May. 10, 2017

Discussing PA’s Priorities

The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) invited me to be the guest speaker at its annual conference this week in Hershey.

During my discussion, I talked about several major issues affecting all Pennsylvanians.
  • Our efforts to privatize wine and spirits in the Commonwealth.

  • The state budget.

  • Pension reform.

Click here to watch as I share my thoughts on these critical issues.


PFMA is a statewide trade association advocating the view of convenience stores, supermarkets, independent grocers, wholesalers and consumer product vendors operating in Pennsylvania.

I want to thank this outstanding organization for inviting me to speak. I enjoy traveling the Commonwealth to discuss our priorities.
Paul M. Henkels Award

This week at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, it was an honor and privilege to accept the annual Paul M. Henkels Award. The award is designed to showcase excellence in commitment to the future of Pennsylvania’s children among government officials, captains of industry and community leaders.

Recipients of the Henkels Award exhibit innovation and commitment to improving the quality of education for children, prompting long-term sustainable change, addressing the critical societal issue of school choice as a civil right and exhibiting a strong record of accomplishment within the school choice community.

Allowing education choices ensures students of all backgrounds can have access to a quality education. My legislation, House Bill 250, would increase tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million (raising it to $75 million). EITC and OSTC programs help public school students as well.

The Paul M. Henkels Award is sponsored by the Road to Educational Achievement Through Choice (REACH Foundation) and its sister organization, the REACH Alliance. They are Pennsylvania’s grassroots coalitions dedicated to ensuring parental choice in education. 


I was humbled to be presented the Paul M. Henkels Award by Paul’s wife Barbara.
House Government Committee Advances Real ID Bill

This week, legislation that would bring Pennsylvania into compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005 while offering citizens a choice of forms of identification was passed unanimously by the House State Government Committee.

Pennsylvania is one of seven states currently not complying with the act and has until June 6, 2017, to do so.

The bill would create a two-tiered system for issuing proof of identity. Pennsylvania residents would be able to choose between the current form of driver’s license or photo identification and a voluntary travel ID that works for air travel or admission to military installation and federal buildings. The bill also would prevent state government from mandating the purchase of the voluntary travel ID. REAL ID is required to come into compliance with a federal mandate.

Costs associated with the REAL ID compliant version would be incurred only by individuals who request that particular form of identification. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation would be required to file an annual report which details costs associated with implementation of the new form of identification.

The bill may now be taken up by the full House.
Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Service

This week at the State Museum in Harrisburg, I had the privilege to stand with my House colleagues in a moving ceremony that paid tribute to Pennsylvania’s fallen police officers. This was the 24th year for the memorial service, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge. My thoughts and prayers go out to those officers who lost their lives and the families who continue to mourn.
Veterans Assistance Available May 12

My veterans’ assistance programs have proven to be very valuable. My goal is to provide support and assistance to veterans in need and their families in the 28th Legislative District.

I am inviting area veterans to attend my next assistance hours on Friday, May 12, at my district office in McCandless. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Larry Michaelis, department service officer with the American Legion, will be available to assist veterans and their families.

Michaelis assists with compensation, pension questions, death benefits, education, health care issues and more. An appointment must be made by calling 412-369-2230.

My district office is located at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor in McCandless.
Consul General of Israel Visits House


It was my honor to welcome Dani Dayan, consul general of Israel, to the House floor. The consul general spoke to my colleagues about the Holocaust, a systematic and state-planned program run by the German Nazis during World War II. He told us that the Holocaust is a contemporary issue. It cannot, and should not, be an event consigned to history. Peace and security, happiness and prosperity should be practiced at all times.

Consul General Dayan also thanked the House for passing Act 163 of 2016. The legislation prohibits the Department of General Services from entering into contracts with entities engaged in an economic boycott against Israel.