2023 County Government Priorities
CCAP's membership-selected priorities are the areas of primary legislative focus that guide the organization's activities with legislators. They are revised annually to stay current with ever-changing issues and concerns and to help counties continually provide critical services.
911 Funding and Reauthorization
Counties are proud to provide one of the key functions in public safety—the operation of the 911 call-taking and dispatch system. As technologies continue to evolve and funding streams no longer align with current realities, counties need to be able to rely on consistent and sustainable funding to maintain their responsibility as the first line of emergency response.
County Inmates with Mental Health Issues
County jails have become de-facto state hospitals following years of deinstitutionalization of individuals with mental illness. When unmet behavioral health challenges lead to criminal charges, individuals are often committed to jails that are not equipped to address needs of people who need mental health treatment, resulting in poor outcomes for those individuals and for their communities.
County Mental Health Base Funding Increase
Counties deliver critical mental health services – such as community residential programs, family-based support, outpatient care and crisis intervention – on behalf of the state, and these services must be properly funded to ensure that the residents are able to access the care that they need. Lack of adequate state funding that has failed to keep up with demand, coupled with growing caseloads and cost inflation, have pushed the community mental health system to the point of collapse.
THE ASK: Counties are calling for a significant investment of $150 million in the county mental health base for FY 2023-2024, in addition to the allocation of the $100 million in federal ARPA dollars for adult mental health, to begin the rebuilding process: $50 million base funding increase ($20 million proposed by Gov. Shapiro + $30 million), redirecting $100 million in school mental health funding proposed in Gov. Shapiro’s budget to county mental health base funds and a long-term plan of further increases over the next five to ten years that can develop a strong system to benefit all Pennsylvania.
Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Have Complex Behavioral Health Issues
When a child is unable to remain in his or her own home due to complications created by complex needs, such as acute substance abuse, mental health and/or developmental disabilities that occur simultaneously, counties have extreme challenges in obtaining a safe place for the child to stay while receiving the right services. Often referred to as “complex cases,” the prevalence of youth in these situations are a growing concern where counties have few, if any, resources for referrals and treatment, leading to youth being held in settings that are not able to meet their unique set of needs.
Broadband Access and Development
The collective future of Pennsylvanians hinges on addressing the challenges to broadband expansion that are preventing access to opportunities and information to many of our residents. Counties have been engaged in assessing availability and connections as well as working with community partners to ensure the commonwealth’s communities have safe, affordable and reliable connection to the internet.
Promote Election Integrity
Counties take their responsibility for the fair, secure and accurate administration of Pennsylvania’s elections very seriously, and need clear rules that enable consistent implementation across the commonwealth. Reforms to Pennsylvania’s Election Code are needed to resolve ambiguities and help counties continue to promote the integrity of our elections. Pre-canvassing and extending the mail-in ballot application deadlines remain the most important changes counties are seeking to improve election administration.