Senator Santarsiero Applauds House Passage of Eating Disorder Legislation, Calls on Senate to Take Up Bill

BUCKS COUNTY – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) today applauded the passage of House Bill 148 by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.  The bill, sponsored by Representative Jason Ortitay (R-46) would require schools to annually provide educational information to parents with children in 6th-12th grades about eating disorders and resources to help overcome them.  Senator Santarsiero first introduced the bill in 2013 when he was serving in the House, and is currently the prime sponsor of companion legislation in the Senate.

Sen. Santarsiero applauded the House for passing the measure and committed to working with his Senate colleagues to get the bill enacted.

“We have seen a dramatic rise in eating disorders in children and parents are often caught off guard, discovering the problem only after serios complications,” Sen. Santarsiero said applauding the House for passing the bill. “HB 148, which I originally proposed as HB 1959 in 2013, is identical to my bill in the Senate, SB 623, and would help parents prevent eating disorders in their children, provide the information to recognize the problem sooner and connect with resources for a full recovery.”

The bill would also direct the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Department of Health, to develop a task force, which would develop guidelines for providing parent educational information regarding eating disorders.

“Social media has exacerbated unrealistic ideas about body size and image,” Ortitay said. “About 9% of the Commonwealth’s population will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Eating disorders are most likely to start between the ages of 14 and 25. By educating middle and high school students and their parents, I am hopeful those who need help will be identified quickly in order for them to receive the assistance they need to recover.”

Advocates praised the passage of the legislation and the progress that has been made on the issue.

“I am excited to see this legislation finally progressing toward implementation; all efforts to raise awareness and provide education and resources about eating disorders that will ultimately result in saving lives,” said Martha Watson, who lost her daughter to an eating disorder at the age of 21. “Leveraging the school communities to make this information widely available makes sense. Like my family, thousands of families have lost sons and daughters to eating disorders that took hold at young ages. House Bill 148/Senate Bill 623 is vital legislation that will make a difference.”

Emily Rosenberg, a former constituent who helped draft the original bill in 2012, is an advocate and eating disorder survivor. “This legislation is particularly important to me because of my experience with an eating disorder in high school. It was an intrusive, relentless and unreasonable voice in my head, telling me I was never enough. No child is immune to developing an eating disorder, but these bills will significantly decrease the number of children affected. It has been ten years since I began advocating for this bill, and today, Senator Santarsiero’s, Representative Ortitay’s and my dedication, passion and time has paid off. Having passed in the House, I am highly optimistic it will move swiftly through the Senate and be sent to the governor’s desk and signed into law.”

“Adequate education can save years of suffering with an eating disorder,” said Tamie Gangloff, a Lancaster County resident and group facilitator for the National Alliance for Eating Disorders Support. “Research shows that earlier intervention reduces the need for a higher level of care and increases the likelihood of sustained long-term recovery. The National Alliance for Eating Disorders is honored to be a part of the conversation to provide Pennsylvania parents with dependable and trustworthy education on eating disorders.’

HB 148 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

(Senator Steve Santarsiero with Emily Rosenberg (L) and Tamie Gangloff (R) in Harrisburg on April 26, 2023.)

Bucks and Philadelphia County Lawmakers Call on DEP to Investigate Chemical Spill in Bristol Township

BUCKS COUNTY, PA – April 17, 2023– In response to the March 24th chemical spill that occurred in Bristol Township at the Altuglas LLC Chemical Plant, Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Tina Davis (D-141) called on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to investigate the cause of the spill, impose appropriate penalties, and develop policies to prevent future similar spills. 

Senator Santarsiero and Representative Davis were joined on the letter to DEP Acting Secretary Richard Negrin by nine additional members of the General Assembly serving Bucks and Philadelphia counties, downstream from the site of the chemical release in Bucks County.

The text of the letter follows:

Letter to Acting Sec. Negrin - Trinseo Chemical Spill

The letter can be found here.

Senator Santarsiero and Representative Brennan Announce $464,758 for Solebury Township Trail Project

March 17, 2023- BUCKS COUNTY, PA – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Tim Brennan (D-29) announced today $464,758 in state funding to complete the Solebury Gateway Trail in Solebury Township.

The award is a state Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which will be used for trail construction and intersection upgrades along the 1.6 mile Solebury Gateway Trail, between Kitchens Lane and Sugan Road.  The Solebury Gateway Trail runs along Route 202, Lower York Road and River Road, and allows access to Canal Park along the Delaware Canal.

“This project is a decade and a half in the making, having first been planned and engineered in 2008,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I am pleased to see these funds allocated for this project, which will make it possible to move ahead and improve the recreational opportunities in the area and allow all to enjoy the beauty of Solebury Township.”

Representative Brennan said, “Creating recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy is an investment in our future. This state grant will help make it possible to complete a long-awaited project. I’m looking forward to enjoying the trail with my family when it’s completed!”

“Completion of the Gateway Trail has long been a top priority in Solebury Township,” said Solebury Township Board of Supervisors Chair Mark Baum Baicker. “We are so appreciative of the efforts of Senator Santarsiero and Representative Brennan, because until we were notified that we would be receiving these funds, we were not certain we could turn this vision into a reality.” 

For more information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority and Multimodal Transportation Fund grants visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website.


Senator Santarsiero and Representative Warren Announce State Funding to Improve Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety in Newtown Borough

March 17, 2023- BUCKS COUNTY, PA – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Perry Warren (D-31) announced today $192,594 in state funding for pedestrian and cyclist safety improvements along Frost Lane in Newtown Borough.

