In this Update:
Commonwealth Secretary Confirmation Hearing Proves Restoring Public Trust in Elections Is Not RED or BLUE Issue
On May 24, as PA Senate State Government Committee Chairman, I convened the first public confirmation hearing for Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt.
Honest, transparent, and secure elections remain the cornerstone of our Constitutional Republic. Since the Secretary of the Commonwealth is the single most important person when it comes to conducting elections, the Senate State Government Committee intends to fulfill our Constitutional duty of fully vetting the nominee by asking tough, but fair, questions focused on election integrity.
The Senate State Government Committee has broad oversight over the executive branch, including the Office of the Governor, the Departments of State and General Services, and the State Ethics Commission. The committee is also responsible for developing and approving legislation and constitutional amendments relating to campaigns and elections, ethics and transparency in state government.
Restoring public trust in our elections is not a RED or BLUE issue.
This week’s confirmation hearing proved once again that there is strong bipartisan interest in the review, reform and modernization of our elections to ensure that transparency, integrity, security and accountability always prevail.
Testifying under oath, Acting Secretary Schmidt stated, “I am an administrator. I am not an activist. I am an advocate for improving voter access and an advocate for improving election integrity.”
Throughout the hearing, I drew attention to needed solutions that I have introduced or supported in the Senate, such as bolstering the security of mail-in ballots and removing Commonwealth voter rolls from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
It would be the height of arrogance to assume we cannot improve our Commonwealth’s election system. I am pleased that Acting Secretary Schmidt acknowledged some of the major election integrity concerns that I and my fellow Republicans have raised over the years.
I welcome further productive discussions on implementing commonsense reforms to fortify the electoral process, instill confidence in voters, and preserve the integrity of future elections.
Follow the link below to watch Wednesday’s confirmation hearing in its entirety: https://senatorcrisdushpa.com/2023/05/23/stategov-052323/
Recognizing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Rayce Milliard in Johnsonburg.
Rayce is the last of a group of eleven young scouters who grew through scouting together to become Eagles. This is a rare occurrence.
There was a photo of ten of the eleven and I had to look up the correct term for a group of eagles was before remarking that is was a fine “convocation of Eaglets” many of whom were there to celebrate with him.
Rayce is the son of Ray and Lori Milliard and brother to Mason, one of the other Eagles. Rayce has held the positions Assistant Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader coming up to his Eagle rank. He took on the project of restoring a religious statue and its base at a local school.
The community involvement of Troop 83 has been evident in the community and the depth of commitment of the Scout Leaders, community leaders and families with these young men is evident as well.
We need more such leaders in our midst.
Electric Prices to Adjust June 1
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds consumers that on June 1, most electric companies will adjust electric generation prices charged to non-shopping customers. Find out what your “Price to Compare” will be here.
In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose a different electric generation supplier for more competitive pricing by visiting PAPowerSwitch.com. The website offers comparison data regarding price, fixed-price contract terms, renewable content, deposit/cancellation fees and other relevant information.
Grants Available to Municipal Fire Departments
Municipal fire departments may apply for grants between $25,000 and $100,000 from May 30 to June 30.
Eligible expenses include establishing or modernizing firefighting facilities; acquiring or renovating structures that house firefighting equipment; or repairing or purchasing firefighting, ambulance or rescue equipment.
2023 PA Fair Guide Released
Fair season has started. If you’re looking to visit one of the state’s many fairs and festivals this summer, the 2023 Pennsylvania Fair Guide is now available online.
Published by the state Department of Agriculture, the guide lists the dates, locations and contact persons for more than 100 agriculture fairs and events scheduled this summer and fall in Pennsylvania.
In the seven counties of the 25th Senatorial District there are a number of opportunities to enjoy these events and I look forward, as always, to getting to as many as possible. Hope to see you at one or more.
The guide also highlights 16 fairs that offer harness racing.
Farmers Market Vouchers Available to Eligible Seniors
Through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, eligible participants will receive five $10 vouchers and a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets where vouchers can be used to purchase Pennsylvania grown fruits and vegetables. Vouchers are good until Nov. 30.
To be eligible, seniors must be 60 by Dec. 31 and have a household income less than $26,973 for one person or $36,482 for two people. Seniors living in personal care or nursing homes are not eligible.
This is a great program for many of my constituents who are on fixed incomes and sometimes have forsaken buying highly nutritious food in order to pay a bill or two. The added benefits are that this food is fresh and supports our local farmers.
Vouchers will be available beginning in June for pick up only until they are gone. Call your County Aging office to find out when and where it will distribute the vouchers. Learn more here.
License Plate Helps PA Women Veterans
In addition to recognizing the importance of women who served, purchasing an Honoring Our Women Veterans License Plate supports programs assisting women veterans in Pennsylvania.
Each plate costs $37, with $15 going directly to the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF). The VTF regularly issues grants to statewide charitable organizations assisting veterans service organizations and county directors of veterans affairs. The grants are used to aid veterans in need of shelter, essential goods and other services. The license plate is available for passenger cars or trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds.
Additionally, Honoring Our Veterans license plates for passenger cars, trucks with a registered gross weight of not more than 14,000 pounds and motorcycles are available for $38 each, with $15 from each plate also going to the VTF.
Learn more or apply for either license plate here.
Honoring the Sacrifice of Our Fallen Heroes
Monday marks the solemn occasion of Memorial Day. It is important to remember the uniqueness of this day because it is when we honor the men and women who actually gave their lives while serving our nation with dignity, bravery and distinction.
There is a sign in my office with a quote attributed to John Wayne which says, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Those who have stepped between us and those who would destroy America and what it stands for have demonstrated their courage in the face of that fear. Those we honor in ceremonies this weekend are those for whom those fears, fears they overcame, were justified.
And they did it for you, they did it for me and they did it for our children. They deserve being honored!
Today and every day, remember the valuable contributions and tremendous sacrifices members of our Armed Forces have made on behalf of our country and the freedoms we so deeply cherish. The legacy of the veteran cannot be lost.
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