Bill requiring IFO cost estimates of collective bargaining agreements heads to the governor

Bill requiring IFO cost estimates of collective bargaining agreements heads to the governor

The Senate Wednesday concurred in House amendments to Senate Bill 644, legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) that would require the Independent Fiscal Office to provide five-year cost estimates for proposed public employee contracts under the governor's jurisdiction prior to execution of agreements.

The bill now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature or veto.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

School district property tax elimination measure fails in Senate

Hopes of passing what sponsors believed would be a measure to put a stake in the heart of Pennsylvania’s school district property taxes were dashed Monday night, as their proposal failed along the narrow margin of 24 to 24, with Lt. Gov. Mike Stack voting in the negative to break the tie.

The proposal was voted on as an amendment to House Bill 683.

Prime sponsor of the measure, Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) said the school district property tax system in effect today is the “same, stupid, unfair” tax that has existed since 1834.

“Again and again we have tried, but we have not succeeded [in eliminating the tax],” he said. “Today is the day and it’s long overdue.”

Monday, November 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Industrial hemp bill begins move in Senate

Industrial hemp bill begins move in Senate

A proposal in the Senate that would take advantage of federal permission to begin an industrial hemp program in Pennsylvania took a step forward in the Senate Tuesday with its unanimous passage out of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The proposal jointly sponsored by Senators Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) would allow the state to begin industrial hemp pilot programs under the direction of the Department of Agriculture and with research conducted by institutions of higher education.

Sen. Schwank said after Tuesday’s committee meeting that the proposal now moving in the Senate differs slightly from one in the House sponsored by Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) in that it will allow individual farmers to serve as the research vehicles.

“A farmer and farmers throughout the state could actually start to grow this under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and the oversight that’s built in to the bill,” she said. “That way, it gives us an opportunity to look at how this would grow throughout the commonwealth rather than just in one place."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Bills aimed at more transparent collective bargaining make their way to the House Floor

Bills aimed at more transparent collective bargaining make their way to the House Floor

Two Senate bills that sponsors say would bring more transparency to collective bargaining negotiations made their way out of the House State Government Committee Tuesday morning and now head to the House Floor for consideration.

Senate Bill 644 by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) would require the Independent Fiscal Office to conduct a fiscal impact study of any collective bargaining agreement before it is officially enacted.

“Senate Bill 644 represents an ongoing effort to bring openness and transparency to state government,” Sen. Folmer said of his bill. “[It] does this by focusing on the cost, not on the details associated with the Commonwealth’s collective bargaining agreements.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Senate committee advances bills aimed at more transparent labor negotiations

Senate committee advances bills aimed at more transparent labor negotiations

The Senate State Government Committee Wednesday advanced three bills that—according to their sponsors—will bring increased transparency to collective bargaining sessions between labor and government entities.

Senate Bill 643 by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) would open up collective bargaining negotiation sessions between labor and government entities to the public.

Senate Bill 644 by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) would require the Independent Fiscal Office to provide a cost estimate for the coming five years of any collective bargaining agreement and allows the IFO director the authority to try and collect cost information.

Senate Bill 645 by Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette) would require that any collective bargaining agreement be publicly posted by the state, local government, or school district entity two weeks prior to ratification to allow public input.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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