The award is a state Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which will be used to construct 1,230 linear feet of sidewalk to provide shared bicycle and pedestrian spaces on Frost Lane and the borough’s sidewalk network.

“This project will increase the mobility of walkers and runners by expanding the Borough’s existing sidewalk network, better connecting Frost Lane residents to the businesses in the Borough,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I was happy to advocate for this grant for Newtown Borough and look forward to seeing these improvements implemented as part of the Borough’s continued efforts to advance pedestrian and cyclist safety.”

“I live near Frost Lane, and I have seen firsthand both how widely used the road is by pedestrians and bicyclists and how treacherous it can be. Thanks to this state grant, safety, and quality of life for cyclists, pedestrians, and, well, everyone in the area will be improved,” said Representative Warren. “Congratulations to Newtown Borough Council on this award; their commitment and hard work pays off for the entire community and beyond.”

Newtown Borough Council President Tara Grunde-McLaughlin added, “We are grateful to have been identified for this grant distribution, and I hope it yields wonderful results for the Borough.”

For more information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority and Multimodal Transportation Fund grants visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website.


Senator Santarsiero and Representative Davis Announce $406,021 for Pedestrian Safety Improvements in Bristol Borough

BUCKS COUNTY- Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Tina Davis (D-141) announced today $406,021 in state funding to improve pedestrian safety at the busy intersection of Mill Street and Radcliffe Street in Bristol Borough.

“Bristol Borough has become a popular destination, with a thriving main street of restaurants, shops, entertainment and the waterfront,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “With the continued growth and revitalization of the area, pedestrian access and safety improvements have become increasingly necessary.  The pedestrian improvements at Mill & Radcliffe Streets will allow residents and visitors to park in the lot by the waterfront and safely enjoy the many offerings of the borough.”

The award is a state Multimodal Transportation Fund grant through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which will be used to add bump outs to slow traffic and make pedestrian crossings safer.

“Bristol Borough and its historic waterfront area are a crown jewel for Bucks County. Efforts by local leaders, such as Council President DiGuiseppe, Mayor DiGuiseppe, Councilman Greg Pezza, Raising the Bar’s Bill Pezza, and others to revitalize Mill & Radcliffe Street and make it a cultural and economic hub have been a resounding success,” said Representative Davis.  “A big part of sustaining this success is to ensure people are safe. That is why I am happy to bring this money back to Bristol so that the Borough can make the improvements necessary to keep families safe.”

“Pedestrian safety is always a priority in Bristol Borough, and thanks to Senator Santarsiero and Representative Davis we have a chance to improve one of the major trouble spots in town,” said Bristol Borough Mayor Ralph DiGuiseppe III. “The future bump outs at this intersection will provide traffic calming measures, reduce the amount of time pedestrians spend within the travel lanes when crossing, and additionally reduce the conflicts we’re experiencing between residents and drivers. I can’t thank them enough for their continued support of the Boro, and because of their efforts this problem area in town will soon be rectified.”

For more information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority and Multimodal Transportation Fund grants visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development website.


Senators Santarsiero and Collett Introduce Bill to Modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law in Honor of Equal Pay Day

Harrisburg, PA- March 13, 2023- Coinciding with Equal Pay Day on March 14th, Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Maria Collett (D-12) are seeking to close the gender wage gap by re-introducing legislation to modernize Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Laws.

Women in Pennsylvania currently earn 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. This amounts to a gap of more than $10,000 every year. The gender wage gap can be traced to multiple factors, including occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination.

To remedy this inequity, SB 421 updates the antiquated Equal Pay Laws to do the following:

  1. Broaden the scope of current law to include more employees and fringe benefits;
  2. Protect employees from retaliation when inquiring about wage information, ensuring wages are based on bona fide factors; and
  3. Provide workers the ability to collect unpaid wages when an employer is found to violate the law.

“It is inconceivable that in 2023, women in Pennsylvania still earn less than their male colleagues for the same work,” said Senator Santarsiero. “This is not only about fairness. It is an important economic issue. Ensuring women receive fair and equal pay will reinvigorate Pennsylvania’s economy and lift women and children out of poverty.”

“In the five years since Senator Santarsiero and I first introduced this bill, neither it nor women’s wages have moved,” said Senator Collett. “Pennsylvania women still earn even less on the dollar than women in other states. The disparity is even more pronounced for women of color. Closing the pay gap is good for our workers, good for our economy, and good for our families.”

Senators Santarsiero and Collett have introduced similar bills each legislative session since taking office in 2018.

SB 421’s co-sponsorship memorandum can be found here.

Senator Santarsiero and Representatives Munroe and Labs Announce $80,000 in State Funding for New Britain Township Police

Bucks County, PA – March 10, 2023– Today, Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representatives Brian Munroe (D-144) and Shelby Labs (R-143) announced $80,000 in law enforcement funding for New Britain Township Police Department through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).

The funds were made available as part of the PCCD’s Local Law Enforcement Support Grant program, using money from the Federal American Rescue Plan. The funds will be used for in car camera systems and mobile modems.

“Our communities are safest when our local police have adequate resources to do their jobs,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “These technological improvements will improve officer safety and provide accountability and transparency to the residents of New Britain Township.”

Rep. Munroe added, “As a former police officer, I recognize how important it is for local law enforcement to have up-to-date technology at hand. By enhancing their communications with in-car camera systems and cradle point mobile modems, we’re equipping the dedicated officers of the New Britain Township Police Department with more of the best tools possible to serve our community.”

