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Ga Payments Challenge

Ga Payments Challenge

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Published by jmicek

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Published by: jmicek on Oct 02, 2012
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05/13/2014

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IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Billie Washington, Tina Smith, Opal Gibson,Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers'Association , Mental Health Associationin Pennsylvania, Mental Health Associationof Southeastern Pennsylvania,The Philadelphia Alliance,Drug and Alcohol Service ProvidersOrganization of Pennsylvania, PennsylvaniaCommunity Providers Association,Success Against All Odds, No.Petitionersv.The Department of Public Welfare of theCommonwealth of Pennsylvania,Respondent.
PETITION FOR REVIEW(In the Nature of an Action for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief)
In support of their Petition for Review, Petitioners state asfollows.
I. SUMMARY OF THIS LAWSUIT
1. In this action, Petitioners seek to enjoin enforcement andimplementation of Act 2012-80, which was signed into law on June 30,2012. Act 2012-80, P.L. 668, approved June 30, 2012, eff. July 1, 2012(hereinafter “Act 80”; a copy of Act 80 is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”).
 
 
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2. Act 80 violates the Pennsylvania Constitution, and was passedin a fashion that both disregarded and violated longstanding rules thatgovern how legislation is to be considered and acted upon.3. Article III, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution requiresthat legislation cover a single subject.4. Act 80 covers seven subjects.
 
First, Act 80 eliminated theGeneral Assistance cash assistance program, a program that enabledabout 68,000 vulnerable Pennsylvanians to subsist. Second, Act 80dramatically reworked the way human services are provided inPennsylvania, establishing a Pilot Block Grant Program that will apply to 20Pennsylvania Counties and imposing new planning and reportingrequirements on all counties. Third, it imposed new work requirements onapplicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”). Fourth,it established a completely new sanctions process for non-compliance withTANF work requirements. Fifth, it expanded work requirements for onegroup of Medical Assistance recipients. Sixth, it extended certain subsidiesavailable to adoptive parents and legal custodians of youth ages 18-21.And seventh, it extended a $477 million assessment on nursing facilities.
See 
Act 80; House Fiscal Note to H.B. 1261, P.N. 3884. (A copy of thisfiscal note is attached hereto as Exhibit “B”.)
 
 
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5. Article III, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution requiresthat a bill’s original purpose not change during its course through thelegislative process. The purpose of the bill that became Act 80, H.B. 1261,was to effect a change in residency requirements for certain forms ofassistance. That original purpose was abandoned and is found nowhere inAct 80 – and in fact H.B. 1261’s original purpose was accomplishedthrough an entirely different bill, which enacted verbatim the originallanguage and the original purpose of H.B. 1261. Act 2011-22 (H.B. 960).6. Article III, Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution requiresthat a bill be considered on three days in the House and three days in theSenate. Seven of the bill’s seven subjects were considered on only oneday in the House, and the situation was only marginally better in theSenate, where six of the bill’s seven subjects/purposes were considered ononly one day.7. The Pilot Block Grant Program established in Act 80 violatesfundamental Constitutional rules that require the executive branch to abideby appropriation decisions made by the General Assembly, and that bar theexecutive branch from spending more on a program than the amountappropriated. Pa. Const. art. III, § 24.
 

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