Skip to comments.Legalized marijuana, paid family leave and child care: Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf releases fall agenda
Posted on 08/25/2020 11:35:33 AM PDT by lightman
Gov. Tom Wolf introduced a broad legislative agenda for the fall, including expanded access to child care, paid family leave for Pennsylvanians, recreational marijuana sales and a host of other items.
The governor is asking lawmakers to change the law to allow sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, going beyond sales of medical marijuana. Hes also seeking more than $300 million in grants and loans for small businesses and tax breaks for the hospitality industry.
Wolf announced a lengthy list of proposals to help the state recover from the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic damage to families and the commonwealth. More than 129,000 people have been infected and more than 7,500 people have died, according to the state Health Department. Many businesses have shuttered or had to cut staff, with the states unemployment rate rising to 13.7 percent last month.
The Democratic governors list of proposals is hardly guaranteed passage. Republicans control both chambers of the General Assembly and will likely weigh the costs of some of the proposals with scrutiny. Wolf urged lawmakers to get behind his plans, saying they will help families and the states business community.
House and Senate Democrats have been fighting for progress to protect families and businesses in these spaces since the beginning of the pandemic, but they have been stopped at every turn by the Republican majority focused on ignoring the public health crisis, Wolf said in a statement. That must stop now.
The governor released his proposals just before a press conference in Middletown Tuesday morning.
House Majority Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, didnt embrace the governors proposal.
Gov. Wolf has spent the last six months turning his back on the peoples representatives in the General Assembly despite our numerous attempts to work with him to fight this pandemic, Benninghoff said in a statement. It is disingenuous for this governor to put forward an unaffordable legislative agenda and require taxpayers to bail him out of his unilateral mandates that have devastated their lives and livelihoods.
Here are some highlights of the governors proposals for the fall, according to the Wolf administration.
Hazard pay: Wolf is seeking $225 million to increase hazard pay to Pennsylvania workers. The Wolf administration said this funding would cover a $3-per-hour increase for 208,000 frontline workers across the commonwealth
More access to child care: The governor wants more money to help families pay for child care. Hes seeking $250 million for families seeking child care due to remote instruction or hybrid models, with kids only attending in-person classes on some days. Wolf wants another $27 million to expand child care options in places where there are few providers currently. The governor also is looking for $50 million in grants to part-day programs serving kids in low-income communities to help provide remote learning for school districts not returning to in-person instruction.
Paid parental leave: Wolf plans to offer six weeks of paid leave to all state employees who have been working for the commonwealth for a year or more. Wolf is also asking lawmakers to approve paid family leave for all workers.
Legalize marijuana: Wolf is asking the legislature to allow the sales of recreational marijuana. The governor proposes using the proceeds to support existing small business grant funding. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has been an ardent supporter of legalizing marijuana to generate revenue for the state. Wolf signed the bill allowing sales of medical marijuana in 2016. Wolf said he hopes lawmakers will get behind allowing sales of pot, given the economic damage from the pandemic.
Personal protection equipment: The governor is proposing $10 million for a PPE Reimbursement Program for employers to cover the cost of masks, face shields, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers, among other items.
Nix alcohol tax: Wolf is asking lawmakers to pass legislation to aid restaurants and hotels. Wolf wants to cancel or reduce the alcohol tax for the hospitality industry, allowing businesses to buy boze at or near cost for six months.
Grants and loans for businesses: The governor is proposing $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. Wolf is also seeking an additional $100 million in loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure, and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons, and barber shops.
Housing help: Wolf is seeking $100 million to offer financial assistance to renters of low-to-moderate incomes who are having trouble paying their rent. Wolf wants to expand the PA Housing Finance Agency CARES Rent Relief Program. The assistance would continue to be paid in grants directly to property owners and landlords.
Utilities aid: Wolf wants $100 million in grants to help residents pay for electric, water and gas service. The Pennsylvania Utility Commission has issued a moratorium on the suspension of service during the pandemic; Wolf is seeking grants to help low-income residents pay their utility bills when the moratorium is listed.
Gift ban: The governor has barred members of his administration from accepting gifts. Wolf is pushing for a ban for all public officials. The Wolf administration said only 10 states lack a gift ban for all public officials.
Election: Wolf wants lawmakers to allow counties to count election ballots up to three days after the election, as long as the ballot is postmarked by Election Day. He also is seeking to allow the pre-canvassing of ballots 21 days before the election. Republican lawmakers have said they support allowing counties to have more places to return ballots but want an earlier cut-off date to request a mail-in ballot.
"Welcome to Potsylvania!"
Can I smoke pot even thought I’m DOT regulated?...
Please ping me with articles of interest.
FReepmail me to be added to the list.
Everything leftists do is destructive to our country and our society.
The only good news is that this @$$hole is term limited out by January 2023.
Would an AR-15 qualify?
He can do a lot of damage by then.
If you have to work in Philly, Chester, Reading, Allentown, or Pittsburgh...yes.
No you are still subject to random testing.
Ok so he wants to help the hospitality industry. The biggest thing he could do to help them is let them open back up!!! What an idiot!!!!!
Will Pennsylvania Republicans ever grow a spine!!!!
If so, NOW would be a good time!!!!!!!!!!!
SO SICK OF THESE PANTYWAIST REPUBLICANS!
AFRAID OF THEIR OWN SHADOWS
As long as the people of states like this continue to elect and re-elect morons like this I have no sympathy for them.
Gotta place the blame on the PA State GOP-Eeyores.
Six years ago businessman Scott Wagner launched a successful write-in campaign in a special primary for a vacant State Senate seat, upending the GOP-E’s anointed candidate.
That victory helped to inspire Donald J. Trump to seek the Presidency.
But....paybacks are a beyotch.
When Senator Wagner decided to run for Governor against Wolf the GOP-E did absolutely NOTHING to support him.
That makes you a simpleton.
PA is most likely needed to win the Presidency.
Feel free to hate Philly, Reading, Chester, Allentown, and the Burg.
The rest of the state is red.
Buried in the pot laws of PA is the fact that you can’t get medicinal pot and own firearms.
They will build a world with two types of people — stoned SJW trying to start a communist revolution without guns, and steely-eyed Conservatives winning the war with their guns.
I’m fast reaching the place where legalized pot sounds like a wonderful idea. Marijuana induced, active hallucinations sounds like a good idea after reading these PA threads.
I drove through rural Chester and Lancaster counties yesterday and was pleased to see the number of Trump/Pence signs showing. Did not see any for Biden.
I’m in Chester County. Hopefully we’ll go R this November.
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