Excessive Borrowing in Budget Plan Raises Concerns
The Senate wrapped up work on the long-overdue 2017-18 budget this week. Although I am relieved that this prolonged budget process has finally reached an end, I could not in good conscience support the final plan due to my concerns about the $1.5 billion in new borrowing that was included to fill last year’s budget shortfall. I am equally disappointed that Governor Wolf allowed the deficit to grow unchecked in the first place.
All of the fits and starts in this year’s budget debate are a stark reminder of the need to reform the entire budget process. I have introduced and supported several measures to help reduce the amount of time and political wrangling required to complete the state budget, and I am hopeful that the latest budget fight will serve as a catalyst for lawmakers to take a fresh look at plans to change the way we do business in the state Capitol.
My statement with Senator Scott Martin regarding the budget is available here.
Unprecedented Gambling Expansion Authorized
Sweeping legislation that would significantly expand legalized gambling in Pennsylvania has been passed by the House and Senate and sent to Governor Wolf for his signature.
The bill would make Pennsylvania one of the largest gambling states in the United States by authorizing satellite casinos, slot machine-style video gambling terminals at truck stops, casino-style gambling on websites and mobile applications, keno and other games online by the Lottery, interactive gambling parlors at international or regional airports, daily fantasy sports betting and sports betting at casinos or online.
Local governments that wish to exclude gambling facilities from their jurisdiction are required under the proposal to proactively enact a resolution prohibiting the siting of a facility in the municipality by December 31st.
I encourage all local governments to consider the social impact of gambling on our culture and people and take immediate action to preserve the character and heritage of Lancaster County. Citizens should also contact their local officials about the ramifications of inaction on this important issue.
I am deeply troubled by this legislation and what is means to our Commonwealth’s long-term prosperity, which is why I voted against this bill.
Senate Urges Federal Regulators to Protect Integrity of Power Grid
Maintaining a highly reliable and resilient power grid is a priority shared by all Pennsylvanians and an important matter of national security. This week, the Senate passed a resolution I sponsored along with Senator Don White to urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to adopt policies that would protect the integrity of the power grid and promote Pennsylvania’s energy economy as well.
In recent years, some of the nation’s most highly reliable coal and nuclear power plants have been prematurely retired due to cost concerns. This leaves the entire power grid more vulnerable to disruptions and service outages that could potentially affect millions of Americans. I am hopeful that FERC will recognize the real value that these resources offer and take the necessary steps to ensure that we consider the long-term impacts to the economy, the environment and consumers should these assets be lost.
More information about the Senate Resolution is available here.
Local Vietnam Veterans Honored in Special Ceremony
It was an honor to participate in a special ceremony last weekend in recognition of the service and sacrifice of more than 200 local Vietnam veterans. Many who returned home from that conflict did not receive the appreciation and respect they deserved, and I am thankful that we had a chance to honor those heroes who ventured far from home to answer freedom’s call.
Along with the other members of Lancaster County’s delegation to the General Assembly, I thank all of the local veterans who helped fight for our freedom, and for the hundreds of community residents who came out to honor their service. Video of the entire ceremony is available here.
Another Town Hall Event Added in November
My sincere thanks goes out to all of the community residents who participated in my recent live town hall meeting in Denver last week and the callers who contributed to my telephone town hall on Monday. Your feedback is deeply appreciated.
I recently added another town hall meeting to be held in Lititz on November 14, in addition to my previously scheduled town hall next week in Landisville. Details on these upcoming events are below. I hope to see you there!
Thursday, November 2, 2017 – 6:30pm
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 – 7:00pm
It was a pleasure to welcome Warwick High School student Josh Wenger at our State Capitol this week.
Senate Box 203036