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Senator Judy SchwankHello friend! March is Women’s History Month and it also marks the 100th birthday of the Girl Scouts, a remarkable organization that continues to empower young ladies to be smart, confident leaders. As a state senator, I was proud to be inducted a few months ago into Troop Pennsylvania, an honorary Girl Scout troop that consists of women in the General Assembly. I am grateful to the many women throughout American history who blazed trails so that women like me could be elected officials and I am pleased to know that organizations like the Girl Scouts instill important values in their troops.   

For all the latest news and events in the 11th Senatorial District and in Harrisburg, visit my website, my Facebook page and Twitter page.



Voter ID Bill Detrimental to Determined Voters

Senator Schwank's floor remarksLast week, the Senate passed a measure that would require voters to show an approved photo ID card every time they go to their polling places to vote.

I voted against this measure for several reasons. This bill, which will likely become law, seeks to remedy a problem that simply does not exist in Pennsylvania. Voter fraud incidents in the commonwealth are isolated and rare.

I also believe that it is wrong for Pennsylvania taxpayers to pay for this program when we do not have a voter fraud problem. This measure, if enacted, is estimated to cost taxpayers at least $4 million in order to ensure that individuals without a state-issued photo ID can obtain one. At a time when we are facing a budget deficit and subsequent proposed state budget cuts to important programs and services, we simply cannot afford a voter ID law.

Finally, I voted against this bill for an inspiring woman named Anna Urban, who I met several years ago.  

Anna, who resided in the Millmont section of Reading, worked in the city’s garment mills all her life. At age 95, she was proud that her voting record dated back to the Great Depression.

She didn’t drive but she wanted to vote on Election Day so she called 9-1-1. The county emergency dispatch center put her in contact with Election Services, which, in turn, referred her to me. I happily offered her a ride.

When Anna walked in to the polling place on my arm, you would have thought she was Lady Liberty herself. She was so happy to be there. It was inspiring to see this woman’s determination to exercise her right to vote.

It would be the last vote Anna Urban ever cast, as she died shortly after the election.

If this bill is enacted into law and she were alive today to vote in the November 2012 election, she would be required to cast a provisional vote that possibly would not count, simply because she didn’t have photo identification. She would have six days to obtain proper identification. For a woman in her nineties with trouble walking and obtaining a ride to her polling place, let alone to a driver’s license center, this would be a challenging task.

Undoubtedly, this measure will have a negative impact on voting citizens who, like Anna, do not drive and therefore do not have a driver’s license.

Voting is a right. It should not be an endurance test.

One Year After Its Demise, adultBasic Still Needed

Senator Schwank at adult basic news conference

Sen. Schwank talks about the fallout from the demise of adultBasic at a recent news conference marking the one-year anniversary of the end of this health care program. With her are Sens. Lisa Boscola and Mike Stack.

One year after the state-run low-cost adultBasic health coverage plan was eliminated, many of the program’s 40,000 former recipients still do not have health coverage.

During recent budget hearings Pennsylvania Department of Insurance Commissioner Michael F. Consedine noted that only about 30 percent of former adultBasic recipients were enrolled in alternative health programs Special Care, Medical Assistance, or PA Fair Care.

The adultBasic program, which provided low-cost health care to working Pennsylvanians who made too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, ended on Feb. 28, 2011 due to a lack of funding. More than 600 Berks County residents were enrolled in the program when it ended, and another 16,000 were on the waiting list.

Although the federal Affordable Care Act is now in effect, some of the provisions will not be implemented until 2014, including the provision that will prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Many former recipients utilized the adultBasic program because their employers’ insurance would not cover them because of a pre-existing condition. 

The Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers has reported that calls to its toll-free hotline, which helps connect individuals with health care, increased from an average of 200 calls a month to 900 calls a month since adultBasic ended. 

It’s bad enough that these folks are dealing with chronic conditions and medical issues that are beyond their control, but to add the anxiety of losing their health coverage is just cruel.

In addition, these uninsured or underinsured individuals will wait until the pain is unbearable, then rely on their local hospital for emergency care. That places a burden on hospitals, and the taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill for the uncompensated care costs.

The administration may have been trying to save a few dollars, but ending adultBasic will be very costly for Pennsylvania.


Join Me at Town Hall Meeting on March 22

town hall meeting flyerI am hosting an upcoming town hall meeting and I invite the public to join me in a lively discussion.

The public meeting will take place on Thursday, March 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cumru Township Building, 1775 Welsh Road, Mohnton.

I welcome the community to come and share their thoughts and concerns on the state budget, property tax issues, transportation and any other issues regarding state government.

For more information, call my district office at 610-929-2151.






Video on child protection bills PennDOT website Reading School District website Video of Senator Schwank's budget response Senator Schwank's floor remarks Senator Schwank's floor remarks