–Democrats interrupted Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford/Fulton) on the floor of the House late Wednesday night when he raised concerns about a procedural move that will jeopardize tens of millions of dollars for Penn State Extension offices.
During debate on House Bill 1456
, Topper voiced questions about a plan to skirt the constitutionally required 2/3 vote to fund the state-related universities – Lincoln, Penn State, Temple and the University of Pittsburgh. The bill would create a new grant program to provide state funding to the universities, but would not have released the more than $57 million earmarked for Penn State Extension
“House Democrats failed to realize that funding for Penn State Extension would be in jeopardy because of this move to circumvent the process needed to fund our state-related universities,” Topper said. “This could result in disaster for our local agriculture programs.”
Topper was abruptly cutoff by House Democrats when he pointed out their plan had backfired and, instead, created a dead-end funding path, leaving Penn State Extension without access to its annual appropriation.
“This was a political maneuver by the majority party to shut down debate on an issue that had clearly not been vetted,” Topper said. “Rushed policy is bad policy and this event highlights that fact, which unfortunately could severely impact our farms and farmers throughout the Commonwealth.”
With offices in all 67 counties, Penn State Extension provides science-based information -often at no cost- on a wide variety of topics for all Pennsylvanians through expert consultation and advice, workshops, online courses and other valuable resources.
A recording of Topper’s comments in the House can be found here
Representative Jesse Topper
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross
RepTopper.com / Facebook.com/RepTopper