March 11, 2019
State Budget Update
General Fund revenues for February were $2.5 (0.1%) million below estimates for the month. However, year-to-date collections are $287.4 million (1.4%) above estimates. The Governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019-20 projects that we will end our current FY with a $424.9 million surplus by the end of June.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recently completed three weeks of hearings with various state departments and agencies. Senate members asked probing questions of leaders and senior staff on budget-related matters. Now that these hearings are finished, the task of serious budget negotiations between the Governor and the General Assembly begin in earnest. I am hopeful that we will come together for a responsible, on-time budget for FY 2019-20.
Senate Hearing on Voting Machines and SB 48
Governor Tom Wolf has made it known that he intends to decertify every single voting machine in the Commonwealth and require them to be replaced with machines that can produce a paper ballot in time for the 2020 Presidential elections. The intent is to help safeguard our election system from hackers and to allow easier recounts, if necessary. However, many counties across the state already have machines that are not connected online and/or already produce a paper ballot. Therefore, this massive new expense being thrust upon those counties may not be necessary.
In response, I introduced Senate Bill 48, which would create a special Commission that would be tasked with reviewing a Governor’s plan with regard to election machine decertification and replacement any time he would attempt to do so to at least 50% of the machines statewide.
The bill is currently before the Senate State Government Committee, of which I am a member. I am pleased that the Chairman, Senator Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), has decided to hold a public hearing on this issue. I will be present and an active participant in the hearing.
Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz is one of the individuals scheduled to testify.
The hearing will be held on March 26, 2019 at 10:00am and will be simulcast on www.pasenategop.com at the “Watch Hearings Live” link under the Committees tab.
I want to congratulate my Chief of Staff (and friend), Phil Dunn, on his recent retirement and thank him for 34 years of service to the Senate.
Visit the Pennsylvania State Capitol This Spring
Plan a visit to the Pennsylvania State Capitol this spring while the trees are blossoming and warmer weather warrants a road trip.
Schedule a guided tour of the Capitol for groups of ten or as many as 80 individuals. Be sure to view the proceedings of the Pennsylvania Senate on scheduled Session days; visit the Interactive Welcome Center, and stop by the Capitol Gift Shop for an inexpensive and fun memento of your tour.
Security reminds visitors, if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. Contact the office of General Assembly Tour Guides at 1-800-868-7672. When calling, share with the scheduler your interest in visiting other Harrisburg venues with which they may be able to assist.
Guided tour: http://www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/tours.cfm
Interactive Welcome Center: http://www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/welcome-center.cfm
Capitol Gift Shop: http://www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/capitol-shop.cfm
Harrisburg venues: http://www.pacapitol.com/plan-a-visit/area-attractions.cfm
Real ID and Your Social Security Card
Licensed Pennsylvania motorists planning to obtain a Real ID will need to submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation verification of identity, a Social Security card, and proof of Pennsylvania residency.
In addition to the other documents, your Social Security card must display the same name as your official proof of identity papers. A replacement requiring NO name change may be issued based on one document from the pre-approved list.
Documents must be current, unexpired, and in your legal name. The proof must be a U.S. driver’s license, U.S. state-issued non-driver identity card, or a U.S. passport. See Evidence of Identity for other documents that may be accepted.
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