Governor Wolf’s Four Major Accomplishments of the Fall Session
By: Mary Isenhour, Chief of Staff
October 28, 2016
The 2016 fall legislative session has ended, capping Governor Wolf’s first two years in office. Working with Republicans and Democrats alike, the governor has achieved significant progress on issues that have confronted the commonwealth for years, and in some cases, decades including historic education funding increases at all levels, a fair funding formula, expanding access to health care, fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic, modernizing the sale of liquor and beer, and legalizing medical marijuana.
During the fall session alone, Governor Wolf worked with leaders and members of both parties and in both chambers to pass significant legislation. Here’s four of his major accomplishments:
Combatting the opioid and heroin crisis
In late September, Governor Wolf addressed a joint session of the General Assembly to outline a set of shared, specific legislative goals that would help tackle the opioid and heroin crisis. Together with Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, Governor Wolf made a commitment to prioritize helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease.
During the fall session, we made real progress in helping the victims of substance use disorder and the communities that have been devastated by this terrible disease. The governor and legislators made significant achievements toward fighting this epidemic by passing five major bills that will strengthen the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, restrict the number of pills that can be prescribed to minors or in emergency rooms, establish education curriculum on safe prescribing, and create more locations for the drop-off of drugs among other important initiatives.
Modernizing the sale of beer and liquor
In his first two years, Governor Wolf has worked hard with Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly to modernize the sale of liquor, wine, and beer in Pennsylvania in order to bring the commonwealth’s wine and spirits system into the 21st century.
During the fall session, the governor worked with lawmakers to approve the sale of six-packs of beer at distributors throughout the commonwealth. This legislation further enhances the customer experience by providing greater convenience and satisfaction to the residents of Pennsylvania.
Legalizing ride-sharing across the Commonwealth
Governor Wolf worked with both parties in the legislature to finally pass a long-term solution for ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate everywhere in Pennsylvania.
This legislation not only permanently legalizes ride-sharing, but it will also send two-thirds of the revenue derived from ride sharing in the city of Philadelphia to the Philadelphia School District to help the district continue to strengthen its financial footing. This funding is on top of the additional $97 million Governor Wolf worked to secure Philadelphia schools in his first two budgets.
Since taking office, Governor Wolf has secured historic increases in his first two years:
- $415 million in basic education funding.
- $60 million for early childhood education.
- $50 million in special education funding.
- $14.6 million for early intervention
- $81.4 million for PASSHE and state-related schools.
- $16.4 million for Community Colleges.
Making critical reforms to Unemployment Insurance
The governor and lawmakers from both parties also came together to pass a necessary and critical reform bill that will provide nearly 50,000 additional people with access to unemployment insurance.
This agreement brought together both Republicans and Democrats, as well as advocates in the business community and organized labor, to ensure that we help the unemployed while they try to find work. This was also accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner ensuring we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars.
These accomplishments built on Governor Wolf’s successful first two years, and while we continue to move Pennsylvania forward, there is more work to do. Governor Wolf looks forward to continuing to work with legislative leaders and members from both parties to make Pennsylvania stronger.
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