Capital Reports

Legislative Action for Week of April 13

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of April 13. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session April 20.

Senate Approves DNA 'Modernization'

By John L. Kennedy |

Last week, the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, said would "strengthen and modernize" the state's use of DNA technology to fight violent crime.

Senate Preempts Local Governments on Paid Time Off

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislative and Executive Action for Week of April 6

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of April 6. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session April 13.

House of Representatives Plans Pension Vote for May

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives plans to take up a state pension reform bill in May, Republican Caucus sources said.

Pa. Handling of U.S. Housing Programs Set for State Audit

By John L. Kennedy |

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced that his department will conduct a comprehensive performance audit to evaluate the Department of Community and Economic Development's administration of federally funded homelessness prevention and rehousing programs.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of March 30

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of March 30. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session April 13.

Legislation Would End Harassment Carve-out for Labor Disputes

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would strike a provision in the Crimes Code permitting stalking, harassment and even threats regarding the use of weapons of mass destruction during labor disputes has been reintroduced in the state House of Representatives.

Payday Loan Issue May Be Mooted by Federal Law

By John L. Kennedy |

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of March 23

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of March 23. Members of the state House of Representatives were set to return to session March 30; Senate members are set to return April 13.

State Lawmakers Buried in Public Pension Crisis

By John L. Kennedy |

The city of York's accumulated $10 million pension payments, added on to this year's obligation, would take a 25 percent bite out of the city's entire budget, according to Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Wolf's State Police Commissioner Nominee Encounters Controversy

By John L. Kennedy |

Marcus Brown, Gov. Tom Wolf's nominee for Pennsylvania State Police commissioner, might wish by now he had stayed in Maryland. The latest in Brown's controversial nomination is a letter he reportedly received that read: "No [racial epithet] lover will wear my uniform."

Executive, Legislative and Judiciary Action for Week of March 16

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary action for the week of March 16. Members of the state House of Representatives are scheduled to return to voting session March 30; Senate members are scheduled to return April 13.

Wolf, Republicans Battle Over School Funding Letter

By John L. Kennedy |

Republican lawmakers called Gov. Tom Wolf out on a letter from his acting secretary of Education, sent to the state's school districts, asking how they would spend money they haven't yet received.

Legislation Would Change Approach to Teacher Layoffs

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation introduced simultaneously in the state House of Representatives and Senate would end the practice of teacher layoffs based on seniority.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of March 9, 2015

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of March 9. Members of the state House of Representatives are scheduled to return to voting session on March 30; Senate members are scheduled to return April 13.

Disagreement Over Budget Deficit Fuels Growing Tensions

By John L. Kennedy |

The Wolf administration and the Independent Fiscal Office differ in their estimates of the looming budget deficit by at least half a billion dollars.

Measure Introduced to Trim Pensions of Future State Hires

By John L. Kennedy |

A lawmaker has reintroduced a public pension bill aimed at adjusting pension plans for future employees of the state government,

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of March 2

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of March 2. Members of the state House of Representatives are set to return to voting session March 30; members of the state Senate are set to return April 13.

Wolf, Lawmakers Far Apart Entering Budget Process

By John L. Kennedy |

Gov. Tom Wolf delivered his first budget address on March 3, and the Republicans controlling the state House of Representatives and Senate quickly dismissed nearly his entire plan.

Pensions to Take Big Chunk Out of Next Year's Budget

By John L. Kennedy |

The state's two largest public pensions systems, the State Employees' Retirement System, covering state workers, and the Public School Employees' Retirement System, covering public school teachers, will cost the general fund $2.4 billion next year, according to the Independent Fiscal Office.

Legislative and Executive Action for Week of Feb. 23

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of Feb. 23. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session March 2.

Bill Targets Lawmakers' Involvement in Nonprofits

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would codify a ban on state lawmakers' involvement in nonprofits funded by state appropriations cleared the state House of Representatives with only one negative vote.

Senate-Approved Bill Would Require ID to Receive Benefits

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Senate passed SB 9, which would require those applying for benefits such as Medicaid and unemployment compensation to show identification proving they are legal residents of the United States before receiving the benefits.

Legislative, Executive and Judiciary Action for Week of Feb. 16

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative, executive and judiciary action for the week of Feb. 16. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Feb. 23.

