State Budget Spending Plan Now on Governor’s Desk
With strong bipartisan support, the House sent to the governor a $32 billion budget that invests in key areas while also starting the process to reinvent state government.
House Bill 218 supports additional funding for schools, pension obligations and services for those with intellectual disabilities, but demands additional savings across state government agencies and programs, including Medicaid. The budget also shows savings from the shrinking prison population.
Of particular note, nearly 40 percent of the General Fund, $11.8 billion, is directed toward prekindergarten through 12th-grade education, including $100 million more for basic education, a restoration of funding for pupil transportation, $30 million more for early childhood education, another $25 million for special education, and a 2 percent increase for the State System of Higher Education.
This budget begins the process of eliminating duplicative services and reducing overall costs to encourage reform and innovation, while ensuring funds are available for core government services.
Additional legislation is forthcoming to finalize the entire 2017-18 budget package.
Protecting Children, Pets from Dangers of Hot Cars
Legislation is now before the state House that seeks to protect children and pets that are left inside dangerously hot vehicles.
House Bill 1152 would provide civil immunity for any damage that may be done to a vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child. The immunity only would apply when the person acts reasonably under the circumstances, has a good-faith belief that the child is in imminent danger and makes an effort to notify law enforcement.
House Bill 1216 is similar in that it would provide civil immunity to police officers, humane society police officers and firefighters for property damage resulting from forcibly entering a vehicle to rescue an animal in imminent danger of suffering harm.
Designating Route 93 as the Stuart Tank Memorial Highway
Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law my legislation, House Bill 93, designating a portion of Route 93 in Columbia County as the Stuart Tank Memorial Highway.
To read more, click here.
Holding Caretakers Accountable
Individuals who endanger children in their care will face stronger criminal penalties under legislation that was recently signed into law.
Under Act 12 of 2017, parents, guardians or those tasked with the care of a child will face harsher penalties in cases of child endangerment if the child is under the age of 6, if the endangerment results in serious injury or death, or if the endangerment is part of a continuing course of conduct.
Currently, a person who endangers the welfare of a child under the age of 18 can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, and if the conduct is part of a continuing course of conduct, the offense is graded as a third-degree felony.
The new law will take effect in late August.
Take a Road Trip in PA
Tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office has compiled a list of customized road trips for a wide variety of interests and locations.
Available at www.VisitPa.com/pa-road-trips, the road trips are designed in each of the state’s 11 unique tourism regions, complete with off-the-beaten path stops and only-in-Pennsylvania attractions.
Road trips are designed around nature, religious and spiritual destinations, kid-specific sites, historical attractions, photographic gems, shopping, keystone countryside, small-town charm, arts and culture, ghost rides, sporting events and culinary delights.
Traveler spending generated an estimated $71.6 billion in total economic activity and supported nearly 500,000 jobs in the Commonwealth, according to a 2015 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
• The Millville Fire Department Carnival will be held from Friday, June 30, through Saturday, July 8.
• The Lightstreet Fire Department Carnival will be held from Monday, July 10, through Saturday, July 15.
• A representative from Congressman Lou Barletta’s office will be in the Bloomsburg district office on Thursday, July 13, from 1-3 p.m.
• A representative from the VA will be in the Bloomsburg district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18. By appointment only. Call 570-387-0246 to make one.
• The Orangeville Fire Department Carnival will be held from Friday, July 21, through Saturday, July 29.
• A World War II reenactment will be held at Berwick Test Track Park on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23.
• A World War II Swing Dance will be held at Reliance Fire Company on Saturday, July 22, from 6-9 p.m.