Pa. Senate GOP use first election hearing to ‘restore trust’; Dems say it’s a ‘sham’

A Republican-led state Senate committee on Thursday held the first hearing in its investigation of Pennsylvania elections.

Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, started the session by saying the election investigation is not about former President Donald Trump or changing the results of the 2020 election.

“That horse is out of the barn,” said Dush, chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee.

Republicans start election ‘investigation’ in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Republicans in Pennsylvania’s state Senate held their first hearing Thursday in what they call a “forensic investigation” into last year’s presidential election, an underwhelming affair that Democrats nevertheless say is an extension of a national campaign to attack voting rights following former President Donald Trump’s loss.

Senator Santarsiero urges local schools to require masks

BUCKS COUNTY >> State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) on August 18 urged six Bucks County school boards to adopt the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance and require all students, teachers, staff and visitors to K-12 schools to wear masks.

Perkasie businesses to get facelift as they try to woo pandemic wary shoppers, diners

Nolan Cordero is glad to see the return of shoppers and diners to Perkasie’s downtown business district.

And like many owners, Cordero also knows he needs to spruce up the facade and exterior amenities of his Perkasie Pizza to draw in and retain customers who want to enjoy the experience but are still wary of dining indoors.

State grant to fund purchase of crime scene/accident investigation unit in Lower Makefield

LOWER MAKEFIELD >> State Senator Steve Santarsiero delivered a $60,000 check to the Lower Makefield Police Department on July 20 for the purchase of a crime scene/accident investigation vehicle.

“This is a very important piece of equipment that we’re going to be purchasing,” said Chief Ken Coluzzi. “This vehicle is going to contain some very high tech, specialized equipment that can be used on major crimes, such as homicides, robberies, burglaries, and serious and fatal accidents.

Senator Santarsiero Presents $116,000 In State Funds To New Hope Arts

Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) visited New Hope Arts Center today to present the organization with a check for $116,000 in state funds. The grant is for the installation of an elevator so that the exhibition space, located on the second floor, is accessible to all visitors.

Lawmakers announce $271K for traffic improvements in Newtown Borough

NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and State Representative Perry Warren (D-31) announced on July 7 the award of $271,520 in state funds to Newtown Borough as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Green Light-Go grant program.

Newtown Borough will use the funds for a complete upgrade to the traffic signal at Lincoln and Washington Streets. Along with the modernization of the traffic signal, the project will include new pedestrian accommodations.

Pennsylvania GOP lawmakers are pushing election changes based on lies

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers are pushing unnecessary election changes based on a lie.

The GOP-dominated state Senate on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment to require identification for voters each time they cast a ballot. Currently, only first-time voters and those casting ballots at a new polling precinct are required to show ID.

Rockhill quarry: DEP grants extension for asbestos tests; residents decry ‘disingenuous’ ‘delay tactic’

The state Department of Environmental Protection has granted the owner of the Rockhill Quarry more time to conduct environmental testing of the property, where asbestos was found in 2018.

Last week, the DEP partially accepted Hanson Aggregates Pennsylvania’s request to extend its deadline from July 6 to Oct. 29 to conduct certain environmental and health studies related to the asbestos. But Hanson still faces a July 6 deadline for a host of other requirements, including an explanation of its plan to remove 500 tons of material from the site every year.

Kayden’s Law passes Pennsylvania State Senate; legislation now moves to State House for consideration

BUCKS COUNTY >> The State Senate on June 24 passed landmark legislation that supports say will save children’s lives.

Senate Bill 78, also known as Kayden’s Law, is legislation that will provide urgently needed reform to Pennsylvania’s child custody statute.

Kayden Mancuso, in whose memory the bill was named, was a seven-year-old from Lower Makefield Township. In August 2018, her biological father brutally murdered her during an unsupervised weekend visit.

PA Senate passes Kayden’s Law, mandating judges put child safety first in custody judgments

A bill aimed at making a child’s welfare and safety a primary concern in custody disputes passed the state Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 78, known as Kayden’s Law, would require judges to consider criminal convictions in custody disputes and recommends courts across the state implement child and domestic abuse training for judges and court personnel.

It passed in a 46-4 vote.

PA Fairness Act introduced to prohibit discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals

In order to extend protection from discrimination to LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians, lawmakers in the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus unveiled the PA Fairness Act.
H.B. 300 is sponsored by Reps. Dan Frankel and Jessica Benham, both D-Allegheny, along with Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Brian Sims, both D-Phila. If passed, the PA Fairness Act would prohibit discrimination against an individual based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in the commonwealth, providing a long-overdue update to Pennsylvania’s law.

