Culver Announces Local Business to Host Dinosaur Display at State Capitol

HARRISBURG – State Sen. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-27) worked with Prehistoric Journeys, a company based in Sunbury, to schedule a display in the Main Rotunda of the state Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 13, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., where children, parents, teachers and the public can interact with a six-foot tall dinosaur upper leg bone.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to enjoy an interactive experience with a dinosaur bone,” Culver said. “Most of us learned about dinosaurs as children and we light up seeing our children and grandchildren learning about these mysterious creatures from the past. I’m honored to work with the team at Prehistoric Journeys in Sunbury to make this display possible for the people of Pennsylvania.”

The femur is from a Diplodocus dinosaur from the late Jurassic period. The Diplodocus was a herbivore dinosaur that measured approximately 72 feet long from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail.

Vertebrate paleontologist Barry James, who owns and operates Prehistoric Journeys with his wife, April James, will be at the Capitol to discuss dinosaurs and answer questions. He will be accompanied by Prehistoric Journeys employees Joel Derr and John DiPerna.

“Viewing the fossil bones of prehistoric creatures up close always generates happiness for kids,” Barry James said. “The joy shows in their eyes and smiling faces.”

Visitors will be able to take photographs with the dinosaur bone, which will be set up with the Capitol Christmas tree in the Main Rotunda.

Barry and April James and their team at Prehistoric Journeys are working on a Triceratops skeleton, which is their 159th fossil project of dinosaurs and extinct mammals.

Culver worked with Barry and April James and staff at the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to coordinate and schedule the display.

More information about Culver is available online at Residents can follow her on Facebook at for updates about legislative action in Harrisburg and news in the 27th District.


Media Contact: Sean Moll

Mastriano Bill Would End State Funding for Colleges, Universities Supporting Antisemitism

HARRISBURG – With a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas against Israel and recent reports of antisemitism on college campuses in Pennsylvania, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) is introducing legislation to end state taxpayer support for colleges or universities that enable antisemitism.

“State tax dollars should not be in effect subsidizing colleges and universities that enable antisemitic behavior,” Mastriano said. “My bill would end state taxpayer support for any Pennsylvania college or university that authorizes, facilitates or supports an event promoting antisemitism on campus.”

Mastriano’s bill would cut state funding for one year for any higher education institutions that participate in or otherwise support antisemitism.

The legislation comes in the wake of several recent high-profile incidents on Pennsylvania university campuses.

Pro-Hamas activists on Sunday evening vandalized University of Pennsylvania buildings and private businesses with the spray-painted antisemitic messages “intifada” and “avenge Gaza.” Intifada refers to two violent uprisings – the first beginning in December 1987 and lasting until September 1993, and the second starting in September 2000 and ending in late 2005. The violence resulted in the death of approximately 1,400 Israelis.

The vandalism resulted as an angry mob marched through the streets of Philadelphia, stopping outside a falafel shop co-owned by a Jewish Israeli-American, where participants engaged in chants containing accusations of genocide.

A previous rally on the University of Pennsylvania campus featured a speech by student and writer for the student newspaper Tara Tarawneh, who spoke glowingly about pictures from the “glorious Oct. 7” attack by Hamas. She continued, saying “I remember feeling so empowered and happy… I want all of you to hold that feeling in your hearts.”

The university also hosted a Palestinian Writes Literature Festival in September organized by Susan Abulhawa, who has said, “Someday we will demolish [Israel]… And the world will be a better place for it,” and “The horrors of Zionism, past and present, will someday be just as well known as the horrors of Nazism.”

The festival also featured Palestinian researcher Salman Abu Sitta, who said in an interview, “Jews were hated in Europe because they played a role in the destruction of the economy in some of the countries.”

The University of Pennsylvania isn’t the only Pennsylvania campus drawing attention.

Temple University Students for Justice in Palestine organized a collective walkout in October attended by students and faculty. Participants shouted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a call for the complete annihilation of the state of Israel and the Jews who live there.

“The vitriol being spread on some Pennsylvania college and university campuses is dangerous and concerning,” Mastriano said. “When colleges and universities are providing a platform for extremists to intimidate Jewish students and faculty on campus, it’s time to cut off state funding for these kinds of antisemitic activities.”

