Senator Tom Killion E-Newsletter

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Landmark Election Reform Legislation Passes Senate

This week the Senate passed landmark legislation that will fundamentally change how Pennsylvanians are able to vote.

I proudly co-sponsored and voted in favor of this legislation, Senate Bill 421. This major election reform measure will:

  • Allow Pennsylvanians to vote by mail. Currently absentee ballots are able to be mailed by voters for a limited number of reasons, including illness, physical disability or for being out of their home area for employment-related purposes. Senate Bill 421 permits no excuse absentee ballots to be used for voting, meaning Pennsylvanians will be able to conveniently vote by mail in any election for any reason. With this change, Pennsylvania will join 28 other states in allowing mailed absentee ballots to be used by voters whenever they would like.
  • Provide more time to register to vote. The deadline to register to vote under current Pennsylvania law is 30 days before a Primary or General Election. Senate Bill 421 will cut that time period in half, moving the deadline to 15 days before an election so that residents have more time to register to vote.
  • Extend absentee ballot deadlines. Currently absentee ballots must be received by county election boards by the Friday before an election. Senate Bill 421 will give voters more time to submit an absentee ballot by extending the deadline until 8:00 pm on Election Day. Forty-seven states allow absentee ballots to be received by Election Day or later.
  • Provide much-needed funding for voting machine upgrades. With 67 counties and nearly 9,200 polling places, Pennsylvania has one of the largest election systems in the country. As voting machines continue to age, Senate Bill 421 provides $90 million through the issuance of bonds to help upgrade and properly secure the state’s vast election system. 
  • Eliminate antiquated voting practices that benefit political parties. Currently Pennsylvania law has a requirement for a straight ticket voting option to appear at the beginning of every ballot. This provision unfairly impacts minor party candidates who do not belong to the Democratic or Republican parties. When used, this option often reflects voters’ views of candidates at the top of a political ticket and discourages thoughtful voting for all of the candidates on the ballot. Senate Bill 421 will eliminate the straight party voting option at the beginning of a ballot, putting Pennsylvania in line with 45 other states that also do not permit straight party check boxes on their ballots. 

In addition to these reforms, Senate Bill 421 contains several other changes affecting our elections. The legislation also creates a permanent absentee ballot status for the disabled by eliminating a requirement to resubmit a statement to election officials every four years. In addition, Senate Bill 421 eliminates an onerous requirement for notaries to be used for candidate nomination petitions, making the ballot access process easier for candidates.

While I am pleased this legislation was passed by the General Assembly and sent to Governor Wolf for his signature, more must be done to reform Pennsylvania’s election system.

With this in mind, I am co-sponsoring Senate Bill 300, legislation that would allow the state’s nearly 800,000 unaffiliated voters to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries every spring. We must end the practice of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters who are not permitted to vote in the state’s annual Primary, especially when considering these individuals are taxpayers who are also helping to pay for these elections.

You will find a Daily Times editorial about this week’s historic election reform vote HERE.

Session Week In-Review

10/30/19 - Legislative Update

My Senate colleagues and I passed legislation this week protecting health care practitioners from on-the-job assault, my bill allowing Pennsylvanians to transfer digital music, books, photos and similar assets at death in the same way they can bequeath tangible property, and landmark legislation bringing PA’s elections into the 21st century. Check out my Session Week In-Review message for the details!

Heather Mitts voices her support of Victoria’s Law

It was an honor to welcome three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Mitts to the Capitol. The retired soccer star and Delaware County resident made the trip to voice her support for Victoria’s Law. This legislation which I’ve sponsored will move the retail pet market towards more humane sources such as rescues and shelters and help end the cruelty of puppy mills.

My Digital Assets Protection Bill Passes Unanimously

10/28/19 - Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (SB 320)

This week the Senate unanimously passed my legislation on digital assets, Senate Bill 320. This bill allows Pennsylvanians to transfer their digital property when they die. This property includes items stored on cloud-based computer servers, including personal photos, music, e-books and documents. The legislation now heads to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for consideration.

More information about my Senate Bill 320 can be found HERE.

Upcoming Events

Assistance for Veterans

I partner with the Pennsylvania American Legion every month to assist local veterans at my Brookhaven office. A representative from this organization will be helping veterans with issues on:

Date: Wednesday, November 27th

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Location: Senator Killion’s Brookhaven Office, 4110 Edgmont Avenue, Brookhaven, PA

I encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment during these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting my office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service is offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.


Always Here to Help

My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.

  • Unemployment compensation issues
  • SEPTA Key Senior Photo IDs
  • Free notary service
  • Pennsylvania birth certificates
  • PennDOT assistance with drivers licensing questions
  • Information on financial assistance for higher education
  • Assistance with preparation of Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications
  • Citations from the Pennsylvania Senate for notable local accomplishments and milestones
  • Assistance with PA insurance programs: Medical Assistance and CHIP
  • Fishing and hunting information
  • Pennsylvania personal income tax forms
  • Pennsylvania road maps
  • Requests for copies of legislation, bills and regulations
  • Requests for literature for students and senior citizens
  • Tours of the State Capitol for individuals or groups
  • Assistance with state agency issues

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