Capital Reports

Executive and Judiciary Action for Week of Nov. 17

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and judiciary action for the week of Nov. 17. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Jan. 6, 2015, for swearing in.

Corbett's Health Care Push Clashes With Wolf's Plan

By John L. Kennedy |

Despite losing his bid for re-election, Gov. Tom Corbett is showing his administration still has plenty of life.

Education Funding Commission Faces Hurdles

By John L. Kennedy |

A legislative commission looking into the funding formula for how Harrisburg appropriates money to the state's public schools has a lot more work cut out for it before it releases its report.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Nov. 10

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Nov. 10. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled for swearing-in to the 2015-16 session on Jan. 6, 2015.

GOP Chooses More Conservative Leadership to Oppose Wolf

By John L. Kennedy |

Not only is Gov.-elect Tom Wolf not expected to get a honeymoon period with the General Assembly when he takes office in January, he's unlikely to even get a first date.

Gaming Control Board Set to Decide on Second Phila. Casino

By John L. Kennedy |

The five-member Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is set to vote today on whether Philadelphia will get another Category 2, or standalone, casino.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Nov. 2

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Nov. 2. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Nov. 12.

Corbett Sued by Senate Leaders for Striking Spending Items

By John L. Kennedy |

On the same day Gov. Tom Corbett lost his re-election bid, he was sued by state Senate leaders for striking spending items from legislation that was part of the 2014-15 general fund budget approved in early July.

Bill Would Ban Hazing at High Schools, Private Clubs

By John L. Kennedy |

The chairman of the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Ron Marsico, R-Dauphin, wants the General Assembly to expand the scope of the state's anti-hazing laws.

Executive Action for Week of Oct. 27

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive action for the week of Oct. 27. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Nov. 12.

Lobbying Fee Increase Drawing Criticism in Harrisburg

By John L. Kennedy |

An increase in the lobbying registration fee in Harrisburg has some lobbyists again questioning the clarity and fairness in the law, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, approved in 2006.

Workers' Comp Law Closes Prescription Drug Loophole

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation signed last week by Gov. Tom Corbett will close what business lobbyists are calling a loophole covering the cost of prescription drugs under the workers' compensation law.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Oct. 20

By John L. Kennedy |

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

ACLU May Challenge Speech Restrictions on Criminal Offenders

By John L. Kennedy |

Andy Hoover, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said the group is looking into a possible challenge to SB 508, signed last week by Gov. Tom Corbett, which allows crime victims or prosecutors to prevent certain conduct, including speech, by offenders.

Corbett Eyes Bill to Allow Municipal Gun Ordinance Challenges

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would allow any group or individual to challenge a local government gun ordinance stricter than state law, and recoup attorney fees, is before Gov. Tom Corbett.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Oct. 13

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Oct. 13. Members of the state House of Representatives were scheduled to return to session Oct. 20. Members of the state Senate are scheduled to return to session Nov. 12.

Waterfront Buffer Changes Sent to Governor

By John L. Kennedy |

HB 1565, which would eliminate a mandatory 150-foot development buffer from streams and other waterways the Department of Environment Protection classifies as "high quality," is before Gov. Tom Corbett.

Corbett Eyes Bill to Close DUI Loophole

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would require a conviction for a first DUI offense before conviction and sentencing for a second offense is before Gov. Tom Corbett. The state House of Representatives attached the language to SB 1239.

Legislative Action for Week of Oct. 6

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of Oct. 6. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session Oct. 14.

Drug Database Wouldn't Have Search Warrant Provision

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives is poised to approve SB 1180—which would establish a pharmaceutical database to prevent "doctor shopping"—without language supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and some members on both sides of the aisle, that would require a search warrant to gain access to the database.

Senate Wants Economic Development Projects in Panel's Control

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Senate Appropriations Committee amended HB 2420, a debt ceiling reduction bill covering capital projects, to place final say over what projects are chosen with the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Legislative, Executive Action for Week of Sept. 29, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of Sept. 29. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Oct. 6.

Pa. Gets National Recognition for Reducing Recidivism

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently received recognition from the U.S. Department of Justice's National Reentry Resource Center for its effort in reducing recidivism.

Gubernatorial Candidates Get Feisty in Second Debate

By Marc Levy |

A lively second debate between Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf became tense Wednesday as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.

Executive, Legislative Action for Week of Sept. 22, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 22. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Sept. 29.

Bill Would Provide Standing in Gun-Ordinance Challenges

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives amended legislation that would give any individual or group standing to challenge local gun-control ordinances.

Riparian Buffers Would Be Optional Under Legislation

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives approved a measure that would make optional riparian buffers and riparian forest buffers, which can minimize pollution from erosion.

Executive, Legislative Action for Week of Sept. 15, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 15. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 22.

Debt-Reduction Bills Lined Up for Final House Passage

By John L. Kennedy |

The state House of Representatives Finance Committee on Sept. 15 approved two bills that would cap and reduce the state's debt limit, one over objections of some Democrats on the committee who argued it would hamper the state's response to certain emergencies.

Democrats Critical of Pa.'s Line of Credit

By John L. Kennedy |

State Treasurer Rob McCord extended a $1.5 billion line of credit to Pennsylvania, though he and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale were critical of the need for it.

