Legislative Issues

Current PA Issues

PA Budget Impasse

Budget Impasse Updates
Many of us have been closely following the conversations between the General Assembly and the Governor’s office, because their decisions impact our collective ability to meet the needs of the people that we serve. Over the last number of weeks, the General Assembly has worked to provide emergency funding for immediate needs to met.

Last week, the State Senate passed two bills (i.e. SB1000 and SB1001) authorizing short-term funding for health and human service providers and education. The funding would be retroactive to July 1, 2015—and would last until October 2015. Today (9/24), as of 2:00 pm, the State House of Representatives are debating whether or not to support this emergency measure.

If you support this emergency measure, contact the Governor’s office to encourage him to sign the stopgap bills until a compromise can be reached on a permanent spending plan.


What Can You Do?

NEW: Participate in Weekly Conference Calls with PANO
• Stay up-to-date what is happening regarding the budget impasse
• Share your own experience and what you have found useful (or not)
• Determine whether or not collective action can be taken
• Weekly calls will be held every Thursday at 3:00 pm.
- Call Number: 1-866-740-1260
- Access Code: 2361007

Meet with Your State Legislators
State Senators and Representatives are interested in hearing directly from constituents about the impact the budget stalemate has on people they served. PANO highly recommends that you reach out to your local representatives. Prepare for these conversations by asking the following questions:

1. What specific funding streams are being affected? What percentage of your budget or a particular program’s budget is being affected?
2. Who is being affected? (Focus on the clients and how the change in funding directly impacts their day to day lives. Include the # clients affected)
3. How are you paying bills now (e.g. reserve funding, line of credit, crowdsource funding, etc.)?
4. How long will those dollars last?

Remember to use facts and to stay away from speculation about what might happen.

Changes to PA Requirements for Adult Volunteers Working with Children

Visit our Volunteerism page to learn more about:

  • • NEW! PA HB 1267 (Act 15 of 2015): Revised requirements for adult volunteers working with children (Effective August 25, 2015)
  • • Changes to mandated reporters including volunteers working with children (Effective December 31, 2014)

PA Senate Bill 4/Charitable Tax Exemption Update

Tell us what you think! Take our Senate Bill 4 Quick Poll: Click Here

Senate Bill 4 was reintroduced for the 2015-16 legislative session on 1-20-15 by Senator Ryan Aument, and passed in the Senate on February 17, 2015, by a 30-19 vote. SB 4 is currently pending in the House Rules Committee.

This bill proposes to amend the state Constitution to give the legislature the authority to determine the qualifications of institutions of “purely public charities” for tax-exempt purposes.

PANO has taken a neutral position on Senate Bill 4 this session, however, we do support fair, predictable rules for determining tax-exempt status such as those established in PA Act 55.

Senate Bill 4 Resources
PA Senate Finance Committee Hearings
Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership
Pathway Strategies
PA General Assembly

Background
Senate Bill 4 came about as a legislative response to the Mesivtah decision in 2012, where the PA Supreme Court retained the right to interpret the constitutional minimum requirements of tax exemption.

This bill would amend the state Constitution to provide that only the Legislature has the right to determine the qualifications of institutions of “purely public charities.”

Senate Bill 4 passed both the House and the Senate in 2013, and the Constitution requires that constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions.

If the bill passes again in 2015-16, it must then go to Pennsylvania voters for approval as an amendment to the PA Constitution. Source: Wilson500. Download the full article below.

Where are we now? Download our timeline and background article below.

US Department of Labor: Overtime Reforms

Overtime Reforms
The U.S. Department of Labor has proposed new regulations to expand overtime protection for millions of employees. If implemented, these regulations would do three things:

1. Raise the standard minimum level for salaried worker from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $970 per week or $50,440 per year.
2. Raise the standard salary minimum for highly compensated employees from $100,000 a year to $122,148 annually.
3. Implement a mechanism for automatically updating these two minimum salary levels to adjust for inflation and preclude the need to regularly change the levels via future regulatory actions.

Because PANO represents both large and small organizations that will be differentially affected by new FLSA standard PANO encourages all nonprofits to:

1. Review detailed analysis of these reforms conducted by the National Council of Nonprofits.
2. Conduct a mission-based analysis of the proposed regulations and the effect on your organization answering the following questions:
• What effect—positive or negative—would the proposals have on your organization’s ability to advance its mission (e.g. serve fewer people, need to raise more money)?
• What effect—positive or negative—would the proposals have on your clients? For example, if your clients receive higher compensation, would the number of people you serve be reduced?
• What effect—positive or negative—would the proposals have in hiring and retaining high-quality employees?
• What parts of the proposed ruling would you ask the Department of Labor to clarify?

Find your voice and submit your comments today. The deadline for all comments is September 4, 2015.

Contact PANO

Note PANO's New Address: 4801 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111
Phone: (717) 236-8584
Fax: (717) 236-8767

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