After a month-long delay, Governor Josh Shapiro has signed the $45.5 billion FY24 budget into law. The bill makes important investments in several key areas, including education, community and economic development, indigent defense, infrastructure, and resources for law enforcement and first responders, among others. While both chambers of the General Assembly had approved a $45.5 billion spending plan by early July, the budget was not able to be officially finalized until Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) called the chamber back into session for Thursday, August 3, in order to avoid further delays in critical state education and human services payments.
The primary sticking point was a $100 million line item for a controversial school voucher program — dubbed “lifeline scholarships” by proponents — which Governor Shapiro agreed to veto in order to persuade House Democrats to pass the budget back on July 5, despite having worked across the aisle to help create it. This week, Governor Shapiro honored that line-item veto commitment and also agreed to reserve a $1.1 billion portion of the spending plan for the time being for continued negotiations among lawmakers. This means funding will be delayed for mental health grants, public defenders’ offices, a home repairs program, “Level Up” funds targeted to the state’s poorest schools, and hospital emergency relief.
Legislative leaders acknowledged the need to continue negotiations on budget-related “code” bills as these pieces of legislation specifically dictate how money in certain general fund line items are distributed. Code bills sometimes also include policy changes that are negotiated by all four caucuses and the Governor. There is no timeline for when these budget-related bills might pass. Historically, changes to the Entertainment Production Tax Credit program have taken place in a budget-related code. This is the case for both funding changes and programmatic changes. So while some of the FY 2023-24 has been completed, our advocacy to increase the film tax credit continues as decisions on this program have not yet been finalize.
In other news…Democratic state Representative Sara Innamorato resigned from the PA House on Wednesday, July 19, in order to focus on her campaign for Allegheny County executive, which she is favored to win. This marks the third time this year that House Democrats will be forced to defend their majority, as the chamber is now tied once again at 101-101. Lindsay Powell has been selected as the Democratic nominee to fill the now-vacant House District 21 seat for a special election that will take place on Tuesday, September 19, before the General Assembly reconvenes in the fall. If elected, Powell would be the first Black woman to represent the district. The Allegheny County Republican Committee selected Erin Connolly Autenreith as their nominee for the special election. Autenreith, of Shaler Township, is a Realtor who also chairs the Shaler Township Republican Committee.
Below is the fall session schedule that has been announced by both chambers.
September 18, 19, 20
October 2, 3, 4, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25
November 13, 14, 15
December 11, 12, 13
September 26, 27
October 2, 3, 4, 16, 17, 18, 30, 31
November 1, 13, 14, 15
Meet our 2023-2024 Board of Directors!
The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) is thrilled to introduce our distinguished Board of Directors dedicated to advocating and lobbying for the Film Industry Incentive. With their extensive industry knowledge and expertise, this esteemed group will work tirelessly to ensure the continued support and advancement of the Film Industry Incentive, promoting its benefits for the filmmaking community and the economy as a whole.
Meet Our Board of Directors
The collective knowledge, industry connections, and dedication of our Board of Directors make them an exceptional team to lead our lobbying efforts. Their objective is to engage with policymakers, legislators, and industry stakeholders to educate them about the benefits of the Film Industry Incentive and foster its growth.
The Film Industry Incentive plays a pivotal role in stimulating local economies, creating jobs, and attracting high-quality productions to our region. By advocating for its continuation and expansion, we aim to foster a thriving film industry that boosts economic development, supports local talent, and enriches our cultural landscape.
We are confident that, with the guidance and commitment of our exceptional Board of Directors, we can create a robust coalition of supporters to show our legislators the support to keep and expand the Film Industry Incentive to $300 Million.
Please join us in welcoming our esteemed Board of Directors as they embark on this crucial mission to champion the Film Industry Incentive.
For media inquiries or further information, please contact email@example.com.
Together, let's amplify the voice of the film industry and ensure a bright future for filmmaking!
The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
With Republican Michael Stender’s defeat of Democrat Trevor Finn and Libertarian Elijah Scretching in House District 108 in Central Pennsylvania and Democrat Heather Boyd’s victory over Republican Katie Ford in House District 163 in Delaware County, special elections have once again secured Democratic control of the chamber. Over the course of the campaigns, Pennsylvania Democrats spent more than $1 million in hopes of defending their narrow majority. The races have earned national attention, with President Joe Biden endorsing Democrat Heather Boyd.
