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

Quest for severance tax on gas drilling continues

April 10, 2014 | By | Posted in Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A bipartisan group of state lawmakers Wednesday repeated a familiar refrain: It’s time for a severance tax on Pennsylvania’s natural gas industry.

But Republican Gov. Tom Corbett doesn’t seem ready to … 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

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

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

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

PA House unlikely to appoint independent counsel to investigate Kane, sting operation

March 24, 2014 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The state House may probe potential ethics violations by some of its own members, but it’s unlikely an independent investigator will be appointed to examine the case.

The crazy week in Harrisburg began with … 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

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

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

Lawmakers want to allow universities to leave state system

March 12, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – It’s time to adapt.

That’s the basic message two state senators sent Tuesday as they unveiled legislation that would allow successful schools from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to … Read the rest

Philly union indictments rekindles debate over exemptions for stalking

March 6, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The indictments of 10 union members in Philadelphia is prompting lawmakers in Harrisburg to take another look at a state law that can prevent prosecution of some crimes if they’re committed by individuals engaged … Read the rest

Rep. wants to change state House’s sleep-on-it rule

March 6, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

It’s a rule that, apparently, is meant to be broken.

Protocol in the Pennsylvania state House requires lawmakers wait 24 hours to cast a final vote on a bill that’s been amended. Essentially, the … Read the rest

PA universities expect state, students to pick up tab on rising tuition

March 4, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Maura Pennington | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — State universities contend they will have no choice but to raise tuition unless they get more from taxpayers, but that doesn’t mean students will get more for their money.

Funding for Pennsylvania’s four … Read the rest

Haggerty contends local hires used to protect incumbents

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

State Rep. Kevin Haggerty thinks some Pennsylvania lawmakers, to use a sports methaphor, are “juicing,” filling out their district office staff with local government officials.

“It’s like playing Major League baseball,” Haggerty, D-Lackawanna, said. … Read the rest

DPW secretary confident feds will approve Healthy PA Medicaid reform

February 25, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

The secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare is confident the federal government will grant the state a waiver for Healthy PA Medicaid reform.

For the sake of Pennsylvania taxpayers, Beverly Mackereth better … Read the rest

PA liquor stores still in limbo as privatization debate swirls

February 20, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State Sen. Jim Ferlo doesn’t want to spend any more time or money talking about privatizing Pennsylvania’s state-controlled liquor stores.

“Let’s put this B.S. privatization to bed and bury it,” the … Read the rest

Lawmakers have appetite for pension reform, but menu options vary

February 19, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is on the clock.

Gov. Tom Corbett has challenged state lawmakers to get a pension reform package to his desk by the end of the spring. It’s a tall order, … Read the rest