’s hearings included the Department of Health and the Governor’s Budget Office/Department of Revenue.

Watch my Budget Hearing Q&A from both hearings by following the links below:

Recaps and video from all Senate budget hearings are available at

2024 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule Available

The 2024 adult trout stocking schedule is now available. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 695 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling. An additional 1.2 million trout will be stocked by cooperative nurseries.

The trout stocking schedule is searchable by county, lists the waterways in alphabetical order, and indicates stocking dates, meeting locations for volunteers, and the species of trout that are planned to be stocked at each location. Pennsylvania’s statewide Opening Day of Trout Season is April 6. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will take place March 30.

Trout to be stocked will include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout, 702,000 Brown Trout, 132,000 Brook Trout and 14,000 Golden Rainbow Trout. As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length.

Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments

Despite the perception that local governments are too small to be the target of bad actors online, Pennsylvania’s thousands of municipalities are at risk of cyberattack. In fact, 69% of state and local governments reported being hit in 2023 by ransomware – malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

To combat these attacks that often come with costly consequences, local governments should conduct a cyber assessment and make sure municipal employees understand the importance of using strong passwords and spotting suspicious emails. The initiative grew out of a January hearing held by the Senate Communications and Technology Committee and the Senate Local Government Committee focusing on cybersecurity threats faced by local governments and municipal authorities.

Funding opportunities exist to support cybersecurity efforts through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, which administers a program that distributes federal funding. Local governments can learn more at the new Senate Republican Cybersecurity Resources for Local Governments webpage.

Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m. While cell phone and computer clocks usually change automatically, most people move their standard clocks and appliances ahead one hour on Saturday night.

It’s also a good time to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If the devices are older than 10 years, experts suggest upgrading to 10-year, sealed battery alarms. They don’t require any battery replacement throughout their lifetime. However, it’s still a good idea to press the test button on the alarms at least once every month.


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