Archive

Book-starved Philly schools forced to fend for themselves

April 17, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School District of Philadelphia does not have enough books for students.

And it doesn’t seem to care.

BOOK CHECK: While Philly schools need supplies and books, the district does nothing to track where donated

Read the rest

Federal court: no liability for PA judge who made up criminal charge

April 13, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — A federal court recently told a Lawrence County woman she’s simply out of luck and can’t sue local officials, including a Common Pleas judge who apparently made up a criminal charge that was used … Read the rest

In privatization debate, lawmaker wants to avoid mixing liquor, beer policies

April 9, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Liquor before beer, and you’re in the clear. It might not be just an old drinking saying anymore.

In fact, it’s almost the same philosophy state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York, is … Read the rest

Homecare worker, patient challenge Wolf’s order that paves way for unionization

April 8, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Direct-care worker Don Lambrecht has looked after David Smith, a home-bound quadriplegic, for the last quarter century, more than enough time for the two to develop a friendship that goes beyond the … Read the rest

Despite setback, paycheck protection still alive in state Senate

April 6, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A united front of Democrats paired with a group of five Republicans more sympathetic to organized labor has left so-called paycheck protection legislation in a perilous spot, but the math still says … Read the rest

Philadelphia schools tread on rocky fiscal footing

April 3, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — If the School District of Philadelphia gets every penny it expects from increased state and local funding, massive investments in city schools will only temporarily solve the district’s financial woes.

Another reason for … Read the rest

Bat’s threatened listing will bring changes to Pennsylvania timber industry

April 2, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday it will list the northern long-eared bat as threatened and install new protections for the mammal, a move that’s getting mixed reactions from the … Read the rest

City’s bad decisions sink public pensions

April 1, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

GROUNDHOG DAY: Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released reports on Jeannette’s three pension plans in March, with less than flattering results for two and some findings that are not new.

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Officials in Jeannette, Read the rest

Lawmaker wants expanded subpoena power to catch waste, fraud, abuse

March 30, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A freshman state lawmaker wants to give the Pennsylvania House of Representatives more power by affording all standing committees and subcommittees subpoena power.

State Rep. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, has proposed a … Read the rest

Mixed messages making school budgets a challenge

March 26, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him everything you want for Christmas. Then, imagine Santa removing his beard and telling you, Don’t count on it.

In a way, that’s what’s happening in Pennsylvania.

NAUGTY

Read the rest

County controller: Something ‘reeks’ as authorities resist performance audits

March 25, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is suing four local authorities after the organizations that together have annual budgets of nearly $1 billion essentially told her evaluating efficiency is none of her business.

The lawsuit seeks an order … Read the rest

Nine of Pennsylvania’s 10 largest cities have more pensioners than workers

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Meet the new poster child for Pennsylvania’s municipal pension problems.

York is a mid-sized city of 43,000 residents in central Pennsylvania near the state’s southern border that’s facing more than $64 million in pension-related debt.… Read the rest

Wolf looks to liquor stores in plan to pay down pension debt

March 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania’s has billions of dollars of pension debt, and it’s hoping its state-owned liquor stores could help pick up the tab.

Gov. Tom Wolf wants to use increased revenue from modernizing the state-owned wine … Read the rest

GOP state lawmaker calls for open union negotiations

March 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

State Sen. Ryan Aument wants to shine a light into Pennsylvania’s figurative back room.

The Lancaster County Republican introduced a bill that would amend the state’s open-meetings law to require public notice and access … Read the rest

Total cost of Pennsylvania’s proposed budget: $78.6 billion

March 18, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania could own a bunch of professional sports team if it wanted.

OK, maybe we’re taking some liberty with that, but there is some math to back it up. If Gov. Tom Wolf’sRead the rest

Pennsylvania governor wants new energy subsidies while old ones abound

March 16, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

SUBSIDIZE IT: Gov. Tom Wolf wants the state to increase energy-related subsidies by $225 million as part of a $675-million economic development bond financed by the state’s natural gas production.

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — A proposal to … Read the rest

PA lawmaker again tries to pull state from ‘bottom of the barrel’ in terms of citizen trust

March 12, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — One Pennsylvania legislator is taking a third swing at increasing transparency about lawmakers’ work, income and possible conflicts.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel right now,” in terms of how much people trust government, … Read the rest

Wolf proposes slight funding increase for state Ethics Commission

March 12, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gov. Tom Wolf has opened up his daily calendar, banned gifts for executive branch staff and ended no-bid contracts for private law firms in an attempt to improve ethics and transparency … Read the rest

Philadelphia DA charges 3 more in once-abandoned sting operation

March 11, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Attorney General Kathleen Kane scuttled a probe that caught several Philadelphia Democrats accepting money. The case, she said, was tainted by racism and too flawed to prosecute.

But after taking over … Read the rest

Free-market group: Wolf’s budget would cost families $1,400

March 10, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Louise Bell is 90, she has dementia and has lived in a nursing home for five years. She gets Social Security, but most of her money came from selling her home of … Read the rest