Archive

Medical marijuana bill unlikely to pass this year; faces House scrutiny, Corbett opposition

October 14, 2014 | By | Posted in Governor, Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A Senate-passed bill to legalize medical marijuana as a possible treatment for a variety of ailments probably won’t reach Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk this year.

Republican leaders in the state House plan to scrutinize … Read the rest

Bipartisan support for making Philly teachers pay for health coverage, despite protests

October 13, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

Stacia Friedman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — On a sunny October day, Jake Howie, a sophomore at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, arrived at school at 8 a.m. He didn’t go inside the neo-classical school building on … Read the rest

Philadelphia teachers will soon pay for their own health care

October 7, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

Stacia Friedman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — Should teachers pay for their own health care coverage? Ready or not, they’re about to in Pennsylvania’s biggest city.

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission is restructuring teacher health benefits, redirecting $44 million from the … Read the rest

Philly cigarette tax ‘will not come close’ to solving district’s financial problems

October 1, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

A new $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes in Philadelphia will help keep the city’s school district afloat — and will help keep 1,000 employees on the job — this year, but does little to solve the … Read the rest

PA Senate approves Medical marijuana; future in House uncertain

September 29, 2014 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Pennsylvania is one step closer to legalizing medical marijuana, but time is running short for the legislation this year.

The state Senate approved a medical marijuana bill in a 43-7 vote on Wednesday, … Read the rest

Smoke and mirrors? Philly cigarette tax only partially solves school budget woes

September 27, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Stacia Friedman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — When Philly smokers light up, they’ll be doing something the Marlboro Man never had in mind: supporting city schools.

The new $2-a-pack tax — signed into law Wednesday in Harrisburg — is estimated … Read the rest

Fitch slaps PA with another debt downgrade as pensions, bad budgeting continue to wreck state’s finances

September 24, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

If three times is a trend, we’ll have to find another word to describe the fact Pennsylvania’s credit rating has been downgraded for a fourth time in just a little over two years.

One … Read the rest

Parents sue state over Philadelphia schools

September 10, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A group of parents whose children attend Philadelphia public schools are asking state courts to step in after the secretary of education ignored complaints about the district.

A lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court on Read the rest

PA Supreme Court to hear charter school lawsuit Tuesday

September 5, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case challenging the Philadelphia School District’s decision to place limits on charter school enrollment.

The School Reform Commission, a state-appointed body that runs … Read the rest

Three things to know: New poll shows Corbett trailing Wolf by 25 points in PA gubernatorial race

August 28, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

With a little more than two months remaining before voters go to the polls, Gov. Tom Corbett has a lot of work to do if he’s going to win a second term.

Actually, that … Read the rest

Philly family lost house over $40 drug purchase

August 27, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

In March, Chris Sourovelis’ son was caught selling $40 of heroin to an undercover police officer.

Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department responded by raiding the Sourovelis’ north Philadelphia home, with guns drawn — … Read the rest

Both parties use cynical strategy focused on driving down the vote in PA

August 22, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

In Pittsburgh last month, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, laid out part of the Democratic strategy for swinging control of the Pennsylvania Senate in this year’s election.

That strategy includes making sure Republican … Read the rest

Philly’s school problems a cautionary tale of federal stimulus

August 21, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Yaël Ossowski | Watchdog.org

As financial problems plague the Philadelphia city public school system and politicians at the state level cast blame, the specter of federal stimulus has come to bear.

At the end of last week, parents and … Read the rest

House arrest for Philly cop who dangled man from 18th story balcony

August 15, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Three Philadelphia narcotics cops who were charged with a variety of federal crimes committed while on-duty were released and confined to house arrest this week as they await trial.

Among them is Linwood Norman, … Read the rest

‘Ghost employee:’ Corbett aide Tomalis to resign amid allegations

August 13, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Ron Tomalis will resign from a job he may not have been doing in the first place.

Tomalis is a former state secretary of education who has worked as an aide in the Corbett … Read the rest

Grand jury report adds extortion to list of Ironworkers alleged crimes

August 1, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Two counts of extortion have been added to the litany of charges leveled at members of the powerful Ironworkers Local 401 union in Philadelphia.

A grand jury added the charges in a new indictment … Read the rest

Lawmaker wants more transparency in PA liquor advertising

July 31, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has that third word in its name for a reason — the agency was put in place after Prohibition to give the state a firm hand on where and … Read the rest

When it comes to class sizes, Philadelphia School District’s numbers don’t add up

July 29, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Eric Boehm and Mary Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Philadelphia school and city officials say the district will be forced to lay off teachers and possibly grow class sizes as large as 40 when students return in September, unless the state … Read the rest

Court ruling clears way for charter schools to expand

July 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A Commonwealth Court ruling on Tuesday could pave the way for charter schools outside Philadelphia to expand their operations and take on more students.

In a 2-1 ruling, the court overturned an earlier decision … Read the rest

‘Vortex of political hell’ captures Philly’s cigarette tax bill

July 15, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter gets credit for calling it like he sees it.

An obviously frustrated Nutter told reporters last week he was tired of watching the legislative ping-pong over a bill that would … Read the rest