House Debates State-Related Funding This Afternoon
Penn State and the other three state-related universities (Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln) just want the money that was promised to them but the House, as of yet, is not willing to write the check. The four university presidents have said the House leadership is reneging on a deal made in mid-November that their funding would be voted on even if the table games legislation was delayed.
“We ask that you meet this commitment by passing our appropriations bill now, regardless of the status of Senate Bill 711,” the table games legislation, states the letter signed by Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Penn State President Graham Spanier, Temple President Ann W. Hart and Lincoln President Ivory Nelson. “Allowing this issue to remain unresolved until January will do irreparable harm to Pennsylvania students, their families and our universities.”
The full text of the letter can be found here (PDF warning!).
The Democratic leadership in the House refuses to consider separating the table games bill from the university funding legislation. An hour ago, Majority Leader Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne) said, according to @Capitol_Ideas, that the university funding bill will be considered the second the table games bill passes.
Attempts to divorce the table games bill from the university funding have failed more than once. On Thursday, a motion to separate the two lost 95-97, while earlier today an attempt to do so also was unsuccessful by the same margin.
At this time, it is unclear how this episode will pan out, but it looks like the folks in Harrisburg are in for a long night.
Onward State will be updating this post as the situation changes. Hope for the best…
Updated 10:11 pm: The Penn State appropriation passes with a vote of 184-6. Thank you Harrisburg.