In this update:
Overturn of Roe v. Wade – Protecting the Unborn
Constitutional rights are things which are actually spelled out in the Constitutions of the United States and the various states.
Those rights are democratically determined by the will of The People in the writing of these constitutions which are the ultimate law of the land. If the Constitutions are to be changed to add a right there are mechanisms there for The People to use to make it happen. (Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides two methods to make that happen.)
Decades ago the United States Supreme Court superseded the will of The People and, in a totalitarian rather than democratic fashion, unconstitutionally “created” a “right” out of the will of a few “Justices” rather than by the will of The People. There was nothing “democratic” about it.
No matter how many times those who are on the side of killing children in the womb say “constitutional right” it doesn’t make it so. The People of the United States haven’t made it so in the constitutions.
The recent court ruling which overturned Roe v Wade is constitutionally correct and is going to put a lot of work on the legislatures of our 50 states. I will stand ready to work to ensure we protect children and follow our constitution in creating the legislation that must come.
Bills to Limit Exposure of Sexually Explicit Content in PA Schools Approved by Senate Committee
Two bills that would give parents a voice in discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in Pennsylvania schools advanced out of the Senate Education Committee.
Senate Bill 1277 would require districts to identify sexually explicit content in school curriculum and materials and notify parents that their child’s coursework includes such content. News reports and the testimony which followed publication of offensive sexual content in materials made available to students without parental notification or consent was appalling! It’s a sad state of affairs when those responsible for selecting appropriate educational curricula would introduce something so obviously offensive.
The proposals are in response to concerns of parents that age-inappropriate conversations about these sensitive topics are occurring prematurely and without parental knowledge in elementary school classrooms around the state.
Information about what Senate Bill 1278 does and does not do, examples of situations that concerned parents have reported from classrooms around the state and other important information can be found here.
New Anti-Human Trafficking Resource Available on My Senate Website
I have been working on anti-human trafficking issues for more than a year now and we have a new partner that we are excited to introduce. The Shared Hope International poster can now be found on my website with pointers to other posters and the Shared Hope website itself.
Shared Hope International strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children. Their information is some of the most thorough that I have found to date on this subject. It clearly spells out the problem, makes actionable recommendations and presents the complex issues surrounding human trafficking in understandable ways.
The Interstate 80 corridor is a known human trafficking corridor due to its direct connection to cities from New York to San Francisco. The increase in hard drug use throughout the state and nation has also spawned the unconscionable increase in adults trafficking their children to pay for their addiction.
My hope is that you would take time to review this resource to become aware and pass it on to those you think may find this resource of value.
Bill to Protect Corrections Officers Passed by Senate
The Senate this past week approved a bill to protect the rights of Pennsylvania’s corrections officers.
Senate Bill 569 requires specific procedures for suspensions and interrogations when an officer is accused of misconduct.
The impetus for this bill was a situation in which eight corrections officers were suspended without pay and benefits for almost a year without the ability to ask questions or to defend themselves.
As a former state corrections officer, I saw some of those abuses take place. The bills that have been done in the past to address these issues weren’t quite ready for prime time and I wasn’t in support of them. But on this bill, I have to say that the actions and work that’s been done on both sides of the aisle has been phenomenal, and I’m fully in support of the bill.
The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for its consideration.
Legislation Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs Approved by Senate
The Senate approved legislation to improve workforce development initiatives and better prepare Pennsylvania students for jobs that will be in demand after they graduate.
House Bill 723 would bring state law in compliance with the federal requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by updating state and local workforce development board membership requirements and making other changes. The state and federal acts work in concert to help train individuals for family sustaining jobs.
This bill also requires the state Department of Labor and Industry to collect data on emerging and projected future employment sectors in Pennsylvania and send it to educational institutions. Schools would be required to use the information to develop career education programs and for providing career guidance to students. The amended bill will return to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Acts to Reduce PA Lyme Disease Cases
With Pennsylvania leading the nation in the incidence of Lyme disease, the Senate approved legislation to require insurance coverage for testing and treatment, and raise awareness of tickborne diseases.
Senate Bill 1188 also requires the Department of Health to work with the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania at East Stroudsburg University to develop an electronic database to better track possible cases and provide access to the latest research. The Tick research Lab has a fast turn around on tests of any tick sent to it to determine what diseases the tick may be carrying. If you find a tick on your body it can be sent to the lab and your physician can be informed of the disease(s) and will be more quickly able to get you the right treatment.
The measure will be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Left untreated or improperly treated, Lyme disease can lead to debilitating symptoms, which include fevers, arthritis, joint aches and more. If treated within the first 30 days, 10% or fewer patients will progress to severe symptoms.
Bill to Curb Welfare Abuse Passed by Senate
A bill to halt wasteful spending in the Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs was approved by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senate Bill 1124 requires the Department of Human Services to check death certificates with the Bureau of Vital Statistics so that the payments can be halted immediately when a recipient’s death is recorded.
An audit by former Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services paid benefits to 2,324 dead people. In one case, $800 in benefits intended for a woman who passed away was used by another individual for a shopping spree.
Natural Gas Impact Fee Delivers More than $6.3 Million to Region’s Communities
Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) announced detailed information about this year’s distribution of impact fees on natural gas producers, totaling $234,437,575.