Federal judge tosses suit to overturn natural gas drilling ban in the Delaware River Basin

A federal judge on Friday tossed a lawsuit over natural gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin as a political issue — not a legal one.

U.S. Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Paul S. Diamond dismissed a lawsuit filed at the beginning of the year challenging a de facto fracking ban by the Delaware River Basin Commission for over a decade. That ban became official in February.

State senator delivers grant to Newtown Township to purchase new police vehicles

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Two new replacement police cars will be hitting the streets of the township before the end of the summer thanks to a grant secured by State Senator Steve Santarsiero.

The Bucks County senator delivered the good news on June 4 to Police Chief John Hearn and Newtown Township Supervisors David Oxley and Dennis Fisher in the form of a check for $131,900.

The state grant will fund the purchase of two Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles outfitted with emergency equipment, new computer systems, a new in car video system, printers for the issuance of e-tickets designed to get the officer back in service as quickly as possible and emergency lighting, equipment and other safety features.

Trenton-Mercer Airport neighbors call for pause on airport expansion

A project expanding the Trenton-Mercer Airport terminal has support from elected officials, but dozens of the New Jersey airport’s neighbors on both sides of the Delaware River say the project needs more review.

Over 100 participants logged onto the three-hour environmental assessment public hearing online Tuesday night, with many residents using their 3-minute speaking time decrying the review process.

State breaks ground on $8.7M project to conserve historic structures and building at Washington Crossing Park

BUCKS COUNTY >> An $8.7 million capital improvement project is officially underway at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Upper Makefield and Solebury townships.

And when it’s complete, more than a dozen buildings and structures in and around the village will be restored with new windows, doors, roofs, plumbing and electrical systems, masonry work and interior and exterior renovations.

Montgomery and Bucks counties join lawsuit opposing bid to negate DRBC fracking ruling

Bucks and Montgomery counties have joined Sen. Steve Santarsiero and his colleagues in their effort to preserve the authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

Santarsiero (D-10) held a virtual press conference April 15, along with Bucks County Commissioners Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Bob Harvie, Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan, and Steve Miano, counsel representing the Democratic senators in Yaw v. DRBC.

Lower Makfield, Newtown awarded multimodal transportation improvement grants

BUCKS COUNTY >> State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and State Representative Perry Warren (D-31) have announced the award of Multimodal Transportation Fund Grants to Lower Makefield Township and Newtown Township.

Lower Makefield Township will receive $353,000, Newtown Township will receive $227,000 and Yardley Borough will receive $95,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

Bill seeks $50k in student loan aid for first-time homebuyers in PA

College graduates purchasing a new home in Pennsylvania could get up to $50,000 in student loan debt paid if a new state Senate bill were enacted.

The Put Down Roots in PA Act introduced this week would cover student loans for tuition at two- or four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational training programs.

The bill is designed as an incentive for young, college-educated adults to move to the commonwealth, Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-10, of Lower Makefield said Friday.

Local State Senator Calls For Expanding Drop Boxes, Pre-Canvassing

A state senator that represents part of Lower Bucks County is introducing legislation to allow counties to pre-canvass mail-in ballots and provide a minimum of one drop box for every 20,000 residents.

State Sen. Steve Santarsiero, a Democrat from Lower Makefield Township, recently announced the two planned pieces of legislation to expand access to voting.

Santarsiero Bill Would Expand Ballot Drop Box Access

BUCKS COUNTY, PA — The state senator representing most of Bucks County has introduced a bill that would expand access to ballot drop boxes in future elections.

Sen. Steve Santarsiero, a Democrat, has filed what he’s calling The Safe Drop Act. The bill would require Pennsylvania counties to provide at least one ballot drop box for every 20,000 residents.

Pa. federal court fight over Delaware River fracking ban heats up

In a local story with national implications, Republicans and Democrats in the state Senate are waging legal war over a regional reguiatory agency’s decision to impose a de facto moratorium on natural gas drilling in the Delaware River basin.

Five local religious organizations receive security improvement grants

A total of $98,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) that will help local religious schools and houses of worship make security improvements has been awarded through the commission’s Non-Profit Security Grant Program.

The following local nonprofits receiving funding are: St. Mark A.M.E. Zion in Newtown, $24,995; Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, $24,975; Temple Judea of Bucks County in Furlong, $21,847; St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Perkasie, $13,346; and Jewish Center of Eastern Bucks/Chabad Lubavitch of Yardley: $12,838.