“I am thrilled New Britain Township has received funding to support our local law enforcement,” said Rep. Labs.  “The work they do in protecting our communities does not go unnoticed and this grant will ensure they have the equipment they need to continue that work.”

“These funds will further modernize the New Britain Township Police Department and improve police services to the New Britain Township community,” said New Britain Township Police Chief Richard Clowser. “This technology can be costly and take years to program into budgets. The awarding of this grant and other grants greatly helps the Township achieve its goals more quickly and efficiently, therefore providing the professional services that the community deserves.”

The Local Law Enforcement Support Grant is designed to provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary resources to implement information technology improvements, purchase or upgrade equipment, cover nontraditional law enforcement personnel costs, support retention and recruitment efforts, and provide necessary training and cover related expenses.

For more information on the PCCD’s Local Law Enforcement Support Grant, visit their website.

Senator Santarsiero Applauds the Confirmation of Michelle Henry as Pennsylvania Attorney General

March 9, 2023- Bucks County, PA– As Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) applauded the Senate’s unanimous confirmation on Wednesday of Michelle Henry as Pennsylvania Attorney General.

“I applaud the confirmation of Michelle Henry as Pennsylvania Attorney General and know she will do a fantastic job in the role,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I had the pleasure of working for then-First Deputy Attorney General Henry during my time in the Attorney General’s office and admire both her role in leading the agency at that time and her dedication to serving the people of Pennsylvania.  I have no doubt she will do a fantastic job as Attorney General.”

During Henry’s confirmation hearing on March 6th before the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Santarsiero lauded her time as Bucks County District Attorney and her support for protecting children in the court system and the urgent need for the state legislature to pass Kayden’s Law.

Sen. Santarsiero also spoke of the limited jurisdiction of the Office of Attorney General and his proposed legislation to give the Attorney General concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute environmental crimes, which Henry remarked would help the Office of Attorney General better serve the people of the Commonwealth.

“I look forward to working with Attorney General Henry in my capacity as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee to strengthen the jurisdiction of the Attorney General’s office,” said Sen. Santarsiero.

Michelle Henry completed her bachelor’s degree in communication from Allegheny College in 1991 and received her J.D. from Widener University Commonwealth Law School in 1994. She was the Bucks County District Attorney from 2008 to 2010. She became the First Deputy Attorney General under then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro in 2016.

For AG Henry’s full biography, visit the Pennsylvania Attorney General website.


Senator Steve Santarsiero Recognizes February 27th through March 5th, 2023, as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Pennsylvania

Bucks County, PA- February 28, 2023 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) introduced a resolution, SR 50, with Senator Tim Kearney (D-26) to recognize the week of February 27th through March 5th, 2023, as Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.

Speaking on the resolution on the Senate Floor on Monday, Sen. Santarsiero said, “In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their life. It is my hope that Eating Disorders Awareness Week will encourage people to share their stories and experiences to highlight the importance of screenings for early detection and interventions.”

The theme for 2023’s “Eating Disorders Awareness Week” is “It’s Time for Change”, to focus the message that now is the time to do more to combat disordered eating in Pennsylvania. The week is a collaborative effort consisting of organizations, volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, students, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers of eating disorders.

In addition to Senate Resolution 50, Senators Santarsiero and Kearney also proposed Senate Bill 294, which would require all health insurance policies provide adequate coverage for the treatment of eating disorders. This treatment would include inpatient hospitalization, residential treatment, follow up outpatient care, counseling and nutrition therapy services.

Senator Santarsiero has also circulated a co-sponsorship memo for another bill to combat eating disorders. This bill would require schools to annually provide educational resources on eating disorders to parents with children in 6th through 12th grades. Additionally, it would also develop a joint task force with the Departments of Education and Health to develop guidelines for the educational resources.

For more information or resources for eating disorders, visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.

Access the full video of Senator Santarsiero’s remarks on the Senate Floor here.

Access a full list of Senator Santarsiero’s co-sponsorship memoranda and introduced bills here.


Senator Santarsiero Joins Senate Democrats to Call for the Passage of Statute of Limitation Window Changes for Childhood Victims of Sexual Abuse

Bucks County, PA- February 28, 2023 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) joined his Democratic colleagues in the State Senate to call on Senate Republican leadership to bring justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse, by passing legislation to open a two-year window for victims to bring claims on assaults that have expired the statute of limitations.

He issued the following statement:

“The time has come at long last to open wide the door to justice for the victims of childhood sexual abuse.  The State Senate can do just that right now by passing either HB 1 or HB 2.  House Bill 1 would amend the State Constitution to allow for the two-year look back for claims that are presently time barred.  House Bill 2 would do the same thing as a simple statutory enactment.  While we believe that a new statute would withstand a constitutional challenge and represents a much faster path to justice, we support amending the constitution if that is what the Republican majority continues to insist on. But we need to do it now.”

“Senate Republicans passed the language amending the constitution in January but coupled it with two unrelated proposed amendments:  one allowing voter ID that was so poorly drafted that even its authors could not explain it, and the other permitting the legislature to override executive-branch regulations. Victims should not be held hostage to Senate Republicans’ political agenda on those issues. They have nothing to do with granting victims access to the courts.”

“The time for debate has long passed.  Let’s get these bills passed.”

