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State Legislative Roundup

Governor Tom Wolf gave his seventh and penultimate budget address last week. If you missed our summary sent Friday, read it here.

In other state legislative news, two bills we have been monitoring passed the House and Senate last week:

  • SB 2 – a bill to amend the state constitution limiting the governor’s emergency declaration powers to 21 days before the legislature can intervene – passed the General Assembly and will now be placed on the May 2021 primary election ballot for voter approval. While this is on the primary ballot, it should be noted all registered Pennsylvanians can vote on this measure – not just Republicans or Democrats. With the potential to slow the regulatory flexibility of the executive branch in crises like floods, etc. – regardless of which party is in control – there is a concern levied by some of a hampered ability to respond in an appropriate manner.
  • SB 109 – which allocated federal stimulus funds for education and housing purposes – was signed into law by Gov. Wolf on Friday. It includes $17.5 million for Career and Technical Education Centers from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER funds). The new law also will establish a long-sought after Hospitality Industry Recovery Program, administered by counties to hotels, restaurants, bars and taverns.

On the federal front, recent procedural maneuvers in both chambers signaled further action in coming weeks on President Biden’s stimulus proposal. The House and Senate passed budget resolutions, providing a path for a budget reconciliation process that would provide Congress a vehicle for a broader stimulus package. The current proposal notably contains $40 billion in federal stimulus funding for child care ($25 billion for child care stabilization and $15 billion for CCDBG) but does not contain funds for home visiting. The intent is to address the package before the next deadline on unemployment insurance on March 14th.


Medicaid & CHIP Connect Kids to Health Care in Every PA Community 

Across Pennsylvania, from our rural communities to our urban centers, kids rely on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for their comprehensive health insurance, including the nearly 1.2 million children enrolled in Medicaid and more than 179,000 children enrolled in CHIP.

See below for updated fact sheets showing enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP by Congressional District, State House District and State Senate District:


MACPAC Makes Recommendations to Congress on Maternal Health Policies 

Last week the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) made important recommendations to Congress on policies that will have a positive impact on maternal health for all states, and policies that are supported by many advocates in Pennsylvania. The first major recommendation is to guarantee 12-month postpartum health care coverage for pregnant women in Medicaid. Research has shown how critical it is for maternal health to ensure moms have access to health care for at least 12 months after birth. Additionally, MACPAC recommends aligning the extended coverage policy for pregnant women with expanded coverage for pregnant women in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in states. Finally, the Commission recommends that Congress provide a 100% federal matching rate (FMAP) for the extended postpartum coverage in Medicaid.

MACPAC’s recommendations to Congress on these maternal health policies are supported by many advocates across the country, and many states submitted comments to the Commission for its consideration, including Pennsylvania’s prenatal-to-age-three collaborative. Additionally, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families wrote a blog about the recommendations.

Although these are only recommendations, it is a huge win for maternal health advocates and pregnant women across the country! We are hopeful Congress will take these recommendations seriously and act on improving policies to ensure greater maternal health.

Pennsylvania’s prenatal-to-age-three collaborative is advocating for important policies that increase access to coverage and services for pregnant women and women. 


Mark your Calendar! March 11th Webinar to Focus on Recent Study of Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts Program 

Please join the Pre-K for PA campaign for a special webinar presenting results from a new research study conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the impacts of Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program - the first ever to report on its impact. The webinar will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Presenters will review data showing the impact on children’s early learning and kindergarten readiness as well as local variations in how providers implemented the PA Pre-K Counts program and potential areas for improvement. The presenters include:

  • Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director, William Penn Foundation
  • Ellen S. Peisner-Feinberg, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist & Research Professor, School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Tracey Campanini, Deputy-Secretary, Office of Child Development and Early Learning

You can register for the webinar here.


Save the Date for a Maternal Health Town Hall

Please join Pennsylvania’s prenatal-to-age-three collaborative on March 11, 2021 at 11 a.m. for our maternal health town hall to discuss how to improve maternal and child health outcomes by advocating for better systems.

We will highlight the lived experiences of mothers throughout Pennsylvania as they speak directly with our state legislators about challenges they face and solutions they propose! Registration details will be shared soon -- stay tuned! 


In Case You Missed It...

  • “Pennie” re-opening to allow longer period for purchasing health insurance: Pennsylvania’s online health insurance marketplace “Pennie” is following the federal government’s lead by extending a special enrollment period to purchase health insurance from February 15 through May 15.
  • Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar resigned following an error made by the Department of State in failing to properly publish a proposed constitutional amendment to the Statute of Limitations for victims of child sexual abuse.
  • Public Citizens for Children and Youth released a new report focusing on education funding and highlighting the impacts of the state’s hold harmless provisions.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
200 North Third Street 13th Floor | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
(717) 236-5680 | info@papartnerships.org

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