In this Update:
Wolf Administration Declines Request to Discuss Election Reform
The Senate State Government Committee held a public hearing about election reform and integrity. Unfortunately, for the second time in two weeks, Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Veronica Degraffenreid and other officials from the governor’s Department of State failed to attend.
They were invited to discuss Senate Bill 878, a bipartisan bill that would implement recommendations of the bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform, after previously agreeing to attend.
Some of the recommendations incorporated in the bill include tracking and transparent counting of mail-in ballots, real-time reporting of deceased voters, elimination of a permanent mail-in ballot list and more.
Chronic Wasting Disease Webinar
Social Media Accountability
Senator Doug Mastriano (PA-33) and Senator Scott Hutchinson (PA-21) formally announced the introduction of legislation to hold social media companies accountable for censoring or banning users who express their religious or political beliefs.
SB 604, the Social Media Accountability Act, has been referred to the Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee where it now awaits a vote.
The Stop Social Media Censorship Act creates a private right of action that allows citizens of Pennsylvania to sue social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. A censored user who sues under SB 604 can seek $75,000 in statutory damages, attorneys’ fees, and other forms of relief.
Social media websites can still censor for common-sense reasons such as accounts that are falsely impersonating someone or speech that calls for immediate acts of violence.
Senator Mastriano issued the following statement on the legislation:
“This type of legislation represents the most effective way to fight back against biased big tech employees censoring and banning free speech that they don’t like.
Our rights to free speech are clearly enshrined in the first amendment. That right should not end in the public sphere of social media.
Social media companies are censoring users whose religious and political views offend the delicate sensibilities of big tech oligarchs. SB 604 will hold them accountable by allowing everyday citizens of Pennsylvania to sue for damages up to $75,000.”
“In recent years we have seen numerous cases of unfair, inconsistent, and often one-sided censorship of social media users,” said Senator Scott Hutchinson. “The goal of our legislation is to ensure that all social media users are treated fairly, regardless of their political and religious beliefs.”
Consumer and Economic Impacts of Failing to Invest in PA’s Natural Gas Infrastructure
The Senate Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and the Environmental Resources & Energy Committee held a joint hearing to examine the consumer and economic impacts of failing to invest in the state’s natural gas infrastructure.
The committees brought together industry experts and others to provide feedback on labor, economic development and consumer protection.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to learn about breast cancer risk and how to lower it.
In an effort to highlight this deadly disease and the steps that can be taken to be proactive against it, the Capitol fountain was again turned pink for the month of October. Women who have lost income or health insurance because of COVID-19 may qualify for free breast screening and diagnostic services. Learn more here.
To help combat this deadly disease, the legislature passed a new law to give Pennsylvania residents renewing their vehicle registration or driver’s license an option to donate to the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
Celebrating Farmers on Oct. 12
Tuesday, Oct. 12, is National Farmers Day, recognizing the heritage and indispensable work of the men and women behind Pennsylvania’s number-one industry.
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