On Friday, February 24th, the House of Representatives passed the constitutional amendment, House Bill 1, by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 161Y-40N. Afterwards, they passed House Bill 2, the statutory change, by a vote of 134Y-67N, in a similarly bipartisan vote.

Watch the full Senate Democratic Caucus’ press conference here.

View the text of House Bill 1 here.

View the text of House Bill 2 here.


Democratic Senators Demonstrate Unity, Call for Swift Bipartisan Passage of Window to Justice Legislation

HARRISBURG, PA – February 27, 2023 –  Today, Senate Democrats held a press conference calling for the swift and bipartisan passage of HB1 and HB2, which would open a Window to Justice for survivors of child sexual abuse.

“The time to pass a Window to Justice for these survivors is now,” said Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “We are calling on our colleagues in the Senate Republican Caucus to do the right thing here and deliver justice for these victims quickly and in a bipartisan fashion.”

“The victims of childhood sexual abuse have been failed by so many people in so many ways,” said Senator Sharif Street. “Let’s not fail them again by failing to act. It is offensive to use them as a bargaining chip, this should not be politicized.”  

HB1 and HB2 were passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. HB1, which would create a constitutional amendment, passed 161-40, with Democrats voting unanimously for its passage. HB2, which would amend the statute itself, passed 134-67, again with unanimous Democratic support.

“We have a moral obligation and a professional duty to get this done,” Senator Santarsiero said. “This is not a new issue, and we have a unique opportunity here in the Senate to finally get these survivors justice. Let’s do the right thing and let’s do it now.”

“Today we have the opportunity to deliver HB 1 and HB 2 to the Governor’s desk and finally give adult survivors of child sex abuse a window to justice,” said Senator Maria Collett. “The longer we delay, the more survivors suffer and the harder their cases become to ultimately prove. We must not allow perpetrators of abuse or the institutions that shielded them to evade accountability any longer.”

The Senate passed SB1 on January 11, 2023, which would have put a constitutional amendment creating a Window to Justice on the ballot. However, Senate Republicans added an amendment to require voters to show ID every time they vote, and another allowing resolutions to override executive regulations. Democrats nearly unanimously voted against the bill as amended, outraged that the GOP prioritized political agendas over justice for countless victims of child sex abuse.

“We have an opportunity before us to come together in a bipartisan way and provide healing and justice to victims of child sexual abuse – but the Senate Majority Party continues to allow personal political priorities to stand in the way of the needs of survivors,” said Senator Katie Muth. “Every single survivor is worthy of being heard, protected, and having their rightful pathway to justice and healing. It is time that the Senate supports these victims and passes standalone legislation that opens a statute of limitations window for victims of child sexual abuse.”

Because HB1 and HB2 were passed during Special Session by the House, the Senate would need to gavel into special session. Before leaving office, Governor Wolf called a special session. The senate will be in regular session for five days prior to breaking for budget hearings, during which the Senate Democratic Caucus is urging the Republican Caucus to open a special session and pass HB1 and HB2 swiftly.

“Now that the House has taken lead in bringing justice for survivors of childhood sexual assault, it’s time the Senate does the same,” said Senator Kearney. “We need to stop the partisan tactics around the statutory window. The victims deserve better, and we can provide better, we can provide justice now. I join my Democratic Colleagues in urging this legislature to open the special session and vote on these pieces of legislation. It’s the right thing to do.”

Video footage of the press conference is available for viewing at Downloadable footage is available upon request.


Senator Santarsiero Presents $50,000 Check to Yardley Borough’s Gather Place

BUCKS COUNTY- February 17, 2023- Today, Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) joined Shirley Lee Corsey, the founder of Gather Place, and Yardley Borough Councilman David Appelbaum to present the organization with a check for $50,000 from the state.

Gather Place will use the state funds to help renovate the historic African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church located in Yardley Borough. The site was originally established as “The Colored Church” in 1817 and later founded as the AME Church in 1877. The AME Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and under Shirley’s management has been transformed into the Gather Place Museum which first opened its doors on September 10, 2022.

“The restoration of the Old A.M.E. Church is an important investment into the historical and community identity of Yardley Borough,” said Sen. Santarsiero. “I am glad we were able to secure these funds to keep such an important part of our local history from being lost.

“For too long, accounts of women and people of color in the history of our community and Commonwealth have been missing. The Gather Place Museum brings these important stories to life in an inclusive and educational way,” Sen. Santarsiero added.

The 146-year-old structure is the first African American Woman-owned and operated American History Museum to open in Bucks County. The museum features first-person history lessons and live reenactments in addition to its permanent exhibits.

“I’m a third-generation resident of Yardley Borough, so this is deeply personal to me.” Shirley Lee Corsey said. “With the help of my family and neighbors, we have transformed this historic place to a space for all of Bucks County to engage with history and the people that shaped it. This grant will go towards repairing our roof, but this is only the beginning for this important landmark.”

For more information about the Gather Place Museum, its mission, and community engagement opportunities, visit their website.


Senator Santarsiero Announces Over $328,000 in Grants for Local Fire and EMS Units

BUCKS COUNTY– Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced $328,117.66 today in grants for fire companies and EMS units in the 10th district. These awards are from the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and are offered annually for a wide variety of projects relating to equipment, training, debt reduction, and more.

“It is critical that we support our fire companies and EMS workers, who keep our loved ones safe every day by putting themselves on the front lines,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “Our communities are a safer and better place as a result of these brave men and women. This funding will help ensure that they have the resources they need to continue their vital work.”

