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In this Update:
- Pennsylvania Department of Education Encourages Gender Theory Indoctrination in Public Schools
- Election Reform Vital After Supreme Court’s Partisan Act 77 Ruling
- Gov. Wolf Sues to Prevent Voters from Deciding Critical Issues
- In-Person Service Resumes for Unemployment Compensation Claimants
- Avian Influenza Recovery Grants Available
- Business Owners Targeted with Fraudulent Letters
- One-Time Bonus for People Qualifying for Rent or Property Tax Assistance
- New App Connects Students Experiencing Homelessness with Resources
“Once again, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration skirts the legislative process to implement a far-left agenda behind the backs of the 13 million Pennsylvanians,” Mastriano said. “These guidelines encourage school districts to proselytize radical ideas about gender identity to children in all grades, all under the guise of school safety.”
The department’s recommendations include gender diverse definitions that teachers and administrators should know, including preferred personal pronouns such as “ne, ve, ze and xe.” Other inclusive terms feature subjective and reimagined definitions of words long considered inextricably linked, such as biological sex and gender, Mastriano said.
“The department touts the left’s twisted vernacular as objective fact, while the governor’s Democratic allies demonize parents as too bigoted to teach their own children about these sensitive topics,” Mastriano said. “We can teach kids to be tolerant, accepting and kind to others – no matter what – without indoctrinating an entire generation.”
That’s why Mastriano said he stands behind several Senate-led bills to prioritize and empower parental involvement in our public education system, alert families about explicit material available in school libraries and limit formal conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation to middle and high school curriculum only.
He also introduced historic legislation earlier this year to establish a Parental Bill of Rights, which would give families statutory rights to direct the upbringing of their children free from bureaucratic overreach.
“Our schools need to focus on closing the learning gaps that worsened as a result of the governor’s ill-advised pandemic school closures, not forcing elementary-age children to engage in inappropriate conversations about gender identity,” Mastriano said. “It is up to parents, not the state, to engage with their children on these complex social issues and I will never stop fighting for their right to do so.”
HARRISBURG – Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) released the following statement today after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld Act 77, the state’s no-excuse mail-in voting law, as constitutional:
“I’ve made it clear unconstitutional meddling from Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration poisoned Act 77 and made it unethical for Pennsylvania to continue to allow no-excuse mail-in voting. As expected, the Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court condoned the administration’s deplorable behavior, because apparently partisan loyalty is more important to them than upholding the constitution.
That’s why the General Assembly must capitalize on the momentum of our initial election integrity reforms and reinsert safeguards back into the process so that Pennsylvanians can trust their votes will truly count.
Don’t let Democrats fool you. They hated Act 77 and voted against it in 2019 because it eliminated straight ticket voting and the advantage it afforded them for decades in statewide races. Then corrupt administration officials reinterpreted parts of the law just before the 2020 election so that ballots with no postmark and no signature would count as official. This, on top of selective guidance that directed some counties to “cure” their invalid ballots – a questionable privilege that should have, at best, been offered to all 67 counties.
I stand behind legislation introduced in the Senate to repeal no-excuse mail-in voting, mandate signature verification, establish an Elections Commission, expand the number of poll watchers and bolster their protection so that these unsavory practices become relics of the past.”
Gov. Wolf Sues to Prevent Voters from Deciding Critical Issues
Recently, the General Assembly approved a measure that would put several proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot for voters to decide. Unfortunately, Gov. Tom Wolf has filed a lawsuit to keep these crucial questions off the ballot.
His lawsuit seeks to prevent Pennsylvanians from voting on the following:
- Voter ID
- Auditing elections
- Legislative disapproval of regulations
- Election of the lieutenant governor
- Taxpayer funding of abortions
Given the people have already overridden Gov. Wolf once – restricting his pandemic emergency powers – it comes as no surprise he would use the courts to bypass the people to achieve his goals.
It’s my hope this irresponsible gambit will fail and, if approved again in the 2023-24 legislative session, these critical questions will go before the voters.
In-Person Service Resumes for Unemployment Compensation Claimants
In-person services for Unemployment Compensation (UC) claimants are now available by appointment at all PA CareerLink centers throughout the commonwealth, according to the Department of Labor and Industry.
In-person services are designed to assist individuals who do not have online access or technical skills or have limited English proficiency.
To schedule an appointment, please contact the nearest PA CareerLink site, which can be found at the bottom of the homepage.
Avian Influenza Recovery Grants Available
Recovery assistance is now available for poultry farmers and integrators impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
The grant program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, will provide reimbursement to farms, integrators and allied industries directly impacted by HPAI by suffering demonstrable financial losses due to inclusion in a control or quarantine zone.
The number of farms directly impacted by HPAI is currently limited to 17 in Lancaster and Berks counties, which experienced losses of more than 4.2 million birds. Pennsylvania’s $7.1 billion poultry industry employs 26,600 workers.
Business Owners Targeted with Fraudulent Letters
Business owners should be alert for fraudulent letters trying to trick them into turning over their accounting records.
The fraudulent letters include the Department of Revenue’s name and logo and leads recipients to believe that they are under investigation for “alleged violation of delinquent sales tax liability.” The letter includes contact information for a “Resolution Officer” and urges the business owner to provide accounting records prepared by a licensed professional.
You can find tips on avoiding this scam and verifying information from the state here. If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent notice, please visit the department’s Verifying Contact page for a verified phone number and contact information.
One-Time Bonus for People Qualifying for Rent or Property Tax Assistance
Older Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvanians with disabilities who qualify for a rebate on rent or property taxes paid in 2021 will receive a one-time bonus equal to 70% of their original rebate amount. The total amount a claimant will receive could be as much as $1,657.50, up from the previous maximum of $975.
Eligible claimants of the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program who have already filed an application for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2021 do not need to take any further action. Those who have not yet filed an application are encouraged to do so.
Bonus rebates will start being mailed and sent via direct deposit in early September. The processing of rebates and bonus rebates will continue through the end of the year as additional applications are received.
Read more here.
New App Connects Students Experiencing Homelessness with Resources
A new mobile and desktop app is available to help connect students and families experiencing homelessness with local services and resources.
Users can search for and request assistance with services and resources in their current location, local communities and throughout Pennsylvania to connect them with help.
Pennsylvania’s Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness program has a network of eight regional offices to ensure that the educational needs of students experiencing homelessness are met.