Archive

PA Week in Review: Business as usual for PA legislators during shutdown

October 4, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By PA Independent Staff

HARRISBURG — The federal government may be shut down due to a congressional stalemate, but legislating and politicking in Pennsylvania is very much open.

This week, the second of the fall session before a one-week break, lawmakers busied … Read the rest

PA doctors: Prescription pill tracker could violate patient confidentiality

October 4, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — A plan to keep “pill shoppers” from scamming multiple narcotic prescriptions in Pennsylvania is on hold due to medical community concerns that it jeopardizes patient privacy.

House Bill 1694 would track prescriptions issued by … Read the rest

PA House creates new tourism agency, authorizes $15M in tax giveaways

October 3, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — It took less than 90 seconds for the House of Representatives to decide to create a new state commission and authorize $15 million in tax credits devoted to improving Pennsylvania’s brand and tourism.

The … Read the rest

Corbett administration not keen on borrowing billions to pay-off pension debt

October 2, 2013 | By | Posted in Governor, Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — The Corbett administration is not too keen about the prospect of borrowing billions to help pay off Pennsylvania’s unfunded pension liability.

That borrowing would be a key part of a pension overhaul … Read the rest

Plan to stop double taxation of PA businesses clears House committee

October 1, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — A construction trailer that sat on the streets of Harrisburg for about three years has lawmakers figuring out how to keep a municipality from over-taxing businesses that temporarily work inside its borders.

The House Read the rest

PA pension reform could involve lots of borrowing

September 30, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Pension reform will rise again in Pennsylvania next month.

A renewed effort to overhaul the retirement system for state workers and public school employees will focus on putting new hires into a new pension … Read the rest

PA House passes cuts to cyber charter schools

September 27, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — A newly passed House bill could save school districts — and cost cyber charters — $41 million next year.

House Bill 618 allows school districts to exempt all pension contributions — and … Read the rest

Relocating sexually abusive teachers would be more difficult under PA Senate bill

September 26, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

It’s called “passing the trash” — moving an abusive teacher to a different school district, often with glowing recommendations.

And if Pennsylvania lawmakers approve Senate Bill 46, it’s going to be … Read the rest

Turzai calls for up-or-down on $2.5 billion transportation package

September 24, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — As majority leader in the state House, Rep. Mike Turzai gets to decide what comes to the floor for a vote.

If he wants it, he’ll get it.

And Turzai, a RepublicanRead the rest

PA lawmakers return to Capitol amid record-low approval ratings

September 24, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania legislators are back in the Capitol for a fall session with a packed agenda, at a time when their job approval rating is at its lowest point in recent history.

About 11 … Read the rest

You’re buying: Can PA munis drink their way out of debt?

September 18, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — A proposed tax on alcoholic drinks could give new meaning to the phrase “drinking away your problems” by funneling new revenue toward municipalities in financial distress.

The “Optional Distressed Municipality Alcohol Consumption Tax” is … Read the rest

Week in Review: Governor’s race gets closer as health care, same-sex marriage issues get hot

September 13, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By PA Independent Staff

HARRISBURG — This week Harrisburg saw some high-profile headlines — whether it’s more speculation about Gov. Tom Corbett’s challengers in the November 2014 gubernatorial election, the future of health care reform or applying the rule of law.

Medicaid Read the rest

Top senator: Axe pensions for private lobbyists

August 29, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — A small group of private-sector employees, including a few lobbyists, are eligible for taxpayer-funded pensions in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to a decades-old ruling by the state attorney general, employees of the Pennsylvania School Read the rest

Per diem kings and queens for June 2013

August 8, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — In June, Pennsylvania lawmakers collected $317,603 in per diem payments, the most of any month so far this year. Rep. Dominic Costa, D-Allegheny, collected the most that month, with $3,912 in payments.

Per diems … Read the rest

If you don’t promote, will they come? PA ponders hotel tax reform

August 2, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania counties took in about $144 million from hotel taxes in 2012, but where that money goes largely depends on where it was collected.

Allegheny County — Pittsburgh — collected more than $29 million … Read the rest

Rough roads ahead: Top 5 predictions for PA transportation

July 31, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG —  Some members of the Pennsylvania Senate still are a little ticked off the House didn’t pass a $2.5 billion transportation funding plan in June.

Take Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Allegheny. He called it … Read the rest

Per diem kings for May 2013

July 26, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania lawmakers in May collected more than $156,500 in per diem, with Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, leading the pack.

Per diem is a part of lawmakers’ overall compensation and is included in … Read the rest

PA House lawmakers return to finish on-time budget

July 15, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Less than two hours after Speaker of the House Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, struck his gavel to start the session Monday, lawmakers were filtering out of the chambers, through the Capitol hallways and … Read the rest

Drive on: PA roads may crumble without new transportation bill, but will voters care?

July 8, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – Pavement may crumble and bridges may close, but Pennsylvania lawmakers likely won’t lose their office for not spending billions of dollars in a transportation bill this June.

Since lawmakers did not pass … Read the rest

500 days and $1 billion later, zero accountability in PA universities

July 3, 2013 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Gary Joseph Wilson | PA Independent

HARRISBURG — Jerry Sandusky was indicted for molesting children more than 500 days ago.

Since then the Pennsylvania General Assembly has voted to contribute $1.06 billion dollars in largely non-publicly accountable taxpayer money … Read the rest