The new year marked a new legislative session at the State Capitol and there are plenty of issues lawmakers are looking to tackle in the months ahead.
If you talk to lawmakers, each of them seems to have their own ideas for what’s most important to get done moving forward. But, every year, there’s one constant; a passing budget
Representative Louis Schmitt says, “I would like to see us try and get a budget done; try and get a budget done on time, if that’s possible.”
Whether you’re new to the State Capitol like Schmitt or a veteran like Senator Art Haywood, passing a budget is always a top priority.
Haywood says, “That’s got to be resolved, so we have a budget that’s fair to individuals.” But, he also says he has other goals he’d like to accomplish this legislative session as well. “Number one, raising the minimum wage.”
Representative Patty Kim says, “20 states have raised their minimum wage in 2019…”
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009 and Kim says, “it’s long overdue”.
Kim plans to reintroduce a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. She says, “If the Republicans don’t like it, let’s just have a conversation about a number that will be more than 7.25 an hour.”
Other lawmakers are looking at tackling things like tax policy and government reform.
Representative Andrew Lewis says, “One is term limits. I want to reintroduce the concept of a term-limited legislature.”
And, for Senator Mark Rozzi, passing a bill to change the statute of limitation for child sex abuse, a bill that failed to receive a vote last year, is top priority.
“We will be back at these steps next year and every year that follows until we get that window done.”