Senators skeptical over proposed human services agency consolidation

Senators skeptical over proposed human services agency consolidation

In a situation unique to recent budget hearing history, four departments up for potential consolidation appeared jointly before the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday to answer questions about the proposed merger and various agency operations.

 

Normally appearing separately—as they did in the House—the agencies discussed the merits of the proposed consolidation and worked to assuage the fears of senators skeptical of the alleged benefits of the merger.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate caps off ambitious early session agenda by passing abortion restriction, “paycheck protection” bills

Senate caps off ambitious early session agenda by passing abortion restriction, “paycheck protection” bills

The Pennsylvania Senate has taken up an ambitious agenda early in the 2017-2018 term, addressing in its first three full session weeks bills dealing with natural gas minimum royalties and statute of limitations reform for child sex abuse cases.

 

As the Senate recessed for its annual round of budget hearings Wednesday, it did so after passing two other controversial proposals – one that would restrict abortions in Pennsylvania by disallowing them after the 21st week and one labeled “paycheck protection” in that it would prohibit the automatic deduction of public employee union dues money that would be used for political purposes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf to seek consolidation of four state agencies

Gov. Wolf to seek consolidation of four state agencies

Continuing to seek government efficiencies and consolidation instead of broad-based tax increases to balance the coming fiscal year’s budget, Gov. Tom Wolf formally announced Monday the long-rumored consolidation of four state agencies into one Department of Health and Human Services.

 

According to the administration, the four agencies that will be consolidated are the Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Department of Aging, and Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

Monday, January 30, 2017/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate committees examine potential impacts of looming prison closures

Senate committees examine potential impacts of looming prison closures

Three days before the Wolf administration is set to announce the shuttering of two state correctional institutions, the Senate Republican and Democratic Policy committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a joint hearing to discuss and learn of the potential impacts the closures could have on the state and local communities.

 

Citing cost-saving measures in response to the state budget deficit, five facilities are on the list of potential closures, which are slated to occur by June 30, 2017: SCI Mercer in Mercer County, SCI Retreat in Luzerne County, SCI Frackville in Schuylkill County, SCI Waymart in Wayne County and SCI Pittsburgh in Allegheny County. 

Monday, January 23, 2017/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: News and Views
Mixed reaction follows announcement of two state prison closures

Mixed reaction follows announcement of two state prison closures

After the Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced Friday the department’s plans to close two state prisons as a cost saving measure and to cut Pennsylvania’s inmate population in half, a number of lawmakers and stakeholders from across the state voiced their concerns about the latest move from the Wolf administration to tackle the state budget deficit. 
Monday, January 9, 2017/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: News and Views
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