HARRISBURG – The Senate Appropriations Committee kicked off the second week of budget hearings Monday with the Department of State and Pennsylvania State Police.
Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $45.8 billion plan seeks to boost state spending by more than $1.3 billion above the current year’s budget. Projections indicate it will nearly wipe out the state’s Rainy Day Fund in five years.
Department of State
The Department of State (DOS) and acting Secretary Al Schmidt have requested an additional $5.3 million in funding for operations – an 86.7% increase.
- Pennsylvania’s election system has received scrutiny in recent years. The committee sought details about federal and private election funding, county election grants, funding outreach to unregistered voters and publishing constitutional amendments.
- The failure of DOS in 2021 to properly advertise a proposed constitutional amendment that would extend the timeline for victims to file litigation against their abusers was inexcusable and DOS needs to demonstrate it has safeguards in place.
- Workers and employees alike deserve better service from DOS when navigating the professional licensure system. Implementing a new system to ensure faster permit processing times is critical.
- Government agencies such as DOS hold a growing amount of citizens’ personal information, and ensuring cybersecurity is critical. The department must be especially cautious due the number of employees not working in person.
Pennsylvania State Police
To bolster funding for Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure, the Senate recently passed legislation to restrict the diversion of transportation funding out of the Motor License Fund to state police. The governor’s budget plan proposes phasing in a new Public Safety and Protection Fund to support State Police.
- Moving funding for the state police out of the Motor License Fund would enable the commonwealth to obtain additional federal dollars to build and repair roads and bridges.
- The governor’s proposal would consolidate current state police budget line items into one new line item, thereby reducing the transparency of spending in this area.
- Local law enforcement departments in Pennsylvania currently are prohibited from using radar technology to enforce speed limits. The Pennsylvania State Police do not oppose the approval of legislation to enable the use of radar technology by local law enforcement.
You can find the hearings schedule, livestreams, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
CONTACT: Jason Thompson