June 2017 State Priorities (7/5/2017) 

Budget month continues

The legislature passed a budget bill by the June 30 deadline BUT the bills that say how the budget will be funded will drag on into early July. The final budget will land in the $31.9 billion range with the funding mechanisms ranging from borrowing money from the state pension system to expanding gambling to an assortment of other lesser cost savings.  

Tourism funding

We made some progress this budget cycle. After months of hard work by the Tourism Office, PRLA, and our members, the tourism line item that was slashed to $2.5 million was increased to $12.892 million in the final budget document. The fiscal code bill will be completed when the legislature returns on July 5. This bill will tell us how much of the $12.892 million is earmarked. Last year, earmarks amounted to $7.5 million. We are cautiously optimistic this year's earmarks will be less than last year, thus leaving more money available to the Tourism Office for statewide tourism promotion. Stay tuned to next week's Legislative Update for the breakdown of the tourism line-item number.

Expansive gaming bill passes House

The House amended HB 271 (Ortitay—R, Allegheny) with provisions that would expand gaming in Pennsylvania, beyond what the Senate previously approved.  The legislation passed the House by a vote of 102-89 and will return to the Senate for their consideration.  The legislation contains the following key provisions:
  • Allow for up to 40,000 video gaming terminals across the Commonwealth with up to 5 terminals located in bars, restaurants and taverns and up to 10 terminals could be located in truck stops.
  • Internet gaming by casinos.
  • Ability to bet on fantasy sports games.
  • Provide for airport tablet gaming.
  • Slot machines at casino-run off-track betting parlors.
  • Betting on major league sports events—pending approval from D.C. 
It remains to be seen how the Senate will respond to the House’s counter-proposal.  A gaming package will likely be part of the final budget proposal.  

PLCB announces the next auction

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has announced the third auction of R licenses. Bids will be due by Friday, June 30 and winners will be determined on Monday, July 3. The following licenses are up for bid: 
  • Two licenses each in the following counties: Allegheny, Berks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York.
  • One license in each of the following 40 counties: Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Bradford, Bucks, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Dauphin, Erie, Forest, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Tioga, Westmoreland, and Wyoming.

Governor expected to veto plastic bag preemption

HB 1071 (Farry—R, Bucks), which would preempt municipalities from banning or assessing a fee on the use of plastic bans, is slated to be vetoed by the Governor. Gov. Wolf maintains that it is not the state’s job to be meddling in the affairs of local government. 

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State Legislative Priorities Archive

June 2017 State Priorities

Posted on 7/5/2017

State Issues April 2017

Posted on 5/17/2017

State Priorities_March2017

Posted on 4/6/2017

January 2017 State Priorities

Posted on 2/24/2017

December 2016 State

Posted on 1/12/2017

November 2016 State

Posted on 12/8/2016

October 2016 State Priorities

Posted on 11/7/2016

September 2016 State Priorities

Posted on 9/30/2016

August 2016 State Priorities

Posted on 8/29/2016

July 2016 State Priorities

Posted on 7/18/2016

March 2016 Legislative Priorities

Posted on 3/15/2016