In this Edition:
State Senator Mike Folmer and I had a great discussion about career and technical education with students and administrators from the Dauphin County Technical School this week. More young people should be considering this option to meet the demands of tomorrow’s labor market.
Governor’s Proposed Budget Again Spends Too Much
On Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced his proposed 2018-19 state budget to a joint session of the General Assembly.
The Governor’s proposal boosts state spending by another $1.2 billion — nearly three times more than the rate of population growth and inflation. Under this administration, spending has already increased by nearly $3 billion, growing at twice the rate of families’ incomes. To pay for all this spending, the Governor is relying on higher business taxes and borrowed money, such as the recently completed “mortgaging” of the Farm Show Complex, which will further undermine our state’s already precarious fiscal condition.
The Governor’s address was sparse on details for cost-saving efficiencies and reforms such as zero-based budgeting that would force every expenditure of taxpayer dollars to be reevaluated. I am ready to work with the Governor and my Senate colleagues on a more responsible budget that lives within our means and provides a firm foundation for the future.
Bill Increasing Government Transparency Sent to Governor
Legislation increasing government transparency and cracking down on violations of the state Lobbying Disclosure Act received final legislative approval this week and was sent to the Governor for enactment into law.
House Bill 1175 increases the maximum penalty imposed by the Ethics Commission for violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act from $2,000 to $4,000. The bill increases the maximum administrative penalty for negligent failure to report from $50 per-day to $50 per-day for the first 10 days, $100 per-day for days 11 – 20 and $200 per-day after 20 days.
The bill improves the current electronic filing system for lobbyists by requiring all filings to be posted on the Department of State’s publicly accessible website within seven days of receipt.
Other Bills Sent to Governor for Enactment
Senate Bill 354 strengthens licensee reporting requirements to the Department of State.
House Bill 359 addresses penalties for hunters who mistakenly kill an animal.
Senate Bill 894 renames roads and bridges.
House Bill 1602 renames several bridges.
Senate Approves Measure Addressing Sex Offender Court Ruling
The Senate approved legislation this week addressing a state Supreme Court ruling that – if not corrected – could require more than 10,000 sexual offenders to be removed from the state sexual offender registry.
The Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Muniz that the state sexual offender registration act, commonly known as Megan’s Law or the Adam Walsh Act, could not be applied to defendants who committed their crimes before the enactment of the Adam Walsh Act in 2012 based on both the U.S. Constitution and the Pennsylvania Constitution.
House Bill 631 makes the registration and reporting requirements less onerous by permitting offenders whose offenses occurred before the Adam Walsh Act to petition the court for relief from those requirements.
Other Bills Approved by the Senate and Sent to House of Representatives
Senate Bill 21 promotes the employment of people with disabilities.
Senate Resolution 226 requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct an independent performance evaluation of the largest statewide environmental permitting programs administered by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Senate Resolution 253 calls on Congress to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 to protect the gun rights of medical cannabis users.
Senate Bill 796 exempts CDL licensees from the change of address fees if they have not actually moved from their home and the change of address is due to a governmental action beyond their control.
Senate Bill 955 establishes a pilot program providing grants to community colleges to partner with secondary schools to train students in fire services.
Weekends in February – Gamut Theatre presents “Our Town”
February 23 – Community First Fund’s “A Seat at the Table” entrepreneur workshop and networking event
If you’d like your non-profit organization’s event included in Community Calendar, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Community Calendar.” Submissions may be edited for content and publication is subject to space limitations.