In This Update:
State of Texas v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
It is my honor to be one of 24 Pennsylvania State Senators part of the amicus brief in support of the Texas case going before the United State Supreme Court. You can read the document submitted on behalf of all 24 of us here : https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/22/22O155/163372/20201210143813616_PA%20Senate%20Amicus%20Brief%20Main%20Document.pdf
You can also access the full list of proceedings and orders here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/22o155.html
I have circulated a cosponsor memo, along with Senator Doug Mastriano and Senator Mike Regan that would allow the General Assembly to meet through the month of December, at the end of a two-year session.
Currently, the PA Constitution states that the Members of the General Assembly begin their term of service on the first day of December, following the election. But, those same members are not sworn-in until the first Tuesday in January.
Our effort would modify the PA Constitution in that Members of the General Assembly would begin their term of service on the first day of January, rather than December. Subsequently, those Members would still be sworn-in on the first Tuesday in January.
This would allow the General Assembly the option to meet through December, at the end of a two-year session, with Members who are sworn-in and ready to conduct business on behalf of the residents of Pennsylvania.
As we have experienced this year, the Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from convening in the month of December, except for a Special Session called by the Governor, restricting the ability of Members to take legislative action for an entire month.
The PA General Assembly is a full-time legislature. As Members, we should have the flexibility to conduct business in December at the end of a two-year session, should the necessity arise.
SENATOR ARNOLD, PHILLIPS-HILL, REGAN, AND MASTIRANO CALL ON ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INVESITGATE STATE ELECTION SYSTEMS
Together, State Senators Dave Arnold (R-Dauphin/Lebanon/York), Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland), and Doug Mastriano (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York) joined Representatives Seth Grove (R-York), Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland), Kate Klunk (R-York) and Mike Jones (R-York) in calling on the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Pennsylvania Inspector General and Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to take further actions regarding the 2020 election.
We sent Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro a letter requesting that he appoint an independent prosecutor to review election accusations in order to prosecute violations of the election law and make recommendations to the General Assembly to close internal control failures.
We are also urging the Pennsylvania Inspector General review the Department of State’s conduct in the 2020 election to suggest improvements to the department’s internal processes and make recommendations to the General Assembly to close internal control failures.
Finally, we sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation notifying them of their ability to object to Presidential Electors as they see fit.
You can read the letter the legislators sent to Attorney General Shapiro here.
You can read the letter the legislators sent to the Inspector General here.
You can read the letter the legislators sent to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation here.
Governor Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions
Governor Wolf has ordered a new round of COVID-19 restrictions that will begin on Saturday. The restrictions include a prohibition on indoor dining at restaurants, reduced occupancy limits on retail businesses, the suspension of all K-12 extracurricular activities and tighter capacity limits on both indoor and outdoor activities.
The new restrictions could be catastrophic for the restaurant industry, which has already seen hundreds of thousands of workers idled and more than 7,500 businesses closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dairy Farmers Receive COVID-19 Relief Funds
Many dairy farmers suffered heavy losses and were forced to discard milk during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1,500 Pennsylvania dairy farmers who were forced to dump milk due to market changes and supply line disruptions were awarded a total of $7.6 million in direct relief payments last week to mitigate their losses.
The payments were made as part of the Dairy Indemnity Program, which was created by Senate Republicans and funded by the federal CARES Act. Lawmakers also provided $16 million in funding in the recently enacted state budget for programs created by the General Assembly in recent years to support the agriculture industry.
New Health and Wellness Guide Created for Older Adults
Older Pennsylvanians have faced some of the most difficult challenges in terms of physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pennsylvania Council on Aging has created a new interactive guide to support seniors and combat some of the biggest sources of stress in their lives.
The guide includes resources, activities and videos to help older Pennsylvanians avoid social isolation and stay mentally and physically fit.
2021 Fishing Licenses on Sale Now
Pennsylvania anglers can purchase their 2021 fishing license from the PA Fish and Boat Commission now. The licenses are valid from the date of purchase through December 31, 2021. Multi-year options are also available in increments of three, five, and 10 years.
Licenses, permits and gift vouchers can be purchased online or by visiting retail license issuing agents.
Commercial Driver Licenses, Learning Permits Extended
Due to disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s mitigation response, PennDOT has extended the expiration dates of all commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits that were set to expire at the end of November until December 31.
The extension provides additional time to renew these licenses and permits as truckdrivers continue to keep supply lines open and prevent supply chain disruptions.
Wishing Our Friends and Neighbors a Happy Hanukkah
Hanukkah is one the most important holidays observed by the Jewish faith, a time for celebration with friends and neighbors, and charity for those in need. I extend my warmest wishes to all of our friends and neighbors in the Jewish community during this holy holiday.
The eight-day celebration of Hanukkah runs from December 10-17.
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