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
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:
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
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.
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.
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 Institute, which conducted the research.
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.
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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