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In this email update:
Pennsylvania voters approve constitutional amendment on property taxes, despite the governor’s opposition
Despite Governor Wolf’s last-minute opposition, as reported by Radio PA, Pennsylvania voters approved a constitutional amendment on property taxes which appeared on Tuesday’s ballot by a vote of 953,463 to 814,088 (54 percent to 46 percent).
As the map below indicates, Berks County (77 percent approval) and Schuylkill County (69 percent approval) were two of the strongest supporters of the referendum in the entire state.
The constitutional amendment permits the General Assembly, for the first time ever, to enact legislation to expand the homestead exclusion up to 100 percent.
This measure provides an additional opportunity for the legislature to move away from an outdated 1830’s school property tax system that has created funding disparities in our public schools, increased blight, and threatened the American dream of homeownership, all across Pennsylvania, in our communities small and large.
It is clear that Pennsylvania’s voters have spoken – now is the time to get rid of the school property tax.
I am hopeful that, with the approval of this referendum, we can finally gather enough votes in the Senate to pass Senate Bill 76. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this very important and necessary measure.
Read more about the results from The Reading Eagle here.
Honoring our nation’s veterans
This week, we honor our veterans – both living and deceased, who have demonstrated both sacrifice and an unwavering commitment to fighting for our freedoms and liberties.
Veterans Day, as we now know it, essentially arose from the ghastly trenches of World War I and global joy that came with the end of combat. In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world commemorated the first Armistice Day.
In 1953, the townspeople of Emporia, Kansas, renamed Armistice Day as “Veterans Day” in gratitude to all of the veterans in their town. Soon after, Congress passed a bill renaming the national holiday as “Veterans Day.” It was signed into law by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954.
Without the service and sacrifice of our brave veterans, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms we have today. So, on this solemn occasion, we as a nation and as a Commonwealth, thank all of the men and women who have served in our military, and without a doubt, embody the true definition of patriotism.
Helping a disabled veteran in need
Last Wednesday, I attended We Agape You, Inc.’s House Donation Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in Saint Clair.
During this ceremony, a home was donated to retired United States Army Airborne Infantryman, Sergeant Vercio Wiley and his children. Sergeant Wiley was critically injured while serving in Northern Iraq from 2007-2009 and was left homeless after living in Puerto Rico and experiencing the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The new home where Sergeant Wiley and his family will reside in Saint Clair is one block away from where my mom and her three sisters grew up many years ago.
A special thank you to Agape You, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank for all of their hard work in helping their fellow citizens, and thank you to Sergeant Wiley for his unwavering service to our country!
Read more about the dedication here.
To learn more about We Agape You, please click here.
Recognizing our friends and neighbors
I am encouraging residents in the 29th Senate district in Berks and Schuylkill Counties to nominate their friends and neighbors who serve their communities and help their fellow citizens each and every day.
When submitting your nominations, please provide the following information:
Periodically in my e-newsletter, I will feature an individual who has been nominated for their public service.
I look forward to reading about these good Samaritans!
Public hearing on lieutenant governor reform legislation
On Tuesday, November 14, a public hearing will be held to discuss Senate Bill 761, which would amend the state’s constitution to allow gubernatorial candidates to select their running mate after the primary election – subject to the approval of their state committees – which is a similar process to how presidential candidates select their vice presidential running mates.
To say the relationship between our current governor and lieutenant governor is on shaky ground would be an understatement. Having stated to different media sources that they both go weeks without communicating with one another, this sort of behavior is not only embarrassing, but detrimental to Pennsylvania’s citizens.
Given this sort of dysfunctional arranged marriage between the #1 and #2 executive leaders, it is clear that something needs to be done.
During this hearing, attendees will learn more about this proposed legislation, as well as hear from several of Pennsylvania’s former lieutenant governors on their roles and the potential reforms that should be implemented to best serve Pennsylvania’s citizens.
The hearing will be held at the State Capitol in Harrisburg in Hearing Room #1 of the North Office Building from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency Victims Compensation Assistance Program
Established in 1976, the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP) seeks to provide victims with assistance for financial damages that were experienced as a direct consequence of a crime.
Some of the benefits that VCAP provides to eligible victims includes:
For more information about VCAP, please click here.
Make pets prominent in emergency planning
Consider the types of disasters that can occur in your area along with the potential length and depth of each possible scenario and your pet’s needs during that time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge planning for the unexpected.
Prepare a pet plan and a disaster kit accordingly. Begin with a carrier or crate, collar and leash, tags, and a microchip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a Pet Disaster Kit checklist.
Contact local government officials for details on emergency transportation and shelter options. Include contact with your veterinarian, boarding facilities, animal shelters, and the Humane Society for shelter recommendations, should it become necessary in the future. A list of pet-friendly hotels is an advisable addition to your plan.
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, November 13 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.