It's easy to see where the blame lies for state's fiscal failures

(Sep 07, 2017)

FEATURED IN LANCASTER ONLINE We’ve passed the fiscal year budget deadline of June 30, the July Fourth holiday, and now Labor Day. So why has no revenue plan been approved for Pennsylvania? In spite of all that Pennsylvania has going for it, the state is in some dire financial straits. Through a series of bad decisions that have compounded over the years, Pennsylvania has descended from near the top of the heap when compared to other states, to near the bottom when it comes to state finances and our ability to attract outside investment, businesses and jobs. So that begs the question, who is to blame? Looking back over the last 24 years, we’ve had multiple governors, both Democrats and Republicans — in fact, twelve years for each party. First blush says to blame all politicians regardless of political party. But a closer look is much more enlightening. Any governor (executive branch), Republican or Democrat, needs to deal with the co-equal branch of government, the Legislature — the House and Senate. On this mark, the culprit is pretty clear. Republicans have controlled the Senate for the entirety of the past 24 years, including all the way back to 1981. In the House, the Republicans have been in control for 20 of the last 24 years, with the brief exception of 2007-10, when Democrats had a one-vote and then five-vote edge compared to the Republicans’ current 39-vote edge. Ironically, the Republican House and Senate leaders continue Read more

 

Sturla Getting Kids Ready to Go Back to School

(Aug 14, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla held his annual Back to School Giveaway, outfitting Lancaster City K-5 students with backpacks and school supplies for the new school year. This year, Sturla also provided school uniforms and shoes. The day was an Education Celebration with books giveaways, face painting, free haircuts and more attracting an estimated 5000 people from the community at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Read more

 

Under the Dome: View this virtual tour

(Jul 18, 2017)

A tour of the PA Capitol Dome Read more

 

REPORT: Opioid Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania

(Jul 07, 2017)

The Joint State Government Commission recently released a report requested by House Resolution 893 of 2015 on Opioid Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Sturla to host 6th annual Back to School Giveaway Saturday, Aug. 12

(Jun 28, 2017)

State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will hold his sixth annual Back to School Giveaway Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Lancaster Barnstormers Stadium, 650 N. Prince St., Lancaster. Read more

 

Veterans Appreciation Open House – Wednesday, July 12

(Jun 28, 2017)

Veterans are welcome to attend a Veterans Appreciation Open House from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, July 12 at my Lancaster office located at 150 E. King St. Veterans will have the opportunity to speak with me and representatives from the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the American Legion of PA and the Lebanon VA Hospital. Come and enjoy light refreshments and gain information about state and federal services available to veterans. Some of the topics to be discussed include: State programs VA benefits Disability Education Burial benefits Please RSVP by July 7 by calling my office 717-295-3157 or email Rep.MikeSturla@pahouse.net . Read more

 

The Truth About My Vote for Video Gaming Terminals

(Jun 26, 2017)

You may have recently received a mailer claiming that I voted to create 12,000 mini-casinos or “drastically reduced funding” for prescription drug coverage and property tax/rent rebates for seniors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read more

 

College affordability focus of House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

(Jun 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, June 19 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, said the House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today in the Capitol to discuss college affordability in Pennsylvania. “College affordability is important to keeping education attainable and keeping Pennsylvania’s economy on the fast track. Educating the leaders of tomorrow and keeping them in the state has to be our goal. I will continue to support funding education so that we have the resources to attract and re-train the nation’s and the world’s brightest talent to our commonwealth,” Sturla said. “Whether we explore new endowment options to help individual schools make a quality education more attainable, or we guarantee access to universities for Pennsylvania students, we have to consider all options on the table to improve and invigorate our state system of higher education. We need an overall, long-term strategy for the system to accomplish this.” Testifiers included Peter Garland, executive vice chancellor, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education; Ken Mash, president, Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties; and Mark Price, PhD, labor economist, Keystone Research Center. Hearing testimony is available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more

 

McCarter, Sturla seek to amend the way cyber charter schools are funded

(Jun 07, 2017)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, and House Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, called attention to legislation that would amend the Public School Code to change the way cyber charter schools are funded. Their bill — H.B. 1206 — seeks to cap the amount of funding unaffiliated cyber charter schools receive for students who live in an area in which the school district or an intermediate unit operates its own cyber charter school. Under their proposal, unaffiliated cyber charter schools would receive either the per-student funding amount of the school district cyber school program or the intermediate unit cyber school program, whichever figure is higher. “The actual cost of cyber charter education has dropped dramatically in the 20 years since Pennsylvania’s charter school legislation was passed, whereas our reimbursement formula for cyber charters, which is still based on the cost of a brick-and-mortar education, has not, and the Pennsylvania taxpayer has shouldered the burden,” McCarter said. Sturla added: “I want all Pennsylvania kids to have access to exceptional educational opportunities and to do that, we need to have fair, reasonable and accountable reimbursement practices in place. The proposal by Representative McCarter and myself is a fair and reasonable approach that makes sure cyber charters aren’t receiving more than what it Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee explores Marcellus Shale Severance Tax

