Budget Proposal; Senate Bill 780; Senate Bill 936
Written by Legislative Consultant, Bruce Hironimus

February 9, 2018

Governor Wolf delivered his budget address on Tuesday, and his fourth state budget proposal differs a bit from his first three in that proposed discretionary spending increases are restrained, as are the number of potential tax hikes.  The budget proposal drew criticism from Republican legislative leaders who questioned the level of spending and continuing pursuit of a Marcellus Shale tax.  The merger of the Departments of Human Services and Health is incorporated into the budget proposal.  All principals do remain hopeful of a timely budget passage in this election year. Download the 30 page budget in brief.

The General Assembly will be engaged in a month long process of Appropriations Committee hearings to review the details of the Governor’s proposed budget and the House will return to floor session on March 12, while the Senate returns on March 19.

Senate Bill 780 - The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously reported the subject bill with the amendment POMA reviewed and supported.  There remain outstanding issues with the "insurance components” which are planned to be discussed at a meeting in the coming weeks.

Senate Bill 936 - A controversial Workers' Compensation drug formulary bill failed to win approval from a majority of the state House of Representatives Tuesday afternoon, on a 98-98 vote, but the measure could be revisited by the chamber at a later date. Opponents of the bill contend the legislation is an attack on the rights of injured workers to seek healthcare and treatment. Supporters of the bill say it will help combat the opioid crisis, arguing opioids have been prescribed to injured Pennsylvania workers far more than in other states, and with higher dosage amounts, making it all the more likely workers fall prey to addiction and overdose.