And there are likely even more special elections on the horizon, as current state Representatives Sara Innamorato and John Galloway have good chances of winning their November general elections for Allegheny County Executive and district court judge, respectively.
While the special elections stole much of the focus at the beginning of the month, both chambers of the General Assembly have been hard at work passing legislation. Democrats in the state House have taken the opportunity to flex their progressive muscles by passing an expansion of protections for LGBTQ+ people, a guarantee to the right to organized labor and collective bargaining in Pennsylvania’s constitution, a “red flag” bill that would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from a person deemed an immediate threat to themselves or others and a bill to close the “gun show loophole,” and a bill to broaden the definition of “ethnic intimidation.” Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to ban safe-injection sites, among other legislation. Bills passed in each chamber likely face uphill battles in the other chamber.
The state House also now has a new caucus — the Pennsylvania Progressive Caucus is comprised of a group of 34 state representatives seeking to halt political corruption and curb the impact of corporate interests on legislation.
Looking ahead to June, the Legislature will turn their attention to budget negotiations in order to pass a FY 2023-24 general fund budget before the end of the Commonwealth’s fiscal year on June 30th. Today, the PA Department of Revenue announced that fiscal year-to-date general fund collections are $1.2 billion, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.
Governor Josh Shapiro kicked off the month by signing the first bill of his administration — a bill that requires insurers to cover preventative breast and ovarian cancer screenings to women who are considered high-risk at no additional cost.
May also saw the confirmation of several of Governor Shapiro’s cabinet nominees, including Mike Carroll as transportation secretary, Rick Siger as community and economic development secretary, Jason Kavulich as aging secretary, Russell Redding as secretary of agriculture. Governor Shapiro’s pick for secretary of state, Al Schmidt, is still undergoing a multi-hearing confirmation process.
We continue to work with the four film industry caucus chairs in our efforts to have the film production tax credit increased to $300 million in next year’s budget. As the pace of the legislative session picks up, our outreach to legislators and staff will become more nuisance as we filter through all the “noise” in Harrisburg to ensure this budget request is top of mind. The Cozen team will be bringing David Haddad to Harrisburg for some targeted meetings and we will remain engaged with other industry stakeholders to ensure a unified advocacy effort.
We open this month’s summary by giving a huge round of applause to the PAFIA members that traveled to Harrisburg on Monday, May 1 for the film industry legislative reception. We had over 60 elected officials and staff stop by to learn more about the film production incentive and the economic benefits it provides the Commonwealth. With the leadership of our four film caucus chairs and the support of industry stakeholders, we had over 100 people attended the event – a huge success! Thank you letters will be sent to all the elected officials who attended and we will remain in close contact with them as budget negotiations begin in earnest later this month.
In legislative news for this past month, the State Senate and House Appropriations Committees’ hearings regarding Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed FY24 budget concluded in mid-April, kicking off this year’s budget negotiations process in earnest. The deadline for the General Assembly to pass the budget is June 30, 2023.
Both chambers have had a busy two weeks as they were in session the last week of April and the first week of May. The House passed legislation expanding anti-discrimination protections (HB 300), address worker misclassification in the construction industry (HB 413) and proposed workers’ right amendment to the state constitution (HB 950). The Senate passed a bill (SB 671) that would limit the City of Philadelphia’s ability to impose a commuter tax on people who work remotely.
During this same time, Governor Shapiro signed his first bill into law as Act 1 of 2023 which requires insurers to cover the cost of early-detection genetic testing to screen for breast cancer. The Senate also approved three of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s cabinet nominees yesterday, with Mike Carroll confirmed as transportation secretary, Rick Siger confirmed as community and economic development secretary and Jason Kavulich as the state’s secretary of aging.
Looking ahead, the Senate will be in session on May 8, 9, and 10 while the House will be in session on May 22, 23, and 24. Both chambers have a busy June schedule planned. As a reminder, on May 16, there will be two special elections to fill state House vacancies happening on primary election day. One is being held in the Philly suburb’s 163rd Legislative district to replace former state Rep. Mike Zabel (D., Delaware), who resigned in March following accusations of sexual harassment. The other is in the 108th Legislative district in the Susquehanna Valley, which was held by former Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R., Northumberland) until she resigned after winning a state Senate seat.
