ICYMI: The biggest headlines from budget negotiations this week | Five for the Weekend

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is still without a finished spending plan for the 2023-24 fiscal year

By: - July 8, 2023 6:30 am
The floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (Photo by Amanda Mustard for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star).

The floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (Photo by Amanda Mustard for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star).

Happy weekend, all. 

More than a week past the June 30 budget deadline, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is still without a finalized spending plan for the 2023-24 fiscal year. 

Lawmakers and state officials have quarreled over the inclusion of a $100 million for a school voucher program in the budget, which Gov. Josh Shapiro promised this week to line-item veto in an effort to compromise with Democrats opposed to the vouchers.

The state Senate, which isn’t scheduled to return to Harrisburg until September, would need to sign off on a budget before it can reach Shapiro’s desk for final approval.

Here are a few stories to help you keep up with the ongoing state budget negotiations:

June 30: Pennsylvania budget deadline looms as debate over school vouchers continues

July 5: Shapiro drops voucher plan to end impasse as Pa. House lawmakers return to session

July 5: House sends $45.5B budget to Shapiro — who vows to abandon Senate GOP-backed school vouchers

July 5: Pa. lawmakers, advocates react to state budget passage

July 6: Shapiro: Senate GOP failed to close budget deal with House Democrats on school vouchers

July 7: With political and legislative hurdles remaining, Pa. budget is far from Shapiro’s desk

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, gestures toward nurses who supported the Patient Safety Act following the bill’s passage in the Pennsylvania House on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. (Capital-Star photo by Peter Hall)

1. Pa. nurses celebrate passage of Patient Safety Act in state House

Long-awaited legislation that would limit the number of patients that hospitals can assign to an individual nurse passed in the Pennsylvania House on Wednesday with bipartisan support.

The Patient Safety Act, which specifies the number of patients per-nurse required in different hospital settings, passed with a 119-84 vote. Two Democrats voted against the bill, while 19 Republicans voted in favor of House Bill 106, which now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

(Photo via The Philadelphia Tribune)

2. Homeowners could reject racist deed restrictions under bill passed in Pa. House

State Rep. Justin Fleming told a story on the Pennsylvania House floor of friends who bought a home and discovered the deed to the property contained an archaic and racist restriction on who could live there.

On Wednesday, the chamber passed Fleming’s bill with a 200-3 vote to allow property owners and homeowners associations to file papers with county recorders of deeds to repudiate such restrictive covenants. The bill will now be considered in the state Senate.

(Image via the Ohio River Valley Institute)

3. Report: Cracker plant hasn’t delivered for Beaver Co. | Tuesday Morning Coffee

When it was first announced in 2012, Shell’s ethane cracker plant in Beaver County was sold as an engine that would help revitalize western Pennsylvania’s economy.

But a new report indicates that the plant, which launched in November 2022, has yet to deliver on that promised prosperity, and that Beaver County “has lagged the state and nation in nearly every measure of economic activity,” according to the Ohio River Valley Institutewhich conducted the research.

Close-up of bartender serving beers at bar
(Getty Images)

4. Report: 58% of underage Pa. residents carded, served booze anyway in 2022 | Thursday Morning Coffee

A newly released state report on underaged and at-risk drinking in Pennsylvania might take some of the fizz out of your favorite tonic.

The bottom line:

  • “Research has shown that excessive alcohol use was responsible for an estimated one in eight deaths among adults between 20 and 64 years old,” liquor regulators asserted in their report.
  • About 4.2 million (11.1%) of 12- to 20-year-olds reported binge drinking at least once in the past month, the state data showed.
  • In 2022, 58% of underage buyers were carded for alcohol and still served during Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement age-compliance checks at licensed establishments, according to liquor regulators.
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 01: Advocates, legislators, and pregnant workers rally on Capitol Hill in support of The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act on December 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for A Better Balance)

5. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: What’s in it, what does it mean for Pennsylvanians?

A federal law providing pregnant workers with the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace went into effect in late June.

The Capital-Star talked to legal advocates and policymakers about what the act means for Pennsylvanians.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.