Gov. Wolf: Legislature Leaves Harrisburg Failing to Act on Issues to Support, Protect Pennsylvanians
October 26, 2022
As the General Assembly leaves the Capitol on the last scheduled legislative session day, Governor Tom Wolf today said significant issues were left on the table — issues that Pennsylvanians support and would move our commonwealth forward.
“As the 2021-22 legislative session draws to a close, it’s extremely disappointing that measures that would have lifted up Pennsylvanians, strengthened democracy through important election reforms, and improved public health and safety in our communities will not be addressed,” Gov. Wolf said. “Yet again, Republicans in the General Assembly have failed to prioritize the real needs of Pennsylvanians.”
Throughout his administration, the governor has focused on prioritizing Pennsylvanians by investing in our education system, our workforce, our democracy and our public health and safety. While critical measures were enacted this legislative session, including a record increase in funding for education, there is still unfinished business.
There is a critical and ongoing need to support behavioral health services but legislators left the Capitol without allocating $100 million in funding to address urgent needs.
These federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds were appropriated nearly four months ago in the budget. A commission of experts in the field came together to make recommendations for their use, as mandated by the General Assembly, which created the commission.
“Individuals who need these services can’t wait and this inaction is a blatant disregard for vulnerable constituents and the mental health care system,” Gov. Wolf said. “My administration fully supports the commission’s recommendations and applauds the commission’s swift work to provide thoughtful and comprehensive recommendations to the legislature that are widely supported by stakeholders.”
Pennsylvanians also continue to struggle with rising costs of everyday necessities, yet they will continue to be short changed because measures to raise our embarrassingly low minimum wage and provide $2,000 direct payments to households did not move forward.
The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and ensuring access to voting is paramount, but important measures that would have removed current barriers to voting while implementing important voting reforms, including 21 days of pre-canvassing — a measure requested by county officials — did not get a final vote.
A proposed regulation that would provide additional protections against discrimination by adding “sex,” “race” and “religious creed” to the list of Protected Classes in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act is currently held up in the legislature, potentially preventing it from moving forward.
Communities across Pennsylvania continue to experience violent crime and although Republicans claim to be tough on crime, they didn’t have the courage to act on common sense bills to curb gun violence, including providing for safe storage of firearms, prohibiting certain assault weapons, providing for extreme risk protection orders, and more.
“I have made it my priority to focus on the issues that make Pennsylvanians’ lives better and although my time left in office is limited, I will continue to prioritize this great commonwealth and all of our constituents,” Gov. Wolf said.
Gov. Wolf has served for two terms as a leader consistently at work for the people of Pennsylvania. Learn more about how his Priorities for Pennsylvania have fueled the commonwealth’s comeback, leaving Pennsylvania in a much better place than when he arrived.