In this Update:
Shapiro’s Automatic Voter Registration Dictate Uses Government Force to Coerce the People
Gov. Josh Shapiro’s coercive, compulsory and government forced implementation of automatic voter registration through PennDOT’s drivers licensing process does not comply with the law.
There is nothing in Pennsylvania’s election laws that grants a government agency the right to take actions that compel a person to register to vote.
Telling you that you are going to be registered to vote and forcing you to go against what the government is telling you is quite different from the government giving you more opportunities to register.
The first is forcing an action, and the second is freedom, allowing an opportunity to take an action.
Long-Time Jefferson County District Attorney’s Legal Secretary Embarks on Well-Deserved Retirement
After serving the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for more than 33 years, Honey Dusch is retiring! She’s served as a legal secretary under two different district attorneys since starting her career in 1990. Police and other county officials were present to congratulate and thank her.
Rep. Brian Smith and I presented her with PA Senate and House citations recognizing her decades of hard work. Thank you for your tremendous devotion to the citizens of Jefferson County and best wishes on your well-deserved retirement, Honey!
Make Your Voice Heard on Broadband Expansion Program
The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) is seeking public input about its Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program.
In August, the authority unanimously approved a multi-year plan key to securing more than $1 billion in federal resources to expand broadband access to hundreds of thousands of locations across the commonwealth.
This program is a $200 million dollar fund through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These funds are to be used for critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring.
The plan, known as “Connecting the Commonwealth,” aims to bring affordable broadband access to unserved and underserved areas of Pennsylvania through measures such as expanding infrastructure across the commonwealth, partnering with community-based institutions to provide digital literacy training, and strengthening existing affordability programs.
District 25 has a set of unique characteristics which have made us one of the most underserved areas of the commonwealth. I’m encouraging residents to evaluate and submit comments about the plan, by clicking here.
The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
There will be a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at approximately 2:20 p.m. The test is to ensure the systems continue to effectively warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.
The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The EAS portion will be sent to radios and televisions.
In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.
Fiscal Restraint Means More Good News for PA’s Financial Position
Pennsylvania has been upgraded from stable to positive regarding debts issued, according to S&P Global Ratings. The state maintains its A+ rating on its general obligation bonds.
S&P highlighted the well-established priority of repaying debts and adding to the Rainy Day Fund as reasons for the improved rating. My Republican colleagues in the Senate and I knew these efforts would benefit the state and its residents, which is why we insisted on making the responsible decision even as others wanted to spend the money we had and even take on additional debt.
This promising news follows a similarly encouraging rating improvement by Moody’s Investor Services when it recently revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to positive.
Look Out for Surprise Hotel Fees, Larger Bills
As a way to win business, some hotels have employed practices like “drip pricing,” which is when fees are gradually disclosed to consumers as they go through the online booking process. Customers are lured to the hotel or online travel agency with a competitive rate and don’t know the actual cost until the final page of the online booking process – or not even until they check in at the hotel.
People deserve to have access to accurate pricing upfront so they can make appropriate decisions for their budget. However, Choice Hotels – which owns Quality and Comfort hotels – was making that nearly impossible.
Pennsylvania, as well as a handful of other states, reached a settlement with Choice. The company has now committed, by the end of this year, to prominently disclosing the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website as part of the total room rate.
Apply Now to Enhance Pennsylvanians’ Safety
Because of legislation the Senate supported, $5 million is available in nonprofit security grants and applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11:45 p.m.
Eligible applicants must be a nonprofit based in Pennsylvania and serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included in a bias motivation category, such as religion, sexual orientation, race, disability and gender.
Grants can be used for the purchase of equipment and security-related technology, trainings, threat assessments and specialty-trained canines. Learn more and apply here.
Men, Take Care of Yourselves with Healthy Habits
The Senate voted to designate September 2023 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to raise awareness and encourage men to complete recommended screenings.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Pennsylvania men. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
While there is no way to completely prevent prostate cancer, men can reduce their risk by choosing a low-fat diet filled with fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising most days of the week.
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