The month of February began with much anticipation for the three February 7 special elections in Allegheny County that would ultimately determine control of the PA State House, thus ending a weeks-long standstill in the chamber — and by extension, the entire legislative branch. During this time, House Speaker Mark Rozzi continued his statewide listening tour to solicit feedback from constituents throughout Pennsylvania, many of whom expressed frustration and disappointment with the partisan gridlock in Harrisburg.
As early campaign finance reports indicated, Democratic candidates won all three special elections, making campaign and party staffer Joe McAndrew, attorney Abigail Salisbury, and McKeesport political fixture Matt Gergely the state’s newest House Representatives in Districts 32, 34, and 35, respectively. The three representatives filled seat vacancies left by the late longtime state Representative Tony DeLuca, U.S. Representative Summer Lee, and Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis. These elections gave Democrats a one-vote majority in the House for the first time in 12 years. Representatives McAndrew, Salisbury, and Gergely were officially sworn in on February 21.
On February 24, the state House approved legislation in Special Session that had been at the top of House Speaker Mark Rozzi’s priority list and would open a two-year window for sexual abuse victims whose statute of limitations has expired to file lawsuits. A few days later, on February 28, Speaker Rozzi officially stepped down as Speaker, paving the way for the House to elect Representative Joanna McClinton to the House speakership in a 102-99 vote. She is the first female and second Black person to serve in the role. Shortly after her swearing in, House Democrats formally announced their leadership team:
On February 27, Lynda Schlegel Culver resigned her position in the House in order to be sworn in as the new Senator for District 27 — increasing both Senate Republicans’ majority and House Republicans’ minority. Senator Culver fills a vacancy left by former Senator John Gordner, who left his seat to take on a new role in the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward. A special election to fill Senator Culver’s former seat in the House has not yet been called.
On March 1, the House finally passed its operating rules for the two-year term. The rules are a bit different than previous terms as changes include:
The Pennsylvania Film Industry (PAFIA) was honored to be a guest at the Shapiro-Davis Inauguration events that took place on Tuesday, January 17, 2023. PAFIA Chair, David Haddad, proudly represented the organization along with Maeve Palmieri at the events in Harrisburg.
David and Maeve's participation was sponsored by Haddad's Inc. The Inaugural Celebration at Rock Lititz was a high-energy event with several Pennsylvania eateries keeping the food and beverages flowing throughout the evening. Artists native to Pennsylvania performed and there were approximately 3,000 people in attendance, including several friends of PAFIA. Our lobbyist, Jim Davis, Film Caucus chairs, Senator Camera Bartolotta, Senator Jay Costa, and Representative Joe Ciresi were all in attendance.
PAFIA is excited to kick off this new year, and we plan to meet with new legislators in the coming months to educate them on the value of the Film Tax Credit. A benefit to being a PAFIA member is that you receive regular updates regarding the Film Tax Credit from our Lobbyist each month.
To become a member, sign up using the link below.
Become a PAFIA Member
Make a Donation to PAFIA
The PA House continues to be at standstill since the Democrats and Republicans were not able to agree to operating rules for the chamber. As such no legislative standing committees can be established and bills cannot officially be introduced. Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) has embarked on a statewide listening tour to meet with the public and good government groups to address the gridlock and invited members of the Speaker’s Workgroup to Move Pennsylvania Forward to join him.
Many insiders believe the outcome of the three special elections (House Districts 32, 34 and 35) scheduled for Tuesday, February 7 will finally end the stalemate. With the Commonwealth Court’s ruling this month that all these elections may take place in February, it is anticipated that the Democrats will regain their seated majority in the House. Right now, the House is not set to return to session until Monday, February 27 and a more detailed session schedule for the rest of the spring has yet been released.
In the meantime, the House R’s have basically thrown their hands up in the air and named their standing committee chairs even though the committees have not been set up. A list of those committee chairs can be found here. At least one of the Republican chairs will change soon as Rep Linda Culver, named as the Republican Chair for the House Children and Youth Committee, is the front runner for the state Senate seat vacated by Republican Sen John Gordner’s retirement. The special election for that seat was Tuesday, Jan 31.
