Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120




In addition to the positions described below, Senator Fumo's accomplishments during his 30-year career illustrate his stance on many issues. To get an indication of his legislative priorities over recent years by seeing a list of some of his achievements, click here.

Campaign Finances

Sen. Fumo supports public financing of candidates for statewide elections.

Recent history in Pennsylvania has shown that incumbents from both political parties have such enormous advantages in fundraising that their opponents are unable to mount a viable challenge. Not only does this discourage competitive elections, but in the process it denies the public legitimate debate over public policy.

He also supports campaign finance limits.

Capital Punishment

Senator Fumo was co-sponsor of a Senate bill in the 1999-2000 session that would have imposed a moratorium on executions in Pennsylvania until studies could determine if it is applied fairly and without error.

According to statistics compiled in 2000, of the 12 states that do not impose the death penalty, 10 had homicide rates lower than the national average.

The death penalty is also often applied erroneously and unevenly. Since 1973, 78 people sentenced to death have been released because new evidence has shown them to be innocent of their crimes. No one knows how many innocent people were incorrectly put to death.

Generally, Senator Fumo opposes the death penalty because it does little to deter crime, while distracting society from crime prevention efforts that might be more effective.

Fumo said in a floor speech in 1995: "When someone makes up their mind to commit a murder, they are beyond help. They are not worried about the consequences. They have made up their mind to do a sick act, and the fact that someone was executed for doing a similar act is not going to deter them. . . . [An execution is] an admission by us that we have not figured out how to take those young kids and change them from being violent to being law-abiding citizens." (Click here to read Senator Fumo’s speech on the occasion of Pennsylvania’s first execution in 33 years in 1995.)

Education Policy


Ideally, Sen. Fumo would like to see the state phase out local taxes as a source of education funding and have the state bear all school districts’ costs on a per-student basis. Such a system would address educational inequalities caused by the lack of money in poorer school districts around the state.

It would require higher state taxes, but that would be offset by elimination of local taxes that go toward the support of schools

Given the current political make-up of the state legislature, however, such a dramatic change is highly unlikely.

In lieu of that, Sen. Fumo believes the state should direct additional funding to poorer school districts, by guaranteeing a certain amount of basic funding for all students no matter where they live.


Senator Fumo supports having the state pay part of the cost of non-public school tuition for parents who have limited financial resources, so long as the funding for the program does not take money away from public schools.

Philadelphia School District Organization

Senator Fumo believes the Philadelphia School District is too large and that citizens feel distant from the central bureaucracy. Although there is no single solution to improving the quality of education in Philadelphia, Senator Fumo would like citizens to have more control over their local neighborhood schools. Rather than central, city-wide authority, Senator Fumo would rather see several smaller school districts, each managed by their own democratically elected school boards. (Click here to see an article written by Senator Fumo on the subject for the Philadelphia Inquirer.)


Gun Task Force

In 2006, Senator Fumo and State Attorney General Tom Corbett established a new task force dedicated solely to attacking illegal guns in Philadelphia. Fumo obtained $5 million in state funding as a new line item in the budget.

The purpose of the appropriation is to create a well funded law enforcement group to focus exclusively on illegal gun possession, sales and trafficking in an effort to prevent firearms from reaching criminal circles.  The unit is under the direction of the Attorney General, and works in cooperation with District Attorney Lynne Abraham and the City of Philadelphia Police Department.

Reacting to the surge of gun deaths in Philadelphia in 2005 and early 2006, Fumo approached Corbett with the idea of the task force, and they discussed it with Abraham. While Fumo lined up the solid support of other Senate leaders and Philadelphia’s state Senate delegation, Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), the Democratic Appropriations Chairman in the House of Representatives, pushed for the funding in the House. The new line item wound up with broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and the Rendell Administration signed off on the funding.

Fumo also obtained the support of the National Rifle Association for this law-enforcement approach to gun control.

Concentrating on Criminals

Senator Fumo favors strong measures to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own guns.

He was the primary author of the 1995 Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act, which is regarded around the country as model legislation. It was endorsed by both the National Rifle Association and Sarah Brady’s organization, Handgun Control Inc.

The law created a system of instant computerized background checks for all firearms sold in Pennsylvania. The background checks apply to all types of firearms (not just handguns) and must be conducted for private sales as well as sales at established retail locations.

The law defined a broad range of crimes for which a person can be denied a firearm, including certain crimes committed as a juvenile, and repeated citations for driving under the influence of alcohol. It also denies the right to purchase firearms to those adjudicated mentally incompetent.

The legislation also gave additional tools to law enforcement authorities to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns.

Senator Fumo believes strong enforcement combined with tough penalties for those who use firearms in the commission of criminal acts are the best solutions to the problem of gun violence.

Health Care


Hospitals are obligated to provide care to the poor and uninsured, even when those patients cannot pay. As a result, hospitals were damaged financially by the medical assistance cuts imposed by the Ridge Administration and the Republican legislature in the mid1990s.

Senator Fumo wants the state to remedy the harm it did by helping hospitals with the burden of uncompensated care. This can be partially accomplished by use of the tobacco settlement money.

Prescription Drugs

The Senate Democrats introduced legislation during the 1999-2000 session to create a system, FAIRx, which would make prescription drugs available to all seniors and disabled persons at discounted prices. Under FAIRx, all Medicare recipients could buy prescriptions at the PACE price at any Pennsylvania pharmacy that participates in PACE. FAIRx’s savings would come from pooling all the state-related pharmacy programs under a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM,) who would negotiate new rebates from drug manufacturers.

Senator Fumo supports the FAIRx concept, as well as expanded eligibility of seniors for the PACE prescription drug program.

Judicial Selection

Sen. Fumo favors a merit selection system instead of elections as the way to choose judges for state appellate courts.

To ensure that the selection is made in a truly bipartisan manner, he believes it is essential that a vote of two-thirds of the Senate be required to confirm nominees.

He introduced a proposed constitutional amendment in 2005 and again in 2007 to create a non-elective judicial selection system for Philadelphia municipal judges.

Mass Transit

Sen. Fumo is a strong supporter of mass transit, and has made adequate funding for the state's public transportation systems one of his top priorities.

In 1991, he created and won enactment of the first-ever state dedicated revenue stream for mass transit. One large component of that revenue stream -- a tax on electric utilities -- was virtually eliminated by Pennsylvania's electric deregulation law, however, and Sen. Fumo went to work on replacing the revenue with another source. The result was Act 44, a new state transportation plan that will provide nearly $1 billion annually for roads, bridges and mass transit throughout the state. With enactment of Fumo's plan, SEPTA received a 44 percent increase in operating money in 2007-08, with more increases to come in future years. It also will receive an additional $58 million annually in capital money.



Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo