Below are some important Harrisburg updates that may be helpful to you.
This week, while there was again no formal Session in either Chamber, there was a lot going on in Harrisburg with budget hearings in the House and a noteworthy Joint Committee Hearing in the Senate.
This week kicked off the annual Q&A marathon of the Commonwealth Departments by the Senate in terms of Appropriations Budget Hearings. This is where we get to examine the budget requests of the various state departments and agencies, as well as ask pertinent questions of the Secretary’s that concern or district.
Monday included the Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) and the Department of Revenue/Lottery. You can watch my questions and the response from the IFO hearing here and here. To see the questions I asked and the response I received during the Revenue/ Lottery hearing, click here.
Tuesday was the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR). The PennDOT hearing was postponed to a later date. Pennsylvania parks, natural gas development, broadband infrastructure, and the need for DCNR to be more self-reliant were among the topics discussed during the hearing.
Wednesday included two sessions solely for the Department of Human Services (DHS), by far our largest-funded Department. Delivery of services, cost to taxpayers, and the need to use federal COVID-19 relief funding responsibly were some of the key points in parts one and two of this hearing. You can watch my Q&A here.
Thursday wrapped up the week with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of State. RGGI opposition and urging the Department and Administration to better engage with local communities, elected officials, and economic development boards were key points made during the DEP hearing. There was much to say during the Department of State hearing, with the focus being on a few main points – a critical need for election system upgrades, ensuring an accurate election audit, reimbursing counties for voting machines, and the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs delays in professional licenses were among some discussed. You can watch my Q&A from the DEP hearing here, and my Q&A from the Department of State hearing here.
You can watch all of this week’s hearings here.
Lastly, on Thursday I joined several my colleagues for a press conference on the introduction of Senate Bill 382, which would reform the Public-Private Partnership (P3) Board, the obscure entity which PennDOT used to announce their plan to toll 9 bridges in the Commonwealth. You can watch the full press conference and my remarks here.
If you’re interested, you can sign up to receive my newsletters that contain the most up to date information on statewide and local issues on my website, senatormensch.com. You can also keep an eye on my website for news releases, email me with questions or concerns, or find contact information for my district offices which you can get in touch with if you need anything.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 215-541-2388.
Senator Bob Mensch
24th Senatorial District