Two Pennsylvania state lawmakers are spearheading legislation to curb food-stamp fraud by limiting the balances recipients can accumulate.
Representative Ann Flood (R-Pen Argyl) is drafting a bill requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to request a federal waiver allowing the commonwealth to cap the benefits a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) user can amass. Kerry Beninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile begun preparing a resolution asking the Biden administration to set such limits itself. Currently, the federally funded but state administered entitlement does not require those who draw SNAP benefits to spend them in order to remain eligible for them.
On Wednesday, two Pennsylvania state senators introduced a bill to open participation in the commonwealth’s primaries to nonpartisan voters.
At the Capitol Media Center in Harrisburg, prime sponsors Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem), said their bill would empower voters heretofore excluded from nomination decisions and would counteract hyper-partisanship. Both lawmakers are among the most moderate members of their chamber.
Less than half of elementary school students in Pennsylvania score proficient in mathematics, according to the state Department of Education.
But, a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate would offer schools a tool with purported success rates for improving those skills.
The Pennsylvania Senate this week passed an amendment to the state Constitution that would require individuals to provide identification to vote in person in an election.
Also contained in the bill the chamber approved are an amendment that would open the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse and another amendment that would strengthen legislators’ power against a governor’s regulatory authority.
Pennsylvania state senators are asking other lawmakers to support an upcoming bill to let nonpartisan voters participate in primaries.
State Senators Daniel LaughlinTwo (R-Erie) and Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) proposed legislation permitting all state residents whose voter registrations reflect no party affiliation to cast a ballot in either the GOP or Democratic nomination contests. The senators cite 2021 data from the commonwealth indicating that 1,233,748 Pennsylvanians are registered to vote but choose to identify with neither of the two major parties. Since 2017, that number has increased by 51,816.
State Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) is asking colleagues to support legislation to create a prison-to-jobs pipeline for nonviolent inmates in Pennsylvania.
Boscola bemoaned Pennsylvania’s status as among the worst states in the U.S. in terms of ex-prisoners reoffending; it has a 41-percent recidivism rate. In a memorandum announcing her measure, she posited that rate will go down if the commonwealth proactively advances many prisoners toward employment as they prepare for life outside of jail.
Two Pennsylvania legislators this week proposed a law to protect consumers’ data from merchants who collect such information.
Authored by Senators Maria Collett (D-North Wales) and Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem), the bill would ensure Pennsylvania consumers are informed about what personal information businesses collect. The policy would also require disclosure of any entities to whom the data is being sold and allow customers to decline to have any of their information trafficked or utilized for profit. Selling the data of consumers under the age of 16 would be prohibited outright.
A Pennsylvania Senate bill to allow a voter to act as a poll watcher outside of his or her own county passed the state House of Representatives this week, though Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he will veto it.
Sponsored by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg), the “Poll Watcher Empowerment Act” received the support of every Republican and no Democratic representative. When it passed the Senate earlier this month, every Republican voted for it and every Democrat voted against it except for Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem).
Pennsylvania’s state Senate passed legislation this week that would permit a Pennsylvania voter to serve as a poll watcher in an election precinct outside of his or her county.
Current law lets candidates and parties appoint poll watchers — volunteers who are often party committee members — to election precincts only in those watchers’ respective counties. State guidance allows these appointees to “make good-faith challenges” to an elector’s residence, identity or voting eligibility.
Some Pennsylvania lawmakers are proposing that the commonwealth offset some of the inflationary burden on residents by pausing certain taxes.
One bill State Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) is currently drafting would stop sales taxation in June and July 2022 at a time the senator says the state can afford to do so. In a memorandum seeking co-sponsors for her bill, she cited Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) recent declaration that Pennsylvania will amass a budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2021-22 of over $2 billion and a similarly large surplus for the following year. Since budget years end on June 30, the legislation is thus timed to spread the financial loss to the state over both budget cycles.