A state Senate Committee is in Jim Thorpe Borough, Carbon County, today to hold a public hearing on the future of two community development programs aimed at revitalizing downtown business districts and their surrounding neighborhoods. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who talks about the importance of the state-funded Main Street and Elm Street programs.main-elm-street-hearing-yudichak-webstory
Legislation is being introduced in Harrisburg that would delay the implementation of new high school graduation tests until their effectiveness and cost to school districts and taxpayers can be evaluated. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and sponsor of the bill.keystone-exam-moratorium-bill-ad-webstory
Senator Vincent Hughes has filed a resolution that would force a vote on legislation to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania.medicaid-resolution-hughes-wrap
Senator Matt Smith has introduced a bill to require life-saving medicine in schools that will prevent allergy deaths among children, teachers and staff.school-allergy-medicine-smith-wrap
Senate Democrats say new high school graduation standards being pursued by the Corbett Administration will threaten graduation for thousands of future high school students and stick school districts and local taxpayers with a costly unfunded state mandate. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County.graduation-tests-dinniman-costa-wrapstory
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution congratulating the American Cancer Society on its 100th anniversary. Here’s more with Senator Richard Kasunic of Fayette County, sponsor of the resolution.american-cancer-society-resolution-kasunic
Senators John Wozniak and Tim Solobay joined motorcyclists gathered in the Rotunda of the State Capitol in Harrisburg to mark the tenth anniversary of the state law allowing bikers to ride without helmets.abate-rally-wrap
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing May 23rd in Scranton on expanding Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program under the Federal Affordable Care Act. Here’s a public service announcement with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County airing on local radio stations inviting people to attend.policy-hearing-medicaid-scranton-blake-psa
Senate Democrats are hoping to encourage greater voter participation in Pennsylvania elections by making voting easier and more accessible. Here’s more with Senator Matt Smith of Allegheny County, Democratic Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, who along with the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, held a public hearing in Pittsburgh on election reform legislation.election-reforms-smith-webstory
The state’s capital city of Harrisburg is more than 300 million dollars in debt partly because of questionable municipal borrowing practices. Senators Rob Teplitz and John Blake have joined with colleagues to propose legislation to make sure this doesn’t happen to other cities and towns across the state.municipal-finance-bills-wrap
Senate Democrats Daylin Leach and Andy Dinniman have joined with fellow lawmakers to introduce legislation that deals with human trafficking, something they call a modern-day version of slavery.human-trafficking-bills-wrap
Legislation that would prohibit discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals has been introduced in both the state Senate and the House, with a record number of legislators expressing support.lgbt-equality-bill-wrap
Legislation that would raise some $2 1/2 billion in funding for highways, bridges and other transportation projects across Pennsylvania has cleared its first major hurdle in the state legislature. Here’s more with Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County and Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County, members of the Senate Transportation Committee which voted to approved the transportation funding bill.sb-1-committee-vote-wrapstory
Pennsylvania’s 2012 Coal Queen visited the State Capitol today as the guest of Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County. Here’s more with Senator Solobay who introduced Trinity High School senior Ashley Avolio of Washington and Ashley’s address to the Pennsylvania Senate.coal-queen-2012-solobay-avolio
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing Tuesday, May 7, as Breast Cancer Coalition Day in Pennsylvania, and marking the 20th anniversary of the coalition and its contributions to the commonwealth in the areas of education, outreach and advocacy on the issue of breast cancer. Here’s more with Senator Richard Kasunic of Fayette County, a sponsor of the resolution.breast-cancer-awareness-day-kasunic
Elected officials, including Senator Mike Stack, joined with family members to honor five police officers who died in the line of duty in Pennsylvania in 2012 on Police Memorial Day.police-memorial-stack-wrap
As many Pennsylvanians begin to plan their summer vacations, the Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing the week of May 5th through the 11th as National Tourism Week in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh, sponsor of the resolution, and Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee on Community, Economic & Recreational Development.national-tourism-week-resolution-fontana
With the state’s budget deadline drawing closer, and revenue projections showing less money for that budget, Senator John Wozniak says lawmakers need to focus on the programs and issues that will create jobs and get local economies moving again.budget-priorities-wozniak-wrap
A Luzerne County lawmaker is urging the state House of Representatives to approve a Senate-passed bill that would create a safe schools grant program. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak, a cosponsor of the measure that’s intended to address school violence and enhance school safety.safe-schools-bill-yudichak-webstory
Senator Anthony Williams is the sponsor of Senate Bill 46, which is scheduled to come up for a vote on the floor of the Senate soon. The bill makes sure a school employee’s record on sexual misconduct or abuse follows him or her from school to school in an effort to stop “passing the trash.”pass-the-trash-legislation-williams-wrap
Senator Daylin Leach sponsored a Senate Resolution declaring April 30, 2013, “Hooters Music Appreciation Day” at the Capitol in Harrisburg, a celebration of both the home-grown band and of the arts in Pennsylvania.hooters-appreciation-day-leach-wrap
