Legislative Bulletin

See All Issues from March 2017 forward​​​​​​​.

 

 
Number 2
January 18, 2019

LEGISLATIVE BULLETIN

An e-newsletter of the
County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 


 

717-526-1010

GOV. WOLF INAUGURATED FOR SECOND TERM; BUDGET ADDRESS FEB. 5        

Gov. Wolf's second term officially began on Jan. 15 with his inauguration at the Capitol. The ceremony followed one in the Senate chambers earlier that day, swearing in Pennsylvania's new lieutenant governor, John Fetterman.

The 2019-2020 legislative session now begins in earnest, with the House and Senate scheduled to be in the last week of January and the first week of February. Gov. Wolf is scheduled to deliver his FY 2019-2020 budget address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, kicking off several weeks of budget hearings with state agency leaders before the House and Senate Appropriations committees.

CCAP will be providing additional information to members on how and where to view the budget address, as well as updating the CCAP Budget News page at
www.pacounties.org with details and analysis as they become available.


NEW, FAMILIAR FACES CHAIR SENATE COMMITTEES   

Both caucuses in the Senate announced their committee chairs in early January, with some new and some familiar faces taking on leadership roles.

Of importance to counties, the Local G
overnment Committee will be led this session by former CCAP member Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster), who had stepped up in the previous session to fill the role on the resignation of former Sen. Scott Wagner, and newly elected Sen. Tim Kearney (D-Delaware). The Health and Human Services Committee will also see two new chairs in former Mercer County commissioner Sen. Michele Brooks (R) and Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery), as will the Aging and Youth Committee with Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin) and newly elected Sen. Maria Collett (D-Montgomery) taking the helm.

Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne), who previously chaired the Health and Human Services Committee, will now lead the Senate Judiciary Committee on the retirement of long-time chair former Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, together with Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery). New faces will also lead the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, with Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) and newly elected Sen. Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny) stepping up as chairs. In addition, former CCAP member Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) will be joined by Sen. John Sabatina Jr. (D-Philadelphia) as chairs of the Transportation Committee.

The State Government Committee remains chaired by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), while the Finance Committee remains in the continued leadership of Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango) and Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna).  

 

HOUSE NAMES DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE CHAIRS 

The House Democratic caucus named their committee chairs recently, with new appointments in several key committees and returning members in many others.

Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia) will join Rep. Garth Everett (R-Lycoming) as newly appointed chairs of the State Government Committee, which traditionally has jurisdiction over election-related matters. In addition, Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) will be one of two new chairs of the House Judiciary Committee with Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin), and Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) one of two new chairs of the Transportation Committee with Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester).

Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) and Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia) will serve as the new Democratic chairs of the Health Committee and Human Services Committee, respectively, and the Children and Youth Committee will see a new Democratic chair in Rep. Joseph Petrarca (D-Westmoreland). Former CCAP member Rep. Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton) remains chair of the Aging and Older Adult Services Committee.

On the Local Government committee, Rep. Bob Freeman (D-Northampton) will remain the Democratic chair,
and Rep. Jake Wheatley continues as chair of the Finance Committee. Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) also returns as chair of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, as does Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence) with the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

H
ouse Republicans previously named their committee chairs on Jan. 2, and those are listed in the Jan. 4 edition of the Legislative Bulletin, available at www.pacounties.org.  

 

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN IMPACTS   

As the federal government shutdown reaches the end of its fourth week, counties are feeling the impacts on the practical and policy levels.

One of the agencies unable to continue operations during the shutdown is the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Among other things, this means the EAC is unable to grant certifications for voting systems, delaying the certification of at least one vendor, thus making them unavailable in Pennsylvania until the shutdown is ended.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has indefinitely postponed a hearing on qualified opportunity zones, which were established under the 2017 federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act. The zones provide tax incentives for investors
to put their unrealized capital gains into an Opportunity Fund that is dedicated for investing in the designated Opportunity Zones, including 300 zones in Pennsylvania. The hearing was to provide clarification about the proposed opportunity zone regulations that were released by the IRS in October to clarify what gains qualify for deferral and which taxpayers and investments are eligible, as well as offer additional guidance. However, investor questions will now remain officially unanswered until a new hearing can be scheduled when the government reopens.

The shutdown has also delayed the publication of the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule in the Federal Register; while the rule was released in December, publication officially begins the 60-day public comment period. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers had further planned to hold a Jan. 10 webcast and a Jan. 23 public hearing in Kansas; the lapse in EPA's appropriations has forced the postponement of these outreach events. In the meantime, the proposed rule, fact sheets, an economic analysis and other resources are available at
www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.

 

FEDERAL CYBERSECURITY AGENCY CREATED   

In November 2018, President Trump signed into law the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act, elevating the mission of the former National Protection and Programs Directorate within the Department of Homeland Security and establishing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

CISA is responsible for protecting the nation's critical infrastructure from both physical and cyber threats, with coordination and collaboration among government and private sector organizations. For instance, the Agency provides 24-7 cyber-situational awareness, analysis, incident response and cyber-defense capabilities to federal, state and local government, as well as tools, services and assessment capabilities to assist in guarding ".gov" networks.

In addition, CISA provides consolidated all-hazards risk analysis for critical infrastructure through the National Risk Management Center, and coordinates security and resilience efforts across public and private sectors. Tools and guidance are also available to all levels of government to enhance public safety interoperable communications and assist with developing emergency communications capabilities. The Agency further conducts extensive, nationwide outreach to support communications among emergency response providers and government agencies in the event of natural and man-made disasters.

For additional details about CISA, visit
www.dhs.gov/CISA.

 

NACO LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE     

The National Association of Counties Legislative Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. from March 2 to March 6, 2019, including sessions on a broad range of federal issues. NACo's policy committees will also meet during the Conference, and attendees will have time for visits to Capitol Hill. The Conference agenda and online registration information are available on the NACo website, www.naco.org.

 

NACO ACCEPTING INTERIM POLICY RESOLUTIONS UNTIL FEB. 1   

NACo's ten policy steering committees will consider interim legislative and policy resolutions at the Legislative Conference in March that will guide NACo advocacy until the NACo Annual Conference in July. Interim resolutions offer an opportunity for members to address policy issues that were not discussed at the previous Annual Conference. All resolutions must be submitted via email to resolutions@naco.org by Feb. 1.

The standard format and sample resolutions are available at
www.naco.org, and members are encouraged to work the the NACo committee staff liaison to assure the resolution adheres to the guidelines. CCAP's Government Relations team can connect members to NACo staff if they are interested in submitting a resolution.

 

LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER OFFERS ADVOCACY RESOURCES   

County officials and their staff have an important role to play in advocating for policy changes at the state level. CCAP's Legislative Action Center at www.pacounties.org has talking points, fact sheets, sample letters and resolutions, and other resources that allow counties to quickly contact their legislators on key issues before the General Assembly. Among these resources are information about counties' 2019 priorities and the recently updated Pennsylvania Counties Are and Pennsylvania County Human Services Are fact sheets, which offer a quick and easy way to learn more about all the ways counties touch the lives of their residents every day.