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Northeast Notes

New Budget Goes Beyond Irresponsible Into Irrational

Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to relent on a Republican state budget plan means that state GOP leaders have successfully run out the clock on responsibility.

Even though I haven’t accepted a paycheck since the budget standoff began last July 1, I voted against the Republican spending plan that became law without the governor's signature last Sunday night.

The theory behind this budget is that if you ignore your bills and ignore your debts, they will go away. Obviously that’s not how it works. Running out the clock accomplishes nothing and guarantees deeper deficits and lowered bond ratings. It goes beyond the irresponsible into the irrational.

The governor is more confident that I am that this late concession will lead to future compromise. We are in a deep hole created by five straight years of head-in-the-sand budgeting and only pressure from school officials, county commissioners and municipal leaders will change things.

New Opportunity for Youngsters in the Northeast

I was honored to attend the ribbon-cutting for SPIN’s Pre-K program in Parkwood in the annex of St. Anselm Church. More than 60 families in this underserved neighborhood have enrolled in the high quality Pre-K program.  Pre-K is a vital part of our education system, giving students a better chance at success in later school years.

Senate Backs Autism Month Resolution

The Senate unanimously passed my resolution recognizing April as "Autism Awareness Month" and April 2, 2016, as "World Autism Day" in Pennsylvania.

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex disability requiring greater recognition and understanding to ensure that all individuals living with autism spectrum disorder are accurately diagnosed and appropriately supported throughout their lives.

This developmental disability results in varying levels of impairment of an individual's ability to learn, develop healthy interactive behaviors and understand verbal, nonverbal and reciprocal communication. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

Although a cure for autism spectrum disorder has not been found, individuals living with autism spectrum disorder can be assisted in reaching their greatest potential through accurate early diagnosis, appropriate education and intervention. 


Bi-Partisan Effort to Better Protect Children

State Sen. Randy Vulakovich, a western Pennsylvania Republican, is joining me in drafting legislation that will clarify and reinforce background check requirements for hospital personnel and doctors.

Last year, some changes to the Child Protection Services Law had unintentional consequences. We merely want to make sure those in the healthcare field that deal with the welfare and well-being of children will continue to be held to the same requirements they were held to in the past.  

Questions about who is statutorily required to comply with the background check requirements have arisen following the enactment of more than 20 laws during the past two legislative sessions updating the Child Protective Services Law and implementing recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection.

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April 9

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