The grand awards in the 10th district are as follows: 

  • America Hose Hook and Ladder Company- $13,580.66 
  • Bristol Consolidated Volunteer Fire Co- $13,826.29 
  • Bristol Township Fire District- $14,071.92 
  • Bristol Vol CPNY Number 6- $13,580.66 
  • Bucks County Rescue Squad- $10,000 
  • Central Bucks Ambulance & Rescue Unit- $6,088 
  • Chalfont Chemical Fire Engine Company No 1- $15,000 
  • Chalfont Emergency Medical Service Inc- $10,000 
  • Croydon Fire Co No 1- $15,000 
  • Edgely Fire Co No 1 Inc- $15,000 
  • Fairless Hills Volunteer Fire Co- $15,000 
  • Levittown Fairless Hills Rescue Squad Inc-$10,000 
  • Levittown Fire Company Number 1- $14,808.81 
  • Midway Volunteer Fire Co- $15,000 
  • Morrisville Fire Company- $14,317.55 
  • New Hope Eagle Fire Company- $15,000 
  • Newtown American Legion Ambulance Squad Inc- $10,000 
  • Newtown Fire Association- $15,000 
  • Plumsteadville Volunteer Fire Co- $15,000 
  • Point Pleasant Plumsteadville EMS- $10,000 
  • Third District Fire Company 1- $15,000 
  • Tullytown Fire Company- $12,843.77 
  • Upper Makefield Fire Co- $15,000 
  • Yardley Makefield Emergency Unit- $10,000 
  • Yardley Makefield Fire Company- $15,000 


Senator Steve Santarsiero Issues an Open Letter to the Pennsylvania State Senate in Response to Senator Doug Mastriano’s Attack on the Rainbow Room

BUCKS COUNTY – January 24, 2023 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero issued the following open letter to all members of the Pennsylvania State Senate in response to a recent memo by State Senator Doug Mastriano proposing legislation and in which he attacked Planned Parenthood’s Rainbow Room of Bucks County.   

“Dear Colleagues, 

In the 12 years that I have served in the General Assembly, I do not recall ever writing in response to a co-sponsorship memo, or any other member doing so for that matter.  But after receiving the gentleman from Franklin County’s memo late yesterday regarding “drag events”, I felt compelled to respond.  

While I disagree with the gentleman’s proposal as a matter of policy, I take particular exception to his distorted characterization of the Rainbow Room’s Queer Prom, a dance specifically arranged for LGBTQ+ youth in Bucks County.   

The Rainbow Room, which Planned Parenthood established over 20 years ago to be a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth to come together and build self-esteem, first held the prom in February 2020.  I was at that event, both as an elected official sponsoring it and as a parent (our younger son had come out as gay about 8 months before and was excited to attend the prom with his friends).  Due to the pandemic, the Rainbow Room had to cancel the prom in 2021, but was able to hold it again this past fall.  While family weekend at our younger son’s college prevented me from attending that prom, I once again agreed to sponsor the dance.  Its organizers sent me a video of it later.   

What I observed in person in 2020 – and again by watching the video of the 2022 prom – was a large group of teenagers having fun.  What struck me, in fact, was that they could have been kids – gay or straight – at any school in the country.  For the most part, they danced with the same awkwardness as any other teenager – I say that endearingly as someone who even in late middle-age is still awkward on the dance floor.  What was apparent was that each one of them was happy.  They were happy to be with their friends and happy to be in a loving environment where it was OK to be themselves.  

It is an important point.  Many of these students do not feel accepted by their peers – although it has been my experience both as a teacher and a parent that the younger generations are far more open to them than older ones – and at times by adults, which, sadly, can include family members.  Indeed, the Central Bucks School District, where many of these students attend school, is presently led by a board majority that has created an educational environment that is openly hostile to LBGTQ+ youth.  So, having an organization like the Rainbow Room and an event like the Queer Prom can very literally save the lives of kids who otherwise experience feelings of depression and isolation.  I can share from personal experience that Ronni and I are deeply indebted to the Rainbow Room for how it helped our son on the road to becoming the confident young man that he is. 

With this background, I hope you can appreciate why I was saddened and indeed angered when I read the gentleman’s co-sponsorship memo, which described the 2022 prom as “a sexually charged [sic] drag show”.  I can only assume that this distortion, written by someone who was not present, is based on the fact that one student and one recent alum of the Rainbow Room dressed in drag and danced at the request of the prom committee.  That can hardly be grounds for describing the hours-long prom as a “drag show”.  As for it being sexually charged, I will not attempt to get into the gentleman’s mind to decipher what exactly he meant by that phrase, although I note that it is one that is most often used by those, who, solely on their own authority, take on the mantel of arbiter of morality in ironic disregard of the biblical admonition against judging.  I would simply suggest that it might be a challenge to find a prom in America at which someone would not be offended by what they would consider inappropriate behavior or dress.  With that in mind, we should be careful not to hold LGBTQ+ youth to a different standard than that of straight young people. 

In any event, I am not aware of any parent of the students who attended the 2022 Queer Prom (and there were over 30 parents there as chaperones), who objected to any aspect of it, either beforehand or afterward.  That would include the much-decried swag bags, which included, among other things, condoms, “lube”, and, perhaps most scandalous for some, information about Planned Parenthood. 

