Hello! Thank you for subscribing to my E-newsletter. I am honored to serve the 23rd Senate District and look forward to working with you toward building a better future for Pennsylvania!
This E-newsletter serves to keep you updated on what is happening throughout Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties and what I am doing as your state senator in Harrisburg. I hope that you will find this E-newsletter helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
Your Vote Matters: 2020 Election
Pennsylvania implemented several changes in election laws this year, and many citizens are expected to take part in the November 3 election.
Below, I’ve listed key dates, information on important voting information, and links to resources to provide you with the information you will need to take part in this critical civic process.
I hope you find it useful. You can find more information here. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact one of my offices listed below.
Key Dates for the 2020 General Election
October 27 is the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot. Apply here.
November 3 is election day and the last day to vote by mail. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Voting by Mail in Pennsylvania
If you are a registered voter, you now have two options for mail ballots in Pennsylvania.
Mail-in ballot – Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason.
Absentee ballot – If you plan to be out of your municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you should request this ballot type, which still requires you to list a reason for your ballot.
Applications can be requested online at www.votespa.com with a valid Driver’s License or Photo ID.
All absentee/mail-in ballot applications must be received in your County Voter Registration Office no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, for the 2020 General Election.
Mark your ballot, following the instructions. Place the ballot in the secrecy envelop and then the official envelope. Sign the declaration and mail or deliver the ballot to your County Voter Registration Office.
Vote on November 3
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The state Polling Place Search tool will help you locate your polling place.
Voters who are voting for the first time in their election district will be required to show an ID. Acceptable IDs for first-time voters:
Senate Votes to Boost Fire and EMS Services Throughout PA
Our communities are fortunate to have many brave men and women who dedicate their time and efforts as first responders to protect our lives and property. The Senate approved a comprehensive package of bipartisan reforms last week to support our first responders and improve the delivery of fire and EMS services throughout the state.
The bill contains key improvements to grant and loan programs for fire companies, new measures to support recruitment and retention of fire personnel and critical changes in the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.
Legislation was also approved to increase funding to the Emergency Medical Services Operating Fund by approximately $11 million. The reforms were based on recommendations included in the 2018 Senate Resolution 6 Report that was created to explore ways to better support fire and EMS services in Pennsylvania.
Senate Advances Measures to Boost Availability of Broadband
The Senate approved two bills to boost the state’s efforts to expand high-speed broadband internet coverage to more unserved and underserved areas in rural Pennsylvania. The bills are designed to reduce regulatory burdens on telecommunications companies and make better use of existing infrastructure to expand coverage to a broader number of communities.
One of the bills would reduce regulatory barriers to broadband deployment by modernizing the Public Utility Code and requiring the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to review and waive regulations that are no longer necessary or in the public interest. Another bill would make broader use of existing infrastructure to further deploy broadband in areas that lack coverage. The legislation would allow electric cooperatives to utilize existing utility poles to place fiber-optic lines if the placement does not adversely affect the value or use of the property.
Legislation Moves Forward to Ensure Safe Visitation of Nursing Home Residents
Many Pennsylvania families faced COVID-19 restrictions that prevented them from visiting loved ones for months – even when all state and federal safety protocols could have been followed. The Senate approved legislation to ensure safe visitation and enhanced care for residents of long-term care facilities.
The bill would require facilities to designate at least one essential family caregiver per resident that would be permitted to visit and care for a loved one during a disaster emergency. Under the bill, caregivers would be able to remain in contact with family members and provide companionship and assist with activities requiring one-on-one direction.
Bill Could Help More Pennsylvanians Benefit from Clean Slate
The Senate approved a key criminal justice reform bill last week that would allow more Pennsylvanians to have criminal records expunged if they receive a pardon or are not convicted of a crime. The measure would provide for the automatic expungement of criminal records if all court-ordered restitution is paid.
Under current law, an individual who receives a pardon or is not convicted of a crime still must pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in legal fees to file for expungement. This bill would remove a serious barrier to employment, housing, education and other critical services for individuals who are otherwise unable to complete the process of criminal record expungement.
Halloween Safety Tips
Article Submitted by Kimberly A. Smith | Safety Press Officer
Pedestrian crashes among children are 4X higher on Halloween than on any other evening of the year according to Safe Kids Worldwide.
If you are taking your little ones trick-or-treating this year, follow these safety tips:
Motorist, reduce your speed, drive with caution and be on the look-out for pedestrians. Never drive impaired, distracted or drowsy.