Senator Marty Flynn Issues Response to Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion

Senator Marty Flynn Issues Response to Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion

I was very disheartened on Friday when six Supreme Court Justices disregarded 50 years of precedent and overturned Roe v. Wade. While a majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose, this is still a very divisive issue, and over the years I’ve spoken with constituents from all walks of life to get a sense of how they feel about it and why. Most people feel women should be able to make this decision for themselves, but when speaking with constituents who agree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the answer I hear most often is “I’m pro-life.”

An issue as complex as this is more nuanced than “pro-choice” or “pro-life,” though, and reducing it to those simplistic terms allows one to take the moral high ground without fully considering how it affects women and, in some cases, young girls. Nobody wants to get an abortion. There are a number of cases, though, where it truly is the only way out of a tragic and potentially fatal situation.

If your reaction to this decision is a vague “I’m pro-life,” I beg you to consider the implications of this decision. Think of the woman for whom a pregnancy could be fatal. Think of the woman who is raped and is forced to carry out that pregnancy, forever reminded of the most traumatic experience of her life. Think of a teenage incest victim, too young to see an R-rated movie without parental supervision but forced to become a parent herself.

I’ve heard people say, “We take care of those young mothers and children.” The sad truth is that we don’t. We’re the only developed country in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid maternal leave on a national level. Moreover, far too many women in America die during childbirth; our maternal mortality rate is far higher than most developed nations’. There are fewer options available for expectant mothers than you might think.

I respect everyone’s religious beliefs, but we can’t make judicial rulings based on them. I believe in the importance of the separation of the church and state. I don’t believe we should be passing legislation based on theology; we are a nation of many different religions, creeds, and beliefs.

When you argue that this is an issue that should be left up to the states to decide, you are saying that women are incapable of making decisions for themselves and that they are not to be trusted with their own bodies. This is about control, and this is about power, and it won’t end here. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said that with this ruling, the legality of contraception, gay rights, and same-sex marriage should all be reconsidered. This decision opens the doors for them to further take away the rights of millions of Americans.

If you agree with me that women should be able to consult their doctor, their family, and their religious leader before making this very personal choice; if you agree that disregarding long-held precedent and overturning Roe v. Wade was a bad decision; if you agree that abortion must be available to, at the very least, save the life of the mother, or in instances of rape or incest, then it is very important for you to know that seven states and counting have already made abortion illegal regardless of the circumstances. If you think that can’t happen here in Pennsylvania, the Republican nominee for governor has vowed to ban abortion even if giving birth would result in the mother’s death.

I fear a future where women no longer have control over their privacy, their body, or their medical decisions. I do not want my daughter to grow up in a world where she has fewer rights than a man. I do not want a future where a scared teenage girl goes to jail after seeking an abortion. What would prevent overzealous prosecutors from seeking search warrants for women who they believe may have had an abortion, by retrieving phone records, text messages, search histories, medical records – any means necessary. Is this America? If abortion becomes illegal in Pennsylvania, young women will be considered criminals, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I will do everything I can to stop this legislation from becoming a reality in Pennsylvania.

There is a reason Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito misled the United States Senate and the American people during their confirmation hearings when they said Roe v. Wade was settled and that they respected precedent. They know how unpopular and hypocritical this decision is. This was pure politics, plain and simple. The sole purpose of the Federalist Society – of which they were members, and who recommended them to Mitch McConnell and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate – was to reverse Roe v. Wade, PERIOD. Even so, they decided to lie under oath, because they knew it was the only way they’d be allowed to serve on the Supreme Court.

Still, what’s done is sadly done. We have to look forward. The stakes are too high to sit on the sidelines here, and I will do everything I can to help defend a woman’s right to choose in the Pennsylvania legislature. I have to do what’s right for my constituents, for the women and girls of the 22nd District. For that reason, this egregious action by the Supreme Court must be fought at every level of the Pennsylvania government – by the state Senate, the state House of Representatives, and the Governor.


Senator Marty Flynn

Senator Marty Flynn Calls for Change Amid Scranton School District Bus Contract Mishandling

Senator Marty Flynn Calls for Change Amid Scranton School District Bus Contract Mishandling

Scranton, PA – April 8, 2022 – Senator Marty Flynn has released a statement regarding the Scranton School District’s bus contract bidding process:

“What should have been a simple and public bidding process turned into yet another insult to the Scranton taxpayers because of smoke-filled backroom dealing between Krise Transportation and Scranton School District’s Chief Recovery Officer, Solicitor, and School Board.

