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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 18, 2016 11:09 AM
From: Senator Rob Teplitz
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation – “Judgment Day” Budget Impasse Prevention Package
 
In the very near future, I will introduce a package of legislation designed to prevent the occurrence of a state budget impasse.

If the legislative and executive branches are not able to work together to pass a budget by June 30th as the state constitution requires, then it is state government officials – not the people we serve, and not state employees - who should suffer the consequences. I hope you will join me in demonstrating our commitment to that principle by signing on as a co-sponsor of one or more of the bills in this package.

I am planning to file this package of bills by the end of this month. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

The following five bills are intended to prevent another state budget impasse. Consistent with this same goal, I have already introduced Senate Bill 187, which would suspend compensation for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, cabinet officers, and all members of the General Assembly if a state budget is not enacted into law on time (i.e., by June 30th). Sen. Vulakovich is the co-prime sponsor of Senate Bill 187, and it has bipartisan support.



Document #1

Introduced as SB1236

Description: The first bill in the package would amend the state constitution to require that a general appropriation bill be introduced before the first Tuesday of the month following the Governor’s budget address. It would also require that the chairs of the Senate and House Appropriations committees and a designee of the governor hold a special meeting the first Tuesday of every month following the Governor’s budget address to present a report that provides an update on the status (but not necessarily the substance) of the budget negotiations. These monthly status reports would continue until a budget is enacted.
 

Document #2

Introduced as SB1237

Description: The second bill in the package would eliminate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, cabinet officers, and all members of the General Assembly in any year in which a state budget is not enacted into law before October 1st. The COLA routinely goes into effect on December 1st; this bill would eliminate it for the entire twelve-month period that follows. (Note that this is a different bill from my Senate Bills 184 and 185, which would eliminate mid-term legislative COLAs generally.) Unlike Senate Bill 187, which merely suspends pay during an impasse, this bill does not re-pay the lost funds even after the budget is finally enacted. 
 

Document #3

Introduced as SB1238

Description: The third bill would amend the state constitution to require that, if a state budget is not enacted into law before October 1st, all pending bills and resolutions, other than the general appropriation bill itself, will become void and will no longer be considered during that legislative session. It would also prevent any non-budget-related bills from being introduced until the budget is enacted. Members of the General Assembly may re-introduce the voided bills and resolutions after the general appropriation bill is signed.
 

Document #4

Introduced as SB1239

Description: The fourth bill would amend the state constitution to impose recall elections for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and all members of the General Assembly if a state budget is not enacted into law before January 1st. The recall elections, to be held in conjunction with the primary elections the following spring, would determine if individual incumbents remain in office and who would replace those incumbents who are recalled.
 

Document #5

Introduced as SB1240

Description: The fifth bill would implement the recall elections by statute. It would establish the process for the recall elections and would ban incumbents from filing petitions to replace themselves if they are recalled during the two-step recall vote.