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Governor Wolf Says He'll Sign Executive Order To Protect Some LGBT Workers

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Gov. Tom Wolf says he'll sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination by state contractors against people who are lesbian, gay or transgender.

Wolf said during Essential Pittsburgh on Wednesday that he had hoped the Legislature would pass legislation designed to outlaw discrimination based on someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

But he says he's decided he needs to move forward with the executive order since the bills have languished. Wolf said Pennsylvania needs to be seen as a welcoming place and he cited the backlash against what he called a "discriminatory" bill signed by North Carolina's governor.

Senate State Government Committee Chairman Mike Folmer says he wants to vet the bill before possibly holding a vote to make sure it doesn't violate religious liberties or freedom of conscience.

While on Essential Pittsburgh, Wolf also discussed the state's finances. He announced he would allow the general appropriations and non-preferred appropriations bills sent to him by Republicans to become law without his signature, PNC, S&P and Moody's expressed concerns that Pennsylvania is on track for fiscal disaster

Moody's said the looming deficit "only brings to the fore a likely new stalemate over the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and ongoing questions over the state's progress toward structural balance over the long term."

Wolf says Pennsylvania is one of three states without a funding formula.  Of the $50 million from the initial $200 million released in December following the budget impasse, $25 million will go toward charter school reimbursement program, $20 million to restore cuts made by the previous administration, and $5 million for the new Basic Education Fair Funding formula. 

He says his priority in creating this formula was to restore schools to the levels they were before the $20 million cuts in 2011 and 2012. 

“Those cuts to the schools were debilitating,” Wolf explains. “Pennsylvania’s overall academic performance declined with those massive cuts.”

High tension between Republican and Democratic leaders in regard to budgets may foreshadow possible future disagreements when the new budget is due come July.

“Our finances are in a mess here in Pennsylvania,” Governor Wolf says.

Despite roadblocks, Governor Wolf is hopeful that both sides will come to realization it is not a partisan issue, and acknowledge the $2 billion looming deficit.

“We can have all the partisan differences we want here, but it’s really hard to disagree with Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s and even the independence fiscal office,” Governor Wolf says.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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