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Potter County Signs On To Top 2019 Legislative Priorities

December 28th, 2018

Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and Paul Heimel have signed on to the county government priorities that will be strongly supported in the state capital in 2019. They emerged following considerable research, debate and a final vote by the County Commissioners Assn. of Pa. (CCAP). Registered lobbyists from CCAP will be advocating for the priorities with legislators and the governor. County commissioners across Pennsylvania will provide grassroots support.

These are the six top priorities from among dozens that were proposed by CCAP members:

  • Election equipment and voting systems. Settlement of federal litigation requires that all voting machines have voter-verified paper trail systems in place by April 2020. CCAP calls for full state funding for voting systems, since counties are wholly responsible for selection and purchase of voting equipment. Also, the state and federal governments must work closely to assure there is a marketplace of voting equipment that is compliant with certification requirements.
  • Forensic and community services for seriously mentally ill prisoners, as well as an examination of the needs of the mental health system as a whole. A high proportion of county jail inmates have been diagnosed with mental illness. Many do not have access to the level of care they require, either while incarcerated and after they have returned to society. The result is a high proportion of repeat offenders who cycle in and out of the criminal justice system. The resolution calls for state policy-makers to address the mental health system as a whole, not just for those who are involved with the criminal justice system, including funding for expanded services, beds and diversion.
  • Human services funding and system reform. The resolution also calls for a stronger role for counties in the decision-making process regarding service delivery. County taxpayers continue to bear an increasing burden due to flat and declining state funding, combined with increased mandates and caseloads for critical programs such as children and youth, mental health, developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol, aging, and housing.
  • High-speed internet (broadband) expansion to assure Pennsylvania communities have the infrastructure that is critical to economic vitality, advancement of education and medical services, and quality of life.
  • Real estate tax assessment reform, including implementation of new tools and best practices for counties to maintain fair and uniform assessment systems.
  • Preventing substance abuse in a comprehensive way that involves local and state stakeholders, improves data collection, and offers additional resources to expand capacity for education, prevention and treatment. While Pennsylvania continues to face high rates of overdose and death due to the opioid epidemic, other forms of substance abuse also remain a serious public health concern.
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