Archive

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

Medical cannabis moves closer to reality in Pennsylvania

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Doctors across Pennsylvania are a step closer to receiving the ability to recommend medical cannabis to patients with cancer, epilepsy and several other approved medical conditions.

The state Senate on Tuesday approved … Read the rest

Legislation would save parents from child-care benefits ‘cliff’

May 12, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

BENEFITS CLIFF: House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, wants to stop parents from falling off the so-called child-care benefits cliff.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Most working parents with children in day care would welcome a … Read the rest

Property tax relief to take center stage in PA state House

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

This is a big week for homeowners in Pennsylvania who want something done about their tax bills.

The state House is expected to take up legislation from state Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York, which, … Read the rest

Legislation giving PA taxpayers insight into cost of union contracts on the move

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two pieces of legislation that cleared the state Senate on Wednesday would give taxpayers a better look at public-sector union contract negotiations, but Democrats and union leaders have decried the effort as … Read the rest

Pennsylvania lawmakers vote to slim their ranks, but history says it’s all talk

May 6, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Despite the obvious ramifications, state lawmakers love to talk about cutting the size of the General Assembly, an action that requires a public referendum to change Pennsylvania’s constitution.

The populist proposal has … Read the rest

Pennsylvania plugs part of budget hole with other people’s property

May 5, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Changes to Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property laws is producing a surge in revenue.

The state could take in $370 million more this fiscal year, the Independent Fiscal Office said Monday.

Changes in the laws now … Read the rest

Prison walls lock in offenders, but don’t keep free speech out, federal judge rules

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

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, center, signs the Re-victimization Relief Act as Maureen Faulkner, widow of police officer Daniel Faulkner, and Pa. State Rep. Mike Vereb look on Oct. 21 in Philadelphia. Corbett signed into law the measure he says is

Read the rest

As PA cuts tourism funding, officials look to local hotel tax to fill gap

April 28, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – State Rep. Karen Boback has heard all about Michigan’s tourist attractions, thanks to the multi-million-dollar “Pure Michigan” ad campaign that brings views of the state’s freshwater coastlines, scenic highways and picturesque … Read the rest

Injunction ‘takes the teeth out of’ union’s attempt to organize PA home-care workers

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

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

An attempt to organize home-care workers across Pennsylvania hit a speed bump Thursday when a Commonwealth Court judge issued an order that would bar a union — if chosen to represent the workers — from coming to … Read the rest

State House votes again to close union intimidation loophole

April 22, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State law says harassment, stalking and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction are all crimes, unless the people perpetrating the offenses are involved in a labor dispute.

It’s an odd … 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

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

Bills aim to protect Pennsylvania’s best teachers

March 19, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Twin bills seek to eliminate the fat-cat mentality protecting weak Pennsylvania teachers from layoffs because they’ve been on the job longer than some of their more talented peers.

HIGH STANDARDS: Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, introduced

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