PA Lawmakers Take on Transportation Funding, Liquor Privatization in New Fall Session

After a three-month break from their daily legislative duties, Pennsylvania’s politicians returned to Harrisburg today to begin the heavily hyped fall legislative session. At the conclusion of the last session, lawmakers left five topics with undone business to be concluded in this session. Those topics are:

  • Transportation funding
  • Liquor privatization
  • School funding
  • Public pensions
  • Medicaid reform

Corbett has already pitched a Medicaid expansion in the form of expanding the role of private enterprise, and we all can pretty much see where we’re at with school funding. Pension reform, meanwhile, could potentially come in the form of a defined contribution plan. That, of course, leaves just two to decide on: transportation funding, and the dreaded liquor privatization initiative.

As far as transpo funding, Corbett last proposed a plan that would raise upwards of $1.8 billion in funding over five years.The Senate proposed a more zealous plan, with the House Transportation Committee eventually hitting middle ground with a $2 billion plan.

Since then, Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch began enforcing weight limits on structurally unsound bridges. However, officials expect an infrastructure funding plan by in the next few months.

On the liquor privatization side of things, the outcome isn’t so certain. At the conclusion of last session, Corbett saw the House pass his plan through, only for the Senate to virtually ignore the effort—the final vote never even having taken place.

The House still has a hard-on for privatization, but special interest groups indicate to obvious moves in the Senate or House to advance the issue. This one, unfortunately, doesn’t seem likely this session.

But, hey, there’s always next year. Right? [PennLive 1, 2]