Archive

Altered pension bill would save PA $11 billion over long term, analysis finds

June 30, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Changes to a pension reform bill poised to reach Gov. Tom Wolf this week might alleviate some concerns about a legal challenge, but it will cost the state billions of dollars of … Read the rest

Pennsylvania budget battle poses taxing questions

June 29, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Republican lawmakers spent the weekend advancing a $30.1 billion budget plan that holds the line on taxes, but it faces a near-certain veto from Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

In terms of political theater, … Read the rest

Red light, green light: PA considers allowing red-light cameras to run past 2017

June 26, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Red-light cameras that keep a watchful eye on Pennsylvania drivers in select municipalities are scheduled to power down in 2017, but some state lawmakers aren’t ready to put the program in park.… Read the rest

Pennsylvania Senate uncorks tax break in wine-shipping bill

June 25, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would allow consumers to have wine shipped straight to their door from wineries across the world — and they uncorked a tax break to celebrate.… Read the rest

PA House lawmakers remove optional county fee from 911 legislation

June 24, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Pennsylvanians will still see their phone bills rise under legislation revamping funding for 911 call centers, but they won’t get tagged with an additional county fee after the state House tweaked … Read the rest

Another liquor privatization bill enters the fray in Pennsylvania

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – A new liquor privatization bill would allow beer distributors to turn their businesses into one-stop shops where consumers could buy unlimited quantities of beer, wine and liquor.

Their potential competitors wouldn’t … Read the rest

Baring it all: Pennsylvania lawmakers want a registry for strippers

June 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

STRIPPER REGISTRY: A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced a bill that would increase regulation over adult-oriented clubs, including establishing a registry of strippers.

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Don’t tell his wife, but Big Brother is headed … Read the rest

PA GOP leadership ‘within a day or so’ of agreeing on pension reform, liquor privatization

June 19, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania lawmakers have just 12 days to deliver a budget to Gov. Tom Wolf to meet the June 30 deadline, but the state Senate’s top Republican said Thursday afternoon there’s “plenty of time” to … Read the rest

Pennsylvania lawmakers could roll dice on Internet gambling

June 18, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State lawmakers have to fill a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, but Republicans who control the state Legislature don’t favor Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s tax-heavy, $33.8 billion plan.

Might they have a few … Read the rest

Pennsylvania’s 911 fee increase marches closer to governor’s desk

June 17, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Pennsylvania senators lauded one another Tuesday as they passed a bill updating the 911 emergency communications law, but they sidestepped a key detail.

They’re raising your phone bill to pay for it.

EMERGENCY ACTION: State lawmakers

Read the rest

Wolf backs down on two battles with Senate Republicans — for now

June 16, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — First, Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday morning announced he had allowed Erik Arneson to return to work as executive director of the Office of Open Records while an ongoing legal case plays out.… Read the rest

Ousted PA open-records chief calls reinstatement victory for independence

June 11, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Commonwealth Court ruled Wednesday that Gov. Tom Wolf overstepped his authority by firing the executive director of the Office of Open Records, granting a personal victory to Erik Arneson, the … Read the rest

Pennsylvania mayors, lawmakers lobby for municipal pension reform

June 10, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — During the almost 10 years that Rick Gray has served as mayor of Lancaster, the city’s annual pension costs have exploded from $2 million to more than $6 million.

There’s a practical … Read the rest

PA Senate rebuffs Wolf’s choice for state police commish

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Gov. Tom Wolf wanted more time to talk about his nominee for Pennsylvania State Police commissioner.

The state Senate refused to reset the hourglass and instead voted against Col. Marcus Brown’s confirmation on Monday.… Read the rest

Pressure mounting against Pennsylvania’s civil asset forfeiture law

June 4, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Retired Maj. Neill Franklin oversaw more than a dozen drug task forces that used civil asset forfeiture laws to seize millions in property.

But by the late 1990s even Franklin, who … Read the rest

Armed with powerful lobbyists, union stonewalls liquor privatization in PA

June 1, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

FOR SALE: Pennsylvania remains one of only two states where the government operates a monopoly on liquor sales.

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

If you want to buy booze in Pennsylvania, you’ll likely do it the way your great … Read the rest

Opinions vary on state takeover of Pennsylvania’s failing schools

May 29, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Philadelphia is ground zero for many of the state’s failing schools, but the city’s top educator is leery of proposed legislation aimed at turning those schools around.

NOT MAKING THE GRADE: The School District of

Read the rest

‘Slap in the face:’ Mother questions committee assignment for medical cannabis bill

May 25, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — May 12 was an exhilarating day for Lolly Bentch, who has been lobbying state lawmakers to approve the use of medical cannabis for nearly two years.

The state Senate passed a bill … Read the rest

Pension reform promises $18 billion savings, but questions linger

May 20, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

After what was touted as a historic vote in the state Senate, Pennsylvania is still a long way from getting any relief from its public pension problems.

A major pension overhaul bill cleared the state Read the rest

PA Senate, House cooking up pension bills

May 13, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Changes may be coming to Pennsylvania’s budget-busting public retirement programs.

The state Senate is moving quickly this week to approve a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s two public pension plans. The Republican-backed proposal would change benefits … Read the rest