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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Headline Harrisburg by Rep. Matt Gabler

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Headline Harrisburg
Saturday, March 02, 2019
The latest news from the State Capitol 

This email includes:
  • Discussing Gov. Wolf’s Minimum Wage Proposal
  • Working Toward a Taxpayer-Friendly State Budget
  • Welcome Home!
  • Elk County Construction
  • Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims
  • Bill to Save on State Pensions

Discussing Gov. Wolf’s Minimum Wage Proposal

This was a busy week of hearings by the House Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member. Here are some of the questions I asked as part of testimony by individual departments.

Click here to view video. 
Asked Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin about his thoughts on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour now, then $15 an hour by 2025.

Click here to view video. 
Shared ride services and Medical Assistance Transportation Programs play a vital role in the lives of many Pennsylvanians, especially those in rural areas.

I asked PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards about the efficiency of these services.

 Click here to view video.
The hearings serve as a formal, detailed examination of Gov. Tom Wolf's overall budget proposal. During my research, I discovered a plan to roll the cost of Medicare penalties - $100,000 worth – into a larger line item instead of leaving it as a standalone, which is better transparency.

I asked Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome about that accounting practice.

Click here to view video. 
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) are in the process of implementing a new statewide radio system. I asked PSP representatives about it, as well as the Pennsylvania Instate Check System (PICS), which is used by retailers in firearms transactions.

Working Toward a Taxpayer-Friendly State Budget

Next week, the House Appropriations Committee concludes its series of hearings designed to highlight individual government agencies and evaluate the role they play in crafting the 2019-20 budget.

All the hearings will be streamed through my website,

Here is the schedule of testifiers:

Monday, March 4
10 a.m. – Department of Education

Tuesday, March 5
10 a.m. – Department of Environmental Protection
10:30 am. – Department of Agriculture
1 p.m. – PSERS/SERS

Wednesday, March 6
10 a.m. – Office of the Budget
1 p.m. – Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Welcome home!

On Friday, I met with new Sandy Township Manager Shawn Arbaugh, who is originally from DuBois. Shawn previously served as the municipal manager for Bethel Park near Pittsburgh.

Elk County Construction

Preliminary work for repairs along Bendigo Road in Elk County got underway this week with guide rail removal. Additional roadway closure barriers are in place today, with excavation for the repair set to start tomorrow.

PennDOT has authorized emergency work for slide repairs and is partnering with Bencor Global Incorporated and Seneca Resources to fully fund the project. Without this partnership, repairs to Bendigo Road would have been delayed until the summer.

Crews will be working to excavate the slide area and stabilize it with rockfill material. PennDOT expects the work to take about three weeks.

While repairs are taking place, the closure and detour for Bendigo Road will remain in effect. No through traffic will be allowed in the closed section. Area residents will be able to access their homes from either end of Bendigo Road, but they will not be able to travel through the closed section.

Protecting the Rights of Crime Victims

Understanding the struggle many crime victims face when seeking justice, lawmakers have been working to advance a package of bills designed to protect the rights of crime victims.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved five bills for consideration by the full House. The package includes:
  • House Bill 276, a joint resolution known as Marsy’s Law, would add a victims’ bill of rights to the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  • House Bill 502 would ensure victims can attend proceedings against their abusers.
  • House Bill 503 would help victims and witnesses with intellectual disabilities or autism testify in court.
  • House Bill 504 would shield rape victims from irrelevant cross examination.
  • House Bill 505 would strengthen protections for young abuse victims.
Just as those accused of a crime have certain rights, House Republicans are ensuring crime victims are treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire criminal justice process.

Bill to Save on State Pensions

Last week, House Republicans passed House Bill 60 to prohibit future hires of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which serves three states, from participating in the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).

The SRBC was created by federal law in 1970 that also was adopted by the legislatures of Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania.

According to the Independent Fiscal Office – a non-partisan entity created to provide unbiased information to the state Legislature – there were 65 employees of the SRBC who were active, contributing members of SERS in 2017.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.


Anonymous said...

Do away with pensions. Let them fend for themselves like every other American does on Social Security.

Anonymous said...

People that receive a municipal pension, either don't receive SS or a VERY reduced SS payment. Educate yourself before speaking!