As it happened, a couple hours before the gentleman circulated his co-sponsorship memo, someone at Fox Digital contacted my office and asked me to comment on the fact that I had sponsored what she described as a “drag queen event”.   Whether there was a connection between that inquiry and the issuance of the memo, I will not speculate in deference to our Senate Rules.  What I will relate, however, is that in the hours since then I have had a number of people (and, perhaps, bots as well), almost entirely from outside of Pennsylvania let alone my district, calling me a “groomer”, “deviant”, “pedophile” and other hateful epithets on social media.   

I chose to run for office and serve.  While no one likes ad hominem attacks, I have long ago learned that they are a sad part of public life in this era.  But no LGBTQ+ child in this country should have to live with the hate that has been unleashed here.  I only hope that as members of our State Senate, we can rise above ignorance and remember that we have a special obligation to stand up for the most vulnerable members of our society. 

Thank you. 

Steve Santarsiero 

PA Senate, 10th District”


Senator Santarsiero Sworn into the State Senate for His Second Term in Office, Announces Appointment as Democratic Chair of Judiciary Committee and Other Committee Assignments

BUCKS COUNTYJanuary 6, 2023 − Senator Steve Santarsiero was sworn in on Tuesday for his second four-year term as a member of the Senate of Pennsylvania. Today, he announced his reappointment as Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as additional committee assignments.

Sen. Santarsiero was first elected to represent the 10th district, which includes a portion of Bucks County, in 2018. His accomplishments include amending the fiscal code in 2020 to pave the way for 8,000 permanent jobs at the former U.S. Steel site, passing Kayden’s Law in 2021 in the Senate, preserving the fracking ban in the Delaware River Basin, and spearheading a budget initiative in 2022 that established $5 million in new disaster emergency funds.

“Serving the people of the 10th district in Bucks County is my honor. I am proud of all that we have accomplished in my first term, and I am humbled to have the support to serve for another four years,” Sen. Santarsiero said. “I am ready to get back to work in the fight to preserve our environment, protect the rights of all Pennsylvanians, and pass commonsense solutions to end gun violence.”

The 10th Senatorial District includes Bristol Borough, Bristol Township, Buckingham Township, Chalfont Borough, Doylestown Borough, Doylestown Township, Falls Township, Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville Borough, New Britain Borough, New Britain Township, New Hope Borough, Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, Plumstead Township, Solebury Township, Tullytown Borough, Upper Makefield Township, and Yardley Borough.

For the 2023-2024 session, he will continue to serve as the Democratic chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Additional committee assignments include Appropriations, Banking & Insurance and Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure.

In reference to his committee assignments, Santarsiero added, “As Democratic Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will continue to work with Chairwoman Baker to pass important legislation that improves safety in our communities, brings quality judges to our courts, and ensures fairness throughout the legal process.

“Additionally, we will work together to pass Kayden’s Law through the Senate and get the bill through the House and to the Governor’s desk for signature this session.”

The Judiciary Committee reviews all legislation relating to aspects of the civil and criminal court systems, law enforcement and corrections, and is responsible for evaluating prison staffing, inmate populations, and housing conditions. The committee also oversees the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Corrections, State Ethics Commission, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission, among others.

The Appropriations Committee plays a key role in the development of the state budget and reviews the fiscal impact of proposed legislation. The Banking & Insurance Committee has jurisdiction over legislation relating to financial institutions and insurers and is tasked with overseeing the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. The Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee is tasked with overseeing rules, regulations, and legislation that protects the health and safety of the public in consumer affairs. It also oversees Pennsylvania’s 29 professional and occupational licensing boards.

Learn more about what services Senator Santarsiero’s office provides by visiting his website at He can be reached via email at

Video of the swearing in can be found by clicking here.


Senator Santarsiero Reacts to Governor Wolf’s Call for a Special Session on Child Sexual Assault

BUCKS COUNTYJanuary 6, 2023 − The following statement is attributable to Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10), in response to Governor Wolf calling a Special Session of the General Assembly on Childhood Sexual Abuse.

“Reforms to Pennsylvania’s child sexual assault laws to allow victims to bring civil claims against their abusers is long overdue. For more than a decade I have supported legislation to lengthen the statue of limitations for childhood sexual assault claims and open a window for previously barred claims.

“For too long, victims of childhood sexual assault and their families have been denied justice because their claims have been barred by an arbitrary statute of limitations.  

“Legal scholars and our state Attorney General have all agreed the General Assembly has the power to reform these laws but the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have blocked those bills and instead have insisted on the significantly more protracted process of amending the state constitution.

“I welcome Governor Wolf’s call for a Special Session of the General Assembly to address the statute of limitations for claims involving childhood sexual abuse.

“It was Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, who famously said that “to delay justice is injustice.”

“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly to ensure that survivors of child sexual assault and their families are granted access to the justice they have been denied for so long.”


Senator Santarsiero Announces Nearly $5.8 Million in Grants Through Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency

BUCKS COUNTY – December 15, 2022 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced $5,798,480 in grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) awarded throughout the 10th Senatorial District. The grant awards are as follows:

