Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.
It was a busy, although short, week in Harrisburg as the Senate was in session on Tuesday and Wednesday. While two days is shorter than normal, it certainly wasn’t any less productive with an agenda full of important legislation.
Most notably, the Senate passed two key pieces of legislation which have been serious topics of concern among my constituents; one related to school sports and one related to checks and balances in forming interstate compacts. Both of which will now head to the Governor’s desk.
First, House Bill 2787 passed the Senate by a vote of 39-11 after passing the House 155-47 last week. This would allow local school districts sole authority over sporting event participants and spectators, and not make them subject to the Governor’s orders related to limits on gatherings. Many schools have facilities that fully allow for limited seating while still adhering to CDC social distancing guidelines, and believe this is an important local decision. The Governor has threatened to veto this bill, as he sees it as another attempt to usurp his sole authority during the pandemic.
Next, House Bill 2025 would require legislative input and approval of any interstate compact which seeks to regulate power generation and carbon emissions. While opponents of this bill purport that this legislation would prohibit Pennsylvania from curtailing carbon emissions and promoting environmental health, all it does is give the legislature a seat at the table for any formation of an interstate compact. Pennsylvania is a member of a number of such compacts, such as the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and the Chesapeake Bay Commission, all of which were formed by an act of the legislature, and not under the sole discretion of the Governor.
Additionally, revisions to the State Election Code were passed from the State Government Committee in an attempt to sure up voter access and confidence before the November election. The bill did not receive a vote on the floor, however negotiations and revisions will be considered over the next two weeks before the Senate returns to session.
Other important votes in the Senate this week:
- Senate Resolution 353 – Resolution designating September 14, 2020, as “EMS Memorial Day” in Pennsylvania.
- Senate Bill 1170 – Allows for expert witnesses in domestic violence cases.
- Senate Bill 835 – Broadband accessibility funding program.
- Senate Bill 869 – Moment of silence for 9/11 in schools.
- Senate Bill 530 – Protecting student sexual assault victims.
I encourage you to continue to stay calm and safe in whichever way you can as we ride this out together. I have been sending out newsletters almost daily with the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 with specific information related to our area. If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive these newsletters on my website, senatormensch.com. You can also keep an eye on my website for news releases, email me with questions or concerns, or find contact information for my district offices which you can get in touch with if you need anything.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-541-2388.