Lawmakers Finalize State Spending Plan for 2017-18
This year’s state budget process included some enormous obstacles, including a deficit of nearly $3 billion and hundreds of millions of new mandatory cost increases for pensions and human services. In spite of all of these challenges, lawmakers agreed on a state spending plan for the new fiscal year that holds the line on government spending and supports a number of programs that are critical to our communities.
The $32 billion spending plan includes an increase in spending of just 0.2 percent over the previous year – a full $650 million less than Governor Wolf proposed in February. Although most state agencies and departments received less money than the previous year in order to promote efficiency, two notable exceptions were the Department of Education, which received more than $400 million in new money, and the Department of Agriculture, which saw a slight uptick in funding in spite of the governor’s plan to cut more than $30 million in funding from agricultural programs.
The Senate is expected to reconvene in the days to come to consider all of the other bills necessary to complete the entire budget process. A statement from Senator Scott Martin and me regarding passage of the spending plan is available here.
I had the honor of introducing the 2017 PIAA 5A state championship Donegal Girls’ Softball team on the floor of the Senate. Congratulations to all of the coaches, players and managers for an amazing season!
Local Vietnam Veterans to be Honored October 21
Most veterans of foreign wars and conflicts received a warm reception after returning to our country, with one notable exception – veterans of the Vietnam War. The divisive nature of that conflict created an environment in which many returning veterans were met with blatant disrespect instead of the admiration they deserved.
Lancaster County lawmakers recently announced that local Vietnam veterans will be honored at a special ceremony on Saturday, October 21, from 10 a.m. until noon at Hempfield High School in Landisville. A special Vietnam veteran’s lapel pin has been produced as part of the program and will be distributed to attending veterans and widows of Vietnam veterans.
In order to be recognized and receive the commemorative pin, a recipient must be a United States military veteran who served on active duty at any time during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of stationing location.
Registration and more details about the event are available here. Registration is required for veterans to be recognized and receive a pin. If you have questions about the event, please contact my district office by calling 717-627-0036.
Citizen Report Features Steps to Combat Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
The newest edition of my “Citizen Report” TV program focuses on Pennsylvania’s crippling heroin and opioid epidemic, and how communities are working to help save lives. The program features a panel that includes Senator Gene Yaw, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Chief David Steffen and Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Special Assistant Kenneth Martz.
The entire program is available online here.
Turnpike Toll Violation Amnesty Program Open Now
Beginning on August 4, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation may suspend the vehicle registration of any motorist who has Pennsylvania Turnpike toll violations totaling $500 or more, or six or more separate instances of violation. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is offering a partial toll violation amnesty program through August 4 to help motorists who have unpaid violations avoid a suspension.
More information on the program is available at the Pennsylvania Turnpike website at www.paturnpike.com.
Senate Box 203036