In this Update:
Senate Passes Bills Empowering Parents
The Senate approved legislation that would empower parents to protect their own child from accessing sexually explicit content at school, without impacting the books available to other students. Senate Bill 7 would require schools to:
Senate Bill 7 was crafted after a non-partisan, thorough two-year process – including conversations with parents, school administrators, teachers and librarians. It would not ban any books from Pennsylvania school curriculum or libraries, but rather empower parents to control only what their own children have access to in school.
The Senate also approved legislation requiring schools to make public curriculum information available online, including a link or title for every textbook and course syllabus used for classes. Other measures passed this week would require schools to display the United States Constitution and display the Pennsylvania Constitution. Empowering parents and families is a priority of Pennsylvania Senate Republicans.
Senate Votes to Extend and Improve Program to Protect Students
Building on recent legislation to improve school bus safety, the Senate approved legislation extending and improving the school bus stop-arm automated enforcement program. The measure is set for enactment into law.
The program was first authorized in 2018 and includes nearly 40 participating school districts that equipped 2,500 school buses with cameras to record vehicles that don’t stop for school buses. More than 4,000 violations have been recorded.
The program was set to expire this week. Senate Bill 851 makes the program permanent, improves interaction with law enforcement and streamlines the appeals process. If a driver illegally passes a stopped school bus, the school district will send the car owner a police-vetted violation in the mail. The owner must pay the $300 fine or make an appeal for a virtual or in-person hearing overseen by a PennDOT official. The driver may petition a magisterial district judge after PennDOT’s decision.
Senate of PA Honors Harley-Davidson for 50th Anniversary in PA
As the Chair of the Community, Economic, and Recreational Committee, I organized an event to honor Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company for their 50th anniversary of producing motorcycles in Pennsylvania.
The great-grandchildren of one of the founders, Karen and Bill Davidson, were able to join us in the celebration as well as other company officials.
From the humble beginnings of two friends tinkering around a machine shop in Milwaukee’s northside, William Harley and the Davidson brothers built a company and a brand that personifies the American Dream. Their factory in York County, which is the largest motorcycle manufacturing facility in the country, employing nearly a thousand people, is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
I got to speak directly with company officials and hear more about their successes, challenges, and future in Pennsylvania.
My remarks can be viewed here.
Grants Available for Organizations Helping Veterans
The Veterans’ Trust Fund is accepting grant applications for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. Nonprofit organizations, veteran service organizations and county directors of veteran affairs may apply by Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m.
Find more information about the grant opportunity and how to apply here.
The trust fund is supported by Pennsylvanians who donate when applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses, photo IDs or motor vehicle registrations; purchase veteran-specific license plates; or make private donations. Tax-deductible donations can be made online.
Apply to Vote by Mail by Oct. 31 for the November Election
The deadline is approaching for anyone who would like to vote by mail for the Nov. 7 election. Your county election board must receive your application for a mail-in or absentee ballot no later than Tuesday, Oct. 31, at 5 p.m.
Any registered voter may request a mail-in ballot. Absentee ballots can be requested by voters with disabilities or an illness that prevents them from going to their polling place on Election Day, or those who will be absent from their municipality on Election Day.
You can apply for a mail-in ballot online, by mail or in person at your county election board’s office or other designated locations. Learn more here.
Recognizing Pennsylvania’s First Responders
Saturday, Oct. 28, is National First Responders Day. Police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians care for us during some of life’s worst moments. They are true heroes, and I am proud to honor their brave and selfless efforts.
My Senate colleagues and I have passed legislation to address the serious shortage of volunteer firefighters in the commonwealth. The number dropped from about 300,000 in the 1980s to less than 38,000 today, so they need our support. Without enough volunteers, communities across Pennsylvania face longer wait times when minutes make the difference between life and death.
ABC27 News Story “No One’s Allowed To Win”
Thank you to Dennis Owens at ABC27 News for highlighting this important story. It has been a very frustrating couple of months in Harrisburg.
Veteran Appreciation Event
In honor of Veterans Day, I will be joining PA Reps Russ Diamond, John Schlegel, and Tom Jones to host a Veteran Appreciation Drive-Through Event at the Lebanon Expo Center on November 11th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Veterans and families may register by calling 717-274-6735 or visiting https://senatorgebhard48.com/2023-veterans-appreciation…/
Lebanon County businesses that are interested in honoring veterans at this event may register or for more information, call 717-274-6735 or visit, https://senatorgebhard48.com/veterans-appreciation-event-business-organization-registration/
Saturday, October 28, 10am Market of Magick
Saturday, October 28, 10am Wernersville Halloween Parade
Saturday, October 28, Trick-or-Treat at the Lebanon Farmers Market
Tuesday, October 31, 6pm-8pm Trick-or-Treat Night
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