December 9, 2015

Senate Readies Budget Package For Final Vote Thursday, Still No Agreement With The House

The Senate positioned the General Fund budget bill-- House Bill 1460; the Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 1327; and the Administrative Code bill-- House Bill 941-- for final votes Thursday sending them to the House where there is yet to be agreement on the package.
The Tax Code-- House Bill 1198; Liquor privatization- House Bill 1690 and Education Code-- House Bill 530 bills are still awaiting action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The Senate did pass a Welfare Code bill-- House Bill 1322 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) to the House for its consideration.
Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said Wednesday night said the budget is “a House drill now” because all the major budget bills will be in the House by the end of this week.
He said he understands the House has to go through a process, but he said he hopes some “sane people” come to the table and realize we’ve got to get a budget done.
To facilitate getting the bills to the House, the Senate will now be in session December 10.
Here’s a thumbnail summary of action on each of the bills in the budget package--
-- Amended House GOP General Fund Budget: House Bill 1460 (Adolph-R- Delaware) House Republican General Fund vehicle was amended in Senate Appropriations Committee with the agreed-to General Fund budget passed by the Senate on Monday and reported from Committee.  It is now on the Senate Calendar for final action.
-- Fiscal Code: House Bill 1327 (Peifer-R-Pike) Fiscal Code vehicle was referred into the Senate Appropriations Committee, amended with the omnibus agreed-to provisions and is now in position for a final Senate vote sending it back to the House.  Click Here for the text of the amended bill.  
Among the issues included in the bill are: financially distressed municipalities, state workers’ insurance board, use of tobacco settlement fund and distributions from the PA Race Horse Development Fund and other specific budget implementation provisions.
-- Administrative Code: House Bill 941 (Regan-R-Cumberland) amending the Administrative Code was amended and reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee and is now in position for a final vote Thursday.  Click Here for a copy of the amended bill.  
Among the issues included in the bill are: regulation of ride-sharing services, race horse industry reform-- Senate Bill 352 (Vogel-R-Beaver--  and historic distillery license fee reduction.
-- Tax Code: House Bill 1198 (Dunbar-R-Westmoreland) possible Tax Code vehicle was reported out of then back into Senate Appropriations Committee.  Tax Code provisions have yet to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
-- Liquor Privatization: House Bill 1690 (Turzai-R-Allegheny) House Republican liquor privatization proposal was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee, amended with the agreed-to provisions related to liquor regulation, reported from the Committee and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Click Here for a copy of the amended bill when it is posted online.
On the main issue of privatization, the bill creates a study commission to look at if and how Pennsylvania should privatize either or both its wholesale or retail liquor markets and have those recommendations to the General Assembly by June 30.
-- Education Code: House Bill 530 (Reese-R-Somerset) Education Code provisions have yet to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
-- Welfare Code: House Bill 1322 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne) possible Welfare Code vehicle was amended and reported out of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, referred into and out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and passed by the Senate.  It now goes to the House for action.
-- Pension Reform: Senate Bill 1082 (Browne-R-Lehigh) state and school employee pension reform bill agreed-to by Senate Republicans and Gov. Wolf was passed by a vote of 38 to 12 Monday and is now in the House.
Stay tuned for more…
Wine Privatization Measure Takes First Step In Senate