Mastriano’s bill would define antisemitism using the language adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an organization committed to strengthen, advance and promote education, research and remembrance about the Jewish Holocaust.

Mastriano currently is circulating the bill concept with his Senate colleagues and seeking co-sponsors.

Constituents of the 33rd District can learn more about Mastriano by visiting his website at or following him on Facebook at


Media contact: Josh Herman

School Mandate Relief Reviewed by Senate Education Committee

ALLENTOWN – The burden of state mandates on public schools was reviewed in depth during a public hearing of the Senate Education Committee today, according to Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), who chairs the committee.

“We ask our educators to do many things on a daily basis – it’s no surprise this leads to overburdened workers and ever-increasing costs,” said Argall. “As we continue to consider a better way to fund our public schools, making school operations more efficient must be part of the conversation.”

The hearing was requested by Sen. Jarrett Coleman (R-16), who introduced Senate Bill 569 to reinstitute a mandate waiver program that operated from 2000 to 2010. Over 700 applications were approved during the previous program, saving a significant amount of local taxpayer dollars.

The committee heard testimony from representatives of public schools including Dr. Mark Madson, the Superintendent of Parkland School District, and Andy Christ, the Senior Director of Education Policy at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

The committee then heard testimony from Dr. Tina Chekan, the CEO and Superintendent of Propel Charter Schools, and Dr. Michael Herrera, the Executive Director of Upper Bucks Technical School about how mandates affect their institutions.

Their testimony focused on many of the most burdensome requirements schools face, citing examples regarding school construction, advertising, and requests for information via the Right-to-Know law.

“Education is the most important item in our entire state budget,” Argall continued. “We need to ensure that these dollars are being spent on what truly matters – preparing our children for the future.”

CONTACT: Jim Brugger, 717-787-2637

Citing Sound Fiscal Management, Fitch Upgrades Pennsylvania’s Bond Rating

HARRISBURG – As a result of Pennsylvania’s sound financial management and strong budgetary reserves, one of the nation’s leading credit rating agencies announced it would upgrade the state’s bond rating, according to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Scott Martin (R-Lancaster).

Fitch Ratings announced on Monday it would upgrade the state’s bond rating from AA- to AA, a rating last held by Pennsylvania in 2014. Martin said the upgrade should lead to lower debt service costs going forward, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

The agency specifically noted that the upgrade was the result of strong budgetary reserves and management of spending pressures, although it warned that drawing down these reserves could lead to negative ratings actions in the future.

Martin pointed out that Senate Republicans have led efforts in recent years to build the state’s Rainy Day Fund to historic highs and resist new recurring spending that is not supported by long-term revenue projections.

“This is another clear indication that Pennsylvania is on the right track in terms of how we are managing taxpayer dollars, as well as the importance of continuing to work toward a budget that meets the needs of our communities without placing new tax burdens on families and job-creators,” Martin said. “We have a clear roadmap on how to address the economic and demographic challenges we face in the years ahead. The key is having the courage to follow it by resisting calls for new programs and services that taxpayers cannot afford a few years from now.”

The rating boost follows other major credit rating agencies upgrading Pennsylvania’s long-term financial outlook. In September, Moody’s Investor Services and S&P Global Ratings both affirmed Pennsylvania’s current Bond Rating and revised the state’s financial outlook from “Stable” to “Positive.”


CONTACT: Jason Thompson

Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward Statement Shapiro’s RGGI Appeal Demonstrates Lack of Leadership

GREENSBURG – Today, Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) issued the following statement regarding Gov. Josh Shapiro’s decision to appeal the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that the Commonwealth’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without legislative approval violates the Pennsylvania constitution.

“Gov. Shapiro’s move to appeal RGGI to the Supreme Court is a maneuver to avoid having to make a tough decision. The truth is, Gov. Shapiro would rather unnecessarily tax Pennsylvanians and make them feel virtuous about raising their electricity rates and eliminate good paying jobs than face the traditional factions in his own Democratic party. The Commonwealth Court has already ruled this tax unconstitutional. More importantly, an electricity tax has no place in a commonsense energy policy for our Commonwealth.”


