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In this email update:
Why will SCI Frackville stay open?
Three bipartisan Senate committees held a joint public hearing on Monday to review the Wolf administration’s decision to potentially close two state prisons. The testimony received encouraged the Department of Corrections to allow SCI Frackville to remain open.
The Senate Majority Policy Committee, which I chair, and Democratic Policy Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee held the hearing to look at various aspects of the proposed closings including cost to taxpayers, public safety, transparency, prison overpopulation and the impact on local communities.
Read about our efforts to save SCI Frackville here.
Representatives Goodman, Knowles, Tobash and I made the case that closing SCI Frackville makes no sense since it is relatively new, very efficient and would generate the least amount of cost savings.
We agree with the Department of Corrections – the facts prove that SCI Frackville is an efficient institution.
We believe this facility should be expanded; not eliminated.
We will be very proactive on this front. In the next two weeks we will convene a series of meetings in Schuylkill County and at the Capitol with one goal in mind: further improving SCI Frackville and SCI Mahanoy so that in the future, neither local prison is on any list to be closed. What improvements can be added, what cost-savings make sense to strengthen these two institutions? These are just some of the many questions on which we will focus.
Celebrating the news that SCI Frackville will remain open with some Schuylkill County boilo!
Transportation Committee approves bill to protect motorists, workers in highway work zones
The Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on winter preparedness and modernization on Tuesday and approved several bills, including my Senate Bill 172, which provides a five-year trial period for PENNDOT to place speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways.
Senator Schwank and I introduced this legislation to improve safety in highway work zones. The genesis of the initiative came after several meetings with local transportation and safety experts. In addition, a plea for help came from a Berks County resident, Holly Doppel, who emailed us detailing a tragedy in 2015 along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
We are hopeful we can provide additional safety measures through this pilot program aimed at slowing down motorists while driving through an active work zone.
“Sanctuary cities” bill clears committee
The Senate Local Government Committee approved Senate Bill 10 on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 10 prevents municipalities and counties from designating themselves as “sanctuary cities” in order to thwart federal efforts to combat illegal immigration. I am a cosponsor of this important measure.
The Senate is scheduled to convene on Monday, January 30 at 1 p.m. You can watch session live and view the voting calendar on my website.
Also on Monday, I will be testifying at a public hearing regarding the proposed closure of the Hamburg State Center. The hearing starts at 1 p.m. at Hamburg Borough Hall (61 N. Third St.)