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VINCENT BILES v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/17/79)

decided: July 17, 1979.

VINCENT BILES, DOROTHY BIRCH, HAROLD JACKSON, GLORIA MORALES, VALERIE WHITE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ALL OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Original jurisdiction in case of Vincent Biles, Dorothy Birch, Harold Jackson, Gloria Morales, Valerie White, individually and all other persons similarly situated v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare.

COUNSEL

Richard Weishaupt, with him Suzanne Reilly, and Laurence Schall, for petitioners.

Robert B. Hoffman, Deputy Attorney General, with him Norman J. Watkins, Deputy Attorney General, and Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondents.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail. Judges Crumlish, Jr. and Craig did not participate. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson, Jr.

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 275]

Petitioners, a class of people consisting of all full-time college or university students who were considered ineligible for General Assistance from January 1, 1978 to June 30, 1978 as a result of Act 14A, the Supplemental General Appropriations Act of 1977 which amended the General Appropriations Act of 1977, Act 11A, bring suit in an original action in this Court against the Department of Public Welfare (Department) asserting that Act 14A is violative of both the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions. Petitioners' motion for a summary judgment requests injunctive relief and restitution. Respondent countered with a motion for judgment on the pleadings. We grant the respondent's motion.

Act 14A was an attempt to reduce the original Commonwealth budget (Act 11A) in the fiscal year of 1977-78. The item in this amended budget to which petitioners object is the following:

For assistance payments and county administration of the public assistance programs and medical assistance programs:

Cash assistance [494,180,000]

491,780,000

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 276]

After January 1, 1978 no part of this appropriation shall be used to pay general assistance Page 276} to any full-time student at a college or university who has not participated in a Federally subsidized program for dependent children.*fn1 (Emphasis in original.)

Petitioners make two major arguments; that the provision quoted above is an unconstitutional rider to the general appropriations bill and that it is ...


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