State Convention Report
Pennsylvania Moose Association
2023 State Convention
Government Relation Report
August 25, 2023
Good Afternoon Brothers and Sisters! I am here this afternoon to present the Government Relations report to the Pennsylvania Moose Association. This past year has been full of twists and turns internationally, nationally, on the state level and in many locations on a local level. All of this has had an adverse effect on all of us in many ways. To spend any amount of time discussing what is occurring around the world, I would be here a lot longer than any of you would want. Do, let me take a few minutes to discuss the landscape of the Unites States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Nationally, we have experienced continued high inflation which translates to an increase in gas, food, and housing to mention a few. Yes, inflation has come down a bit, but at cost of increased interest rates for mortgagees, cars and any other type of loan. The stock market over the past year has begun to make some positive gains, still not back to the level we had in 2021. Simultaneously, we are a country that is becoming more polarized each day. Especially now with the upcoming Presidential election in 2024. It is hard to believe we are still 14 months away from the election, yet campaigning has been going on already for the past 6 months. No longer does either party work for the greater good of the nation. They are only concerned about supporting their party’s agenda and getting reelected for another term. Regretfully, I do not fore see this changing anytime in the near future. So, for the next 14 months, we will be inundated with political commercials running constantly on television. There will be countless signs across our nation’s highways telling us who to vote for and why the other candidate is so evil. I sometimes wish all candidates should be banned from TV commercials and social media, but we are based on a fundamental belief in the freedom of speech.
It is a sad reflection of what our country is becoming, a polarized nation more and more divided. The only way this will change is we the people need to vote, but also to encourage our elected officials to begin looking at what is in the best interest of the country, not the best interest of a few or the fringe groups that encourage our country to move farther to the left or the right. So, if you want to be part of the solution, VOTE! If you chose not to vote, then you have no reason to complain.
This year the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has partially passed the largest budget in the history of the state. By law, the Commonwealth is to have a passed budget by July 1st. The 45-billion-dollar budget has passed except a little over one billion dollars. This is basically due to minor impasses and personal agendas. The only reason that the Senate came back into session was the tremendous pressure they received from Counties, School Districts and other entities that would need to be shutting program down without funding. The Commonwealth is only one of 4 States that did not pass their budget by the July 1st deadline. In fact, the Senate is not scheduled to return to session until after mid-September to finish the budget. Not only does the Senate not being in session affect the final budget, it also stops any consideration of other legislation passing. These Representatives and Senators were elected by the people they represent, not their respective party. I personally would like if they began representing those they were hired to represent.
One way they can begin to get additional funds that is beginning to get a lot of attention is SB 706, better known as PA Skill game legislation. I have been told by a number of Representatives that when they reconvene in September, this will be one of the items that will be seriously considered. If passed, as it is written right now, the state, county, and municipality would benefit from the proceeds of PA Skills based on a 16% tax of all net revenue. It is estimated that passage of SB 706 could add over 300 million dollars towards state revenue in future years.
Some other bills that I have been following include:
SB 360 Clubs would be allowed to sell take out, maximum 192 ounces. It has already had First Consideration.
SB 430 50/50 Split referred to Community, Economic and Recreational Development
SB711: legislation to specifically state that those with a Bingo License may sell tickets to their bingo event online. Tickets may only be bought with a debit card, not a credit card.
Finally, there are many other pieces of legislation that are being considered that could affect us both personally and fraternally that I track. Most will never get out of committee and go to the floor for a vote. If any do begin getting traction, I will be sure to share this information with the Association and Lodges.
This concludes the report of the Government Relations Committee. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the State Convention.
Government Relations Chairperson