At this point I want to make something clear; although it is listed as a “fee” the impact fee is in fact a tax on our natural gas industry. It is defined as a “fee” in order to be able to allocate the money through legislation in a way that ensures the communities that are impacted are able to more directly receive a significant portion of the tax. This is so the local governments can maintain the infrastructure as well as improve infrastructure that will enable our region to provide more of the energy our nation needs to heat and light up homes and businesses.
County and municipal governments directly affected by drilling will receive a total of $123,217,163 for the 2021 reporting year. Additionally, $86,030,934 will be transferred to the Marcellus Legacy Fund, which provides financial support for environmental, highway, water and sewer projects, rehabilitation of greenways and other projects throughout the state. Also, $25,189,477 will be distributed to state agencies, as specified by Act 13.
In our region, the counties of Cameron, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga will receive a combined total distributions of $6.34 million:
More information about the distributions can be found on the PUC’s Act 13 website.
Tioga Works! Receives PAsmart Advancing Grant
The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently announced the awarding of a third round of PAsmart Advancing Grants to support partnerships across the state to help provide quality educational opportunities and experiences to K-12 students in computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Of the 42 announced grants, $450,656 was awarded to Tioga Works!, a collaborative effort of Develop Tioga, BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, the Southern Tioga School District, the Northern Tioga School District, the Wellsboro School District and Northern Tier Workforce Development, along with local businesses, to expand current career and technical education offerings in Tioga County.
The program will involve pre-apprenticeship programs, the acquisition of technical skills needed in a wide variety of vocational choices and the development of both STEM skills and soft skills that are in demand by all vocations and employers.
I think this will provide great opportunities for individual students and for the employers of the region in need of a trained workforce.
PennDOT Solicits Comments on Transportation Improvement, EV Charging Development Plans
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is asking the public to participate in a comment period between now and June 30 on both the draft 2023 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and the Draft Pennsylvania State Plan for access to National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program funds.
The draft 2023 STIP reflects the first four years of the 12-Year Program (TYP). It lists prioritized projects identified for federal, state, local, and private funding in each federal fiscal year between 2023 and 2027. Federal funding in the draft STIP is based upon expected funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), a $3.2 billion increase over previously planned amounts.
To update Pennsylvania’s highway network to accommodate more electric vehicles and hybrid, PennDOT will receive and distribute $171.5 million in formula funds for EV charging infrastructure over the next five years. The department must outline and submit a state EV infrastructure deployment plan to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) by August 1, 2022, and the public survey will help direct that effort.
Older Mobile Phone Services Shutting Down
Mobile carriers are shutting down 3G and other older services to make room for 5G and other more advanced network services.
The Federal Communications Commission says T-Mobile’s 3G UMTS and Sprint 4G LTE services will be shut down by the end of June and Verizon’s 3G by Dec. 31.
If your device uses the 3G wireless spectrum, you will not be able to make 911 calls on the device after the 3G phase out occurs. In addition to older mobile devices, some home security systems, life/medical alert systems, vehicle SOS services, and other tablets that rely on 3G are also impacted. More information and help can be found here.
Celebrating William Penn and His Vision for Pennsylvania
On July 1st, you are invited to come and participate with State Representative Dave Zimmerman (R-99) and I, as well as legislators and elected officials from around Pennsylvania and other states, for a proclamation signing ceremony celebrating the vision William Penn had for Pennsylvania.
Penn’s “Holy Experiment” focused on the goal of achieving freedom of religion and conscience, for everyone, everywhere, and protecting it in law and encouraging everyone to value that freedom.
He embarked on a form of successful government organized of the people, with them choosing from their own population individuals – known for their wisdom, virtue and ability – to meet and act as the government.
When King Charles II of England grated Penn his Royal Charter in 1681 he designated Penn “Proprietor of the Province of Pennsylvania.” Penn was grated authority which could be best described as king with him able to set up whatever frame of government he chose. I believe King Charles thought he was setting Penn up to become a dictator whom the king could later move in to dethrone. Far from that Penn gave all of that authority to the inhabitants of his territory. (a great description of this is found in the opening “Historical Introduction” of the book Commentaries on the Constitution of Pennsylvania.)
The government Penn created in Pennsylvania has been a model for the United States and other nations. The importance of faith and God is ensconced within his first, in 1682, and subsequent Frames of Government that would greatly influence the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1776 and the contents of the 1776 Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which was one of the state constitutions used as a model for the United States Constitution, written in 1787, ratified in 1788 and which became effective in 1789.
Much is owed to William Penn and “the seed of a nation” he helped to plant in Pennsylvania.
Please join us at the proclamation signing ceremony July 1 in Harrisburg on the Pennsylvania State Capitol Steps from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
You can register for your FREE tickets at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/penn-proclamation-for-peace-unity-tickets-357589097617.
To read the Proclamation text please go to: https://www.healingtreeinternational.com/william-penn-proclamation.html.
If you cannot join us in person, you may sign electronically at: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/penn-proclamation-for-peace-unity
National Dairy Month and PA Dairy Farmers
Pennsylvania is second only to Wisconsin in the number of dairy farms in America, with 5,200 throughout the state.
The commonwealth’s 474,000 cows produce more than 10 billion pounds of milk annually and the dairy farmers of our region of Pennsylvania contribute much to our local communities as well as the Mid-Atlantic region. Pennsylvania dairy production is critical to our commonwealth and nation, and keeping it strong is a top priority.