Mar. 01, 2022

HARRISBURG – Today the House Appropriations Committee held its fourth day of budget hearings. The committee heard from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and the Department of State (DOS):

The governor’s budget proposes $7.7 million to provide additional technology for state troopers:

The funding would cover an initiative to roll out body cameras, vehicle-based video recorders, and cloud-based storage.
The governor’s budget also includes funding for two new cadet classes, totaling 200 cadets.
The governor’s vaccine cash giveaway will cost PSP $5.5 million:
PSP testified that 63% of their troopers and civilian personnel took advantage of program, or 3,592 employees.
The payments will take $2.2 million in General Fund dollars and $3.3 million in Motor License Fund dollars.
PSP is stepping up its efforts in cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg:
PSP testified that they have increased their joint investigative and aggressive patrol functions in Philadelphia, partnering with the Philadelphia Police Department.
They also noted that their partnership with the ATF taskforce in Philadelphia has increased from one dedicated trooper in 2019 to six this year. See the exchange here.

When asked by Rep. Torren Ecker (R-Adams) about the enforcement of traffic and other laws in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Col. Robert Evanchick said “we still follow state law, whether a local municipality changes its enforcement efforts.”
Col. Evanchick said increased presence in cities is “taxing on our resources” and noted that it requires overtime funded by PSP with no support from those municipalities.  See the exchange here.

DOS is replacing an online professional licensing system only five years after it first rolled out:
Gov. Tom Wolf likes to tout his slogan, “Government that Works,” yet it rarely holds up.
The Pennsylvania Licensure System, or PALS, first rolled out in phases in November 2016.  DOS is now looking to replace the system with a new one and couldn’t really explain why it was necessary.

Rep. Stan Saylor, Chairman
House Appropriations Committee
Pennsylvania House of Representatives