THE EXODUS LIST GROWS LONGER
Two more PA House Committee Chairs have decided to call it quits. Rep. Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny), Minority Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga), Majority Chair of the House Health Committee, announced their plans not to run in 2018. This brings to nine Republican and one Democratic committee chair positions that will be vacant in the 2019-20 legislative session.
- Minority Chair, Appropriations Committee
- Majority Chair, Children & Youth Committee
- Majority Chair, Consumer Affairs Committee
- Majority Chair, Environmental Resources & Energy Committee
- Majority Chair, Health Committee
- Minority Chair, Health Committee
- Majority Chair, Judiciary Committee
- Majority Chair, Professional Licensure
- Majority Chair, Rules Committee
- Majority Chair, Transportation Committee
There is also a 2/12/18 City & State e-newsletter speculating that the Minority Chair of the Transportation Committee is giving serious consideration of retiring.
On the Senate side, there will also be committee chairmanship vacancies next year:
- Majority Chair, Education Committee
- Majority Chair, Judiciary Committee
- Majority Chair, Law & Justice Committee
- Majority Chair, Local Government Committee
IN WHOSE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT DO YOU LIVE?…who knows!
As most know, the PA Supreme Court’s ruling that the congressional district boundaries were skewed to favor Republicans put election district boundaries in limbo. In response, several versions of a revised map came from the General Assembly and the Governor’s office. Now, there is a new one prepared by the Supreme Court itself. In the initial ruling, the court gave itself the authority to draw and impose its’ own map. Thanks to Politics PA for the link that follows: https://www.politicspa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/DWbCwdmUMAA2-gR.jpg. Despite the new map, there will be legal challenges.
One impact is that the winner in the March special election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Representative Tim Murphy will face another incumbent in November. Right now, both candidates now live in the 18th district. If the newest map becomes final and Democrat Conor Lamb wins, he would face incumbent Republican Keith Rothfus. If Republican Rick Saccone wins, he would face new 18th district incumbent Democrat Mike Doyle. Another repercussion from the map uncertainty is that Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) may also file for re-election to the PA House in addition to his congressional bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Charles Dent.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW WITH THE STATE BUDGET?
Now that the proposed State Budget for FY 2018-19 has been submitted to the General Assembly, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are holding hearings with Cabinet and agency heads explaining their specific funding. Some, such as Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, are not on the schedule. The Insurance Department receives its funding from a dedicated fund, the Insurance Regulation & Oversight Fund and not from the General Fund from where most of the State Budget comes. Following is a schedule. To keep note of changes, please refer to www.legis.state.pa.us and check House and Senate tabs, then click on ‘committees’. PA Cable Network (https://pcntv.com/schedule/ ) airs most of the hearings.
Agency House Senate
Administration (Information Tech.) 2/27 na
Aging na 3/6
Agriculture 2/26 2/28
Budget/Governor’s Office 3/8 3/8
Community & Econ. Development 2/21 3/5
Conservation & Natural Resources 2/22 2/28
Correction & Parole 2/27 3/1
Education 3/5 3/6
Environmental Protection 2/26 3/1
General Services 2/28 2/26
Health/Human Services 3/6 3/7
Drug & Alcohol/Health 3/1 3/8
Labor & Industry 2/21 2/26
Liquor Control Board 2/28 3/1
Military & Veteran Affairs 2/28 2/28
Revenue 2/20 3/5
State na 2/21
Transportation 2/22 2/26
PA State System of Higher Education 2/21 2/22
Independent Fiscal Office 2/20 2/20
Attorney General 3/1 2/21
State Police 3/7 2/22
State Treasurer na 2/20
Auditor General na 2/21
PA Emergency Mgmt. Agency na 2/22
State- Rel. Universities (PSU, Pitt, Penn) na 2/27
Judiciary na 2/27
PENSION HEARINGS CONCLUDE
On February 14, PA State Treasurer Joe Torsella concluded the last of four hearings on how PA can strengthen the retirement security pension system. These, along with a January 25 report prepared by Econsult Solutions (Phila.) set the stage for the Treasurer to aggressively push for creation of a state pension plan with mandated employer participation and opt-out options for employees. The new system might be called “automatic individual retirement accounts” and be somewhat similar to plans in CA, CT, IL, MD, OR, and DC. The Econsult report suggests that insufficient retirement savings means a loss of 25,880 jobs per year, $1.4 billion in lost state revenue, and a $14.3 billion burden on elderly state assistance through 2010,