Fair Education Funding & Reducing Reliance on Property Taxes
Throughout his entire career, Mike has advocated for fair education funding by the state to educate our students better and reduce reliance on property taxes.
Mike has served on both the Special Education Funding Commission and Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) since their creations in 2013 and 2014. During that time, the Commissions have made significant recommendations that have changed the funding formulas and moved us in the right direction towards full fair funding, but those changes have, to date, been incremental.
In February 2023, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, after a nine year legal battle, handed down a ruling that the way in which PA funds basic education is fundamentally unconstitutional. As BEFC Co-Chair, Mike will keep fighting hard to secure full fair funding for all schools in Pennsylvania.
Protecting a Woman's Right to Choose
Mike has always been a champion for reproductive rights and sexual health. As a member of the Pennsylvania's Women's Health Caucus, he is co-sponsoring a variety of legislation to protect women's health care. Mike will ALWAYS stand to defend the right to choose.
Protecting Our Environment
Mike has served on the Chesapeake Bay Commission since 2007. During that time, he has worked with legislators from Virginia and Maryland to clean up the bay, improve water quality, and reduce nutrient nutrient levels and remove sediment.
Mike introduced House Bill 20, legislation that would charge extraordinary water users—those who withdraw more than 10,000 per day (for comparative purposes, a resident uses about 100 gallons daily)—a nominal per gallon fee for removing water from Pennsylvania waterways and to help pay for clean water projects throughout the state.
He also is working to expand parks and open space along streams while implementing best practices for riparian buffers and cleaning up our waterways.
Jobs and Economic Development
Mike has helped deliver over $132,000,000 from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to local economic development projects that created jobs and spurred our economy.
In the last 20 years, he has also helped secure over $305,000,000 from other state programs for local initiatives and organizations.
While Mike will continue to utilize these programs to help local projects, he also will keep supporting small businesses and their workers via legislation and other state programs.
Mike co-sponsored the last bill that became law in 2007 to raise the state minimum wage and has co-sponsored bills to increase the minimum wage every session since then.
The current version (House Bill 1500) would raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour and then increase each year until it reaches $15 per hour and then will be tied to the consumer price index. While this bill passed the House on June 20, 2023, it is still in the Senate Labor & Industry Committee.
Mike has devoted himself to increasing access to affordable health care, going back to co-sponsoring the law that created the landmark Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 1992. He has fought and secured CHIP funding increases throughout his career.
Last session, Mike voted for legislation that became law to expand access to the PACENET prescription program for seniors by raising the income limits from $27,500 to $33,500 for a single person and from $35,500 to $41,500 for a married couple.
Family Medical Leave
As in past sessions, Mike is a co-sponsor of the PA Family and Medical Leave Act (House Bill 1228) to provide up to six weeks of protected, unpaid leave for employees caring for a grandparent, parent, sibling, or grandchild.
Affordable Housing and Protecting Tenants
As Majority Chair of the House Housing & Community Development Committee, Mike is in a strong position to increase affordable housing and protect tenants. This session, he helped shepherd a package of legislation designed to deal with blight in communities. He is currently working on legislation to significantly increase the supply of affordable workforce housing.
Helping Third-Class Cities (Including Lancaster)
Mike has introduced House Bill 678 to provide a one cent countywide sales tax that would generate more than $50 million for property tax relief and municipal assistance in Lancaster County alone.
The House passed his House Bill 1032 to create a statewide blight database and it currently aways Senate concurrence.
Mike was one of the first legislators in Pennsylvania to speak up in defense of LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians. He has co-sponsored the Fairness Act each session since it was proposed in 2009. This bill (House Bill 300) would prevent LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians from being denied housing, education, and access to public accommodations. While this bill passed the House on May 2, 2023, it is still in the Senate State Government Committee.
Mike is also co-sponsoring House Bill 575 to protect minors from conversion therapy by prohibiting a mental health professional from engaging in this archaic treatment with anybody under the age of 18.
Throughout his legislative career, Mike Sturla has co-sponsored and voted for numerous resolutions condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. The state legislature heightened its anti-Semitism rebuke in recent years due to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in 2018.
On June 10, 2020, the LNP published Mike's op-ed titled “Why we cannot wait to address inequalities and racism” while Black Lives Matter protests occurred nationwide.
In the last eight legislative sessions dating back to 2009, Mike has co-sponsored legislation to strengthen state laws to target hate crimes. He will continue to advocate for legislative actions that combat and deter bigotry, racism, and discrimination.
Criminal Justice Reform
In 2018, Mike voted for the passage of the Clean Slate Act which became law to allow the automatic sealing of some criminal records.
Two police reform bills that Mike supported have also become law:
One law requires law enforcement officers to be evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder after a lethal use-of-force incident. It also mandates annual training on the use of force, including deadly force, de-escalation, and harm reduction techniques. Officers must also receive biennial instruction in community and cultural awareness, implicit bias, procedural justice, and reconciliation techniques.
The other law creates a database to track officer disciplinary actions that law enforcement agencies can search to find potential red flags before hiring an office that is separated from another law enforcement agency.
Mike also voted for a law that prohibits denying an occupational license to someone based on a criminal record unrelated to the field of work. The law also allows people to get a preliminary decision if their conviction is likely to disqualify them from licensure to prevent them from wasting time and money on training. Lastly, it creates temporary licenses in barbering and cosmetology for re-entrants trained in a correctional facility, and they can demonstrate competency by working for one to two years. These reforms will enable skilled workers to get a second chance and embark on successful careers.
Mike is still pushing for additional reforms that would outlaw the police chokehold; mandate drug testing after a police-involved shooting; improve access to police video footage; create an oversight board to professionally certify, train, and provide continuing education to police officers; establish an independent review process when police kill or seriously injure civilians; and require officers to be mandated reporters of police misconduct, corruption, and brutality.
Throughout his 12 years as Policy Chair, Mike held many public hearings on criminal justice issues, police reform, adverse childhood experiences, and gun control. He has also co-sponsored several bills on gun reform.
Mike has brought tens of millions in infrastructure improvements to Lancaster County. He will continue to work closely with local government officials, PennDOT, DEP, and other state agencies to ensure that transportation and infrastructure issues are addressed effectively with improvements that support our community’s growth and safety.
Mike will also continue his strong focus on enhancing stormwater management and green infrastructure.