Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.
What a week it’s been in Harrisburg. From a rally in support of visitation rights for our loved ones to a Supreme Court ruling over elections and the governor’s shutdown orders, even when the Senate is not in session things are interesting in the capital of our Commonwealth.
The House was in Session this week and was relatively quiet in terms of big ticket legislative items. There was, however, a press conference held in which featured members of both parties urged the Governor to sign House Bill 2787 into law, the bill which would allow local control over school sports.
Additionally, the House Labor and Industry Committee, chaired by Representative Jim Cox, held a hearing with the Labor and Industry Department and their status of upgrades to the Unemployment Compensation system, which was supposed to be in place by October 5. As anyone who has yet to receive UC benefits surely knows, the rampant mismanagement of the system by the Department over the past 5 or 6 years continues as this deadline will not be met. You can watch the hearing here.
On Thursday, I was honored to speak at a rally in Harrisburg in support of my legislation, Senate Bill 1279, which would establish an Essential Family Caregiver program in Pennsylvania. This program would allow long-term care facilities to designate certain family members or caregivers for their residents to provide them with comfort and care. You can view my portion of the rally on my Facebook page.
Perhaps the biggest news was that a federal court in Pittsburgh ruled that Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 shutdown orders that required businesses to close, people to stay home, and limited public gatherings was unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV said “the Constitution cannot accept the concept of a ‘new normal’ where the basic liberties of the people can be subordinated to open-ended emergency mitigation measures.” This being said, the court has validated what we, the GOP, have been saying all along – Governor Wolf’s decisions violate the Constitution. You can read the PA Senate Republicans press release here.
With this, another big news story was that the PA Supreme Court handed out a ruling that would change how elections are held this November. While we have been working to ensure safe and secure elections as well as provide access for the upcoming election, this ruling today essentially ends that progress and instead nullifies the law which the General Assembly and the Governor passed successfully less than one year ago. A Senate GOP statement can be found here.
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.