Category Archives: PA House

PA House GOP Stealth Attack on Medicaid

By Marc Stier, Third and State, 7/11/17

The House passed the bill through to the Senate 102-91. The Senate must again vote on the bill as amended

PA House Republican leaders are trying to force Pennsylvania to seek federal waivers for our Medicaid program that would establish requirements that Medicaid recipients either be working or searching for a job and that that ask them to pay premiums or higher co-pays for their insurance.

These ideas were part of Governor Corbett’s plan to expand Medicaid, which Governor Wolf rightly rejected. Now, the House will vote on these terrible provisions as part of the budget code (instructions for implementing the budget) for 2017-18 after it was added as an amendment in the House Rules Committee.

What’s the objection to work requirements or premiums for Medicaid?

First, support for a work or job search requirement is based on a misconception that there are a large number of able-bodied adults who receive Medicaid, could work, and are not doing so. That’s simply not true. The vast majority of people who receive Medicaid are children, the disabled or seniors….

keep reading at Third and State

Commissioners reject state budget bill

By Michael Rellahan, Daily Local News, 6/06/17

WEST CHESTER >> The Chester County Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for the rejection of a state budget proposal that cuts spending in areas from courts to human services, saying that the fiscal slashing proposed by House Republicans would harm local residents and taxpayers.

“These cuts would be significant and devastating to counties and would negatively impact Chester County,” reads the resolution, approved unanimously by all three commissioners. The cuts “will affect Chester County’s ability to provide human service, rehabilitative, intervention, and other related criminal justice programs.”

In April, the state House of Representatives passed a budget largely along party lines, with Republicans saying that the reduction in spending was representative of the party’s “core goals.” The $31.5 billion budget contains $800 less than the plan that Gov. Tom Wolf had proposed earlier.

Democrats in the House, who said they had not been consulted on the budget, said it would harm vital services for state residents, particularly funding for early childhood education and child care.

All of the legislators representing the county in Harrisburg, with the exception of state Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26, of North Coventry, and state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, of West Chester, voted in favor of the package. It is now in the state Senate.

The county would lose about $2.13 million in state funds, according to the resolution….

keep reading at Daily Local News

New House Rules are a Step in the Wrong Direction

by PA Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166), January 17, 2017

On the first day of the new legislative session the Pennsylvania House changed its rules to make it easier for House leadership to obscure the contents of important legislation from rank and file House members and the general public.

Under the new rules the House will no longer have to wait 24 hours to vote on bills amended by the Senate. Now bills can be considered by the House six hours after they come into the public domain.

This rule will be most damaging around budget time. Frequently, in the back rooms of the state capitol, House and Senate leaders surreptitiously insert provisions in large budget related bills that many rank and file House members and the public would find highly objectionable.

For example, last term provisions were inserted in the fiscal code to cancel regulations to make gas drilling safer, delay measures to address climate change and transfer millions of dollars from a fund for high energy efficiency buildings for natural gas development.

Six hours is simply not enough time for even the most diligent rank and file House member to find and bring to the attention of the public objectionable provisions Continue reading

One more reason big change is needed in the PA legislature

“Pennsylvania State Rep. Compares School Boards to Hitler” by Diane Ravitch, 11/3/16

Peter Greene, who teaches in Pennsylvania tells us about the educationally-challenged state representative who compared democratically elected school boards to Hitler. Hitler’s blamed everything on the Jews, and local school boards blame everything on charter schoools. Got that?

Greene writes:

“Brad Roae’s district is just up the road from me and just down the road from Erie, where the schools have made some headlines with their economic issues, to the point that their board was seriously considering closing all of its high schools. Erie is one of several school districts that highlight the economic troubles of school districts in Pennsylvania. It’s a complex mess, but the basic problems boil down to this.

“First, Pennsylvania ranks 45th in the country for level of state support for local districts. That means the bulk of school district funding comes from local taxpayers, and that means that as cities like Erie with a previously-industrial tax base have lost those big employers, local revenue has gone into freefall, opening up some of the largest gaps between rich and poor districts in the country.