With the budget done, lawmakers look to the fall for key policy objectives

With the budget done, lawmakers look to the fall for key policy objectives

Speaking on the floor of the House last week, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) urged colleagues to push legislation across the finish line to advance an agreed-upon budget between Republican leadership and Gov. Tom Wolf.

 

The budget passed both chambers on time, but even with an agreed-upon spending plan, Republicans and Democrats still have a wish list of policy goals that they hope to address in September when the General Assembly reconvenes.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Governor Wolf signs $33.9 billion budget, ends cash assistance

Governor Wolf signs $33.9 billion budget, ends cash assistance

After what can only be characterized as a tense week in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Wolf has signed the 2019-2020 budget into law, enacting a $33.9 billion spending plan that includes no tax increases, and boosts to education funding.

 

The agreed-upon budget between Wolf and Republican leadership bolsters funding for public education and agriculture, while also making the largest allocation to the state’s emergency Rainy Day Fund in years. Wolf also signed a Human Service Code bill that ends General Assistance, a welfare program that provides cash grants of about $200 to Pennsylvania’s poorest residents.

Friday, June 28, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Lawmakers push value of re-entry programs, criminal justice reform bills

Lawmakers push value of re-entry programs, criminal justice reform bills

A bipartisan cadre of lawmakers touted the importance of re-entry programs for former inmates at a Capitol news conference Monday, as a key lawmaker said she hoped to see a package of criminal justice reform bills pass the Senate by the end of the month.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington), Sen. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia), Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) and House Minority Whip Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) led the press conference, flanked by former inmates who are now leading the criminal justice reform fight.
Monday, June 10, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Lawmakers roll out bipartisan licensure reform bill

Lawmakers roll out bipartisan licensure reform bill

Fresh off the passage of the Clean Slate Act in 2018, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers are looking to build off their criminal justice reform victory and remove employment barriers for former offenders. 

Senators John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) were joined by House Minority Whip Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) Wednesday to stump for an occupational licensure reform bill that would prohibit state boards from denying professional licenses based on past criminal convictions that are unrelated to the profession.
Wednesday, May 22, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Despite lack of bipartisan support, House sends EITC bill to the Senate

Despite lack of bipartisan support, House sends EITC bill to the Senate

The full House voted Tuesday to approve a major increase to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, despite concerns from Democrats over elements ranging from the bill’s escalator clause to allegations that certain schools discriminate against applicants on the basis of religion.

Past increases to the EITC have drawn broad bipartisan support. 31 Democrats voted in favor of a more modest increase to the EITC and its counterpart, the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, last session.

Tuesday, however, only four Democrats voted to join Republicans in supporting the measure. That is due, critics say, to the more drastic nature of the legislation. 
Tuesday, May 7, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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