Priorities for Pennsylvania
Priorities for Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Wolf is a leader who consistently takes on the status quo to help middle-class families. He is acting on his plan to change Harrisburg and moving Pennsylvania forward.
Since taking office, Governor Wolf has been focused on one simple goal: Help Pennsylvanians build better lives for themselves and their families. Here are some of the major ways the Wolf Administration has helped build a stronger Pennsylvania.
Investing in Students and Education
- Established the Public School Fair Funding Formula to help address chronic inequitable and inadequate funding for school districts in the commonwealth.
- Invested more than $1.9 billion in schools, including the largest single-year education funding increase in state history in 2021.
- Invested $116 million in science, computer science and technical education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program, and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.
- Reduced the compulsory attendance age for schools to 6 and raised the high school dropout age to 18 to set students up for a lifetime of success.
- Established a School Safety Task Force and invested more than $130 Million in School Safety Grants to make schools and school communities safer.
- Launched first-of-its-kind “It’s On Us PA” Campus Sexual Assault Prevention initiative to help colleges and universities prevent sexual assault and establish campus cultures where sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated.
- Signed first-of-its-kind Pennsylvania GI Bill into law to help the children and spouses of Pennsylvania National Guard members afford a post-secondary education.
- Implemented the Level Up initiative to provide targeted funding to the 100 most underfunded school districts in Pennsylvania.
- Ensured Pennsylvanians would no longer need to pay state income tax on student loan debt relief from the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Pennsylvania Student Loan Relief for Nurses (SLRN) Program.
November 22, 2019 | Governor Wolf visiting students at Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Head Start and PreK Counts Program in Baldwin High School, where a state grant provided STEM education to preschool students.
Improving Health Care Quality and Accessibility
- Legalized Medical Marijuana, which provides help to nearly 400,000 Pennsylvanians with serious medical conditions.
- Strengthened parity laws requiring insurers to provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment coverage that is comparable to physical health services.
- Established Pennie, Pennsylvania’s state-based health care marketplace, to provide affordable health care coverage to Pennsylvanians with first-rate customer service and a reinsurance program to reduce costs over time.
- Signed significant bills and established the Opioid Command Center to combat the opioid epidemic.
- Established a standing order to make naloxone more accessible and reduce tragic overdose deaths.
- Expanded Medicaid, helping 2.2 million low-income and working Pennsylvanians access high-quality, affordable health care since 2015.
- Created Community HealthChoices to provide seniors and Pennsylvanians with disabilities the support and services they need to maintain greater independence and age in place.
- Extended postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days postpartum to one full year. This extended coverage will help ensure mothers are getting the care they need.
- Ensured out-of-state residents may enter Pennsylvania to access reproductive health care services in the commonwealth.
April 17, 2016 | Governor Wolf celebrates with advocates after signing into law the bill legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Reforming the Criminal Justice System
- Protected victims of abuse by preventing domestic abusers from possessing guns.
- Enacted first-of-its-kind Clean Slate Law to automatically seal certain types of criminal records and help reduce stigma against Pennsylvanians who have interacted with the criminal justice system.
- Signed into law Justice Reinvestment Initiative bills to make the state’s justice system fairer while keeping communities safe.
- Furthered police reform by requiring background checks for law enforcement applicants and mental health evaluations for officers.
July 14, 2020 | Governor Wolf with lawmakers after signing into law House bills 1841 and 1910 — the first two pieces of legislation from the governor’s police reform executive actions announced in the wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests in Pennsylvania and across the country.
Ensuring Free and Fair Elections
- Signed bipartisan election reform into law, making the most significant improvements to Pennsylvania’s elections in more than 80 years.
- Pushed aggressively for fair congressional maps created through a transparent, open process.
- Launched online voter registration, online mail ballot application, and updated voting systems in all 67 counties.
January 30, 2018 | Governor Wolf at a non-partisan redistricting listening session in State College.
Protecting the Environment
- Took action to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to combat climate change while generating economic growth.
- Made the largest government solar energy commitment in the U.S.
- Set Pennsylvania’s first statewide climate goals, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2025 and by 80 percent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
- Joined the US Climate Alliance.
- Launched Pennsylvania’s first-ever Litter Action Plan to help clean up the more than 500 million pieces of litter scattered throughout the commonwealth.
- Took executive action to address environmental justice and support low-income communities and communities of color.
- Signed an executive order to create PFAS Action Team and launched Pennsylvania’s first funding program designed specifically to assist communities in the remediation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- Put out a Climate Action Plan laying out the path for action on climate change by critical sectors: legislative, government, industry, business, agriculture, and community organizations.
- Installed over 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations with Driving PA Forward Funding.
- Aggressively pursued commonwealth cost savings energy efficiency and sustainability practices to help lead by example through the Governor’s GreenGov Council.
September 6, 2019 | Governor Wolf at a groundbreaking ceremony in Franklin County for one of the largest solar projects in Pennsylvania.
Creating Jobs and Supporting Workers
- Eliminated the outdated and unfair Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.
- Reformed occupational licensure to help workers, cut red tape, and strengthen the workforce.
- Expanded LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections for state employees.
- Raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all state employees and contractors.
- Invested in PA farmers and agriculture by signing the PA Farm Bill, a first-of-its-kind legislation that will build long-term prosperity for Pennsylvania agriculture.
- Distributed $192 million in grants to more than 10,000 small businesses through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program to help small businesses survive the pandemic.
- Directed $145 million to the hospitality industry for COVID-19 relief
- Invested $728.9 million in American Rescue Plan funding to help stabilize the child care industry as it recovers from the pandemic and give parents and caregivers the support they need to return to the workforce.
- Invested more than $800 million in American Rescue Plan funding to help keep Pennsylvanians struggling with rent and mortgage payments following the COVID-19 pandemic in their homes.
- Devoted $225 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to support health care staff and the nurse loan forgiveness program.
- Established a statewide Broadband Development Authority to expand high-speed internet access, identify and oversee funding sources, and coordinate efforts for broadband deployment.
January 7, 2019 | Governor Wolf meeting apprentices at Iron Workers Local Union No. 3 in Pittsburgh, where he talked about Pennsylvania’s job training and workforce development initiatives.
Establishing Government Reform
- Placed restrictions on lobbyists to create a more open, honest and transparent government in Harrisburg that is accountable to the people of Pennsylvania.
- Implemented a gift ban for the executive branch of state government.
- Implemented fair contracting practices and improved diversity in contracting for the executive branch.
- Signed bipartisan pension reform into law.
- Reformed the liquor system to expand beer and wine sales outside of state stores and improve customer service at state stores.
- Turned around the state’s $2 to $3 billion structural deficit, raised Pennsylvania’s rainy day fund to $2.8 billion, and is expected to be the first governor to leave office with a budget surplus since Governor Thornburgh.
- Launched first-of-its-kind statewide LGBTQ affairs commission in the nation.
- Required cabinet secretaries to post their expenses online each month.
- Restricted public employees convicted of job-related felonies from receiving a public pension.
January 20, 2015 | Governor Wolf being sworn in for his first term as governor. His first actions included signing an executive order later that day instituting a gift ban for executive branch employees.