Weekly Wrap

This week was the start of budget hearings, where the House and Senate Appropriations Committees examine the Governor's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-2021. The Governor's proposal comes in at $36.1 billion, a $1.46 billion or 4.22% increase, over last year's budget.

Here are the hearings that took place this week and some of the issues discussed.

Tuesday, February 18


Department of Revenue and PA Lottery

  • Combined reporting
  • Minimum wage
  • Lottery RFP

Independent Fiscal Office

  • Tax revenue
  • Business tax climate compared to competing states
  • Property tax reform

Department of Aging

  • Performance of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Direct care workers


Independent Fiscal Office

  • Economic growth
  • Demographics of the state and its effect on the economy
  • Tax credits

Department of Revenue and PA Lottery

  • Corporate net income tax and combined reporting
  • Games of skill
  • Lottery revenue

Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Federal funding
  • Recovery houses

Wednesday, February 19


Department of State

  • Election security
  • Voting systems
  • Licensing under the Bureau of Professional and Occupations Affairs

Department of Military & Veterans Affairs

  • Operation and maintenance of facilities
  • Youth programs
  • Veteran services

Department of Labor & Industry

  • Minimum wage and overtime regulations
  • Workforce development, apprenticeships, and job training
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation


Department of Military & Veterans Affairs

  • Pennsylvania Family GI bill
  • Care for veterans
  • Homeless veterans

Department of Corrections and Board of Probation & Parole

  • Closure of SCI-Retreat
  • Inmate training and medical care
  • Parole and recidivism

Board of Pardons

  • Pardon and commutation process
  • Modernizing application process

Thursday, February 20


State Police

  • Municipal fee for State Police coverage
  • Background checks for firearm purchases

Department of Corrections, Board of Probation & Parole, and Board of Pardons

  • Supplemental funding
  • Health services for inmates
  • Housing inmates and facility closures


PA State System of Higher Education

  • Governor's proposed $204 million scholarship program
  • System redesign
  • Decline in enrollment

Department of State

  • Election modernization
  • Occupational licensure
  • Election security

Office of Attorney General

  • Opioid settlement
  • School safety
  • Data privacy and security

In addition to budget hearings, on Tuesday the House Consumer Affairs Committee held a public hearing on H.B. 853 (Oberlander, R-Clarion), which would prohibit health insurers from altering the coverage included in a policy during the term when an insured person has received treatment.

Friday, the Joint Legislative Conservation Committee held a public hearing on the waste goal generation industry. Furthermore, the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee held a public hearing on elder abuse.

The Week Ahead

Budget hearings continue next week, with the schedule as follows:

Monday, February 24


  • Department of Environmental Protection
  • Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
  • Department of Health and Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs


  • Department of Labor & Industry
  • Auditor General
  • Department of Aging

Tuesday, February 25


  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of General Services
  • Liquor Control Board


  • Liquor Control Board
  • Department of Transportation
  • Treasury Department

Wednesday, February 26


  • Department of Community & Economic Development
  • Department of Agriculture
  • PA Emergency Management Agency & State Fire Commissioner


  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Health

Thursday, February 27


  • Department of Education
  • Department of Community & Economic Development

Besides the Appropriations Committees, the House Health Committee will meet on Tuesday to hold a public hearing on prescription drug pricing. Also, the House Commerce Committee will meet to hold a public hearing on H.B. 1010 (Solomon, D-Philadelphia), which would: (1) mandate a company or entity take reasonable measures to secure personal information from hacking and compensate consumers in the event of a breach; and (2) provide for a private right of action for consumers to have recourse for damages they suffer due to a data breach.

Wednesday, the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on H.B. 1983 (Causer, R-McKean), which would eliminate the sunset date and continue the status quo for how the costs of racehorse medication testing are paid.

In Other News

  • The Administration awarded $1.5 million in grants for opioid use disorder criminal justice diversion programs.
  • The Department of Health approved four more clinical registrants for the Medical Marijuana Research Program.
  • Gaming Control Board total revenue was up 17% in January.

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