In this Update:
It was an esteemed honor to serve as Chair of the Committee to escort Governor Shapiro as he entered a joint session to deliver his 2023-24 budget address.
My Response to Governor’s Budget Address
We have an obligation to cultivate opportunity for Pennsylvanians and create an environment in which families can stay here and grow here.
A lot of great things were discussed in Governor Shapiro’s budget address, but a lot was also missing on what should be our real focus in the years ahead.
Historic Breast Cancer Screening Bill Unanimously (50-0) Passes Senate
Senate Bill 8, is the first bill of its kind to require coverage of Genetic Testing & Counseling and Breast MRI & Ultrasound at 𝗡𝗢 𝗖𝗢𝗦𝗧 to women at high risk.
I want to thank Senator Kim Ward and my co-prime sponsor Senator Devlin Robinson, for their leadership on this bill, and my Senate colleagues for their overwhelming support of this measure.
I also want to take a moment to recognize my predecessor, former Senator Bob Mensch, for his leadership on this topic which arose from his family’s breast cancer journey.
This bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Read more here.
Banning TikTok from State-Owned Networks and Devices Passes Senate
As Chair of the Senate Communications & Technology Committee I got the opportunity to sit down with prime sponsor, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill on the importance of her bill that looks to prohibit state government agencies from downloading and using TikTok.
TikTok presents an unacceptable level of cybersecurity risk to the commonwealth and may be involved in activities such as cyber-espionage, surveillance of government entities, and inappropriate collection of sensitive personal information.
Senate Bill 379, unanimously passed the Senate this week. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
You can keep up with the progress of this bill here.
Senate Republicans Announce Priorities and Principles for 2023-24 Session
With the two-year legislative session getting into full swing, I joined colleagues this week in announcing Senate Republican priorities and principles for 2023-24.
Our legislative efforts will be focused on protecting jobs, empowering families and defending freedoms.
Protecting Pennsylvania jobs requires a comprehensive approach that includes ensuring energy independence, promoting workforce development and continued improvement of our infrastructure.
Empowering Pennsylvania families means providing healthy and safe communities, addressing mental and behavioral health needs, and guaranteeing access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Defending freedom means keeping government out of the lives and pockets of citizens as much as possible, and instilling confidence in the electoral process.
Senate Republicans will build on our successful efforts last session that were focused on:
Senate Republican leaders discussed our 2023-24 priorities and principles here.
Pennycuick’s 2023-24 Priorities: Workforce and Economic Development
Protecting jobs, empowering families and defending freedoms: Our legislative agenda for strengthening Pennsylvania.
Senate Votes to Restrict Diversion of Transportation Funding
To bolster funding for Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure, the Senate passed legislation to restrict the diversion of transportation funding out of the Motor License Fund. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Motor License Fund obtains revenue from transportation charges, including the gas tax, vehicle registration fees and driver license fees. These funds are required by the Pennsylvania Constitution for the design, construction and maintenance of the state and local highway network. However, a large portion is transferred to the Pennsylvania State Police for statewide highway patrol operations.
Senate Bill 121 dedicates the transportation charges to road and bridge safety projects, while ensuring the Pennsylvania State Police receive reliable, sustainable funding from sources beyond the susceptible Motor License Fund. The bill caps transfers from the Motor License Fund at $250 million in 2023-24 then reduces the transfer by $50 million annually. The bill seeks to end the transfers by 2028-29 and allocate all transportation fees for road and bridge improvements.
Senate Urges President Biden to Restart Keystone XL Pipeline
I joined with Senate colleagues in passing a resolution calling on President Biden to allow completion of the Keystone XL pipeline to create nearly 60,000 jobs and strengthen our energy independence in uncertain times.
Senate Resolution 9 urges the president to restart and expedite the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which had its permit canceled through an executive order on his first day in office.
A report from the U.S. Department of Energy showcased that the construction of the pipeline would have generated between 16,149-59,468 jobs annually and contributed $3.4 billion to the United States Gross Domestic Product. Incredibly, while President Biden blocked American jobs, he waived sanctions on the Russian firm responsible for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
The resolution will now be transmitted to President Biden and members of Congress, including the entire Pennsylvania Congressional delegation.
Homeowner Septic Program Helps Cover Cost of Septic Systems, Sewer Hook-ups
Functioning on-lot septic systems, laterals and connections to a public sewer system are essential for public health but are expensive to repair or replace.
The Homeowner Septic Program offers affordable loans for the repair or replacement of on-lot septic systems and sewer laterals, or a first-time sewer connection from an existing home. The revamped program now features:
The program is funded and administered by Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA).
For more information or to start the PENNVEST application process, homeowners should contact a participating lender or PHFA at 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466), then press “0” to be connected with the Customer Solutions Center. Information on the program is also available here. Lenders interested in participating should visit the PHFA website for more details.
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