The Senate has started the new legislative term in a more conventional manner. Chamber rules have been passed, committee chairs have been named, bills have started to be introduced and the chamber has even voted on a few pieces of legislation. The Senate session schedule has changed a bit due to the pause on the Larry Krasner impeachment proceedings and the lack of legislative action in the House. The updated Senate schedule can be found below.
January 3, 6 (NV), 9, 10, 11, 17, 18
February 27, 28
March 1, 6, 7, 8
April 24, 25, 26
May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
June 5, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
Governor Josh Shapiro and Lt. Governor Austin Davis have both sworn into office. Members of Shapiro’s cabinet who will require Senate confirmation have all been official nominated for their respective offices so that lengthy process can begin. Attached to this email is a list of Shapiro’s executive leadership team along with brief biographies.
Governor Shapiro has signed several new executive orders, most of which follow up on promises made during the campaign.
This holiday season we are looking back at 2022 with a deep sense of gratitude and hope of the future for the Pennsylvania film community. This year, after months, and years, of advocating for the Film Production Tax Credit, we finally saw our efforts succeed and the program was raised to $100 million. This was a huge win for the state of Pennsylvania and everyone involved in the PA film and television industry. Your support has been invaluable to this organization, and we hope to continue to propel the film community forward with you by our side.
For 2023, our sights are set to increase the film industry incentive to potentially $500 million. Even though we were able to raise the tax credit program by $30 million to $100 million, Pennsylvania still turns down projects and work for our local crew. This leaves billions of dollars of economic activity on the table for Pennsylvania, as well as missed opportunities for our local businesses.
Our mission for the first three months of 2023 is to meet with legislators from the House, Senate, and Executive branch to educate them on the benefits of the Film Production Tax Credit Program.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
This year, we are asking our PAFIA Members to GET INVOLVED. There are many ways, big and small, that you can get involved to keep our community strong and active in Harrisburg.
Anyone can be a member of PAFIA, and the stronger our membership numbers are, the more visibility the film industry has with our legislators. Now is the time to invite your friends, family, and colleagues to join with you! More information regarding PAFIA membership opportunities can be found on our website at www.pafia.org/joinus.
Each year, we must thank those who have championed the cause to keep and expand the Film industry in the state of Pennsylvania.
First, I would like to thank the 1,087 active PAFIA Members who have renewed their membership in 2022. Out of the 1,087 active members, 719 of those members are from our generous Sponsors and Corporate members who have donated between $500-$15,000.
Second, a huge thank you to the bi-partisan Film Caucus, led by Senators Camera Bartolotta (R) and Jay Costa (D) and Representatives Joe Ciresi (D) and Kathleen "KC" Tomlinson (R) that worked tirelessly to ensure this increase was included in this year’s budget cycle.
Next, a sincere thank you to our lobbyists, Jim Davis and Beth Brennan, with Cozen O’Connor and our management company, Kassalen Meetings and Events, in particular our Administrative Director, Jennifer Iams and our Social Media Director, Jaymie Macek. You are the spinal cord to the organization and our successes are directly tied to your successes. Your work to move our agenda forward has never been more valuable.
Finally, thank you to the 21 volunteers on the PAFIA Board from all around the state who give their time and money to this organization. We are always looking to expand our Board with people who can give the organization time, prestige, and money to keep us strong and active in Harrisburg.
There is a lot of work to do in 2023, and we appreciate your support every step of the way.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
Chairman, The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
The month of October saw a flurry of legislative activity as the end of the 2021-22 legislative session draws to an end on November 30. Most bills that saw action in Harrisburg this month were issues that both political parties could agree on. It was very challenging to move legislation that had opposition, and bills that were contentious fell off the voting calendar and will need to wait until next session to be addressed.
The House is scheduled to return to session November 14-16, and the Senate is scheduled to return to session on November 15 to close out the current legislative term. While we had anticipated that the brief legislative schedule during “sine die” (the time period after the General Election and before the end of session on November 30) would be focused only on caucus leadership elections, House leadership has indicated that they will be voting on a few bills. While on its own merit, passing bills during sine die that are before the House on a concurrence vote is relatively harmless, it can be a dicey time if the Republican majority tries to pass more partisan legislation. We will be sure to keep you posted.
