Legislative Update - Week Ending Dec. 9, 2022

Legislative Update - Week Ending Dec. 9, 2022

Dec 09, 2022




Shapiro-Davis Appoint PICPA to Transition Committee

The PICPA and its 20,000 members will have a seat at the table and a voice in shaping the new Shapiro-Davis administration. Incoming Gov. Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis recently announced members of seven transition committees, and Peter Calcara, PICPA vice president of government relations, has been appointed to the State Government Operations Transition Advisory Committee, specifically in the Government Reform subcommittee.

The State Government Operations Transition Advisory Committee will play a key role in helping the new administration create a state government that is effective and efficient in its service to the people of Pennsylvania. The committee is chaired by Joann Bell, director of the Philadelphia Government Office and a member of Pugliese Associates.

Gov.-elect Shapiro also announced three senior appointments. Uri Monson, currently the chief financial officer for the school district of Philadelphia, will serve as budget secretary, and Jennifer Selber, currently executive deputy attorney general, will be general counsel in the Office of the Governor. Shapiro also appointed Larry Hailsham Jr. as his executive deputy chief of staff. Dana Fritz was earlier named Shapiro’s chief of staff.

 

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Post-Election Resignations Add to Pa. House Majority Confusion

State Reps. Austin Davis (D-Allegheny) and Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) resigned, effective immediately, from the Pennsylvania House this week. The resignations add to the confusion over which party controls the 203-member state House. Davis resigned to focus on his new role as lieutenant governor. Lee departed because she is joining the U.S. House of Representatives as the first black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania.

On the same day as the resignations, Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) was sworn in as majority leader for the upcoming 2023-2024 legislative session when it begins Jan. 3. In November, McClinton was elected Democratic leader by her colleagues. She is the first woman in either party to serve as leader in the Pennsylvania House.

Following the Nov. 8 election, House Democrats held a 102-101 majority. Those 102 seats, however, included those held by Davis and Lee and another won by Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny), who died in October after it was too late for the party to replace him on the ballot.

House Republicans reacted swiftly.

“Instead of working cooperatively to navigate the unique circumstances before us, House Democrats have instead set a terrible precedent for what to expect over the next two years and beyond,” said Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Republican leader.

McClinton’s first official action was to set the date for three special elections to replace the three Allegheny lawmakers. Special elections for DeLuca’s 32nd District, Lee’s 34th District, and Davis’s 35th District are set for Feb. 7, 2023.

Until the seats are filled, Republicans will hold a 101-99 majority.

 

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Pa.’s Boyle Named Democratic Leader on House Budget Committee

Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA 2nd) has been elected ranking member of the U.S. House Budget Committee. He will succeed the retiring John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd) as the panel’s top Democrat. Yarmuth was chair when Democrats held the majority the House.

The Budget Committee’s chief responsibility is to draft an annual concurrent resolution on the budget that provides a Congressional framework for spending and revenue levels, the federal surplus or deficit, and public debt. The budget resolution can contain reconciliation instructions directing committees to change laws in their jurisdiction that affect revenues or mandatory spending levels. The committee also has jurisdiction over budget process laws and tracks the budgetary effects of legislative action.

Boyle, 45, has served on the House Budget Committee since 2019 and was vice chair during the 117th Congress. He currently serves on the House Ways & Means Committee. 

 

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January State Senate Special Election Set

A special election has been set for Jan. 31, 2023, to replace state Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia), who resigned Nov. 30, 2022. Six-term incumbent Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-Northumberland) is the first candidate to announce that she will seek Gordner’s seat. No Democrat has announced for the seat. The winner will serve out the remainder of Gordner’s term, which expires in November 2024.

Gordner will be joining the office of Pennsylvania Senate Interim President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) as counsel.

The 27th Senatorial District includes all of Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, and Snyder Counties as well as a portion of Luzerne County. 

 

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November State Revenue Collections Down Slightly

Pennsylvania collected $2.8 billion in General Fund revenue in November, which was $201.9 million, or 6.8%, less than anticipated, reported the state Department of Revenue. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $15.7 billion, which is $183.2 million, or 1.2%, above estimate.

The department attributed most of the shortfall in November to a calendar issue in that personal income tax revenue will be deposited a day later than originally anticipated. Because of this shift, personal income tax collections in December are expected to be higher than originally forecasted. This timing shift should even out by the end of the calendar year, meaning that there will be minimal impact on overall General Fund collections.

The Independent Fiscal Office’s (IFO) November Revenue Update shows General Fund collections for the month were $129.0 million, or 4.5%, below its official estimate. For the fiscal-year-to-date, however, they are $731.8 million, or 4.9%, above estimate. The IFO monthly estimate was $72.9 million lower than the estimate certified by the Wolf administration.

 

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Worker Classification Task Force Issues Recommendations

The Joint Task Force on Misclassification of Employees submitted its final report to the General Assembly. The task force was created by Act 85 of 2020 to study the misclassification of workers and its impact on the commonwealth.

The final report includes 15 recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the task force. Misclassification of employees occurs when a business wrongfully classifies a worker as an independent contractor when the nature, type, and oversight of their work determines they should be considered an employee under the law.

 

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REAL ID Requirements Delayed

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that the federal government REAL-ID-only deadline has been pushed back. Following the eventual enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration checks at airports, will be prohibited from accepting generally issued driver's licenses and identification cards as valid and secure proofs of identity. With the new extension, states now have until May 7, 2025, to ensure their residents have driver's licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act was initially passed by Congress in 2005 as a security response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It had originally been intended to go into effect in 2008.

 

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