Health Committee Reports Out Three Bills

Mar. 29, 2023 /

WARREN — Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Republican chair of the House Health Committee, today announced the committee reported out its first three bills and sent them to the full House for consideration.

Department of Health Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 28, 2023 /

Acting Secretary Dr. Debra L Bogen, Kristen Rodack, Executive Deputy Secretary, Danielle Pierre, Deputy Secretary of Administration, Andrea Race, Chief Financial Officer, of the Department of Health testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on regulatory reform, support for EMS responders, and support of efforts to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. Additionally, House Republicans questioned the rationale behind cutting support for individuals and families coping with ALS.

Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 28, 2023 /

Acting Secretary Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Ellen DiDomenico, Deputy Secretary, and Jenn Newell, Bureau Director for Quality Assurance and Administration of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on coordinating the care of people facing addiction issues equally statewide. Additionally, House Republicans asked what DDAP can to do to reduce regulatory barriers to care and recruit and retain staff in the recovery field.

Shapiro’s Budgeting Would Lead to Tax Hikes and No Reserve

Mar. 28, 2023 /

When Gov. Josh Shapiro presented his first state budget proposal in early March, he painted a rosier-than-reality picture of Pennsylvania’s financial future. The $45.8 spending plan for Fiscal Year 2023-24 is nearly 6% higher than the current year and he’s counting on using part of the budget surplus to balance it. Overburdened taxpayers should be worried, as it only gets worse from there.

Department of Aging Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 27, 2023 /

Acting Aging Secretary Jason Kavulich along with Deputy Secretary Steven Horner, and PACE Program Director Tom Sneddon testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on how the department is going to control costs for seniors and the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania continues to face budgetary challenges given the significant growth in the elderly population and the contraction in the working -age population.

Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 27, 2023 /

Colonel Christopher Harris, Major Joanne Reed, Major George Bivens, Major Wayne Kline, and Ms. Brooke Mead of the Pennsylvania State Police testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on the staffing needs of the State Police, the functions of the State Police – such as background checks for gun purchases, aviation support, the Statewide Public Safety Radio System, and gaming enforcement. Additionally, House Republicans shared concerns with the creation of a new special fund, as proposed by the governor, to take all State Police funding offline, as well as the strain on the department in places like Philadelphia.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 23, 2023 /

Acting Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection Rich Negrin, along with Jessica Shirley, Executive Deputy Secretary, Ian Harlow, Acting Deputy Sect of Administration, Ramez Ziadeh, Deputy Secretary for Field Operations, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee. Republican House members focused their questions on Governor Shapiro’s permitting reform proposal and how to ensure this process will produce results. Additionally, Republicans asked questions related to the Governor’s apparent change of policy on RGGI and its negative effects on Pennsylvania.

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 23, 2023 /

Acting Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Dunn, along with Michael Walsh, Deputy Secretary for Administration, John Norbeck, Deputy Secretary for Parks and Forestry, and Lauren Imgrund, Deputy Secretary for Conservation and Technical Services. House Republicans focused on the fiscal health of DCNR and how to make the department sustainable. Additionally, Republicans asked questions covering the expansion of ATV trails in state parks, what the department is doing to address and prioritize its $1.4 billion maintenance backlog, drilling on state lands, the state of the timber industry, and how DCNR is partnering with private industry.

Gaydos Named to America250PA Commission

Mar. 23, 2023 /

HARRISBURG – Rep. Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny) today announced she was recently appointed by former Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) to be the House Republican Caucus designee for the Pennsylvania Commission for the United States Semiquincentennial (America250PA). In addition, she was chosen to be a member of the Fundraising and Historical Preservation committees.

Department of Agriculture Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 23, 2023 /

Acting Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding appeared before the House Appropriations Committee along with Greg Hostetter, Executive Deputy Secretary. House Republicans asked questions beginning with agriculture concerns in Western Pennsylvania relating to the Norfolk Southern train derailment. Other questions focused on proposed cuts to the department’s Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission, fair market conditions for Pennsylvania dairy farmers, and support of the entire industry beyond organics.

Matzie, Marshall to introduce legislation strengthening PA rail safety

Mar. 22, 2023 /

AMBRIDGE – In the aftermath of the recent East Palestine train derailment that has impacted Western Pennsylvania residents, Beaver County state Reps. Rob Matzie and Jim Marshall, majority and Republican chairs of the PA House Consumer Protection, Technology, and Utilities Committee, respectively, said they are gathering support for legislation to help prevent a repeat of that disaster.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 22, 2023 /

Dr. Daniel Greenstein, State System Chancellor testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on the turnaround in the PASSHE system’s financial footing. Other questions focused on how to keep the current tuition freeze in place, how the consolidation of certain universities is going, and how PASSHE schools are preparing students for jobs in today’s economy.

Warner Calls for Transparency, Tuition Freeze from State-Related Universities

Mar. 22, 2023 /

HARRISBURG – Citing the substantial taxpayer investment in Pitt, Penn State, Lincoln and Temple, Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette) questioned heads of those institutions about the need for improved transparency and a commitment to freezing tuition rates for students during state budget hearings Tuesday.

Community Colleges Budget Wrap

Mar. 22, 2023 /

Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO – PA Commission for Community Colleges, Dr. Victoria Bastecki-Perez, President – Montgomery County Community College, and Dr. Tuesday Stanley, President – Westmoreland County Community College, testified before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans asked questions focused on the programs Community Colleges are offering to meet the needs of the workforce and students who wish to further their education after two years. Other topics covered included the costs of maintenance, needed upgrades, and dual enrollment programs.

Permitting Reform Needed to Kickstart Economic Growth, Says Kail

Mar. 22, 2023 /

HARRISBURG – House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) hosted a hearing titled “Obstacles to Opportunity: Pennsylvania’s Permitting Process” to hear the challenges of the Commonwealth’s permitting process and explore possible solutions.

State-Related Universities Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 21, 2023 /

On March 21st, 2023, President Brenda A. Allen, (Lincoln University), President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D., (Penn State University), Chancellor Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher, (University of Pittsburgh), and President Dr. Jason Wingard, (Temple University) appeared before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused on the cost of tuition, where tax dollars are spent, and how the Universities are meeting the needs of the workforce. Additional topics covered include the management of university hospitals, transparency, safety of students, and performance-based budgeting.

Department of Education Budget Hearing Wrap

Mar. 21, 2023 /

On March 20, 2023, Acting Education Secretary Dr. Khalid N Mumin appeared before the House Appropriations Committee to defend the governor’s budget proposal. House Republicans focused on Oversight and Accountability of state dollars, starting with ensuring the money we send to school districts shows results – in test scores, physical school improvements, and safety of students and faculty. A variety of policy initiatives were discussed, from Lifeline Scholarships, pupil transportation, the EITC program, and early intervention programs.