In this Update:
Regan Op-Ed: Rioting in Philadelphia Costing Commonwealth Millions
Today I issued an Op-Ed to media across the state in response to the riots this week in Philadelphia. The lawlessness of the criminals involved is atrocious, and I commend the Philadelphia City Police for the outstanding job they have done in making arrests and returning law and order to the city each night.
Unfortunately, the destruction left behind is adding up to millions in damages and lost revenue that will ultimately be paid by consumers and taxpayers. Just the closing of state liquor stores costs upwards of $1 million each day they are closed.
The individuals causing this mayhem must be held accountable, and I am joining my colleague Senator Frank Farry (R-Bucks) to introduce legislation targeting rioters, particularly those from out-of-state and those who use social media to influence others to riot. Although I express my concerns in the Op-Ed about the Philadelphia DA’s lax approach to prosecuting criminals, we must ensure our laws are keeping up with changing technology and ways of coordinating these lawless events.
Click here to read my Op-Ed.
Maneuver By Gov. Shapiro Changes Motor Voter Process Without Your Input
A recent maneuver by Gov. Shapiro has immediately changed your experience at PA Driver License Centers from an “Opt In” to an “Opt Out” motor voter registration process, when a new application or renewal of your driver’s license is processed. This motor voter registration change was a unilateral decision made by the Executive Branch and without input by the General Assembly.
The truth is there is no necessary reason to make this abrupt change in our voting process. Since 1993, federal law has been in place and already required state departments of transportation to provide the opportunity for simultaneous voter registration for federal elections when applying for or renewing a driver’s license and a photo ID.
Strengthening election integrity and access in Pennsylvania remains a key focus for Senate Republicans, as we firmly believe the foundation of a healthy and vigorous republic requires free, fair, and secure elections. Over the last few years, we have been actively working to address election concerns raised by Pennsylvanians from across the political spectrum, by increasing transparency, implementing a ‘Zuckerbucks’ ban, mandating continuous counting of ballots on election nights, and passing legislation which would implement Voter ID.
Senate Republicans are committed to continuing to look out for the millions of Pennsylvania voters who are lawfully eligible to vote, and reviewing the changes to determine the best next steps for Pennsylvanians.
Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
There will be a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at approximately 2:20 p.m. The test is to ensure the systems continue to effectively warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.
The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The EAS portion will be sent to radios and televisions.
In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.
Security-Related Grants Available for Non-Profits
Because of legislation the Senate supported, $5 million is available in nonprofit security grants and applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11:45 p.m.
Eligible applicants must be a nonprofit based in Pennsylvania and serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included in a bias motivation category, such as religion, sexual orientation, race, disability and gender.
Grants can be used for the purchase of equipment and security-related technology, trainings, threat assessments and specialty-trained canines. Learn more and apply here.
Fiscal Restraint Benefits PA’s Financial Position
Pennsylvania has been upgraded from stable to positive regarding debts issued, according to S&P Global Ratings. The state maintains its A+ rating on its general obligation bonds.
S&P highlighted the well-established priority of repaying debts and adding to the Rainy Day Fund as reasons for the improved rating. My Republican colleagues in the Senate and I knew these efforts would benefit the state and its residents, which is why we insisted on making the responsible decision even as others wanted to spend the money we had and even take on additional debt.
This promising news follows a similarly encouraging rating improvement by Moody’s Investor Services when it recently revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to positive.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
As September comes to a close, it is important to recognize Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and encourage men to complete recommended screenings.
My colleague Senator Devlin Robinson sponsored SR 158 designating Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in PA and spoke on the Senator floor last week, during which he shared several sobering facts, including that prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Pennsylvania men with one in nine men being diagnosed. Please take a minute to watch his remarks to learn more and men, to schedule a screening.
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