Oct. 19, 2015

HARRISBURG – In another attempt to try and release critical state funding to human service agencies and schools while final budget negotiations continue, state Rep. Judy Ward (R-Blair) today participated in a press conference to introduce a package of fiscal lifeline bills.

“My office continues to stay in touch with county human service agencies that are struggling to meet client demands due to the budget impasse,” said Ward. “These organizations serve our most vulnerable citizens and rely on their annual state budget appropriations in order to keep their doors open. I have been greatly disappointed that two earlier attempts to release funding for these agencies failed, so I am hopeful these bills are able to make it to the governor’s desk and that he signs them into law.”

To watch Ward’s comments on the package of bills, click here.

The 12 freestanding appropriations bills would fully release critical state and federal funding in amounts at or very near those proposed by the governor in his 2015-16 budget and passed by the General Assembly in June.

Specifically, the bills would release funding for rape crisis programs, PHEAA grants to students, cancer screening services, farmers market food coupons, diagnosis and containment of avian influenza, county child welfare services, education programs for disadvantaged students, school transportation, state domestic violence programs, textbooks for nonpublic schools and services for children with special needs.

“We are now at 111 days without a state budget in place and human service agencies are making drastic cuts to staff, services and hours of operation, and many school districts are taking out loans in order to continue to educate our children with interruption,” said Ward. “This needs to stop. The danger of not having services available to rape crisis and domestic violence programs is unthinkable, and the mounting interest that will need to be paid back on the school loans will only increase already high school property tax bills in order to cover the costs. The governor needs to stop putting up roadblocks and help us deliver this funding to those in need while we continue to work out a final state budget bill that everyone can agree to.”

The bills are now in the process of gaining co-sponsors before being officially introduced in the House.

 Rep. Judy Ward (R-Blair) took part in a press conference to unveil a package of legislation aimed at releasing critical state funding to human service agencies and schools while final state budget negotiations continue.