A Report on the Legislative Session of
February 6, 2017
I am pleased to send you my Session Wrap Up e-newsletter. This
e-newsletter features legislative activities during the Session Week
of February 6, 2017.
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Governor Wolf Unveils His Proposed 2017-18 Budget
Governor Tom Wolf unveiled his proposed $32.338 billion
General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 before a joint session of the
General Assembly on Tuesday.
This was the best budget address I have heard of his three
-- long on ideas and initiatives, but very short on details. He didn’t mention
anything about his Marcellus Shale tax ideas or increasing the minimum wage,
which I know is a priority of his.
The Governor’s proposal represents a $571.5 million (1.8
percent) increase in spending from the FY 2016-17 budget. It also projects a
shortfall of $640 million in anticipated revenues for FY 2016-17. The most
recent IFO projection is a $716 million shortfall.
The Governor’s budget recognizes a $3 billion preliminary
deficit for FY 17-18, a number virtually identical to previous Senate Republican
projections. To fill that gap, the Governor is proposing $2 billion in cuts and
savings initiatives and $1 billion in new taxes. However, the Governor is not
requesting an increase in either the income tax or sales tax rates.
I think it’s all about the cost drivers. He never mentions
pension reform. That’s something we have battled for the last 20 years. It looks
like he wants to kick the can down the road. Until that’s addressed I don’t
think we can talk about any new expenditures whatsoever – that is hundreds and
hundreds of millions of dollars every year. I will go back and read between the
lines to see if there is anything more positive there. I give the Governor
credit, he’s been a strong advocate for his initiatives and has been a guy who
makes it quite clear where he is coming from, but we need to see the details.
The Senate’s consideration of the Governor’s proposals will
begin later this month with three weeks of budget hearings before the Senate
Click for and
Senate Action Recap
The Senate approved bills this week modifying
Pennsylvania’s abortion law, improving safety by addressing dangerous illegal
aliens, reforming government, and setting equitable pay standards.
The bills, which now head to the House of Representatives,
Senate Bill 3, which amends the Abortion Control Act to reduce the maximum
gestational age for legal abortions from 24 to 20 weeks and prohibits
Senate Bill 10, which holds a “municipality of refuge” accountable for not
enforcing state and federal laws relating to immigration.
Senate Bill 166, which ensures that political campaign funds are not
collected by public sector unions through government-provided mechanisms with
Senate Bill 170, which requires comprehensive reform measures at the
Delaware River Port Authority.
Senate Bill 181, which establishes a performance-based budget component.
Senate Bill 241, which prohibits sexual discrimination in employee pay
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved four bills on
Senate Bill 10 holds a “municipality of refuge” accountable for not
enforcing state and federal laws relating to immigration.
Senate Bill 137 codifies the Civil Air Patrol’s state operations in Title 51
under the leadership of the Adjutant General.
Senate Bill 166 ensures that political campaign funds are not collected by
public sector unions through government-provided mechanisms with taxpayer
Senate Bill 167 calls for a Constitutional amendment ending the practice of
using taxpayer-funded payroll systems to collect money used for politics.
JUDICIARY Committee approved
Senate Bill 3 on Monday. The bill amends the Abortion Control Act to reduce
the maximum gestational age for legal abortions from 24 to 20 weeks and
prohibits dismemberment abortion.
Rules & Executive Nominations
RULES & EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS Committee approved
Senate Bill 10 on Monday. The bill prevents municipalities and counties from
designating themselves as “sanctuary cities” in order to thwart federal efforts
to combat illegal immigration.
The Senate Finance Committee approved five bills on
Senate Bill 7 creates the Taxpayer Protection Act which limits the State
appropriation increases to the average percentage change in personal income in
the Commonwealth for the prior three years or to the average percentage change
in inflation for the three years prior plus the average percentage change in the
state population for the three years prior, whichever is less.
Senate Bill 173 is a constitutional amendment providing for state
Senate Bill 201 provides for “like-kind” exchange tax deferrals.
Senate Bill 202 permits a small business to deduct net losses from a
subsequent tax year’s state tax liability.
Senate Bill 203 increases the deductible amount of a small business’
qualifying equipment purchases to the amount that may currently be deducted
under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure
CONSUMER PROTECTION & PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE Committee approved three bills
Senate Bill 54 strengthens the Puppy Lemon Law.
Senate Bill 274 officially recognizes Certified Registered Nurse
Anesthetists under Pennsylvania statute.
Senate Bill 297 updates the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act
TRANSPORTATION Committee approved four bills on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 251 would permit all municipal police to utilize radar for speed
Senate Bill 265 would designate the Market Street Bridge in Harrisburg as
the Senator Harold Mowery Market Street Bridge.
Senate Bill 279 would permit full-time municipal police officers employed by
full-service police departments or regional police departments in counties of
the first class, second class, second class A and third class to use radar or
LIDAR for speed enforcement.
Senate Bill 288 would increase fines and suspend the licenses of repeat
offenders of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law.
Communications & Technology
COMMUNICATIONS & TECHNOLOGY Committee approved
Senate Bill 133 on Wednesday. The bill repeals the REAL ID Nonparticipation
(Act 38 of 2012), which prohibits Pennsylvania from complying with the
Federal REAL ID Act.