(May 22, 2017)

HARRISBURG, May 22 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today held a public hearing in the state Capitol to discuss a potential Marcellus Shale severance tax. State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster and Policy Committee Chairman, chaired the hearing. “It’s important that we implement a fair and reasonable severance tax that reflects what other states with natural resources also impose. I believe they can add a great economic benefit to the state, but that must be done while protecting our resources and quality of life,” Sturla said. “Prices and impact fee revenues are low now because pipelines are not yet in place to export, but when that occurs over the next year or two, we should have a mechanism in place to capture revenue on our natural resources leaving the state.” Testifiers from state agencies included: Patrick McDonnell, acting secretary, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection; Dennis Davin, secretary, Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development; Gladys Brown, chairman, Pa. Public Utility Commission; and Matthew Knittel, director, Independent Fiscal Office The committee also heard testimony from the shale and environmental industries including: Jim Welty, vice president of government affairs, Marcellus Shale Coalition; Todd Stager, associate vice president, Pennoni; Kevin Sunday, director of government affairs, Pa. Chamber of Business and Industry; Rob Altenburg, director, PennFuture Energy Center; and Thomas Read more

 

Sturla: Treat All Public Schools Equally

(Apr 19, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla stood with his House Democratic colleagues to unveil a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. Read more

 

Pa. charter school reform bills' goal: Treat all public schools equally

(Apr 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – House Democrats today unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. "I am hopeful we can pull together bipartisan support for these bills that improve efficiencies and accountability, which means that there will be more money available for education. Providing high-quality education to all Pennsylvania students should be the ultimate goal of our educational system," said Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, has introduced a bill ( H.B. 1199 ) that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. "The auditor general's office has identified millions of dollars in questionable charter school leases. We need to prevent these conflicts of interest up front, and we need to recover taxpayers' money to benefit students when there has been an inappropriate payment for one of these leases. Every dollar that goes to an inappropriate lease is a dollar that doesn't go to educate our kids," Roebuck said. Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, introduced a bill ( H.B. 1198 ) that would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. "My legislation Read more

 

Sturla: Intellectual Disabilities Programs Need More Funding

(Apr 12, 2017)

Pa. state Rep and House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla says that more funding is needed to operate programs already in place to help people with intellectual disabilities. Sturla points out that many people qualify for help, but due to a lack of resources they often can wait up to 5 years to actually receive the benefits they are entitled to. Read more

 

News Conference: Municipal Fee for State Police Coverage of Local Municipalities

(Apr 07, 2017)

At a Capitol news conference, Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla speaks about his House Bill 959, which would enact a municipal fee for state police coverage of local municipalities that have no local police departments. Read more

 

Sturla: Mandatory Minimums Do Not Work

(Apr 05, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla took to the House floor to fight against bringing back mandatory minimum sentencing. Sturla argues that these laws don’t necessarily deter crime and past efforts have only increased corrections costs and expenditures. Read more

 

Sturla's plan would generate over $2 billion by 2028 for PSP patrol services

(Apr 04, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 4 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, outlined his plan that would require municipalities to pay a fee if the Pennsylvania State Police provides part or all of their local municipal police patrol services. House Bill 959 would phase in a municipal fee with a formula that replaces funding the Pennsylvania State Police is losing as a result of the cap on the Motor License Fund. The measure would charge a per capita, part- or full-time fee based on the most recent decennial census population. Municipalities receiving part-time state police coverage would be charged a rate of one-third of those receiving full-time state police coverage. “The Pennsylvania State Police estimates that it costs them $234 per capita to provide local municipal patrol services to areas without local police. This bill offers these municipalities a bargain by phasing in a max fee of $110 over a 10-year period,” Sturla said. “It’s really about fairness and asking people to pitch in and pay for the services they are receiving. About 28 percent of the population is receiving coverage from PSP without paying for it and that’s really unfair to the other 72 percent of Pennsylvanians that are subsidizing free PSP coverage while paying for their own coverage.” Municipalities that opt in after the enactment date would enter into an agreement with the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner for part- or full-time patrol services. The Read more

 

Policy Committee explores municipal fees for state police coverage

(Mar 27, 2017)