Senate OKs Measure Over Power to Define 'Charities'

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Senate voted on party lines to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that would declare the General Assembly, not the judiciary, has the authority to determine what constitutes a purely public charity.

Liquor Privatization Bill Appears Poised for House Approval

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives is scheduled to debate and vote on legislation on Feb. 26 that would dismantle the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and privatize liquor sales.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Legislative and Judicial Action for Week of Feb. 9, 2015

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and judiciary action for the week of Feb. 9. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session Feb. 23.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Wolf, Lawmakers Differ on Closing Budget Gap

By John L. Kennedy |

Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders in the state House of Representatives have unveiled two completely different plans to close a budget hole in the state's general fund. They will have until the end of the fiscal year on June 30 to reach some sort of compromise.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Legislative and Judicial Action for Week of Feb. 9, 2015

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and judiciary action for the week of Feb. 9. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session Feb. 23.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Feb. 2

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Feb. 2. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session the week of Feb. 9.

Lawmakers Say Anti-Cyberbullying Bill Needs Fine-Tuning

By John L. Kennedy |

All the members of the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to move an anti-cyberbullying bill to the House floor, but Republicans and Democrats alike were concerned about the bill's possible vagueness.

Legislation Would Overhaul School Construction Funding

By John L. Kennedy |

The state reimbursement process to school districts for building projects would be overhauled under legislation approved by the state House of Representatives Education Committee.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Jan. 26

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Jan. 26. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Feb. 2.

Purely Public Charity Amendment Moving in Senate

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Senate is considering legislation, following a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling, which clarifies that the General Assembly, not the high court, has say over what constitutes a purely public charity.

Battle Between Wolf and Senate Republicans Heats Up

By John L. Kennedy |

On Feb. 4, the director of the state's Office of Open Records will know if he will be receiving a paycheck for his services. The Commonwealth Court is scheduled to rule on relief and an injunction filed by the state Senate Republican Caucus on behalf of Erik Arneson, who was named director of the OOR by outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Jan. 19

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Jan. 19. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Jan. 26.

Senate Panel OKs Bills Aimed at Protecting Lessors of Gas Land

By John L. Kennedy |

In the first action of the new legislative session, the state Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved three bills, with no negative votes, that would protect landowners leasing property to natural gas drillers.

Public Pension Reform Legislation to Be Reintroduced

By John L. Kennedy |

State Rep. Warren Kampf, R-Montgomery, announced he will reintroduce legislation in the state House of Representatives to reform the pension systems for the state workers and public school teachers.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Jan. 12, 2015

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of Jan. 12. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Jan. 20.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Municipal Pension Systems in Crisis, Auditor General Says

By John L. Kennedy |

State-level pensions aren't the only ones putting a strain on public finances. The cost of municipal pensions in Pennsylvania are rapidly getting out of hand, according to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. A report released by DePasquale showed that the unfunded liability of the state's municipal pensions systems grew to $7.7 billion, a $1 billion increase over just two years.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Bill Would Eliminate Crimes Code Carve-out in Labor Disputes

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that died with the end of last session that would strike a carve-out in the Crimes Code for certain activities during labor disputes will be re-introduced in the state Senate by Sen. Scott Wagner, R-York.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Jan. 5

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Jan. 5. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to voting session on Jan. 20.

To Work, New Political Lineup Will Require Compromise, Observers Say

By John L. Kennedy |

The two-year General Assembly session began with swearing-in ceremonies in Harrisburg on Jan. 6. Observers say the new session might be one of the most politically dynamic ever.

Legislature Not Likely to Pass Bills Before Wolf Takes Office

By John L. Kennedy |

The prospect of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature reconvening its new session before Democrat Gov.-elect Tom Wolf takes office has diminished.

Executive and Judiciary Action for Week of Dec. 29

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and judiciary action for the week of Dec. 29, 2014. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg today for swearing in for the 2015-16 session.

Bill Closing DUI Loophole Takes Effect

By John L. Kennedy |

A law took effect last week that would require a conviction for a first DUI offense before conviction and sentencing for a second offense.

EPA Approves Pennsylvania Water Report

By John L. Kennedy |

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania's report on the quality of the state's streams, lakes, rivers and other waterways.