Capitol Roundup: Governor Wolf announces $185 million to support local law enforcement

Governor Tom Wolf this week announced the availability of $185 million in state funding for two new programs that improve community safety by ensuring adequate resources for local law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices. district.

“With adequate resources, our local law enforcement and investigative offices can better protect and serve our communities,” Governor Wolf said. “This is $185 million to answer calls for help, get criminals off our streets and prosecute violent crime wherever possible. It’s a down payment on peace of mind tomorrow and less heartache and bloodshed in years to come.

Governor Wolf secured $135 million for a local law enforcement support program and $50 million for a gun violence investigation and prosecution program in his final budget.

The $135 million Local Law Enforcement Program (LLES) provides law enforcement agencies with the resources to implement information technology improvements, purchase or upgrade the equipment, cover the costs of non-traditional law enforcement personnel, support retention and recruitment efforts, and provide necessary training. Priority for these grants will be given to areas of Pennsylvania with high rates of violence or to law enforcement agencies with low solve rates (i.e. lower ability to solve crimes).

Eligible applicants for the LLES program include local law enforcement, campus police or university police, railway or railroad police, airport authority police department, and police forces county parks. Maximum project amounts are based on the jurisdiction’s population or law enforcement agency type and range from $500,000 to $25 million to support project activities over a period of two years.

The $50 million Gun Violence Investigation & Prosecution Program (GVIP) provides county prosecutors’ offices and local law enforcement with more tools to investigate and prosecute gun violations and violent crimes committed with firearms. Funding can be spent on improving multi-agency gun violence task forces, personnel costs, technology and software to improve investigations or prosecutions or increase resolution rates, firearms tracing programs fire and any other effort that aids in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution of a crime. involving firearms.

Similar to the LLES program, maximum project amounts for the GVIP program are based on the population of the jurisdiction or law enforcement agency type and range from $500,000 to $25 million for support project activities over a two-year period. Priority for GVIP grants will be given to areas of Pennsylvania with high rates of gun violence, with at least $5 million earmarked for county attorney’s offices and law enforcement serving rural communities.

“I am confident that safer communities are within reach,” Governor Wolf added. “We are cracking down on phantom guns, investing in community violence prevention programs, and standing ready to benefit from President Biden’s bipartisan Safer Communities Act.”

Rep. Meuser reintroduces BASIC law to

increase the transparency of the budget process

U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, joined by U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-HI, this week reintroduced legislation that would increase accountability and transparency in the federal budget process by holding Congress accountable for government spending. accrued interest. through debt service.

The Budget Accuracy in Interest Cost Scoring (BASIC) Act of 2022 updates the cost scoring requirements of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) to include debt costs created by legislative proposals.

“State-held debt represents a staggering 98% of the gross domestic product of the United States. The Basic Law of 2022 will bring greater integrity and transparency to the federal budget process,” Meuser said. “It is vital to the success of our economy that we know the full and true cost of any new proposal. Only then can we begin to move away from years of misguided policies.

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the CBO and JCT to provide budget and revenue scores for legislation to be considered by Congress.

Given the country’s current annual deficit, all new legislative proposals that include additional costs are debt-financed. Without this new reporting requirement, the total cost of any proposal cannot be fully known.

The CBO estimates that in 2022, net interest payments will amount to $399 billion, or 7% of total federal spending and 1.6% of GDP.

Meuser federal ad

grants for firefighters

U.S. Representative Dan Meuser, R-Dallas, also announced this week that the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded more than $1 million to 11 fire departments in the 9th Congressional District. of Pennsylvania under the Firefighters Assistance Program (AFG).

Projects funded by these grants will provide job training, wellness and fitness programs, personal protective equipment, facility modifications and supplies that support the operations and safety of firefighters and unaffiliated EMS. .

Are included ::

• Glen Lyon-Alden Volunteer Hose Company, Newport Township, $65,476.19

• Sugarloaf Fire Company Inc., Sugarloaf, $30,476. 19

• Lehigh & Lausanne Rural Volunteer Fire Company, Weatherly, $105,333.33

DMVA will host a virtual town hall

on the transport problems of veterans

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will host the fourth in a five-part series of virtual town hall meetings for veterans on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 6-7:30 p.m., according to Rep. Karen Boback. , R—Harveys Lake.

The discussion will focus on resources to help veterans facing transportation issues.

One of the presenters will be Brig. Gen. (PA) Maureen Weigl, DMVA Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs.

“Older veterans and people with disabilities often face the challenge of accessing health care because they don’t have adequate transportation,” Weigl said. “We want veterans to know that help is available. There are community organizations ready and able to provide veterans with transportation to and from the Federal VA and other health care providers.

Veterans can participate using a Microsoft Teams link available on the DMVA website at www.dmva.pa.gov. They will have the opportunity to ask questions to the live presenters during the program through the chat function.

The Virtual Town Hall Series provides the Commonwealth’s nearly 800,000 veterans a convenient platform to learn and ask questions about programs and services acquired through their military service.

Boback is currently majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Sen. Yaw: games of skill are holding up

veterans organizations, social clubs

Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Williamsport, said this week that Pennsylvania’s skill games industry is leaving money on the table for veterans’ organizations, social clubs and the state.

“This industry has been a lifeline for veterans groups and social clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Yaw said. “Regulating and taxing games of skill not only supports small businesses, but will also bring more than $300 million in annual revenue to the state.”

Yaw introduced Senate Bill 950 to provide a regulatory framework for the industry. Pennsylvania Skill, Miele Manufacturing and Pace-o-Matic say the legislation is key to supporting small businesses across the state.

Since 2018, Pennsylvania Skill’s Charitable Giving program has donated more than $2 million in gaming operator contributions to local nonprofits, fire departments, first responders, schools, and communities. veterans groups.

“It’s the only industry that has asked to be regulated and taxed for my entire legislative career,” Yaw said. “Usually we hear the exact opposite, but here they are, asking us to regulate and tax them for the benefit of many worthy groups and causes the revenue support of games of skill.”

Games of skill, unlike games of chance, must be played in person and, as the name suggests, require a level of skill that can change the outcome of the game. A 2014 Court of Common Pleas decision in Beaver County ruled games of skill legal, although the state has taken no action to regulate the industry since.

Yaw recently wrote an op-ed detailing the impact of games of skill on Pennsylvania’s economy and defending them against criticism of casinos and lotteries who falsely claim the industry hurts their revenue.

A study by Peter Zaleski, an economist and former professor at Villanova University, looked at four neighboring states with lotteries and no games of skill: Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. From 2012 to 2019, lottery sales growth in Pennsylvania topped those states by 2.22%, contrary to cries from the gambling industry.

“This is one of my top legislative priorities,” Yaw said. “We all know these games are vital for American Legions, for VFW, for social clubs, for any place people gather and that’s very important in today’s society.”

Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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