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Weekly Wrap

This was the third and final week of budget hearings for the House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations committees. It was a busy one, too, with four full days of presentations on everything from Community and Economic Development to Veterans Affairs.

The week kicked off with an all-day hearing in the House of Representatives with the Department of Education. The morning focused on higher education and libraries while the afternoon session focused on K-12 education. In addition to education funding, the committee hit on issues like student debt, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, the Governor’s “It’s On Us PA” initiative to combat campus sexual assault, PlanCon and veterans’ education.

Beyond the budget, the House Health Committee held an informational meeting on Monday with the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HHAP). The presentation focused on areas not previously discussed with members, including quality improvement initiatives for the hospitals.

Meanwhile, the Senate started off the week by discussing grant programs such as the apprentice grant program, manufacturing training to career grant program and tourism grant programs with the Department of Community and Economic Development. Cities were a focus of the hearing, as Secretary Davin was asked about the “Small Cities” program, Act 47 (discussed municipalities), Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) and City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (CRIZ). The Department of Revenue was up next, where the Marcellus Shale gas extraction tax, online gaming’s effect on lottery sales, and insurance premium costs were all discussed. Wrapping up the day in the Senate was the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Executive Director James Vaughan answered members’ questions about admission fees, maintenance costs and marketing.

Tuesday brought another busy day and included a few non-budget hearings. In the morning, the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committees held a joint informational meeting on the U.S. Army War College’s Advanced Strategic Art Program. In the afternoon, the House Committee held another informational meeting with stakeholders and state agencies on emergency preparedness initiatives and legislative goals for the new session. Also on Tuesday, the House Gaming Oversight and Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committees received testimony on casino gaming issues. Video gaming terminals, iGaming and the local share assessment were all up for discussion.

Turning back to the budget, the House Appropriations Committee held a budget hearing with the Department of Human Services; notable topics raised by DHS Secretary Ted Dallas were the Governor’s departmental consolidation and minimum wage proposals, Community HealthChoices and the up-in-the-air Affordable Care Act. They also held a hearing with the Department of Education, where Secretary Rivera fielded questions about reduction in pupil transportation funding. Student assessments, PlanCon, and career and technical education were up for discussion.

On Wednesday the Pennsylvania State Police (PS) appeared before the House Appropriations Committee, where Commissioner Tyree Blocker reported on PSP’s new cadet class, the Governor’s proposed $25 per person fee for municipal PSP coverage and how PSP is helping to combat the heroin epidemic. The Senate heard from Secretary Dallas of DHS, where he outlined the Governor’s proposed budget of $39.2 billion for the consolidated department, which is up from last year’s $38.8 billion total for the four departments. Along with usual suspects, Community HealthChoices and the ACA, opioid abuse and medical marijuana were also hot topics.

The House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee also held an informational meeting on Wednesday to discuss the status of the PA National Guard and college funding opportunities provided to military personnel.

On Thursday, Secretary of the Budget Secretary Randy Albright appeared before both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to give one last overview of the Governor’s proposed budget and answer outstanding questions. The Senate wrapped up budget hearings with the Department of Environmental Protection. Acting Secretary McDonnell gave the lay of the land in the Department, talking through the permitting process and other issues such as electric vehicles, solar energy and storm water management. And finally, House members also provided oral and written testimony for the record before the committee adjourned for the week.

A Look Ahead

Budget hearings are behind us, so it’s back to business as usual in Harrisburg this week, sort of. Only the House of Representatives will return Monday for three days of voting session. On Monday, the House Insurance Committee will meet to consider two bills: H.B. 133 (Baker, R-Bradford), amending the state Insurance Code to provide for the purchase of health insurance from companies located in another state, and H.B. 624 (Murt, R-Delaware), addressing liability in snow removal contracts. Also on Monday, the House Human Services Committee will meet to consider H.B. 45 (Godshall, R-Montgomery), giving terminally ill patients the “right to try” investigational drugs and biologics that are not yet government approved.

On Tuesday, the House Finance Committee will meet to consider bills amending the Tax Reform Code, including H.B. 46 (Caltagirone, D-Berks), and allowing contributions for pediatric cancer research through tax return check-off. The House Health Committee will also meet on Tuesday to consider H.B. 114  (Baker, R-Bradford), clarifying when a child of divorced parents would be eligible for Medical Assistance; H.B. 424 (Benninghoff, R-Centre), allowing physician assistants to sign death certificates; H.B. 478 (Pickett, R-Bradford), modernizing psychiatric supervision requirements in outpatient clinics; and H.B. 644 (Baker, R-Bradford), amending the Community Based Health Care Act. Rounding out the busy day, the House Children and Youth Committee will meet to consider H.B. 235 (Watson, R-Bucks), establishing a task force to study the impact of the opioid crisis on the Commonwealth’s children. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee will consider seven bills, including H.B. 759 (Ortitay, R-Allegheny), amending the Gaming Act to allow persons charged under the self-exclusion provisions of the act to be sentenced to counseling, and H.B. 352 (Culver, R-Northumberland), which would allow a person to obtain title to property under adverse possession after ten years, instead of 21 as is currently provided for in Pennsylvania law.

Wednesday brings another busy day for the House standing committees. The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will meet to consider H.B. 187 (Sonney, R-Erie), allowing the owner of certain preserved farmland to grant a right-of-way to install a wind power generation system. The House Professional Licensure Committee will also consider five bills, including H.B. 454 (De Luca, D-Allegheny), requiring pharmacy technicians to register with the state Board of Pharmacy. The House Consumer Affairs will hold an informational meeting with the electric and natural gas industries to hear their about their 2016-2017 legislative priorities. Finally, the House Health Committee and the House Aging and Older Adult Services committee will hold a joint meeting regarding the Nursing Home Task Force Report.

For a complete list of committee meetings, click here.

To see what’s expected on the House floor next week, check out The Week Ahead.

In Other News

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

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JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

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Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

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We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

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Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

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Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

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How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

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There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

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Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

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If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

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Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

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