Jul. 01, 2016 Download
In a broad bipartisan vote on Thursday, the Pennsylvania House passed a state budget for fiscal year 2016-17. Senate Bill 1073 contains no new or broad-based tax increases, and was approved by overwhelming margins in both the House and the Senate. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) said lawmakers in both parties and chambers worked together to ensure an on-time budget and end taxpayers’ anxiety over another protracted budget battle.
Senate Bill 1073 now awaits the Governor’s signature.
Jun. 23, 2016 Download
Legislative efforts to combat the Commonwealth’s growing problem with heroin and opioid addiction was the topic of discussion at a press conference held in the State Capitol on Thursday. House Leaders, joined by the Governor and other lawmakers, announced the completion of the recommendations set forth by the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation, and outlined plans to move the issue forward by initiating a special legislative session to tackle the problems associated with prescription drug abuse.
Jun. 15, 2016 Download
The Pennsylvania House approved landmark public pension reform legislation on Tuesday that would place new state workers and public school employees into a hybrid retirement system which includes a mandatory 401(k)-type plan. Pennsylvania’s existing defined benefit pension systems, the State Employees’ Retirement System and the larger Public School Employees’ Retirement System presently face billions in unfunded liability and require an increasingly large share of state and school district budget dollars to maintain funding requirements. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) said this historic pension reform bill would take an important step toward addressing the state’s pension crisis without impacting current employees or retirees. Senate Bill 1071 now returns to the Senate for concurrence.
Jun. 10, 2016 Download
College and university employees who interface with minors as part of their job would have to undergo background checks under an amendment recently approved by the Pennsylvania House. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), is attached to Senate Bill 1156, and is designed to eliminate an existing exemption in the Commonwealth’s Child Protective Services Law. Heffley said staff at Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher learning which host programs for students under 18 should not be excused from a law designed to protect all children.
Chuck Nichols Reports – Story and Bite available.
Apr. 14, 2016 Download
The Pennsylvania House has passed new fiscal code legislation, restoring funding for more than 400 school districts whose appropriation was cut by the Governor, and bringing an end to the protracted 2015/16 budget cycle. House Bill 1589, which was approved by a veto-proof bipartisan vote of 149-45, will use the equitable funding formula which was unanimously approved by the Education Funding Commission to distribute money to schools in the Commonwealth.
Mar. 23, 2016 Download
At a press conference held at the State Capitol on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that he intends to allow a budget approved by the General Assembly last week to become law without his signature. The move signals the end of a nine-month fiscal impasse in Pennsylvania. The 30 billion dollar spending plan allows money to flow to schools, corrections, and agriculture programs that had been held hostage during negotiations.
Mar. 23, 2016 Download
Three pieces of legislation designed to address problems arising from an influx of illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania have been introduced in Harrisburg. Lawmakers introduced bills to tackle issues regarding sanctuary cities, employment, and public benefit distribution. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) has sponsored House Bill 237, which would prevent those who are here illegally from collecting public benefits.
Mar. 17, 2016 Download
Lawmakers in Harrisburg took the next step toward legalization of Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania on Wednesday with the passage of an amended version of Senate Bill 3, which would allow for the use of cannabis in order to treat specific ailments. The legislation outlines how marijuana-related organizations will be regulated, and establishes an advisory board charged with reviewing Commonwealth law related to the production and distribution of prescription cannabis. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) said that while he is not opposed to the legitimate medical use of marijuana, he felt this legislation did not offer necessary consumer protections. Senate Bill 3 now returns to the Senate for concurrence of the amendments made by the House.
Mar. 16, 2016 Download
Lawmakers took action Wednesday in the state capitol to provide essential funding for the remainder of the 2015/2016 state budget. The current year’s fiscal plan remains unresolved due to the Governor’s line-item vetoes of more than $6 billion for basic and higher education, as well as money for the Department of Corrections and agriculture programs. The House and Senate put forth the supplemental budget legislation to address funding holes created by the Governor’s vetoes and restore state funding for these programs. The funding bill approved today provides for a 200 million dollar increase for basic education, a 5 percent increase for higher education, and ensures that no schools will close in the Commonwealth. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon) said it is past time to close out this years' state budget in order for the legislature to move on with next year's fiscal plan.
Feb. 09, 2016 Download
House lawmakers offered their reactions to Gov. Tom Wolf’s spending proposal for fiscal year 2016-17, which he announced today in an address before a joint session of the General Assembly. The governor’s budget plan would increase taxes on working Pennsylvanians and employers by $3.6 billion and spending by 10 percent, or $3 billion, and calls for $33.3 billion in total spending. To support his proposed spending plan the governor has proposed 15 new tax increases, including a retroactive increase in the Personal Income Tax on Pennsylvania workers.