Senator Pittman E-Newsletter

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In this Update:

  • Senate Approves Critical Budget Implementation Bills
  • Eggs & Issues – Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Reserve Grand Champion – Dayton Fair
  • Committee Advances Bill to Move Up 2024 Primary Election
  • Illegible License Plate Event Recap
  • Tax Collections Show Effectiveness of Reducing Taxes
  • Indiana Regional Medical Center Welcome Ceremony
  • State Police Remove College Credit Requirement for Cadets
  • Avoid Holiday Traffic With 511PA
  • Happy Labor Day

Senate Approves Critical Budget Implementation Bills

The Senate advanced two bills to implement key parts of the 2023-24 budget and drive out funding to schools, hospitals, EMS providers, higher education, libraries and more.

The fiscal code bills take an important step to further finalize portions of the state budget which require implementation language. The critical support authorized by the legislation cannot be finalized until the House of Representatives also returns to session.

House Bill 1300 reauthorizes assessments and payments to hospitals, boosts reimbursement rates for EMS providers, and reauthorizes judicial fees that courts rely on for funding. These budget items are important and time-sensitive.

In addition, the bill directs funding to many non-controversial and bipartisan budget items related to education, including:

  • Providing for a two-year tuition freeze for PASSHE schools.
  • Allocating more than $260 million for community colleges.
  • Distributing more than $70 million in state aid for libraries.
  • Allocating more than $76 million for special education funding for Intermediate Units.
  • Reimbursing schools for providing free breakfasts for all students ($46.5 million).
  • Transferring more than $8.5 million to maintain current PHEAA grant levels.
  • Distributing $11 million in grants for non-public school safety initiatives.

The Senate also voted to advance Senate Bill 757, which addresses other priorities included in the original budget deal Senate Republicans negotiated with Gov. Josh Shapiro in June.

You can watch my floor remarks from Wednesday here.

Eggs & Issues – Indiana Chamber of Commerce

I was pleased to participate in the “Eggs and Issues Breakfast” hosted by the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce.

I appreciate Chamber President Mark Hilliard asking me to be a part of this annual event. It was great to join my friend and colleague state Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-62) to discuss legislative matters and current issues impacting communities across our state.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend!

Reserve Grand Champion – Dayton Fair

I had a great time participating in the Dayton Fair Junior Livestock sale last week! 

Pictured with me is Caden Shuler, son of Dan & Jessica. Caden is a first-year member of the Dayton Livestock 4-H Club. He was awarded the Banner for Reserve Grand Champion Carcass Sheep. 

Congratulations to Caden and all the youth who participated in the livestock sale and showing of their animals at the Great Dayton Fair. Your time, dedication and commitment to 4-H and your animals is recognized and respected – well done!

Committee Advances Bill to Move Up 2024 Primary Election

Bipartisan legislation to give Pennsylvanians greater say in the 2024 presidential election by moving up the primary election date was approved by a Senate committee this week. The bill advances to the full Senate for consideration.

The Senate State Government Committee passed Senate Bill 224 to move up the primary election by five weeks to March 19, 2024. This change will likely place the Pennsylvania primary election on the same day as Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.

In many presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before Pennsylvania voters have a chance to cast a ballot. Moving up the spring election date gives voters in the fifth-largest state a better chance of weighing in on the presidential primary.

Illegible License Plate Event Recap

On Tuesday, we had a great crowd take advantage of the illegible license plate event which I co-hosted with state Reps. Donna Oberlander (R-63) and Abby Major (R-60).

Our thanks to the Armstrong County Sheriff’s Department for assisting with this event. If you were unable to attend on Tuesday but would like help with getting a replacement plate for your vehicle, please call my Kittanning District Office at (724) 543-3026 or submit a web contact form here.

Tax Collections Show Effectiveness of Reducing Taxes

Each month, the Senate Appropriations Committee prepares an update about the state’s financial health. The most recent report shows that total General Fund revenues were $185.3 million, or 6.9%, higher than last year at this time. Corporate Net Income Tax (CNIT) collections were $31.3 million, or 20.8%, higher than July 2022 collections.

The increased collections demonstrate the effectiveness of reducing Pennsylvania’s CNIT rate, which started with the 2022-23 state budget. This year’s budget continues the phase-down of our CNIT rate, which will take Pennsylvania from one of the highest tax rates in the country to one of the lowest.

The full update, including the monthly revenue report, is available here.

Indiana Regional Medical Center Welcome Ceremony

I was honored to attend Indiana Regional Medical Center’s welcome ceremony for the second class of resident physicians for the Rural Family Medicine Residency Program.

When this initiative first came forward, state Rep. Jim Struzzi (R-62) and I worked together to obtain state funding for the program. We were pleased to announce $1 million in this year’s budget for this wonderful program – the third such award in the last 3 years.

The mission of the program is to provide excellent, comprehensive, family medicine training so graduates might fill healthcare disparities in rural Pennsylvania communities. 

For us, this is about our economy, the future of our community and providing quality health care in rural communities.

Congratulations and best wishes to the seven new family medicine residents accepted into the program along with program director, Dr. Amanda Vaglia.

State Police Remove College Credit Requirement for Cadets

Pennsylvania State Police are removing the college credit requirement for residents who want to serve as state troopers.

The previous educational requirement of 60 college credits has been in place since the 1990s. Under the change, cadet applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate and a valid driver’s license from any state. Cadets also undergo 28 weeks of comprehensive training.

The number of state police applicants has dropped significantly in recent years. Waiving the college degree requirement on a trial basis for this next period of cadet applications is aimed at helping the PSP attract and retain talent. The change will be re-evaluated pending the results of multiple application cycles.

The 2023-24 state budget includes funding for four new state police cadet classes to train 384 new troopers. For information on becoming a Pennsylvania State Police trooper, visit patrooper.com.

Avoid Holiday Traffic With 511PA

You can log onto www.511pa.com to check current traffic impacts from construction, traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to live traffic cameras across Pennsylvania. The service is free and available 24 hours a day.

511PA is also available through a smartphone app, by calling 5-1-1 or by following regional Twitter (X) alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

In other PennDOT news, driver license and photo centers will be closed Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day. Customers may still obtain a variety of driver and vehicle products and services online through PennDOT’s website. 

Happy Labor Day

I hope you have a great holiday weekend and relaxing Labor Day.

I’m working with my colleagues to improve opportunities for workers and the families they support. Too many Pennsylvania citizens are fleeing the state for better jobs in other parts of the country.

To reverse this troubling trend, the budget bill passed by the Senate and signed into law continues to improve our tax structure to create jobs, prioritize workforce development and support career and technical education. I’ll keep you updated on our efforts throughout the year.

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