In this Update:
Regan Speaks in Support of Letting the People Decide on Voter ID and Other Constitutional Amendments
On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation that will let voters decide whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to create a Voter ID requirement, provide sexual abuse victims with a way to sue their abusers, and reform the state regulatory review process.
I spoke on the Senate floor in support of all three constitutional amendments, which are contained in Senate Bill 1 but will ultimately, if approved by the House, appear on the ballot as separate questions for voters’ consideration.
Election Security is the issue I have heard the most about from constituents and other Pennsylvanians over the last two years, and requiring Voter ID at the polls is the top suggestion to address concerns. This is a sound approach to make sure that the honor of our elections is protected and preserved, and it is not unheard of to be required to prove who you are in order to obtain every day services, so it should be no different for voting.
Additionally, businesses in Pennsylvania continue to deal with onerous regulations imposed by unelected bureaucrats with no accountability to the taxpayer. This has resulted in businesses closing, struggling to grow, or choosing not to open in Pennsylvania. That is why I am in support of the constitutional amendment to provide legislative review of regulations.
Finally, after the Department of State failed to do their job two years ago when they were legally required to advertise a constitutional amendment approved by the legislature to open a two-year window for victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice, Senate Bill 1 yet again, provides for such an opportunity. During my floor remarks, I reflected on my time as a US Marshal, specifically when I was the Commander of the Fugitive Task Force. As part of our job, we took many child predators off the streets, and that work has made me acutely aware of the impacts such heinous criminals have on their victims.
The General Assembly previously passed all three of these amendments in the 2021-22 legislative session. As is constitutionally required, they must be approved identically in two separate sessions before going to the voters. Senate Bill 1 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration, and if approved in a timely manner, the questions will appear on the ballot this spring.
Regan Sits Down with Ag Secretary Redding at Farm Show
I had the pleasure of visiting the Farm Show several times this week and while there, I sat down with Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to discuss Pennsylvania agriculture and the return of the Farm Show to record-setting levels of attendance.
Senate Approves Bill to Eliminate Gas Tax Increase, Help Pennsylvanians at the Pump
Taking significant action to protect Pennsylvanians’ wallets, the Senate approved a bill to stop the automatic gas tax increase for 2023. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives.
For the first time, the average wholesale price of gasoline exceeded $2.99 per gallon last year, triggering an automatic increase in Pennsylvania’s gas tax that went into effect Jan. 1.
Senate Bill 35 would eliminate the automatic gas tax increase for 2023 moving forward, preventing what would produce the second-highest gas tax in the nation behind California, and permanently set the average wholesale price at $2.99 per gallon. The bill also requires the Department of Revenue to reassess this year’s gas tax structure.
Projections indicate the average Pennsylvania household will spend nearly $2,500 at the gas pump in 2023. This includes approximately $380 per driver in gas taxes alone.
Virtual Job Fair Set for Wednesday, Jan. 18
The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will be holding a virtual job fair Wednesday, Jan. 18 – open to all, both civilians and military personnel.
Jobseekers should be prepared to interview online with hiring managers and recruiters from top hiring companies. This online chat will connect the public directly with organizations.
After signing in, participants will be able to explore the available information and opportunities and participate in live one-on-one, text-based chats with representatives from participating organizations. Participants may also visit the job fair before and after the live event to continue making connections with top employers.
Assistance Available for Local Historic Preservation
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and local governments for the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program.
Grants support projects that identify, preserve, promote and protect historic and archaeological resources in Pennsylvania for the benefit of the public and community revitalization.
Two categories of grants – construction and planning – are available for historic resources in Pennsylvania that are listed, or eligible for listing, in the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants may apply for only one type of grant. Prospective applicants for construction grants can attend a webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 1 p.m. A planning grant webinar will be held Thursday, Jan. 19 at 1 p.m.
Governor’s Inauguration to Impact Capitol Visitors on Tuesday
This coming Tuesday, Governor-Elect Shapiro’s inauguration will be held at the Capitol. Because of this, access to the building and grounds will be limited with the Main Capitol Rotunda being the only available entrance. There will be no tours available that day.
Additionally, Commonwealth Avenue, to the rear of the Capitol, is currently closed for setup of the area where the inauguration ceremony will be held and will remain closed through Wednesday.
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, my offices will be closed. I hope it will serve as a day of reflection on the strides that have been made in this country since Dr. King’s advocacy for equality but also on the work that remains before us.