Pa. legislature approves $2.6B in federal CARES spending; plastic bag regulation under attack

Tony Romeo
May 29, 2020 - 4:00 am

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KYW Newsradio)  A bill headed to Gov. Wolf’s desk will distribute the lion’s share of Pennsylvania’s federal pandemic aid money, which includes hundreds of millions for nursing homes and long-term living facilities. 

The bill sent to the governor allocated $2.6 billion in federal CARES money, leaving about $1.3 billion of that funding in reserve. Almost $700 million is earmarked for nursing homes and long-term living facilities. 

Republican Jake Corman, the Senate majority leader, praised Wolf for his willingness to reach agreement with the legislature on how the money should be spent.

“Credit to the administration for choosing this path. I think this is a significant product that we could all be very proud of that was done in a bipartisan way, bicameral way,” Corman said.

The bill also drives out $625 million to Pennsylvania counties, but Philadelphia and the suburban counties won’t share in that bounty as they have already gotten direct aid from Washington. 

The legislation also includes millions for, among other things. intellectual disability and autism services, small businesses, rent and mortgage assistance, school safety, child care and early childhood education.

Plastic bag regulation

The effort by Philadelphia and other Pennsylvania municipalities to regulate plastic bags is again under attack in Harrisburg. 

Republicans in the state legislature have inserted language into a budget companion bill that would prevent local governments from implementing plastic bag regulations until at least July of next year. 

The amendment to the state fiscal code means Wolf would have to veto a key piece of the budget package in order to eliminate the plastic bag language.