In this Edition:
Mensch Re-Introduces Performance Based Budgeting Bill
SB 181 would require departments and agencies to justify their budget requests beginning with dollar one, for all existing as well as proposed programs for each fiscal year, before they can receive consideration for budget funding.
The bill would create a performance-based budget board to review the performance-based budget plans of Pennsylvania agencies and make recommendations on how each agency’s programs may be made more transparent, effective, and efficient.
The traditional method of budget development relies upon incremental adjustments to expenditures made in the previous financial period. New and changing demands for public services are met through excessive budget growth rather than by pruning obsolete programs and redirecting existing funds. We need to ensure that the budget is driven by clear and defensible purposes rather than inertia. We want government spending to be transparent, effective, and efficient for our taxpayers.
This Performance Based Budgeting legislation was first introduced during the 2015-16 legislative session. The Senate Appropriations and Policy committees held a joint hearing that included national, state and local experts, along with representatives from the Independent Fiscal Office and the Governor’s Budget Office to discuss the bill.
The bill passed the Senate during the 2015-16 session but was unable to pass the House before the end of the legislative session.
Mensch Announces Senate Committee Assignments
I am pleased to have been appointed to serve on several key committees for the 2017-18 legislative session.
It’s in the committees that much of the work producing sound legislation is done. This is where bills are vetted, examined, amended and improved. I look forward to serving on these committees during what looks to be a challenging and exciting legislative session.
It’s an honor to again serve as Vice Chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. In addition, I was again appointed to the vital Senate Appropriations Committee.
I will continue to serve on the Aging and Youth, Game and Fisheries, and Health and Human Services (previously known as Public Health and Welfare) committees. I also sit on the Majority Caucus Policy Committee.
In addition, I chair the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC), which is a bipartisan, bicameral legislative service agency consisting of 12 members of the General Assembly. The LBFC conducts studies and provides recommendations aimed at eliminating unnecessary expenditures while ensuring that state funds are being expended in accordance with legislative intent and law. I also co-chair the Senate Economy, Business and Jobs Caucus, the Life Science Caucus, and the Community College Caucus.
I am proud to be elected by my Republican colleagues to serve as Majority Caucus Chairman for the 2017-2018 legislative session. As chairman I will preside over Republican caucus meetings to discuss bills and amendments and to develop caucus strategy.
Committees Review Possible State Prison Closures
Three Senate committees held a joint public hearing on Monday to review the Wolf administration’s decision to potentially close two state prisons.
The Senate Majority Committee, and Democratic Policy Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee held the hearing to look at various aspects of the proposed closings including cost to taxpayers, public safety, transparency, prison overpopulation and the impact on local communities.
On January 6, the Department of Corrections announced that it would close two State Correctional Institutions in June. Five state prisons are currently under consideration, including SCI Frackville, SCI Mercer, SCI Pittsburgh, SCI Retreat and SCI Waymart.
Senate Committee Roundup
Senate Bill 170 requires comprehensive reform measures at the
Delaware River Port Authority.
Environmental Resources & Energy
The Senate ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES & ENERGY Committee, which I serve on, approved two bills Tuesday.
Senate Bill 138 gives royalty interest owners the opportunity to
inspect records of the gas company to verify proper payment.
The Senate JUDICIARY Committee approved five bills Tuesday.
Senate Bill 42 imposes criminal penalties for those who falsely
wear military awards and decorations.
The Senate LOCAL GOVERNMENT Committee approved two bills Wednesday.
Senate Bill 10 prevents municipalities and counties from
designating themselves as “sanctuary cities” in order to thwart federal efforts
to combat illegal immigration.
Urban Affairs & Housing
The Senate URBAN AFFAIRS & HOUSING Committee approved two bills Wednesday.
Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness
The Senate VETERANS AFFAIRS & EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS Committee approved two measures on Wednesday.
Senate Resolution 6 calls for a “reboot” of
Senate Resolution 60 of 2003, the comprehensive study of fire and
EMS issues completed in 2004.
The Senate will return to voting session on Monday at 1 p.m. You can watch session live at PASenateGOP.com.
Twitter and Facebook: I post regular updates on legislative action, committee developments, useful state-related information, happenings in the 24th Senatorial District and more on Twitter @SenatorMensch and on my Facebook page.If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.senatormensch.com for more information about your state government.
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