Archive

Audit coming as Pittsburgh’s pension liabilities surge

November 24, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The Steel City will soon undergo extra scrutiny as the state auditor general examines Pittsburgh’s public pension plans. This comes after a summer report shows a slide in earlier progress made by the city.

An … Read the rest

Shell cracker plant shuffles forward, negotiating a regulatory roadmap

November 18, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — News earlier this month that Shell Chemicals would buy an industrial site in Beaver County is a major step in the company’s plans to bring thousands of jobs to western Pennsylvania.

The purchase is … Read the rest

Gift ban legislation to get second chance as Wolf pushes own ethics reform

November 18, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has already asked his transition team to sign a code of conduct prohibiting members from accepting gifts, and he plans to implement a similar ban for the executive branch when he takes office … Read the rest

PA county controller claims county executive bilked taxpayers

November 14, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has accused County Executive Rich Fitzgerald of misusing taxpayer assets.

While defending himself, Fitzgerald seems to have come up with an elegant solution to future record-keeping problems.

In a … Read the rest

PA’s patchwork budget contributes to projected $1.85B shortfall

November 14, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Treasurer Rob McCord says Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration again dipped into a line of credit to boost a flagging general fund.

“We see a deteriorating financial scenario that casts serious doubt on … Read the rest

State Senate GOP ousts Pileggi as majority leader, taps Corman

November 13, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State Sen. Scott Wagner’s prognostication from last week has come true: The Pennsylvania state Senate has a new majority leader.

State Sen. Jake Corman, the Republican chairman of the Appropriations … Read the rest

State Senate heading for leadership showdown

November 11, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The long-awaited state Senate showdown has arrived.

Pennsylvania legislators will return to Harrisburg on Wednesday for leadership elections, with a challenge to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Chester, as the … Read the rest

Brand-new PA House member faces AG investigation

November 10, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Jason Ortitay cruised to an easy victory last Tuesday, winning his new place in Pennsylvania’s 46th House District by a margin of 12 percent. But that may not be the end of the story … Read the rest

Money from afar fueling state Senate race crucial for party control

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

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Even in a relatively rural district in southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s distant money that is fueling the campaign in Senate District 32.

CONTESTANTS: Deberah Kula and Pat Stefano are collecting major contributions to their Pennsylvania

Read the rest

In race for 26th state Senate District, tying GOP candidate to Corbett not so easy for Dems

October 31, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Across the country, Republicans have tried to tie Democratic candidates to President Obama, hoping to tap into a conservative electorate frustrated with his policies.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats have their own toxic chief executive to use … Read the rest

New state Senate seat key in battle for control of chamber

October 29, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

The newly created 40th state Senate District in Monroe and Northampton counties might not have an official incumbent, but Pennsylvania state Rep. Mario Scavello might be as close as it gets.

The veteran Republican … Read the rest

New technologies help clean up coal piles from PA communities

October 24, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

OVERSHADOWED: The town of Nanty Glo is in part dwarfed by the abandoned coal-waste piles, which are now being burned in power plants. This is also the site where coyotes now come for imagined rabbits.

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org… Read the rest

Lawmakers grant NRA standing to sue over local gun laws

October 23, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Municipal leaders across Pennsylvania are fretting over legislation that would give the National Rifle Association the power to sue over local gun regulations that reach beyond state law, but the NRA believes it’s their … Read the rest

ACLU vows lawsuit against law targeting offenders’ speech

October 21, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – State lawmakers fast-tracked legislation last week that would give victims the power to seek a civil injunction to silence their offenders if they believe their speech is re-victimizing them.

Now, even … Read the rest

Prescription drug monitoring program on road to becoming law

October 17, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — The desire for public health protections trumped privacy concerns Thursday, as the state Senate sent legislation that would establish a broad prescription monitoring program to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly approved the … Read the rest

Drug-monitoring program a prescription for privacy loss, ACLU argues

October 14, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Law enforcement is about to get a good look inside Pennsylvanians’ medicine cabinets.

State lawmakers are on the verge of establishing an expanded prescription monitoring program that would allow law enforcement to obtain sensitive … Read the rest

Union reformer calls proposed open-records change ‘taxpayer-funded stupidity’

October 10, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Under Pennsylvania’s open-records law, residents have the right to know how their government operates.

Now, a proposed overhaul to the law would give government employees the right to notification — at least when somebody requests … 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

As Abu-Jamal’s speech opens old wounds, lawmakers vow to increase victims’ rights

October 7, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Speaking from the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy, convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal on Sunday delivered the commencement address to about two dozen students at Goddard College, a progressive liberal arts school … Read the rest

Corbett’s DEP chief resigns amid Pornogate allegations

October 2, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Chris Abruzzo, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, resigned Thursday, a week after the attorney general named him one of eight prominent officials who sent or received pornographic emails … Read the rest