Senator Santarsiero Highlights 2021 Service to District, Local and Legislative Achievements
BUCKS COUNTY – December 30, 2021 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) today shared a year-end recap of the 10th Senate District, highlighting his office’s commitment to supporting local businesses and municipalities, providing quality constituent services, resources and events to the community, and standing up in Harrisburg for the issues most important to his constituents.
“The last two years have been challenging, but we have seen the people of our community come together and support one another,” said Sen. Steve Santarsiero. “It has been heartening to see the support for nurses, frontline workers and small businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and to see neighbors rally around those who had damage from Hurricane Ida. As a community, we have begun to pick up the pieces of some tough times and are ready to rebuild together. I am proud of the work my office has done this year and look forward to continuing to serve the 10th Senate District in 2022.”
Events & Townhalls
Sen. Santarsiero hosted 39 town halls and events in 2021, engaging with tens of thousands of constituents across the 10th Senate District. A few of the highlights were:
- More than 100 constituents received their flu shots, and dozens received COVID-19 vaccine shots at an October flu shot clinic in Lower Makefield Township.
- Tens of thousands of constituents tuned in for telephone, Zoom and Facebook town halls.
- In late October, 50 veterans were honored at a luncheon, celebrating their service to our country.
- Free shredding events in Buckingham and Newtown townships drew hundreds of constituents while also collecting toys and food donations for those in need.
- Children and families enjoyed KidsFest in September, bringing together resources and information for kids, along with exciting entertainment.
Additionally, at community events across the district Sen. Santarsiero honored the contributions of 178 community members and organizations this year, including Eagle Scouts and Gold Award recipients, non-profit groups and distinguished community leaders.
Investments in Businesses, Jobs & Community
In 2021, Sen. Santarsiero secured $18.6 million in state funds to support economic development and job growth in the 10th Senate District. Some of the key investments were:
- $2M to rebuild Children’s Village at Doylestown Hospital, which was destroyed during an August 2020 tornado,
- $1.5M for the continued expansion and growth of the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Buckingham, along with $750,000 for FlowMetric, Life Sciences Inc., one of the companies at the Biotech Center involved in vaccine testing and research, and
- $8.7M for revitalization and repairs at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Upper Makefield Township.
He also brought in $7.1 million for local community investments, including parks and green space, schools, public safety, and the arts. Local law enforcement benefitted from nearly $400,000 of these grant funds.
Kayden’s Law Passed the Senate
In June, the State Senate passed landmark legislation that 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. Senate Bill 78 is a bi-partisan effort by Senator Lisa Baker and Sen. Santarsiero, serving as the Republican and Democratic chairs, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee. State Representatives Tina Davis and Perry Warren have been working with Senator Santarsiero on this issue for the last three years and are introducing a companion bill in the House.
The legislation would help protect children by making their safety and welfare the principle focus in any custody dispute. It does that by imposing safety conditions and restrictions on visitation in cases of abuse; modifying the factors that a judge must consider in making a custody award to put the focus on the health and safety of the child; and recommending better training of all court personnel involved in custody cases.
Sen. Santarsiero continues to credit Kathy Sherlock, Kayden’s mother, for her strength and dedication to this effort. As he said on the floor of the Senate, “Kathy has been a tireless advocate for the children of our state. Her strength and dedication to this cause has inspired me time and again not to give up.”
Protecting Our Environment
Sen. Santarsiero proposed and led the effort of 15 of his Democratic colleagues to intervene in a lawsuit this spring challenging the authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking in the Delaware River Basin. By intervening, the Democratic member’s lawsuit seeks to protect the drinking water of more than 13 million people.
In June, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed, with prejudice, the claims of the Senate Republican Caucus based on lack of standing to bring the lawsuit. This matter is still on appeal, but Sen. Santarsiero has vowed to continue to do what is necessary to protect this vital resource.
Protecting Voter Freedom & Safeguarding Personal Information
Sen. Santarsiero has continued to advocate for secure measures that will increase access to the ballot. He was selected at the start of the year to serve on the Special Committee for Election Reform & Integrity, which heard testimony from elections officials across the country and Commonwealth confirming the accuracy and security of the 2020 election.
In April, he introduced two pieces of legislation that will improve our election process. The first, the Safe Drop Act, would require all counties to provide one ballot drop box for every 20,000 residents. This requirement will make it easier for people to drop off their mail-in ballots without fear that the Board of Elections will not receive them in time to be counted.
The second bill would give counties at least 21 days prior to Election Day to pre-canvass mail-in ballots – that’s the process by which counties scan, but do not tabulate, ballots so that they are in a position to count them quickly after the polls close on election night.
At the same time, Sen. Santarsiero has challenged dangerous rhetoric and actions that threaten our voting systems. During two Intergovernmental Operations Committee Hearings on September 9th and September 15th Sen. Santarsiero pushed back against the brazen attempts by my Republican colleagues to use public taxpayer dollars to fund a partisan effort to contest the 2020 election. When Senate Republicans issued a subpoena to the Pennsylvania Department of State, requesting the social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal data of nearly 7 million Pennsylvanian voters, Sen. Santarsiero and his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus filed an injunction to ask the courts to keep this data private and protected.
Hurricane Ida Relief
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, which caused widespread flooding and road closures, Sen. Santarsiero has been working to connect affected constituents, businesses and communities with aid and assistance. He has also worked with impacted communities, such as Carversville, on flood mitigation projects.
Sen. Santarsiero has worked closely with PennDOT to monitor the road closures caused by the storm, and the related repair projects. Through his continued advocacy to prioritize high traffic areas, dozens of closures were repaired quickly, while ongoing large-scale projects are all underway, with completion expected this spring.
Sen. Santarsiero has continued to call for the permanent closure of Rockhill Quarry. While quarry operations have been ceased for the past 3 years, ongoing applications make the future of activity at the site uncertain. Most recently, in December Sen. Santarsiero sent a letter to Secretary McDonnell of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection requesting no additional extensions be granted to Hansen in the permit application process, and that due to the presence of naturally occurring asbestos, the quarry be closed for good.
Throughout 2021, Sen. Santarsiero and his office engaged in more than 11,440 constituent service interactions, providing assistance with state agencies, handling 952 unemployment requests, distributing vaccine information, and more.
“I encourage constituents to contact my office with state related issues, ideas and concerns. My staff is always ready and happy to provide assistance,” Sen. Santarsiero noted.
The 10th Senatorial District includes: Bedminster Township, Buckingham Township, Chalfont, Doylestown, Doylestown Township, Dublin, East Rockhill Township, Falls Township, Haycock Township, Hilltown Township, Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville, New Britain, New Britain Township, New Hope, Newtown, Newtown Township, Perkasie, Plumstead Township, Sellersville, Silverdale, Solebury Township, Telford, Tullytown, Upper Makefield Township, West Rockhill Township, and Yardley.
Sen. Santarsiero has district offices in Newtown (215-497-9490) and Doylestown (215-489-5000) and can be reached via email at SenatorSantarsiero@pasenate.com, and on social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.