Archive

Audit: Pennsylvania fire chiefs stole $20,000, other spending unexplained

January 30, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — A state audit released Tuesday confirmed that a former volunteer fire chief and his assistant chief stole more than $20,000 from the fire association for which they worked, and also laid out another $13,000 … Read the rest

Philadelphia sizes up more charter schools

January 29, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School District of Philadelphia could be on the verge of a historic expansion of the city’s charter school program.

Accepting applications for the first time since 2007, the district received 40 proposals in October … Read the rest

District defiant about credit-card spending, tweaks policy anyway

January 28, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The superintendent of one Pittsburgh area school district is adamant that allegations about credit-card use were “slanderous,” “exaggerated” and “100 percent absolutely” raised for political reasons. He also maintains all the purchases were OK … Read the rest

Proponents of raising PA’s minimum wage gain surprise GOP ally

January 28, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State Sen. Christine Tartaglione has tried to raise the minimum wage so often, it could almost be called a tradition at the state Capitol.

Given that, it wasn’t a shock Tuesday to … Read the rest

Ousted open-records chief sues governor, wants job back

January 27, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — As snow flurries fell across the state capital Monday, Erik Arneson donned a Green Bay Packers parka and knit hat and went searching for a legal locksmith to get him back into … Read the rest

Facility aide charged in sexual assault of 15-year-old resident

January 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — “We never stop believing” says the website motto for a western Pennsylvania facility serving court-adjudicated boys, but it’s uncomfortable to think about the charges against a former aide.

The aide, Sarah Trumphour, 25, is charged with 11 counts related to sexual … Read the rest

Wolf fires PA open records chief, who vows to stay on the job

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Erik Arneson is about to become volunteer executive director of the Office of Open Records. He’s refusing to leave the post after new Gov. Tom Wolf fired him Thursday.

Arneson told … Read the rest

PA lawmakers revive efforts to close union stalking loophole

January 22, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A federal jury convicted a once prominent Philadelphia union official of arson, racketeering conspiracy and extortion this week, providing more fuel for lawmakers who want to close a loophole protecting individuals … Read the rest

Wolf bans gifts for executive branch first day as PA governor

January 21, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Not long after taking the oath of office, Gov. Tom Wolf made good on promises to instill two good-government protections.

Wolf immediately signed executive orders banning gifts for members of the executive … Read the rest

High price of free tuition goes beyond dollars and cents

January 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman │Watchdog.org

Free tuition will be expensive.

President Obama in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address layed out a proposal, introduced earlier this month, offering interested students free community college tuition. Obama made the announcement in a … Read the rest

Does No Child Left Behind nurture a culture of cheating?

January 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

With millions in federal money and jobs at stake, has No Child Left Behind created an incentive for teachers to cheat on standardized tests?

The high-stakes testing required by NCLB has been one of the … Read the rest

County commissioners want to shrink public participation policy

January 15, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The Crawford County Board of Commissioners is looking at ways to restrict public participation at public meetings.

A new policy being considered by commissioners would require advance notice for public comments and would ban … Read the rest

Pennsylvania teachers’ union accused of ignoring state law — for four decades

January 15, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A law firm representing a Pennsylvania college professor has accused the state teachers’ union of ignoring — for more than four decades — a law requiring it to report the use of dues money … Read the rest

Lawmakers, advocacy groups pushing for civil asset forfeiture reform

January 14, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Lawmakers and advocacy groups are calling for changes to the civil asset forfeiture system to ensure the tenant of innocent until proven guilty applies when taking people’s property.

State Sen. Mike Read the rest

Florida governor looks to poach businesses from Pennsylvania

January 13, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is planning a trip to Philadelphia in February, and he’s hoping to lure some Pennsylvania businesses back south with him.

His pitch so far has focused on differences in the … Read the rest

Voting before Corbett leaves a ‘golden opportunity’ or ‘bad government’

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

SHIFTING POWER: Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Turzai, left, R-Allegheny, is congratulated by Gov. Tom Corbett, right, as Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf looks on, center, Tuesday at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

 

By Andrew … Read the rest

ACLU lawsuit: PA law to silence offenders’ speech violates First Amendment

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on Thursday made good on its promise to sue over a new state law that gives crime victims and prosecutors the power to silence … Read the rest

Former PA school board member uncovers questionable credit card use

January 8, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Taxpayers in the West Mifflin Area School District were told a property tax increase was necessary to cover a budget shortfall.

But after taxes went up, it was discovered that district employees were … Read the rest

Reform activist calls for more timely audit of PA Legislature

January 8, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Eric Epstein wants to know how much of a financial reserve the state Legislature has squirreled away, and he wants the answer by the end of this month.

The coordinator of Rock … Read the rest

Want to be a state lawmaker? Take a drug test, PA rep says

January 7, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

State lawmakers took their oath of office Tuesday, solemnly promising to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions.

But it shouldn’t stop there, State Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester says. They should swear to something else, … Read the rest