Looking ahead to the November 8th general election, current Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro remains consistently ahead of his Republican gubernatorial opponent and current state senator Doug Mastriano in the polls. Shapiro has raised significantly more money this year (nearly $52 million) compared to Mastriano (nearly $6 million) as the race to be the next Governor is breaking state fundraising records. All 203 state House members and 25 of the 50 state Senate members are up for reelection next week. Based off of retirements, primary election results, and other circumstances, we already know that nearly 20% of the PA House membership will be newly elected on November 8th. In the PA Senate, we know that roughly 25% of the 25 members up for re-election will not be returning to the chamber next session. This turnover of rank and file legislators, in addition to the fact that caucus leadership teams and dozens of legislative standing committees will have new chairpersons, means Harrisburg will look a lot different in 2023.
To close, we wanted to share the below public service announcement as it relates to Election Day next week. While every election is critical, there are several important seats on the ballot this year, and nearly one million Pennsylvanians have already cast mail-in ballots for U.S. Senate, Governor, Congress, state House and state Senate.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mail-In Ballots: The deadline to request a mail-in or absentee ballot was November 1, 2022. If you requested a ballot prior to that date and have not yet returned it, the Pennsylvania Department of State is now urging you to hand deliver your ballot to your county election office, designated drop box, or drop-off site. Mail-in and absentee ballots must be received no later than 8:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 8. You can find your county election office, drop box, and drop-off sites here.
Election Day: Polls are open on Tuesday, November 8, from 7:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. Find your polling location here.
Click here for more information including what to do if you did not return your mail-in or absentee ballot.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s elections, click here.
All eyes in Harrisburg are focused on the November 8th General Election. With such a limited fall session schedule, legislative action in September was restricted to those items that had bi-partisan support. And given how close we are to election day, there are not too many issues that Democrats and Republicans are agreeing to right now. This trend will continue into October as the Senate has only 5 session days scheduled and the House has just 3 days on the calendar.
Pennsylvanians are not the only ones interested in November’s gubernatorial race given the state’s reputation as a presidential battleground and the impact that the governor of the state could have on a range of issues, including future election administration and access to abortion. Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is looking to make some history in his race for Governor - the last time Democrats strung together 3 consecutive gubernatorial wins in Pennsylvania was in the 1840s. Pennsylvania is also home to one of the most high-profile Senate contests of the cycle between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz.
This week, candidates filed their latest campaign finance reports and Shapiro reported that his campaign raised $25.4 million from June 7 to September 19, ending the three-month period with over $10.9 million in the bank. Shapiro’s haul is significant for gubernatorial campaigns in Pennsylvania, overshadowing the $7.2 million that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf raised for his reelection bid from June to September in 2018 and the $9.6 million Wolf raised over the same time in 2014. Shapiro’s fundraising far outpaces Republican candidate Doug Mastriano as he reported raising just $3.16 million during the same three-month period and enters the final months of the campaign with $2.56 million in the bank. The three-month haul brings his total raised for the cycle to just under $5 million, significantly less than the more than $50 million Shapiro has raised in the cycle.
The latest Marist poll released on September 27 shows both Democratic statewide candidates (Shapiro and Fetterman) with double-digit leads over their Republican opponents. This survey showed Shapiro with a 13-point advantage over Mastriano in the governor’s race, 53-40. It also showed Fetterman with a 10-point leader over Oz in the US Senate race, 51-41.
Two days later, Franklin & Marshall College released a poll showing the Republican nominee Oz narrowing the gap against Democrat opponent Fetterman. The F&M poll had the race at 45 to 42 with Fetterman holding a narrow lead. The poll shows that Shapiro maintained a 10-point lead and higher favorable ratings over Mastriano.
Earlier this month, Sheryl Lee Ralph, the wife of Senator Vincent Hughes (Democratic Appropriations Committee Chair), won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Senator Hughes is along-time supporter of the Film Tax Credit and our efforts.
We are anxious to put the November election behind so we can begin to build relationships with new legislators and strengthen our relationships with our long-time allies. It is challenging to handicap every election that will take place on November 8th so please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have a questions about a specific race.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org