I am calling for the immediate resignation of Chief Recovery Officer Dr. Candis Finan and calling on the school board to reconsider their relationship with Solicitor John Audi. Their disregard for the taxpayers of Scranton is evidence that they do not have our best interests at heart. The bus contract bidding fiasco and the $1.8 million I helped procure for the pay roll conversion tax would have saved the taxpayers close to $3 million. It appears every time the Scranton School District puts Dr. Candis Finan and Solicitor John Audi in charge of making decisions on behalf of the students, parents, and faculty, the only people they look out for are themselves.

On December 20th, it became clear based on the court proceedings that Dr. Finan and Mr. Audi negotiated in private about the bus contract and showed total disregard for the bidding process. They instructed business manager Patrick Laffey and School Board President Tara Yanni to sign the school bus contract, knowing full well that the bidding process was faulty.

Moreover, why didn’t they stop the discussions between Krise and the administration once an objection was filed? Why couldn’t the district provide the court with the cost of the Krise contract? This is a complete dereliction of duty.

As a result of what at this point can only be explained by incompetence on the part of the Administration and the School Board, I am asking that they have the Pennsylvania Department of Education step in and oversee the bidding process.

This is just another example of a long pattern of bid rigging that appears to favor personal relationships. This pattern must come to an end. There is no shortage of intelligent, qualified, and decent people in Scranton; why is the district set on listening to the advice of a solicitor and chief recovery officer who have time and again mishandled their jobs and misled the public and the administration?

I’m demanding transparency as to what happened. All emails, text messages, and documents obtained through discovery during the litigation must be made public immediately, so that the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the public have a clear picture of what exactly happened behind the scenes of this failed attempt to rig a bus contract.”

Op-Ed: Scranton School Board Should Listen to Voters, Adopt Payroll Tax

Op-Ed: Scranton School Board Should Listen to Voters, Adopt Payroll Tax

Op-Ed by Senator Marty Flynn

A slightly condensed version of this column appeared in the December 17th edition of The Scranton Times.

     This week, I was able to secure a $1.8 million state grant to help the Scranton School District. I was very proud to be able to help the Scranton School Board bridge the gap as they transition from a business privilege tax system to a fairer, more equitable payroll tax. In the November 2019 election, 72% of Scranton voters said they were in favor of making the change. I was proud to be able to deliver for the people of Scranton.

     The school board, however, continues to make excuses for why they can’t listen to the voters. They claimed that making the switch was unfeasible because, in the short term, they would lose money during the first year. In the years to come, the payroll tax will prove to be a great benefit to this city; still, they had justifiable concerns. After the last two years saw the school district deal with a pandemic and a labor dispute, they felt the current system – though fundamentally broken – left them better suited to handle the immediate future. This $1.8 million Ready to Learn Block Grant, though, changed the equation. There’s now no reason at all to delay making the change to the payroll tax immediately.

     So I was a bit disappointed to learn that the Scranton School Board was unprepared to act. They said that they are exploring their options and trying to figure out if they can make the switch to a payroll tax next year. I truly don’t understand how they are just now reaching the “considering options” stage of the process. They should have been fully prepared for a situation that allowed them to resolve this issue; instead, they seem to be throwing their hands in the air as if they never intended to have to come up with a solution in the first place.

     A quick explanation of the differences between the current model – the business privilege tax – and the proposed payroll tax. The business privilege tax is vaguely defined, with plenty of exceptions and exemptions, but simply put it’s based on the amount of money a business makes. A business claims they make a certain amount of money, and they are then taxed a percentage of that amount they claim to make.

     Note the word “claim.” Ultra-successful businesses put an awful lot of time and effort into manipulating the system to their advantage, at the expense of the average, working-class Scrantonian. The words “business privilege” may as well be reversed – it disproportionately benefits privileged businesses. It leaves loopholes for businesses in very profitable fields to exploit so that they don’t have to pay their fair share. The payroll tax has much fewer exemptions, and it’s much easier to monitor and collect. It taxes a percentage of business’ payroll and shares the responsibility among everybody. Because the business privilege tax depends on a company’s profits, it’s more volatile, as well, and leaves the people of Scranton at the mercy of the ebbs and flows of the economy.

