New PA Budget: Historic Investments in Public Education, Programs for Domestic Violence and Rape Victims
Last week, the General Assembly sent Governor Tom Wolf the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania budget, and he signed this budget into law.
I proudly voted in favor of this budget, which contains record state investments in public education and significant funding increases to help victims of domestic violence and rape.
The new, fiscally responsible $33.9 billion state budget does not require any tax increases, keeps state spending within the rate of inflation and even directs $300 million to the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help Pennsylvania during an economic downturn.
As someone who strongly believes our students should always be a top priority for legislators, I am pleased the budget contains $12.8 billion in education funding, by far the largest-ever state investment in our schools.
Education highlights in the budget include:
In 2016, an amendment I authored on a fair education funding formula was adopted, meaning new funding for schools in the budget will be allocated based on this formula.
In other good news for our schools, a $60 million school safety grant program we created in 2018 has been reauthorized, and these grants to protect students and teachers from violence will be made available to school districts later this year.
In addition, this spring I advocated for increases in funding for programs that help victims of domestic violence and rape. As a former board member of the Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County, I know how important these programs are to victims and their families.
There are 59 domestic violence programs located throughout Pennsylvania that serve nearly 90,000 victims a year. In one day alone, domestic violence programs in the state provide nearly 1,300 adult and child victims refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Unfortunately, to date, as many as 1,100 more victims have been turned away for lack of resources.
After much work, these programs received a substantial 10% increase in the new budget, far outpacing the 1.8% increase in total state spending. This funding will go a long way in providing a lifeline to victims of violence.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, it was a pleasure to work with my colleagues on the state’s new spending plan, which began last winter with several weeks of hearings on the budget.
The 2019-2020 state budget will certainly help our state meet important needs, especially for our students, schools and victims of violence. Below you will find graphics with additional budget highlights.
Downton Abbey Star Supports PA Puppy Mill Law
Downton Abbey star Lesley Nicol visited the state Capitol last week to support Victoria’s Law. I have proposed this legislation along with Senator Andy Dinniman to help shut down the puppy mill pipeline in Pennsylvania. The legislation would require stores to sell pets sourced from shelters and rescues instead of inhumane puppy mills. It was wonderful to meet Lesley Nicol, and I thank her for her support.
Make Your Voice Heard on New Pipeline Regulations
In early May, I urged the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to allow citizens to comment on pipeline safety issues by suggesting new rules for pipelines that transport hazardous liquids, such as the Mariner East Pipelines.
I am happy to report that the PUC has now opened this process. The public has until August 28, 2019 to provide input on new pipeline rules in our state. To see my letter to the PUC and for information on how you are able to suggest new pipeline safety rules for the Mariner East Pipelines, click HERE.
After this process concludes in August, the PUC will review the comments received by the public and develop a list of proposed regulations.
The safety of communities and residents affected by pipelines continues to be a top priority for me in the Senate. I have twice called for the temporary shutdown of the Mariner East Pipelines until stringent safety measures ordered last year by an Administrative Law judge were enforced.
I am also the only legislator to join a citizen complaint, Meghan Flynn, et al. v. Sunoco Pipeline, L.P., filed with the PUC to enforce new safety measures. It is considered the premier PUC pipeline safety case and is awaiting final judgement.
In addition, this year I have proposed thirteen pieces of legislation to enhance pipeline safety and oversight in Pennsylvania, all of which I have sponsored along with Senator Andy Dinniman. Two of these bills were recently approved by the Senate’s Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.
I am pleased the PUC is now allowing the public to participate in the creation of new pipeline safety rules. Please consider making your voice heard on this issue by clicking the link in this article.
Longwood Gardens, an International Destination
Located in East Marlborough Township, Longwood Gardens attracts over 1.5 million visitors from around the world every year. It is the most attended paid public garden in the United States. I recently had the pleasure of touring this incredible attraction in our region.
We are blessed to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Please join me in taking time with family and friends to reflect on what freedom means to all of us.
Happy 4th of July!
Assistance for Veterans
I partner with the Pennsylvania American Legion every month to assist local veterans at my Brookhaven office. A representative from this organization will be helping veterans with issues on:
Date: Wednesday, July 24th
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Senator Killion’s Brookhaven Office, 4110 Edgmont Avenue, Brookhaven, PA
I encourage veterans and their families who have questions about benefits and programs to schedule an appointment during these assistance hours. Appointments can be made by contacting my office at (610) 447 – 3163. This service is offered the fourth Wednesday of each month.
How I Can Help
My offices provide many services to families in our area. Here are some of the ways we can help.
How to Contact Me
Please visit my website at www.SenatorKillion.com.
I have staffed two offices in the district to provide you with top-notch constituent service and provide answers to legislative inquiries. Both offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Locations are noted below.
If you are having any problems with state agencies or need help with an issue relating to government, my staff and I will be happy to assist you.
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