Jul. 12, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
 
Wolf Borrowing $90 Million to Fund Voting Machine Replacement without Legislative Authorization


After vetoing a key election reform bill that would have also provided $90 million in funding to help counties replace their voting machines, the governor announced this week he would simply go around the Legislature and supply the funding unilaterally.

Members in both the House and Senate are questioning the governor’s authority to borrow $90 million without legislative authorization.

Wolf’s latest example of executive overreach is very similar to his unconstitutional $200 million PA Farm Show Complex borrowing/leasing scheme which was also completed without legislative approval.

The need for the $90 million in funding is specifically due to the governor’s original decision to decertify every type of voting machine currently in use in the Commonwealth. It is estimated to cost $150 million to replace machines in all 67 counties, a significant burden on taxpayers across the state.
 
 
Fiscal Responsibility Leads to Healthy Deposit in State’s Rainy Day Fund


A strong economy, combined with House Republican efforts to stand up for taxpayers and against a series of tax hike proposals from Gov. Tom Wolf over the last four years, has resulted in a healthy investment of nearly $317 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The fund essentially serves as the Commonwealth’s savings account, available to help weather the next economic downturn without further burdening hard-working taxpayers.

Last year marked the first deposit in the Rainy Day Fund in more than a decade. It totaled $22 million.

This year, lawmakers agreed during budget negotiations to deposit the full amount of the General Fund balance at the close of the 2018-19 fiscal year into the fund.
 
 
Supporting Our National Guard Members and Their Families


As a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I am pleased to report that a new initiative to help our Pennsylvania National Guard members is now law.

Act 32 of 2019 extends the current Pennsylvania National Guard Military Education Program by including a Guard member’s spouse or child in this benefit program. The benefit will be offered in exchange for a Guard member’s six-year reenlistment.

Under the law, the educational benefit can be used at any Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) institution or any institution of higher learning approved by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

If the approved institution costs less than the annual tuition rate charged by the state system schools, the student would not pay anything. If it costs more than PASSHE’s annual tuition rate, the student would only pay expenses in excess of PASSHE’s annual tuition rate.

As of July 1, Pennsylvania National Guard members are now eligible for the benefit. Their family members may begin claiming the benefit on Aug. 1, 2020.
 
 
PennDOT Accepting Applications for Winter Maintenance Positions


Individuals seeking seasonal employment are encouraged to apply for a variety of winter maintenance positions now open through PennDOT.

The program runs from September through April, and includes positions for transportation equipment operators, diesel and construction equipment mechanics, automotive mechanics, tradesman helpers, clerks, clerk typists, stock clerks, welders, semi-skilled laborers and custodial workers.

Individuals in these positions supplement the permanent workforce and have the potential to lead to permanent full-time employment. Additional details about the positions, along with the job application, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Click on “Open Jobs” and then go to “PennDOT Winter Program.”
 
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Office Locations
237 West Broad Street, Tamaqua, PA 18252 | Phone: 570-668-1240
61 North Third Street, Hamburg, PA 19526-1501 | Phone: 610-562-3411
314C Main Capitol, PO Box 202124, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2124 | Phone: 717-787-9029
Email: jknowles@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614 
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