Archive

State rep searching for answers about gas drilling plan

April 16, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Gov. Tom Corbett wants to net $75 million in next year’s budget by expanding natural gas drilling under state parks and forests as long as it doesn’t disturb the land’s surface.

State Rep. Greg Read the rest

Lawmakers contemplate tax breaks for small businesses

April 15, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

As people across the country rushed to file their tax returns on time Tuesday, a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers offered up a package of legislation that could make the process more palatable for small … Read the rest

Philadelphia family makes difficult choice for daughter’s education

April 15, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA — Jennifer Bonds purchased a home on the street where she grew up in Philadelphia with the recognition that sending her daughter to the district elementary school wasn’t an option.

Bonds attended John … Read the rest

McCord’s outsourcing record leaves him walking a thin line

April 8, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Rob McCord, Pennsylvania’s state treasurer and a Democratic candidate for governor, is defending his former role as the leader of a business group that helped companies outsource jobs during the 1990s and early 2000s.… Read the rest

Pennsylvania Senate moving quickly to stop cash gifts

April 8, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Banning cash gifts for public officials and employees has been the reform idea du jour in the state capitol for the past three weeks, but now an actual piece of legislation is … Read the rest

Philadelphia schools awaiting taxes from city, state

April 4, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA  — The Pennsylvania state House won’t provide additional revenue for Philadelphia schools until the City Council approves higher sales taxes.

The General Assembly last year approved a bill allowing Philadelphia to permanently extend … Read the rest

State senator wants more oversight over Obamacare navigators

April 3, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Funded by a federal grant, the nonprofit Resources for Human Development has deployed 35 trained navigators across select Pennsylvania counties to help the most vulnerable residents enroll in Obamacare.

Laura Line is the corporate … Read the rest

Philly schools caught on funding merry-go-round

April 2, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA — From 440 North Broad Street to City Hall to the Capitol and back, the School District of Philadelphia is spinning in circles to find money.

The School Reform Commission adopted a lump … Read the rest

PUC chief wants a ‘safe harbor’ after electric rates skyrocket

April 2, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

The chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission wants to create a “safe harbor” for customers whose bank accounts were sunk by variable electric rates, which skyrocketed during the bone-chilling winter.

Chairman Robert Powelson … Read the rest

Ending teacher seniority rules beyond Philly requires legislative action

April 1, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA — The School District of Philadelphia has extraordinary power to suspend seniority rules.

But effective, young educators elsewhere in Pennsylvania aren’t so lucky.

The state public school code enforces seniority as the basis for … Read the rest

Philadelphia economic development program audit finds poor results, bad record keeping

March 28, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Dotted across Philadelphia are nearly 3,000 acres where businesses get a free pass on paying state and local taxes.

But the investment in special tax breaks is not paying off for the city.

These … Read the rest

Activist: PA gifts law should be best in country after ethical lapses

March 26, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Not even a complimentary cup of coffee. And no free pie, either.

That’s how strict good-government activist Gene Stilp says Pennsylvania should be when it comes to setting rules about lawmakers accepting gifts from … Read the rest

ACLU blasts bill allowing prosecutors to raid digital medicine cabinets

March 25, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Legislation moving through the Pennsylvania Senate would allow prosecutors to rifle through prescription drug records as easily as police can search a student’s locker.

The proposal, Senate Bill 1180, would create an expanded prescription … Read the rest

Wagner’s win emboldens hardline conservatives

March 24, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Conservative activist Josh First plans to run for the Pennsylvania Senate in two years, and he says he hopes the GOP dumps truckloads of money into the race.

Only he wants to see that … Read the rest

Philadelphia charter school sues public school district

March 19, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | PA Independent

PHILADELPHIA — A charter school is suing the School District of Philadelphia and its five-member executive School Reform Commission for suspending provisions in the Pennsylvania Public School Code.

The suspensions, the lawsuit says, “jeopardize … Read the rest

Voters rebel against GOP establishment, send Wagner to state Senate

March 18, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Robert Appler went to the polls Tuesday believing that Pennsylvania’s Republican establishment had tried to block conservative activist Scott Wagner from winning election to the state Senate.

“I think he got a bum deal,” … Read the rest

Gifts galore in PLCB ethics scandal, but some say punishment lacking

March 18, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Violating the state’s ethics law will leave three former high-ranking officials with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with diminished bank accounts.

Some say that’s not enough to deter future bad behavior.

Good-government advocates took … Read the rest

Philly school district broke, but the pay is good

March 18, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Maura Pennington | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — Salaries for employees in the Philadelphia school district are staggering.

The district has 10 superintendents who make a combined $1.64 million annually. Superintendent William Hite tops the list at $270,000, and his deputy … Read the rest

GOP showdown offers Dems a chance to grab state Senate seat

March 17, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Eleven letters and allegations of political maneuvering have turned Tuesday’s special election for a York County state Senate seat into must-see political theater.

Three candidates are vying to fill a vacancy left by former … Read the rest

Open-government advocates push to end executive session abuse

March 13, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Most community gadflies and municipal reporters have plenty of stories about local elected officials improperly retreating behind closed doors to discuss business in transparency-killing executive sessions.

“It’s pretty universal. I have no trouble finding … Read the rest