As you may recall, the General Assembly passed a budget in June that increased education funding without raising taxes. Gov. Wolf vetoed the plan and state government has been without a budget since.
Below you’ll find details of our effort to enact a temporary, “stop-gap” budget so that schools and social services agencies can receive vital funding until a comprehensive budget agreement is complete.
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In this Edition:
Mensch Votes to Release $11.2 Billion in Withheld Payments to Schools, Critical Funding for Social Service Agencies
Working to provide financial relief to school districts and social service agencies impacted by the prolonged budget impasse, today I voted to pass a three-bill “stop-gap” budget package, which was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The move is the latest effort to help schools, counties, municipalities and agencies that saw their state payments end on July 1 after Governor Wolf vetoed a budget passed by the Legislature on June 30 -- almost immediately after its passage by the General Assembly.
The package provides $11.2 billion in state allocations, releasing more than $1 billion presently withheld from schools and restoring funding for critical programs and services. That represents one-third of the state funding as authorized by the budget Wolf vetoed in July. The stop-gap budget also allocates the federal money Pennsylvania administers for schools and local governments.
We have a governor who, unfortunately, is not negotiating in good faith. He’s using children, teachers and people in need as pawns to force passage of a tax hike that is larger than those proposed in the other 49 states combined. Along with the previously passed budget and compromise plans that followed, this marks our fourth attempt to get vital funding to agencies that are being crippled by Gov. Wolf’s strategy.
The governor is withholding funding for essential programs and services in his bid to impose the largest spending increase and the largest tax increase in Pennsylvania’s history. This, after rejecting a compromise budget that fully funded his education budget request. Today’s action would pay schools the funds they are due, while allowing budget negotiations to continue. Gov. Wolf’s continued governing-by-veto-pen is indefensible at this point.
The governor has again demonstrated that somehow he believes providing no funding is better than moving forward with the stop-gap budget.
The three-bill package is:
Senate Bill 1000 (Stop-Gap Appropriations Act)
Senate Bill 1001 (Fiscal Code Budget Implementation)
House Bill 224 (Public School Code)
Measure Supporting Rape Victims Sent to Governor
The Senate concurred Thursday on House Amendments to Senate Bill 663, legislation introduced by that will strengthen the rights of rape victims who have conceived a child as a result of the rape. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.
Under the legislation, also known as the Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support Act, courts could terminate the parental rights of a convicted rapist, thereby eliminating the abuser’s access to full, partial, or supervised custody of a child conceived by rape. The measure maintains an offender’s obligation to pay child support even if parental rights are terminated by court order.
Current law only allows for the termination of parental rights of convicted rapists pending adoption. Furthermore, if the parental rights of the offender are terminated, the obligation to pay child support is also terminated.
Other Bills Sent to the Governor This Week
House Bill 75 requires out-of-state pharmacies to register with the State Board of Pharmacy if they fill prescriptions for Pennsylvania residents.
House Bill 315 amends the Child Labor Act to permit an individual who is at least 12 years old to be employed as a “youth sports official.”
Senate Bill 678 clarifies the arrest powers and jurisdiction of campus police officers employed by Pennsylvania’s 14 State System of Higher Education universities.
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