Senator Robinson E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • City and State Labor Power 100
  • Community Highlights
  • Maneuver By Gov. Shapiro Changes Motor Voter Process Without Your Input
  • Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4
  • Fiscal Restraint Means More Good News for PA’s Financial Position
  • Look Out for Surprise Hotel Fees, Larger Bills
  • Apply Now to Enhance Pennsylvanians’ Safety
  • National Prostate Health Month

City & State Labor Power 100

City and State PA recently recognized me and my Labor & Industry Committee co-chair in the 2023 Labor Power 100! Thank you for this incredible honor!

I was also interviewed by City and State PA for a special report on improving workforce development. I touched on our efforts to get people back in the workforce, help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow and my Max Manufacturing legislation to encourage collaboration between universities and engineering firms. You can read the full interview here

Community Highlights

Thank you to the Pittsburgh Chamber and Children First for a great roundtable discussion about the importance of paid family leave! I was pleased to be a guest on this panel, and I appreciate the bi-partisan support of my colleague Dan Miller and our fellow panelists about this critical issue that impacts families across the Commonwealth.

The Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of commerce recently hosted their annual legislative breakfast, and I was thrilled to participate in their legislative panel as well.  I enjoyed a productive, bi-partisan conversation about a range of issues with Rep. Dan Miller, Rep. Josh Kail, Secretary Siger from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, and Congressmen Chris Deluzio.

I also participated in a small business roundtable hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business and the Peters Township Chamber of Commerce. This was another productive bi-cameral, bi-partisan conversation about the challenges small businesses in our area face and how we can support them. I appreciate the support and collaboration of my colleagues. 

I was glad to participate in the Sewickley Valley YMCA’s Senior Expo. These events are perfect opportunities to discover resources, explore community organizations, and connect with support networks.

If you missed this opportunity, you can still make it to my senior expo on Thursday, October 12th at the Library Volunteer Fire Company.

Maneuver By Gov. Shapiro Changes Motor Voter Process Without Your Input

A recent decision by the Shapiro administration has changed the motor voter registration process at PA Driver License Centers from an “Opt In” to an “Opt Out process, when a new application or renewal of your driver’s license is processed.

Since 1993, federal law has been in place and already required state departments of transportation to provide the opportunity for simultaneous voter registration for federal elections when applying for or renewing a driver’s license and a photo ID.

Strengthening election integrity and access in Pennsylvania remains a key focus, as we firmly believe the foundation of a healthy and vigorous republic requires free, fair, and secure elections. Over the last few years, we have been actively working to address election concerns raised by Pennsylvanians from across the political spectrum, by increasing transparency, implementing a ‘Zuckerbucks’ ban, mandating continuous counting of ballots on election nights, and passing legislation which would implement Voter ID.  

We are committed to continuing to look out for the millions of Pennsylvania voters who are lawfully eligible to vote, and reviewing the changes to determine the best next steps for Pennsylvanians.

Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for Oct. 4

There will be a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at approximately 2:20 p.m. The test is to ensure the systems continue to effectively warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The EAS portion will be sent to radios and televisions.

In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.

Fiscal Restraint Means More Good News for PA’s Financial Position

Pennsylvania has been upgraded from stable to positive regarding debts issued, according to S&P Global Ratings. The state maintains its A+ rating on its general obligation bonds.

S&P highlighted the well-established priority of repaying debts and adding to the Rainy Day Fund as reasons for the improved rating. My Republican colleagues in the Senate and I knew these efforts would benefit the state and its residents, which is why we insisted on making the responsible decision even as others wanted to spend the money we had and even take on additional debt.

This promising news follows a similarly encouraging rating improvement by Moody’s Investor Services when it recently revised the state’s financial outlook from stable to positive.

Look Out for Surprise Hotel Fees, Larger Bills

As a way to win business, some hotels have employed practices like “drip pricing,” which is when fees are gradually disclosed to consumers as they go through the online booking process. Customers are lured to the hotel or online travel agency with a competitive rate and don’t know the actual cost until the final page of the online booking process – or not even until they check in at the hotel.

People deserve to have access to accurate pricing upfront so they can make appropriate decisions for their budget. However, Choice Hotels – which owns Quality and Comfort hotels – was making that nearly impossible.

Pennsylvania, as well as a handful of other states, reached a settlement with Choice. The company has now committed, by the end of this year, to prominently disclosing the total price of a hotel stay, including room rate and all other mandatory fees, on the first page of its booking website as part of the total room rate.

Apply Now to Enhance Pennsylvanians’ Safety

Because of legislation the Senate supported, $5 million is available in nonprofit security grants and applications will be accepted until Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 11:45 p.m.

Eligible applicants must be a nonprofit based in Pennsylvania and serve individuals, groups or institutions that are included in a bias motivation category, such as religion, sexual orientation, race, disability and gender.

Grants can be used for the purchase of equipment and security-related technology, trainings, threat assessments and specialty-trained canines. Learn more and apply here.

National Prostate Health Month

The Senate voted in support of my resolution to designate September 2023 as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in Pennsylvania to raise awareness and encourage men to complete recommended screenings. I spoke about my personal family history and the importance of prevention at a press conference in Harrisburg hosted by the PA Prostate Cancer Coalition.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for Pennsylvania men. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

While there is no way to completely prevent prostate cancer, men can reduce their risk by choosing a low-fat diet filled with fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising most days of the week.


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