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Pa. counties ask legal professionals to maintain psychological well being, 911 companies, and elections entrance and middle

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A collective of county commissioners laid out their priorities

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County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania President Chip Abramovic, flanked by other county commissioners, speaks at a press conference in Harrisburg on Jan. 25, 2023.

Sam Dunklau/WITF

County Commissioner Affiliation of Pennsylvania President Chip Abramovic, flanked by different county commissioners, speaks at a press convention in Harrisburg on Jan. 25, 2023.

Pennsylvania county commissioners are outlining a handful of coverage objectives they need state legal professionals to deal with within the subsequent 12 months.

Topping that checklist is ensuring county 911 companies are funded – and that ongoing Subsequent Era 911 improve tasks 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 companies in any scenario,” County Commissioner Affiliation of Pennsylvania President Chip Abramovic stated at a Wednesday press occasion in Harrisburg .

Whereas everybody in Pennsylvania with a telephone is usually billed at $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 software deadline earlier.

Voters are allowed handy of their software as late as one week earlier than an in-person election is held. County staff have stated that makes it just about unimaginable 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,” stated Joe Kantz, who chairs Snyder County’s Board of Commissioners. “Reforms are wanted to resolve ambiguities.”

Regardless of bipartisan urging, state legal professionals have didn’t comply with both of these adjustments since Act 77 – the state’s most up-to-date election regulation replace – was applied 4 years in the past.

Counties additionally need extra state funding for group psychological well being packages. A WITF investigation late final 12 months Discovered individuals 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 enough 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 stated.

“It’s in all probability some of the crumbled programs in all of our human service supply programs,” he added.

Dauphin County has stated 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 stated state legal professionals might use a $100 million pot of leftover pandemic reduction cash to assist enhance psychological well being companies. Home Democratic Chief Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) stated she favored that concept final failed. Relying on how a trio of particular elections set for Feb. 7 turned out, her occasion could management the state Home by a razor-thin margin.

That chamber has not given in for session as a result of it is deadlocked over procedural guidelines. Newly-elected Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) is heading a working group geared toward resolving that situation.

Abramovic stated his group is working intently with the brand new Gov. Josh Shapiro, as soon as a Montgomery County commissioner, to get these issues completed. When requested about pushing these concepts in an almost evenly-divided Home, Abramovic was upbeat.

“We see it as a possibility. We will deliver them collectively on frequent bipartisan points,” he stated.


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