     Quite simply, the payroll tax is fairer and more stable. There’s precedent, too. In 2010, Pittsburgh did away with the business privilege tax and made the switch to a payroll tax. After an initial period of turbulence, the payroll tax has since provided them with a steady source of tax revenue. All in all, the payroll tax has been a big success for the Steel City. We won’t face that turbulence; that’s what the $1.8 million is for.

     Here’s what we’re trying to do. Next month, for the first time in thirty years, Scranton will lose its designation as a “financially distressed” city. It’s plain to see we’ve come a long way in the past few decades. It’s time now, though, to take the next step forward; there’s a lot of progress still to be made. We want to bring businesses into the city. We want to create jobs. We shouldn’t be taking a victory lap now, or resting on our laurels. “No Longer Financially Distressed” is a step in the right direction, but it’s nothing to post underneath the Welcome to Scranton sign. We can still do better.

     The payroll tax is fairer for the people of Scranton. There’s no disputing that. There have been concerns raised by a very small vocal minority of business owners who oppose the transition to a payroll tax. Those concerns, while valid, fail to see the big picture and fail to consider the state of our city going forward. The Scranton School Board, for whatever reason, seems to feel the same way as this vocal minority. They are, as they have done numerous times in the recent past, thinking about themselves instead of thinking about the greater good of the city.

     The people of Scranton do see the big picture, however, and they are looking to the future. The school board’s fear was dealing with the transition in the short term; we now have the money to carry us during that transition. These are very special circumstances we find ourselves in, so the time to act is now. It’s time to start listening to the voters of Scranton and make the payroll tax happen.

GOP Senators, Accept Reality, Move on

GOP Senators, Accept Reality, Move on

OpEd by Senator Marty Flynn 

I must address the call for an investigation into the results of the 2020 Election made by Pennsylvania Senate Republicans. To be honest, folks, I had a hard time deciding if I should even write this. It’s frustrating to have to respond to claims so absurd. The Republicans are living in a fantasy world, and they want us to pay for their room and board. This is beneath us. It should be beneath them, too.

They claim that they are calling for this audit to “restore trust in our system,” while they are the ones actively trying to sow distrust. It’s like burning a house to the ground to restore trust in the fire department. They’re the ones destroying it! The amount of evidence the Republicans are clinging to is precisely zero – it simply does not exist. All of the facts clearly show that the election results were fair and valid. Over 50 courts across the country, independently of one another, have examined these claims and found them to be completely baseless. You may remember Rudy Giuliani leading the charge against the election results. You may also remember that, as a result, his legal license was suspended in his home state of New York. His claims were found to be so patently untrue that he is no longer allowed to practice law. Over a dozen Republican state senators won re-election in 2020, and not one of them questioned the integrity of those results. The exact same people who had no issue accepting the results of races they won are disingenuously crying foul at the outcomes of the races they lost. They are claiming that when they win, it’s fair, and when they lose, it’s rigged, ignoring the fact it’s all the same election, the same ballots, the same machines.

In my time as a boxer, there were fights I was certain I’d won only to be dealt a crushing and surprising decision. To accept a loss after preparing yourself for victory is no easy task, but it’s an essential lesson in humility and maturity. I believe that you learn more about yourself in defeat than in victory. We’re certainly learning a lot about the senators right now.  Instead of focusing on moving forward, helping their constituents bounce back and even thrive as our nation recovers from this pandemic, their attention is on some delusional version of the past. Our job as senators, fundamentally, is to help those we were elected to represent. The Republicans are clearly not concerned with actually helping anyone.

Let’s be blunt about their motives here. First, they’re trying to indulge our previous president in his attempt to undermine President Biden. This is unseemly, sure, but sadly it’s what we’ve come to expect. It’s the second motive, though, that could have real consequences should this audit proceed. Suddenly, there will be a precedent set where the results of every single election could be disputed or outright ignored by anybody who doesn’t like how the vote turned out. This, it should not need to be said, runs completely counter to the foundations and ideals upon which this country was founded.

So please, senators, come to your senses, accept reality, move on, and put an end to this farce. The rest of us are trying to have a democracy here.