By Rep. Anita Kulik
The Pennsylvania House and Senate are now in the full swing of budget negotiations.
Bills will be forthcoming in both Chambers that will set forth the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Federal funds were received last year and are still in the Commonwealth’s coffers. As such, there are many of us who believe that there is the ability to provide much-needed funding for many different areas of need in the Commonwealth.
As for the municipalities in our district, I am hoping to see monies for infrastructure, schools (so as to help alleviate property tax issues) and other matters that I know are of particular importance to my constituents.
The emails, phone calls, letters and even just discussions as I am out in the community, prove the importance of addressing these concerns.
‘Blue Star Family’
Several bills passed through the House in a recent session, with bipartisan support.
House Bill 1486 creates a new section under Title 75 (Vehicles), allowing PennDOT to issue “Blue Star Family” Plates. These will be special registration plates designating the vehicle as belonging to a family member of a person serving on active duty in the military.
House Bill 2437 also will add a new provision to Title 75. The bill will allow a person to make a $5 contribution to the Children’s Trust Fund when electronically renewing a driver’s license, ID card or vehicle registration through PennDOT’s website.
Turnpike tolls are a recurring issue. House Bill 2139 proposes to fix some problems.
This bill would require the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to notify E-ZPass account holders if the account has been charged a Flat V-Toll because the E-ZPass transponder was malfunctioning or unreadable. The bill also would increase the enforcement of unpaid tolls.
As you may know, there is a huge amount of unpaid tolls and these funds could help address
needed roadway repairs.
The Veteran’s Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee met to consider several bills. One particular bill addresses the reimbursement issue faced by our ambulance services. This bill would amend the Human Services Code to increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates for services provided by ambulance companies.
These rate adjustments are necessary to help maintain these critical services in our communities. This bill passed out of committee unanimously and will hopefully get consideration on the House Floor when the Legislature returns to session.
House Bill 1644 passed unanimously on the House floor. This bill proposes to establish the Medicaid Care Transition Program with the Department of Human Services. It provides for the timely placement of Medicaid enrollees into appropriate post-acute care.
At the time of the writing of this article, our nation is still in shock over two horrific, tragic events. The murdering of innocent people has become too common across our land. We cannot become numb to these problems. Children do not deserve to die. Children do not deserve to live in fear. Parents should not have to identify the unrecognized bodies of their children. Nor should we fear going to a market or walking down a street.
Schools must have proper funding for education and safety. Our police and first responders must be properly funded. The laws we have on the books should be enforced and common-sense laws should be debated.
We must all stand together and demand solutions. No matter what side of an issue you stand on, you should let your legislators know your concerns.
Solutions can be reached if we are all willing to compromise and at the least listen to each other. We certainly can, and must, do better. Starting the conversations and listening to all sides is the start of the solutions.