PITTSBURGH, March 27 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today at the University of Pittsburgh to continue its exploration of implementing a fee for municipalities to cover the cost of the Pennsylvania State Police providing local police coverage, according to Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Municipalities throughout the state have relied on the State Police to provide their local coverage free-of-charge and now more than half of the State Police’s budget is going toward this coverage. With the General Assembly and Governor Wolf putting a cap on using the Motor License Fund in last year’s fiscal code, it is important that these municipalities pay their fair share so that the State Police have the funds needed to provide that coverage, without asking the rest of the state to continue to subsidize their policing costs,” Sturla explained. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the state’s population live in municipalities with no local, full-time police coverage and 6 percent live in municipalities that have only a part-time police force. The remaining 72 percent pay for their own local full-time police coverage, essentially subsidizing “ free” police protection for the rest of the population. Testifiers included Dan Cessna, District 11 executive, PennDOT; Marita Kelley, deputy director, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services; Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar, deputy Read more

 

Sturla: Expanded Gaming Helps Our Communities

(Mar 27, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Mike Sturla joined fellow democrats and republicans at a news conference held at the Capitol Media Center to discuss the regulation of video gaming terminals across the commonwealth. Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold public hearing on municipal fees for state police coverage Monday in Pittsburgh

(Mar 22, 2017)

HARRISBURG, March 22 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing to discuss fee schedules for municipalities that do not have local police forces and currently receive free coverage from the Pennsylvania State Police. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, March 27 at the University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union, Assembly Room, 3959 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh. A Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report released today estimated that the state police was overfunded by $222.2 million for patrol services from the Motor License Fund in fiscal year 2015-16. The state police received $755 million from this fund due to increased costs for covering municipalities that do not have local police. The current hearing agenda is: 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel One: Dan Cessna , District 11 executive, PennDOT Marita Kelley , deputy director, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar , deputy commissioner of staff, PA State Police 2:50 p.m. Joe Kovel , president, Pennsylvania State Troopers Association 3:10 p.m. Elam Herr , assistant executive director/government affairs, PA State Association of Township Supervisors 3:40 p.m. Panel from Shaler Township: Tom McElhone , Commissioner Tim Rogers , Manager 4:10 p.m. Abe Amoros , PA Legislative Director, LiUNA! – Mid-Atlantic Read more

 

Policy Committee examines municipal fees for state police coverage

(Mar 17, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, March 17 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today at Philadelphia City Hall to explore implementing a fee for municipalities to cover the cost of the Pennsylvania State Police providing local police coverage, according to Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “For too long, many municipalities throughout Pennsylvania have relied on the State Police to serve as their local police instead of participating in a regional police force or creating their own department while the rest of the state pays for their own local police,” Sturla said. “Last session, the General Assembly and Governor Wolf put a cap on money coming from the Motor License Fund to the State Police because these communities need to start paying their fair share for local police coverage. We also need to make sure the State Police has the dedicated funds needed to perform its public safety duties. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the state’s population live in municipalities with no local, full-time police coverage and 6 percent live in municipalities that have only a part-time police force. The remaining 72 percent pay for their own local full-time police coverage, essentially subsidizing “ free” police protection for the rest of the population. State agency panelists included: Leslie Richards, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, Read more

 

It's easy to see where the blame lies for state's fiscal failures
Sep 07, 2017

Sturla Getting Kids Ready to Go Back to School
Aug 14, 2017

Under the Dome: View this virtual tour
Jul 18, 2017

REPORT: Opioid Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania
Jul 07, 2017

Sturla to host 6th annual Back to School Giveaway Saturday, Aug. 12
Jun 28, 2017

Veterans Appreciation Open House – Wednesday, July 12
Jun 28, 2017

The Truth About My Vote for Video Gaming Terminals
Jun 26, 2017

College affordability focus of House Democratic Policy Committee hearing
Jun 19, 2017

McCarter, Sturla seek to amend the way cyber charter schools are funded
Jun 07, 2017

House Democratic Policy Committee explores Marcellus Shale Severance Tax
May 22, 2017

Sturla: Treat All Public Schools Equally
Apr 19, 2017

Pa. charter school reform bills' goal: Treat all public schools equally
Apr 19, 2017

Sturla: Intellectual Disabilities Programs Need More Funding
Apr 12, 2017

News Conference: Municipal Fee for State Police Coverage of Local Municipalities
Apr 07, 2017

Sturla: Mandatory Minimums Do Not Work
Apr 05, 2017

Sturla's plan would generate over $2 billion by 2028 for PSP patrol services
Apr 04, 2017

Policy Committee explores municipal fees for state police coverage
Mar 27, 2017

Sturla: Expanded Gaming Helps Our Communities
Mar 27, 2017

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold public hearing on municipal fees for state police coverage Monday in Pittsburgh
Mar 22, 2017

Policy Committee examines municipal fees for state police coverage
Mar 17, 2017