Erica Clayton Wright

Shapiro’s RGGI Appeal is a Misguided Approach

HARRISBURG – Today, Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41) issued the following statement on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s decision to appeal the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that entrance by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without legislative approval violates the Pennsylvania Constitution.

“Just three weeks ago the Commonwealth Court ruled the RGGI Electricity Tax violates our state Constitution. This was a tremendous victory for Pennsylvanians. Today, Gov. Josh Shapiro has made the misguided decision to carry the failed mantle of his predecessor and appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

“Gov. Shapiro’s action further places family sustaining jobs at risk and stymies the ability for any meaningful conversations on energy and environmental policy in the Pennsylvania legislature. The governor should be standing with working families who are struggling with inflationary costs and pressures from higher electric bills. Ignoring the needs of Pennsylvanians while simultaneously working to circumvent the constitution is a reckless and irresponsible approach.

“I am hopeful the Supreme Court will dispatch this matter quickly and the governor will accept the only real recommendation of his RGGI Working Group – that any type of cap and trade effort be approved through the legislature. We will not negotiate environmental and energy policy with the anvil of RGGI hanging over the heads of Pennsylvanians. The responsible enactment of energy policies which balance development of our God-given natural resources with environmental needs continues to be our focus.”


MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Eckhart Flessner

Public hearing on school mandate relief

Senate Education Committee

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | 1 p.m.

Parkland School District Admin. Center
1210 Springhouse Road
Allentown, PA 


            1:00 p.m. – 1:10 p.m.   Opening remarks

                                                Senator Dave Argall, Majority Chair, Education Committee

                                                Senator Lindsey Williams, Minority Chair, Education Committee

                                                Senator Jarrett Coleman, 16th District                                        

            1:10 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.   Panel #1

                                                Dr. Mark Madson, Superintendent, Parkland School District – Testimony

                                                Andy Christ, Senior Director of Education Policy, Pennsylvania School Boards Association – Testimony                        

            2:15 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.   Panel #2

                                                Dr. Tina Checkan, CEO and Superintendent, Propel Charter Schools – Testimony

                                                Dr. Michael Herrera, Executive Director, Upper Bucks Technical School – Testimony

            2:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Closing Remarks

Additional written testimony – PASBO

Mastriano Bill Would Divest PA from Companies Benefitting Chinese Government

HARRISBURG – As the state of California and City of San Francisco this week welcomed communist Chinese President Xi Jinping, here in Pennsylvania, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-33) is sending a different message by introducing a bill to divest all commonwealth holdings in companies controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“President Xi Jinping has committed crimes against humanity and Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars should not be used to prop up companies that support his repressive regime,” Mastriano said. “Pennsylvania taxpayers through this bill can tell President Xi Jinping to take his communist rhetoric and record of human rights violations with him back to China.”

Jinping arrived Tuesday in San Francisco to take part in a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Leaders from the 21-member APEC group are meeting to promote investment, trade and economic development in nations around the Pacific Ocean.

Mastriano’s bill would require the state treasurer and the commonwealth’s two largest public pension systems – the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) – to gradually divest from holdings in companies controlled by the CCP. 

Jinping and his government are accused of committing wide-ranging atrocities and human rights violations. The regime’s widespread and systematic persecution of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities on religious, cultural and ethnic grounds, combined with other violations based on gender, constitute crimes against humanity. The United Nations in August released a report assessing human rights concerns in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

The CCP also has employed force and aggression to methodically erode self-rule in Hong Kong, weaken democracy in Taiwan and abuse basic human rights in Tibet.

Much of the fentanyl that has killed Pennsylvanians in the ongoing opioid epidemic was manufactured in China.

“Chinese government policies are directly leading to the death of Pennsylvania residents,” Mastriano said. “This is a moral issue and it’s time for us as a commonwealth to take a stand.”

Mastriano currently is circulating the bill concept with his Senate colleagues and seeking co-sponsors.

Constituents of the 33rd District can learn more about Mastriano by visiting his website at or following him on Facebook at

Media contact: Josh Herman

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