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Legislative Update

Increasing Engagement at the Ballot Box

RegisterI recently introduced legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year old individuals to preregister to vote. 

According to a recent study, Pennsylvania leads the nation in voter registration among 18 - 29 year old registrants, with an over 16 point increase in new registrants since the tragic shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida in February.  Spawned by a wave of civic engagement surrounding issues of gun violence by teenagers across the country, we have seen our youth mobilize in our communities and become more actively involved in grassroots advocacy campaigns and voter registration drives.

Currently, Pennsylvania law allows 18-year-old individuals to register to vote.  Oftentimes, 18-year-old voters are not able to exercise their right to vote at election time because the deadline to register is prior to their 18th birthday.  To pave a way for even more youth registrants to be active in the election process, my bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to preregister to vote, ensuring that voters of legal age are able to exercise their right to vote at the first possible election after turning 18 years of age.

Read more about this proposal here

Banning Discriminatory Defenses Based on “Gay” and “Trans Panic”

Stop the HateDiscriminatory rhetoric and hate crimes are on the rise against the LGBTQ community and I believe it is time to ban the use of so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in homicide cases in Pennsylvania.

2017 saw a 29 percent increase in hate violence-related homicides against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). 

“Gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses have been utilized as a way for defendants charged with homicide to lower their charges, oftentimes claiming discovery of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity were legitimate factors in claiming self-defense, provocation, or diminished capacity in committing their act of violence.  These despicable tactics not only seek to minimize culpability of the perpetrator but do so by further exploiting biases against the LGBTQ community by placing the blame for violent acts on the victims themselves.

Several states have passed laws banning these defenses, including California, Rhode Island, and Illinois.  Several other states have introduced legislation to ban the defense and Congressman Kennedy and Senator Markey have recently introduced a bill on the federal level as well.

For more information on my bill, please click here.

Working for Equality Across Pennsylvania

Senator Larry FarneseThis week, I was appointed to serve on the 40-member Pennsylvania Commission for LGBTQ Affairs, the first statewide commission of its kind in the country.  The commission’s focus will be to coordinate and build upon equality efforts across the Commonwealth.

I am extremely honored to have been chosen to work with advocates and colleagues from across the state to advance issues that are important to the LGBTQ community, including my nondiscrimination legislation (SB 613) and my bill to reinstate Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute (SB 96).

My sincere thanks to Governor Wolf for his recognition of my passion for these issues and congratulations to the entire LGBTQ community on the creation of this momentous commission.

SEPTA Updates

Key Card Purchase Fee & Fee Reimbursement

As of May 4th, 2018, purchase of a SEPTA Key Card cost a fee of $4.95. You can purchase a Key Card, along with a SEPTA Transit fair at any SEPTA Sales Office or Fare Kiosk. If your card is registered within 30 days of purchase, the $4.95 fee will automatically be applied to your Card Travel Wallet. By registering your Card, it is protected against loss or theft. Register your Card online at or by phone at the Key Customer Call Center (1-855-567-3782). For more information, click here.

Sale of Paper Transfers has been Discontinued Effective August 1, 2018

The sale of paper transfers for continuing travel on buses, trolleys, trackless trolleys, and subways has been discontinued permanently at the end of service on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. As of August 1, 2018, customers must have a SEPTA Key Card with money loaded on the Travel Wallet. For more information, click here.

PA Senior Citizen Transit ID Cards No Longer Accepted for Travel Effective September 1, 2018

Effective September 1, 2018, the yellow and blue Senior Transit cards will no longer be valid to travel on SEPTA. A Senior Key Card or PA Driver’s License/ Identification Card with the magnetic strip on the back will be needed to travel on SEPTA. For more information, click here.

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

SEPTA is reminding customers work started on August 4 and will continue for two weeks through Sunday, August 19,  work related to the Southwest Connection Improvement Program will affect service on the Media/Elwyn, Wilmington/Newark and Airport Regional Rail Lines.  Special timetables and shuttle busing will be in effect on those lines for the duration of the two-week work period.  Service to University City will also be affected.

