In this Update:
Election Investigation Moves Forward
Many community residents have contacted my office recently asking for updates on what is happening with the investigation and audit into the 2020 General Election and the 2021 Primary Election. The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee recently shared two updates on the progress of this review and audit of our election system.
First, the committee has scheduled the first in a series of public hearings to begin next week to get to the bottom of what happened with the Pennsylvania Department of State’s last-second guidance to counties in the 2020 election.
Also, the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee is inviting Pennsylvanians who witnessed or were personally affected by election improprieties to share their stories, complete affidavits and potentially testify at future public hearings. The information gathered during this process will help guide the investigation going forward.
Pennsylvanians can submit what they witnessed here. Please note testimony is only being requested from Pennsylvania residents who are willing to sign an affidavit and potentially testify under oath at a future Senate committee hearing under penalty of perjury.
Wolf Administration Mandates Masks for All Pennsylvania Students
In a major policy reversal, Governor Wolf announced that masks will be required in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as childcare facilities.
We all want to protect children, and no one cares more than the parents and school administrators in our communities. That’s where the decision to mandate student masking should be made – at the local level.
In May, voters stripped Governor Wolf of his authority to unilaterally extend emergency declarations, and actions such as his statewide student mask mandate demonstrate why citizens made that decision.
Federal Unemployment Benefit Programs End Sept. 4
A reminder for affected Pennsylvanians: Federal unemployment benefit programs, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), will end Sept. 4.
The state’s regular unemployment compensation program and those receiving benefits from it are unaffected.
Individuals currently enrolled in PEUC and PUA can take advantage of free jobseeker services offered through PA CareerLink. These services include access to a free job database, resume assistance, information about reskilling opportunities and more. To schedule an appointment, contact your local PA CareerLink office listed here. More information on resources and assistance are available here.
Pennsylvania Senate Expense Reports Now Posted Online
Pennsylvania Senate expense reports are now available to the public online, increasing transparency in state government.
The reports, available at www.pasen.gov/RTKL/monthlyExpenses.cfm, detail all expenses for each individual senator’s office and institutional offices. Expense reports for July 2021 were posted this week, and the system will be updated with new reports every month going forward.
Categories of expenses available in the reports include:
Expenses for each caucus service office are listed under the respective leader reports. Other categories of information are already available online, including:
Free Webinars Connect Military Veterans with Agriculture Business Funding
A free webinar series begins this month to connect military veterans who are considering starting or expanding an agriculture business with resources, funding and planning tools they need to succeed.
The first session will be held Sept. 14 from 7-8 p.m. and will cover grants, business planning and other resources. A web link or phone number to join the session can be obtained by contacting PA Preferred Program Manager Gwyn Rowland at RA-AgPaPreferred@pa.gov.
Future sessions will explore the PA Preferred Homegrown By Heroes program, which gives military veterans tools to brand their PA-made and PA-grown agricultural products for consumers who want to buy local and support veterans in their communities; sustainable agriculture opportunities through the PA Preferred Organic program; and other resources for transitioning, diversifying and expanding agricultural businesses.
National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood cancers take many forms, from blood disorders to various types of tumors and rare genetic diseases.
In recent years, the General Assembly created the opportunity for contributions to be used for pediatric cancer research. These contributions are deducted from a tax refund and may be made as a $5 contribution when renewing a driver’s license or vehicle registration.
Have a Happy Labor Day
Workers across Pennsylvania and the U.S. had their lives disrupted during the pandemic, and many are still striving for a return to normalcy.
I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, as we celebrate the past contributions and hopeful future of the American worker.
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