Op-Ed: Five Goals for the New Year

As we begin the new year, the 2019-2020 legislative cycle brings abundant promise.

With much work to do, it is my hope that lawmakers can work together in achieving a number of goals that our constituents have cited as priorities.

Here are five goals I hope to tackle over the next year:

  • Giving All Voters a Voice.

More than 1.2 million voters in Pennsylvania are not registered with either of the two largest political parties – which means a substantial number of citizens are currently barred from participating substantively in most primary elections. I will introduce legislation that would give these voters a stronger voice in state government by allowing them to vote for candidates from the major political party of their choice in primary elections.

  • Finding Private Sector Solutions to Water Quality Mandates.

In order to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, the federal government developed strict pollution management goals that will be extremely expensive for Pennsylvania to meet. I will fight to pass legislation that allows communities to partner with the private sector to create and utilize better technologies to reduce pollution at a lower cost to taxpayers and ratepayers. Legislation that I authored last year to promote private sector solutions to water quality issues was supported by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, among other groups.

  • Protecting Community Pharmacies.

A number of our local community pharmacies have reported severe problems due to Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) – the middlemen between pharmacies and Medicaid patients. We need to demand greater transparency and fairness in contracts between pharmacies and PBMs in order to ensure community pharmacies can continue to meet the needs of patients.

  • Making Government Live Within Its Means.

Independent estimates place next year’s state budget deficit as high as $1.7 billion. It is my hope that lawmakers and Governor Wolf can work together to find solutions that will maintain the core functions of government without taking more money out of the paychecks of hard-working state residents.

  • Amending the Price Gouging Act.

State law prevents sellers from charging excessive prices for consumer goods during a disaster declaration, but the law creates a serious burden on many businesses due to the excessive length of time that pricing restrictions remain in effect. I plan to introduce a bill that would set commonsense time limits on pricing restrictions to eliminate the most absurd situations – such as restrictions stemming from a March snowstorm still being in effect on the Fourth of July, or events that are open-ended and not well defined, like Governor Wolf’s disaster declaration regarding the opioid epidemic.

Senator Alloway represents the 33rd District in the Pennsylvania Senate. The district includes Adams County, and parts of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.

CONTACT:           Scot Pitzer (717) 787-4651; spitzer@pasen.gov