Airport, Media/Elwyn, and Wilmington/Newark Line customers should look for the printed timetables (with the Southwest Connection Improvement Program logo) and visit the project microsite – – for complete service information and details about the infrastructure improvements being undertaken.  SEPTA Ambassadors will also be deployed to assist customers with the service adjustments.  Following is a summary of the service adjustments during Southwest Connection Improvement Program construction:

  • University City Station Customers – There will be no train service to University City Station for the Airport, Media/Elwyn or Wilmington/Newark Lines.
    • Media/Elwyn Line customers can transfer from trains to shuttle buses at 49th Street Station to complete their trips to University City and 30th Street Stations (the shuttle bus stop for University City Station is located at 33rd & Spruce Streets)
    • SEPTA will operate train service between 30th Street Station and University City every 30 minutes
    • Airport Line shuttle buses will not stop at University City Station.

  • Media/Elwyn Line Customers – Train service will operate between Elwyn and 49th Street Stations and will follow the special Southwest Connection Improvement Program timetable.
    • Shuttle buses will operate in place of train service between 49th Street and 30th Street Stations
    • Customers continuing to Center City stations will board shuttle buses at 49th Street
    • During peak travel periods, customers traveling into Center City can also board express shuttle buses at 49th Street Station for direct service to 30th Street Station. Customers can access the Market/Frankford Line and Trolley Routes 11, 13 or 36 at SEPTA’s 30th Street Station (across the street from Amtrak 30th St. Station) to complete their trips into Center City
    • As an alternate, customers can exit trains at 49th Street Station and take SEPTA Route 11, 13 or 36 Trolleys to complete their trips to University City, 30th Street and Center City Stations.

  • Airport Line Customers – Shuttle buses will operate in place of train service between Airport Terminals, Eastwick and 30th Street Station
    • Shuttle Buses from the Airport will board from Zone 8 (on South Commercial Roadway).  Signage will be posted.
    • Shuttle buses departing from 30th Street will board on JFK Boulevard
    • Airport shuttle buses will not stop at University City Station
    • Customers should plan extra time onto their trips, due to traffic congestion on area roads

  • Wilmington/Newark Line Customers – Train service will operate between Newark and 30th Street Stations and will follow the special Southwest Connection Improvement Program timetable
    • All Wilmington/Newark Line trains will arrive and depart from Amtrak Main Terminal, lower-level platforms (9 and 10) at 30th Street Station
    • There will be no Wilmington/Newark Line service to or from Suburban, Jefferson or Temple University Stations
    • Customers traveling between Center City Stations (including Temple University) and 30th Street Station can take any inbound or outbound Regional Rail Train to/from 30th Street
    • Customers can also access the Market/Frankford Line and Trolley Routes, 11, 13 or 36 at SEPTA’s 30th Street Station (across the street from Amtrak 30th St. Station) to connect to/from 30th Street Station

SEPTA greatly appreciates our customers’ patience while we continue our work to improve service, safety, and travel reliability for our Regional Rail riders.

The SEPTA website and the Southwest Connection Improvement Program microsite will provide customers with all service, schedule and fare information to assist them with their travels from August 4 through August 19.  Additionally, each Regional Rail Line has a dedicated Twitter feed – @SEPTA_ELW, @SEPTA_WIL and @SEPTA_AIR – where customers can view real-time service information, even if they do not have a Twitter account.

Be sure to share our brochure to inform your constituents, employees, students, members and stakeholders of the temporary service adjustments.

Upcoming Events

Dog Days of Summer in Franklin Square – Sunday, August 12, 2018

Franklin Square On Sunday, August 12, 2018 from Noon-3 p.m., Franklin Square will be holding this year’s new event, Dog Days of Summer. Pups can enjoy sprinklers, shallow pools, and posing for pet portraits throughout Franklin Square.

For more information, click here.

Mustard Seed Film Festival Mustard Seed Film Festival Mustard Seed Film Festival – August 16-19, 2018

The third annual, Mustard Seed Film Festival will be head from August 16-19, 2018. The event celebrates South Asian filmmakers as well as South Asian stories through short films, documentaries, feature-length flicks, and special events.

For more information, click here.

Festival of India at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing – August 18, 2018

Festival of India Festival of India On Saturday August 18, 2018 from noon – 7 p.m., the Festival of India will be held at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The annual festival celebrates Indian culture through live performances, local vendors, delicious Indian food and more.

For more information, click here.

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Offices of State Senator Larry Farnese | Contact Me
1802 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone: 215-952-3121
Fax: 215-952-3155
543 Main Capitol | Box 203001
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3001
Phone: 717-787-5662
Fax: 717-787-4531

Southwest Connection Improvement Program Begins this Weekend