  • $70,250 to the United American Muslim Association of NY, Inc. for safety and security upgrades.
  • $75,000 to the Zubaida Foundation for safety and security upgrades.                    
  • $525,164 to Bristol Township for mobile data computers, camera and license plate recognition (LPR) upgrade, and fixed LPR recognition.
  • $515,793 to the Central Bucks Regional Police Department for maintaining and expanding the co-responder Victim Services Unit, consultant counseling services for victims of crime and for officer wellness, and mobile data terminals and laptops.
  • $125,200 to Falls Township for retention bonuses and implementation of a recruitment program.
  • $68,371 to Lower Makefield Township for Cellebrite physical analyzer annual subscription and related forensic subscriptions, Talino forensic workstation, AXIOM software, and related training expenses.
  • $89,793 to New Hope Borough for CODY Pathfinder records management system, body worn cameras system, and accessories licensing.
  • $144,049 to Plumstead Township for Records Management System upgrade, in-car cameras, automated license plate readers, and an evidence-building camera.
  • $70,915 to Yardley Borough for mobile data terminals, body-worn cameras, and license plate readers.
  • $3,079,328 to the Bucks County Commissioners to support the salary and benefits of two new county detectives, one new prosecutor, and four task force officers.
  • $47,000 to the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) for the 2023 National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Member Child Advocacy Center.
  • $291,162 to the Bucks County Commissioners – District Attorney for Rights and Services Act compliance for 2023 and 2024.
  • $304,396 to NOVA for Rights and Services Act compliance for 2023 and 2024.
  • $254,422 to the Bucks County Commissioners – Juvenile Probation for Victims of Juvenile Offenders (VOJO) 2023 and 2024.  
  • $66,174 to A Woman’s Place for improving response to domestic violence victims.
  • $71,463 to KS Consultants for the Bucks County Youth Justice Advisory Board.

“The grants awarded from PCCD will provide meaningful improvements throughout the district to protect our community, prevent crime, and prosecute those responsible for committing crimes.” Sen. Santarsiero said. “These grants will support local law enforcement and victims of crime alike. I was proud to work with my colleagues to pass a budget that allowed for the PCCD to give nearly $230 million in grants using funding from both state and federal sources. I am pleased that the PCCD has awarded nearly $5.8 million in Bucks County and I look forward to seeing all the good it will do.”

The grants from PCCD will allow localities to invest in infrastructure critical to their core functions and prevent them from becoming obsolete. The grants to Bucks County will allow the Commissioners and District Attorney to hire new officers, detectives, and a prosecutor which will lighten the individual caseload and allow the county to function more efficiently. Finally, the organizational grants will allow the various nonprofits in the community to continue to operate in a way that maximizes the safety and security of all involved.

“Community safety is a legislative priority,” Representative Warren (D-31) said. “These state grants to local governments and local and countywide organizations are investments in the present and future safety and security of our communities.”

“This state funding for the Bristol Township Police Department will help make our streets safer, our homes safer, our workplaces safer,” Representative Davis (D-141) said. “A commitment to public safety will fuel Bristol’s economy, drawing new homeowners and contributing to Bristol Township’s growth. This is a wise investment in Bristol Township’s future.”

“We owe our safety to the Falls Township Police Department so I am proud that the Falls Township FTPD Recruitment and Retention Program has been awarded this state funding to retain its great officers and implement a recruitment program to build an even stronger department,” Representative Galloway (D-140) said. “This is state funding being put to great use to build safer, and therefore stronger, communities.”

The United American Muslim Association of NY, Inc aims to create a safe space where Muslims can fulfil their educational and religious duties, and to teach Islamic knowledge without separation or discrimination. Visit their website.

The Zubaida Foundation is a non-profit in Yardley that holds congregational prayers, educational programs, social activities, interfaith dialogues, and peace efforts centered around the teachings of Islam. Visit their website.

NOVA’s programs serve residents across Bucks County, with offices in Jamison, Perkasie and Fairless Hills. Their Children’s Advocacy Center is a member of the NCA and works to provide a child-friendly setting to assist children and families and investigate abuse. For more information about NOVA, visit their website. For information on the Children’s Advocacy Center, visit their website.

A Woman’s Place is a domestic violence community benefit organization that provides programs and services to individual’s experiencing domestic violence, their children, and their community. Visit their website.


DCNR Celebrates Completion of Work to Preserve Structures at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County

Washington Crossing, PA – Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn today visited Washington Crossing Historic Park to celebrate completion of an $8.7 million project to preserve and improve 17 historic and other structures at the park in Bucks County.

“Protecting the cultural and historical significance of these buildings at Washington Crossing is integral to continuing the site’s historic legacy,” Dunn said. “This park has immense value in educating the public and enriching experiences related to the birth of this nation. We are grateful to the Department of General Services for supporting this project on public lands and look forward to seeing the impact the renovations will have for years to come.”

The 500-acre park that lies along the Delaware River preserves the site of George Washington’s dramatic boat crossing during the American Revolution. A National Historic Landmark, it has an upper and a lower section. Together they include historic buildings that provides context and insight into living conditions during the Revolutionary era.

“The Department of General Services strives to ensure that the agencies we work for, and with, are able to realize their goals and desires when it comes to the projects that we manage for them,” said Mike Hudzik, Director of Capital Projects Construction for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. “Thanks to our collaborative efforts with DCNR, we were able to assist them in restoring and creating an appealing, relaxing and educational outdoor space for those who live in and visit Bucks County.

