| State Budget Spending Plan Now on Governor’s Desk
With strong bipartisan support, the House sent to the governor a $32 billion budget that invests in key areas while also starting the process to reinvent state government.
House Bill 218 supports additional funding for schools, pension obligations and services for those with intellectual disabilities, but demands additional savings across state government agencies and programs, including Medicaid. The budget also shows savings from the shrinking prison population.
Of particular note, nearly 40 percent of the General Fund, $11.8 billion, is directed toward prekindergarten through 12th-grade education, including $100 million more for basic education, a restoration of funding for pupil transportation, $30 million more for early childhood education, another $25 million for special education, and a 2 percent increase for the State System of Higher Education.
This budget begins the process of eliminating duplicative services and reducing overall costs to encourage reform and innovation, while ensuring funds are available for core government services.
Additional legislation is forthcoming to finalize the entire 2017-18 budget package.
Protecting Children from Dangers of Hot Cars
Legislation that seeks to protect children that are left inside dangerously hot vehicles passed the House unanimously on Friday.
House Bill 1152 would provide civil immunity for any damage that may be done to a vehicle when forceful entry is necessary to rescue a child. The immunity only would apply when the person acts reasonably under the circumstances, has a good-faith belief that the child is in imminent danger and makes an effort to notify law enforcement.
Holding Caretakers Accountable
Individuals who endanger children in their care will face stronger criminal penalties under legislation that was recently signed into law.
Under Act 12 of 2017, parents, guardians or those tasked with the care of a child will face harsher penalties in cases of child endangerment if the child is under the age of 6, if the endangerment results in serious injury or death, or if the endangerment is part of a continuing course of conduct.
Currently, a person who endangers the welfare of a child under the age of 18 can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, and if the conduct is part of a continuing course of conduct, the offense is graded as a third-degree felony.
The new law will take effect in late August.
Take a Road Trip in PA
Tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, and the Pennsylvania Tourism Office has compiled a list of customized road trips for a wide variety of interests and locations.
Available at www.VisitPa.com/pa-road-trips, the road trips are designed in each of the state’s 11 unique tourism regions, complete with off-the-beaten path stops and only-in-Pennsylvania attractions.
Road trips are designed around nature, religious and spiritual destinations, kid-specific sites, historical attractions, photographic gems, shopping, keystone countryside, small-town charm, arts and culture, ghost rides, sporting events and culinary delights.
Traveler spending generated an estimated $71.6 billion in total economic activity and supported nearly 500,000 jobs in the Commonwealth, according to a 2015 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Apply Now for Birth Certificate Needs This Summer, Fall
If you foresee that you or a family member will be needing a birth certificate for summer or fall travel plans, we have been advised of significant delays in fulfilling both birth and death certificate requests from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Processing time for birth and death certificates through our legislative offices is averaging six to eight weeks.
You can obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate in one of three ways. Be sure to complete all required information on the application form.
• Order online through VitalChek, the authorized service provider for the PA Department of Health.
• Order birth certificates by mail. (This can take two to three months to process.)
• Order in person at the Department of Health office locations in Scranton or Harrisburg.
For more information, click here.
Please note: Processing times vary by site. You may select the links above for additional information on specific processing times in public offices.