Sims’ call to action to preserve women’s constitutional rights and highlights of 2022-23 budget passage

HARRISBURG, July 8 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today gave a statement on the passing of the 2022-23 PA state budget and the conclusion of legislative session before the summer recess.

“The General Assembly has finally come to an agreement and passed a budget,” Sims said. “But I am sad to say that before we broke for the summer recess, Republicans pushed through a bill proposing a constitutional amendment to strip women of their right to abortion. My colleagues across the aisle tout that this is simply putting the power back in the hands of the people at the ballot box, but we must not be fooled. Through Senate Bill 106, they’ve proposed numerous constitutional amendments that also systematically suppress the voting rights of people who’ve historically been disenfranchised. The same people -- women, people of color, people living below the poverty line -- that an abortion ban will most devastate. While this passage of S.B. 106 is infuriating and disheartening, we can defeat it. To enact this change to the PA Constitution, Republicans will need to pass S.B.106 through the legislature again next session, and voters would later need to approve the change as a ballot question. We have the power to stop this attack on women’s rights. That we can do.

“Regarding the commonwealth’s budget, I’m happy to see additional investments in basic education, special education, and more relief for students attending PASSHE schools. As a graduate of Bloomsburg University, a PASSHE school, and a chair of the bicameral and bipartisan PASSHE Caucus I am glad to finally see funding to our state schools of higher education. Until now, the budget cuts of the Corbett administration have hamstrung higher education funding and we’re finally seeing recovery. This budget is by no means perfect. With the surplus we had, I was hoping for even more investment in equitable education and school facilities; instead, we saw an increase in EITC credits for private schools and corporate tax cuts.

“What I’m most proud of is that my ‘Yes Means Yes’ bill, which would mandate sexual violence prevention education, will become law as a result of this budget passage,” Sims said. “I worked with Governor Tom Wolf to draft this important legislation that requires postsecondary schools in PA to educate young people about sexual consent, but more importantly, those who are victims of sexual violence, assault or stalking will know their rights and options when it comes to accessing comprehensive and confidential support systems. Institutions of higher education will be required to partner with at least one rape crisis center and one domestic violence program to develop curricula and define how resources and services will be made readily available. Colleges and universities will also be able to apply to the PA Department of Education for a grant to implement this important program.”

The 2022-23 state budget includes a $1.1 billion increase to education, including $750 million for Basic Education funding and $200 million for the PA State System of Higher Education. The School District of Philadelphia will receive an additional $189.3 million, a 13.7% increase over last year.

More information is available by contacting Sims’ district office at 215-246-1501.