The following buildings were included in the project:

  • McConkey’s Ferry Inn: new roof, window and door restoration, masonry, HVAC, exterior;
  • Mahlon Taylor residence: new roof, window and door restoration, interior, exterior;
  • Amos Taylor residence: new roof, window and door restoration, electric, exterior;
  • Frederick Taylor House: window and door restoration, plumbing, exterior;
  • Elmer Buckman residence: new roof, window and door restoration, electric, exterior;
  • Eliza Taylor residence: new roof, window and door restoration, interior, exterior;
  • Hibbs House: new roof; window and door restoration, masonry, plumbing, interior, exterior;
  • Frye House: new roof, window and door restoration, interior, exterior;
  • Andrassy House: new roof, window and door restoration, interior, exterior;
  • Taylorsville General Store: new roof, window and door restoration, interior, exterior;
  • Oliver Taylor residence:  new roof, window and door restoration, exterior;
  • Thompson Neely House: new roof, window and door restoration, masonry, HVAC, exterior;
  • Thompson Neely Restroom: plumbing, electric, interior;
  • Blacksmith Shop: new roof, exterior;
  • General Washington Pavilion: new roof, masonry repairs;
  • General Washington Bathhouse: new plumbing; and
  • Bowman’s Hill Tower: parking lot and road improvements.

Attendance at Washington Crossing Historic Park was nearly 686,000 visits in 2021, which remains higher than pre-pandemic levels. Washington Crossing became Pennsylvania’s 121st state park in February 2016 when it was transferred to DCNR from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

“The project, which rehabilitated 17 historic and other structures throughout the park, has been a long time coming and I am thrilled to celebrate its completion today,” state Senator Steve Santarsiero said. “This project would not have been possible without the persistence and hard work of the Friends of Washington Crossing, who came to me nearly four years ago when this project was in jeopardy due to a lack of funding. I was happy to work with DGS and DCNR to help find the additional funds needed to preserve these buildings that help tell the story of a critical part of our nation’s history for generations to come.”

Opportunities for recreation at Washington Crossing include river access for fishing; walking trails; and pavilions for picnicking.  The park and the Friends of Washington Crossing provide historical and environmental education programs, as well as hosting special events and re-enactments.

“By improving the historical buildings at Washington Crossing Historic Park, this project enhances both the Park and the Washington Crossing residential and business district,” State Representative Perry Warren said.

Find more information about Washington Crossing and all of Pennsylvania’s 124 state parks on the DCNR website.

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Senator Santarsiero Announces $1.8 Million in State Funds to Support Programs for Teens

BUCKS COUNTY – November 21, 2022 – Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today $1.8 million in state funds to support and grow the YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties through the Empower U and Stand-Up programs, empowering and serving the needs of area teens.   

“Teens today face unprecedented challenges. Programs like Empower U and Stand Up provide them with a supportive and positive space to work on their health, wellness and self-esteem,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “The YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties has been an important part of the community for many years serving as a vital partner to ensure families and youth have local resources and opportunities to thrive.”

“We are grateful to Senator Santarsiero for recognizing the needs of youth in our community by supporting our programs that nurture a young person’s physical, social and emotional health,” commented Zane Moore, president/CEO of YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties. “This funding will make a tremendous impact upon our ability to continue to offer these free programs.”

Empower U is a donor-supported free program that was established in 2014 with Y member Peg George. Ms. George was a former member of the PA House of Representatives, serving between 1976 and 1980. She established this program dedicated to the health, well-being, and self-esteem of teen girls as a 12-week program of two one-hour sessions per week. The sessions have the goal of strengthening self-esteem, positive relationships, and overall health and wellness.

Sen. Santarsiero continued, “I was very happy to secure these funds in honor of the late Peg George, a former State Representative from Doylestown and a friend. I am grateful for her vision and all she did for the community, and I am honored be a part of her continued legacy through the growth of the Empower U program.”

The Stand-Up program will be newly implemented in 2023 and will target boys in grades 7-9. Students in the program will receive a free 12-month membership to the YMCA. This membership grants access to facilities for health and wellness, a complimentary fitness orientation, and access to e-sports. The Stand-Up program aims to provide a place for teen boys to improve their physical wellness, meet new friends, and build confidence and other social skills.

More than 90% of boys and girls who participated in these programs experienced overall improvements in physical and mental wellness and improved senses of confidence and self-esteem.

More information about the YMCA of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties can be found here.


Senator Santarsiero and Representative Davis Secure $2 Million for Warehouse Redevelopment Project in Bristol Township 

BUCKS COUNTY  November 21, 2022 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Tina Davis (D-141) announced $2 million in state funds from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) will go to a redevelopment project in Bristol Township, transforming a warehouse space and creating both short-term construction jobs and permanent jobs in the area.

“This warehouse redevelopment project would be a welcome addition to Bristol Pike and the township, creating jobs for the construction phase and permanent jobs upon completion,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I’d like to thank Governor Wolf for supporting my request to dedicate RACP funds for this project, which will help grow Bristol Township’s local economy.”

“These state funds will help support the ongoing revitalization of manufacturing industries in the area through the redevelopment of an industrial and logistics warehouse,” Rep. Davis said. “I thank Gov. Tom Wolf for allocating these RACP funds to this project which will create new jobs and support industry, energizing Lower Bucks’ economy.”

The current property holds a low-occupancy hotel located at 6201 Bristol Pike.  The property has been rezoned as Heavy Manufacturing, paving the way for the redevelopment. The project will include demolition of the current structure and construction of a 130,000 SF industrial and logistics warehouse that will include the addition of private water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure.

“We are ecstatic that Governor Wolf has chosen this project for RACP investment and are grateful to Senator Santarsiero and Representative Davis for everything they have done to make this project a reality.  This investment will help return this property to a productive and positive use, generating jobs and tax revenues to benefit the community” said Mike S. Callahan, VP of Acquisitions and Development for Benchmark Real Estate and Benchmark Construction.

RACP is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs. 

To learn more about RACP projects and grants, visit the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website