Week of March 8, 2021
In This Edition:
Regan Participates in Bridge Tolling Press Conference
On Thursday, I participated in a press conference to announce the introduction of legislation to stop the proposed plan to toll bridges on Pennsylvania’s interstate system, including the I-83 South Bridge in Harrisburg.
Senate Bill 382 would reform the Public-Private Transportation Partnership (P3) statute and void the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative.
I am very concerned about the impact a toll on the South Bridge will have on residents of the 31st Senatorial District, both financially and with increased traffic as bridge users find alternate routes through areas like Camp Hill, Lemoyne, New Cumberland, and Wormleysburg to avoid the toll. An estimated $1 to $2 fee in each direction could mean upwards of $500 to $1000 for an individual and even more for a household with multiple drivers that travel the bridge daily.
While the I-83 South Bridge does need structural attention and funding is needed to make it safe for travel in the future, the way PennDOT is unilaterally deciding to impose what is essentially a tax without legislative approval is wrong and must be addressed. That is why I am co-sponsoring SB 382 to reform the P3 process and ensure oversight by the General Assembly.
Click here to read more about the press conference and Senate Bill 382.
Regan Issues Op-Ed on Mask Mandate & Restaurant Capacity
On Monday I issued an Op-Ed to media across the Commonwealth calling for Governor Wolf to lift his mask mandate and return restaurants to full seating capacity, as other states have done.
Texas and Mississippi have ended their mask mandates, and Connecticut has announced that all businesses, including restaurants, could return to full capacity. Even New York restaurants outside of New York City are returning to 75%.
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania remains both under a mask mandate and at a 50% seating limit for our restaurants. We have learned a lot over the last year, but our Governor still insists on dictating how we as citizens are allowed to live and how businesses are allowed to operate. To quote Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, “We know what we need to do, and it doesn’t require a government mandate to do it.”
Click here to read my full Op-Ed.
Special Committee on Election Integrity & Reform to Hold First Hearing
The bi-partisan Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, which I have been appointed to serve on, will hold its first public hearing on Monday, March 15th from 10am to 1pm. The focus of this first hearing will be to review best practices of election integrity and security from other states.
Senate Appropriations Committee Underway with Budget Hearings
On Monday, the Senate Appropriations Committee started the process of conducting budget hearings with state departments and agencies. This is part of the annual process to hear from the Wolf Administration on specific aspects of the Governor’s proposed budget.
This week the committee held hearings with the Independent Fiscal Office, the Department of Revenue/Lottery, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of State.
Next Thursday, March 18th, the Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is scheduled to appear before the committee.
New Resources Available for National Guard Members, Veterans and Job-Seekers
The Pennsylvania National Guard Associations will host three virtual job fairs in the coming months to help connect veterans and other job-seekers with employment opportunities in their area. The first event will be held on March 24 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., with additional events scheduled on May 26 and July 28. Interested individuals can register to participate here.
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) also recently announced a new online portal to help National Guard members and their families access education benefits, allowing applications for the Military Family Education Program and the Education Assistance Program to be completed online. More details on benefits are available on PHEAA’s website.
The Senate returns to voting session on Monday, March 15th at 2pm. You can watch a livestream of session on my website at www.senatormikereganpa.com.
And remember the Special Committee on Election Reform and Integrity hearing will be livestreamed here on Monday at 10am.