Executive, Legislative Action for Week of Sept. 8, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 8. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Study: Pa. Employee Pension Plan One of the Worst

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System is one of the three most inequitable in the country, according to a recent study by the Washington-based Urban Institute.

Poll Shows No Gain for Corbett in Re-election Race

By John L. Kennedy |

The results of a new poll show Gov. Tom Corbett has made up little ground, if any, on Democratic challenger Tom Wolf in the gubernatorial race.

Executive, Legislative Action for Week of Sept. 1, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 1. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Legislation Would Decriminalize Out-of-State Liquor Purchases

By John L. Kennedy |

State Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, announced he will introduce legislation that would decriminalize the purchase of out-of-state wine and liquor.

Lawmaker Urges End to Minimum Sentencing Loophole

By John L. Kennedy |

State Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, said he is urging his colleagues to strengthen the Crimes Code in the wake of a Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling that declared many of the state's mandatory minimum sentencing provisions unconstitutional.

Legislative, Judicial Action for Week of Aug. 25, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and judicial action for the week of Aug. 25. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Pa. Municipal Pension Systems Strained, Auditor General Says

By John L. Kennedy |

Scranton's pension system is on a path to running out of funds in three to five years, according to an audit performed by the office of Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Report: Kane Issued Administrative Subpoenas on Shale Players

By John L. Kennedy |

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has issued administrative subpoenas throughout the shale industry in Pennsylvania, according to a story published on Capitolwire.com.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Aug. 18

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 18. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Health Department Updates Fracking Complaint Process

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Department of Health announced that it has updated its handling of complaints related to fracking in the Marcellus Shale region.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

PUC Appeals Decision Stripping Its Review Authority

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling that stripped it of its authority to review local government ordinances under the oil and gas law, Act 13 of 2012.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Aug. 11, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 11. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Bill Would Give DAs Power to Eye Contractor Wage Practices

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation introduced in the state Senate would give the state's district attorneys the authority to investigate construction employers' wage-and-hour practices, specifically complaints that some are misclassifying workers in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

House Measure Would Get Rid of Common Core Standards

By John L. Kennedy |

State Rep. Gordon Denlinger, R-Lancaster, introduced HB 2439, which would roll back Pennsylvania's version of Common Core educational standards adopted by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission last November.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Aug. 4, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 4. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Funding Vote for Philadelphia School District Called Off

By John L. Kennedy |

State House of Representatives leadership decided not to call members back to Harrisburg for a scheduled Aug. 4 session day to vote on legislation allowing Philadelphia to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to raise money for the school district.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

State Police to Fight U.S. Justice Department Sex Bias Suit

By John L. Kennedy |

A recent federal court ruling that the FBI engaged in gender discrimination in its physical fitness requirements should help the Pennsylvania State Police defend its standards against a July 31 complaint by the Department of Justice, legal experts said.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of July 28. The state House of Representatives is scheduled to return to session Aug. 4; both houses of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Legislation Aims to Remove 'Politics' From Doctor-Patient Relationship

Democrats in both houses of the General Assembly have simultaneously introduced legislation, called the "Patient Trust Act," that would prohibit the enforcement of laws that require health care professionals to provide patients with medically inaccurate information that advances a legislative or political agenda.

Bill Requires PLCB to ShowTaxpayer Dollars Paid for Ads

The state's monopoly on liquor sales faces an unrelenting challenge from some quarters in the General Assembly. In the latest round, state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, introduced legislation, HB 2426, that would require the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to make it clear that their liquor advertisements are funded with taxpayer dollars.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 21. Members of the state House of Representatives are set to return Aug. 4; state Senate members are set to return Sept. 15.

Public Pensions Become Political Battleground

Moody's Investors Service lowered Pennsylvania's credit rating last week, and the news became instant fodder for both Democrats and Republicans in a gubernatorial election year.

No New Drilling Leases Until Court Decision Rendered

The Corbett administration has agreed not to sign any new natural gas leases for drilling on state land until a ruling on the use of the funds raised through the leases is rendered by the Commonwealth Court.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary action for the week of July 14. The state House of Representatives is set to return to session Aug. 4; the state Senate is set to return Sept. 15.

Corbett Ramps Up Re-election Efforts

Gov. Tom Corbett began a statewide tour and with it his re-election campaign, immediately after signing the state budget July 10.

Legislators Consider Possible Response to Funding Cuts

Legislative leaders are mulling their options after Gov. Tom Corbett wiped $65 million from programs and other spending earmarked for use by the General Assembly when he signed the state budget.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 7. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Sept. 15.

Fate of Philadelphia Cigarette Tax Uncertain

It's unclear if state House of Representatives members will return to Harrisburg before the scheduled date of Sept. 15 to vote on legislation that would allow Philadelphia to enact a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The city needs the money to fund its schools, which may not open on time without the additional funding.

Drug Overdose Immunity Bill in Limbo

One of the bills overlooked in the frenzy of the final budget approval in Harrisburg would provide immunity for those who witness a drug overdose and seek emergency help.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of June 30. The state Senate was set to return to session July 7. The state House of Representatives is set to return to session Sept. 15.

Public Pension Reform Delayed in General Assembly

The pension systems covering public school teachers and state employees will continue to add $10 million a day in debt for the foreseeable future with the General Assembly's failure to send a pension reform bill to Gov. Tom Corbett before summer recess, according to the state Public Employee Retirement Commission.