A collective of county commissioners laid out their priorities
Pennsylvania county commissioners are outlining a handful of coverage objectives they need state lawmakers to sort out within the subsequent yr.
Topping that record is ensuring county 911 providers are funded – and that ongoing Subsequent Era 911 improve initiatives are accomplished.
“Attaining this precedence would guarantee all Pennsylvania residents and guests to our nice Commonwealth will proceed to have a fast and environment friendly connection to 911 operations and providers in any scenario,” County Commissioner Affiliation of Pennsylvania President Chip Abramovic mentioned at a Wednesday press occasion in Harrisburg.
Whereas everybody in Pennsylvania with a cellphone is commonly billed a $1.65 surcharge to pay for the 911 name community, the state regulation that arrange that funding stream expires subsequent January.
Commissioners are additionally pushing for pre-canvassing guidelines that might let election staff course of mail-in ballots earlier than elections. Additionally they need to make the state’s mail-in poll utility deadline earlier.
Voters are allowed handy of their utility as late as one week earlier than an in-person election is held. County staff have mentioned that makes it just about unattainable for latecomers to obtain their ballots in time to have them counted.
“[We] want clear guidelines that allow constant implementation [of elections] throughout the Commonwealth,” mentioned Joe Kantz, who chairs Snyder County’s Board of Commissioners. “Reforms are wanted to resolve ambiguities.”
Regardless of bipartisan urging, state lawmakers have didn’t comply with both of these adjustments since Act 77 – the state’s most up-to-date election regulation replace – was carried out 4 years in the past.
Counties additionally need extra state funding for group psychological well being packages. A WITF investigation late final yr discovered folks with psychological well being situations more and more find yourself in county jails, which are sometimes not outfitted to deal with them. The probe discovered these individuals are routinely subjected to violence from guards who’re making an attempt to maintain order.
“Lack of sufficient state funding that has didn’t sustain with demand, coupled with rising caseloads and price inflation, have pushed the group psychological system to the purpose of collapse,” Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick mentioned.
“It’s most likely one of the crucial crumbled programs in all of our human service supply programs,” he added.
Dauphin County has mentioned round half of these at its jail have a psychological well being situation. Practically one in three of the greater than 450 makes use of of pressure by guards at 25 Pennsylvania jails throughout the fall of 2021 concerned somebody having a psychological well being disaster or who had a identified psychological well being situation.
Hartwick mentioned state lawmakers might use a $100 million pot of leftover pandemic reduction cash to assist enhance psychological well being providers. Home Democratic Chief Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) mentioned she favored that concept final fall. Relying on how a trio of particular elections set for Feb. 7 prove, her get together might management the state Home by a razor-thin margin.
That chamber has not gaveled in for session as a result of it’s deadlocked over procedural guidelines. Newly-elected Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) is heading a working group aimed toward resolving that difficulty.
Abramovic mentioned his group is working intently with new Gov. Josh Shapiro, as soon as a Montgomery County commissioner, to get these issues completed. When requested about pushing these concepts in a virtually evenly-divided Home, Abramovic was upbeat.
“We see it as a chance. We are able to carry them collectively on frequent bipartisan points,” he mentioned.