Senate Democrats say working with Republicans is a frustrating affair

Senate Democrats say working with Republicans is a frustrating affair

Talk to Senate Democrats about what it’s like working with Republican counterparts in the Senate and the buzz word is “frustrating.”

Frustrating, they say, in both trying to advance their proposals and then also receive credit for legislation they’ve sponsored that passes under a different bill number and with a Republican co-sponsor.

“It’s certainly frustrating, this whole process has been frustrating,” Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) told The PLS Reporter Monday. “It’s been very frustrating for us through this whole process, the unwillingness to want to move on some of these issues.”

One particularly scorned member of the Senate Democratic Caucus is Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin) who has had two proposals he’s put forward advance in the Senate, though without him being named as a sponsor or getting credit for the legislation.

Monday, June 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

Education funding debate highlighted budget’s first Senate step

The first step for the Senate in the continued movement of a Republican crafted FY 2015-2016 spending plan saw the legislation move out of the Senate Appropriations Committee along a straight party-line vote Sunday evening.

However, the committee action was permeated with debate over education funding after committee Minority Chairman Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) offered an amendment to fund education at the level proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

It was the second of three amendments Sen. Hughes offered to the budget bill.

“To say that the education investment proposal in House Bill 1192 is reflective of the needs and concerns of the people of the Commonwealth really does not make sense,” he said. “It shows folks are out of touch with what’s going on in the community.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Legislative leaders spin House-passed budget

The House of Representatives Saturday afternoon passed a GOP crafted $30.1 billion budget plan that does not include any of the three main priorities of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The House passed FY 2015-2016 spending plan worked its way through the chamber by a 112-77 vote with two Republicans, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) and Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair), joining Democrats in opposing the plan.

Following the vote, leaders from both parties visited with reporters to discuss the spending plan.

“I think the key components to this budget are that it’s balanced with no new taxes going forward into the next fiscal year; we not only meet our current obligations as far as funding core functions of government, but we also include over $200 million worth of new spending related to education items in the budget,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).

Saturday, June 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Sen. Wagner: “Tom Wolf is trying to play the CEO of the Pennsylvania Corporation”

Sen. Wagner: “Tom Wolf is trying to play the CEO of the Pennsylvania Corporation”

Sen. Scott Wagner (R-York) sounded off on a number of issues at Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon including his views on public pension reform, liquor privatization, education funding, and special interests.

Sen. Wagner also had some very pointed remarks about Gov. Tom Wolf, a fellow York County businessman whom he has known for a number of years.

Asked if Gov. Wolf is governing as he would expect, Sen. Wagner said he is not.

“Tom Wolf is a nice guy. Tom Wolf I believe is trying to play CEO of the Pennsylvania Corporation,” he said. “It’s almost like: ‘If you need me come get me.’”

Monday, June 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Conditions already placed on use of fairer education funding formula?

Conditions already placed on use of fairer education funding formula?

Bipartisanship and cheer abounded at the Capitol Thursday for those taking part in the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, which included representatives from all four legislative caucuses and the governor’s office, when they unanimously released their long-anticipated funding formula recommendations and other education funding suggestions.

The commission’s recommended funding formula was described as taking into account both student-based and district-based factors that are aimed at providing funding that is truly representative of a district’s needs and unique situation.

However, while many are anticipating swift action on legislative implementation of the commission’s recommendations, some are already putting preconditions on when it would be best to implement the new funding formula.

“There are certainly a group of struggling school districts it would take a number of years back to a basic, functional school district and that—in our view—is not an acceptable funding decision with new resources for the 15-16 fiscal year,” said Budget Secretary Randy Albright, a member of the commission.

Thursday, June 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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