|Education, Human Services Focus of Final Budget Hearings
Making sure every dollar of state tax money is used to its maximum benefit, my colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee and I wrapped up a three-week series of budget hearings Thursday, with two full days of questions about the education and human services aspects of the governor’s proposal and accountability measures.
Monday’s hearing featured both K-12 and higher education, with main topics addressing school safety, state financial investment and career-technical education. Special attention was placed on the long-term future of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and its increasing expenses, tuition rates and contract costs.
Citing the governor’s veto of the Human Services Code last year, both the committee and the administration focused much of their discussion about ways in which the Department of Human Services can be more innovative to better serve the neediest of citizens and reduce costs.
The Appropriations Committee will take the testimony gathered from these hearings into negotiations for the 2018-19 budget. All of the hearings are available here.
Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress on First Responders
The impact of traumatic experiences on first responders and a resulting increase in suicide was the subject of a meeting of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this week.
A focus of the conversation was the stigma that prevents many from seeking or accepting help, especially from those without similar experiences, and the fear of sharing horrors that will only infect the other person without alleviating anything from the first person.
First responders are also concerned that trauma and stress on them could cause their employers to consider them incapable of doing their jobs, leaving them without access to insurance or workers compensation benefits, and unable to provide for their families.
A number of improvements are being considered, including a hotline staffed by police, firefighters, emergency service providers and their family members to give people the opportunity to talk anonymously with people who have experienced the same things.
Spring Ahead: Turn Clocks Ahead One Hour This Weekend
Daylight saving time will begin on Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m., and residents are reminded to turn their clocks ahead one hour Saturday night.
This is also a good time to check and/or change batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. They should also be replaced every 10 years.
Daylight saving time will end on November 4.