Gov. Corbett’s proposed liquor privatization plan and House-passed legislation that would accomplish it took a major hit at a state Senate hearing in Harrisburg. Here’s more with Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, and Senator Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia, a member of the committee.liquor-privatization-hearing-ferlo-tt-wrapstory
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa reacts to today’s decision by the state Insurance Department to approve Highmarks proposed affiliation with the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS). sen-jay-costa-reacts-to-approval-of-highmark-wpahs-merger-04-29-13
Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, who for the past two years has led an ad-hoc committee comprised of community-based organizations, hospital employees and elected officials, today applauded the formal approval by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department of the affiliation between Highmark, Inc. and West Penn Allegheny Health System. Here’s more with Senator Ferlo.highmark-west-penn-reaction-ferlo
Senator Mike Stack is urging his colleagues to take action on a bill that would help spur employment for veterans, a group that faces higher unemployment numbers than average in Pennsylvania.hiring-veterans-tax-credit-stack-wrap
With the General Assembly looking for ways to increase revenue so the state can pay its bills, a Philadelphia lawmaker says the state legislature and the Corbett Administration could plug a potential budget hole by going after uncollected court fines and costs and back taxes. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.uncollected-fines-taxes-stack-webstory
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a roundtable discussion next month in Pittsburgh on various issues dealing with voting, including legislative proposals on early voting and same-day registration. Here’s more with Senator Matt Smith of Allegheny County.policy-committee-hearing-voting-smith-psa-1
Senate Democrats say a new report — by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office — supports the expansion of Medicaid to provide health care insurance to working Pennsylvanians who need coverage. Here’s more with Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County, who held a news conference this week at City Hall in Philadelphia.medicaid-expansion-ifo-report-webstory
As we’ve recently witnessed in Boston and in Texas, life is precious and can be robbed from us at any moment. That’s why it’s appropriate that April is being observed as Donate Life Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Lisa Boscola of Northampton County and Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia whose Senate-adopted resolution is intended to encourage Pennsylvanians to become organ and tissue donors.pa-donate-life-month-wrapstory
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing the week of April 21st through April 27th as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Pennsylvania. Here’s Senator Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia, sponsor of the resolution.crime-victims-rights-week-pa-resolution-tartaglione
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities. That’s why it’s only fitting that the Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing the week of April 2st through the 27th as National Volunteer Week in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh, sponsor of the resolution.volunteer-week-pa-fontana-wrapstory
A Senate committee has approved Senator Anthony Hardy Williams’ legislation to prevent hiring teachers or other school personnel who have been investigated, dismissed or disciplined for abuse or sexual misconduct, known as “passing the trash.”pass-the-trash-bill-williams-wrap
As state lawmakers prepare to negotiate a new state budget with the Corbett Administration, Senate Democrats say their priorities continue to focus on job creation, education investments, and strengthening the social-services safety net. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County and Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.job-creation-priorities-costa-hughes-wrapstory
Senate and House Democratic and Republican leaders have unveiled a transportation funding plan that will lead to improved roads, bridges and mass transit systems across Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, who participated in today’s State Capitol news conference.transportation-funding-plan-wozniak-wrapstory
The Pennsylvania Senate has recognized April as Autism Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack of Philadelphia, sponsor of the Senate resolution intended to help raise awareness about autism in the commonwealth.autism-awareness-month-pa-resolution-stack
April 16th is Men’s Health Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, sponsor of the Senate-adopted Resolution urging Pennsylvanians, men in particular, to be aware of their health needs.men’s-health-awareness-day-resolution-dinniman
Senator Daylin Leach is introducing legislation that he says would be an important part of keeping hospital patients safe and ensuring they receive the best care possible.nurse-to-patient-ratio-bill-leach-wrap
No matter whether you want to pick up a good book or if you need help finding a job this is a good week to visit your local public library. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh, sponsor of a Senate-adopted Resolution, observing the week of April 14th through the 20th as National Library Week in Pennsylvania.library-week-pa-2013-fontana
With Earth Day on the way, Pennsylvanians are reminded that a new state law requires computers, tablets and televisions to be recycled instead of trashed.electronic-recycling-law-yudichak-wrap
The Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a roundtable discussion this month in Philadelphia on modernization versus privatization of Pennsylvania’s state store system. Here’s more from Senator Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia.policy-committee-hearing-phila-tartaglione-psa-1
New federal food safety regulations will have an impact on Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. That’s why state lawmakers held a public hearing this week in Harrisburg to find out just how much of an impact they will have on farmers and food processors. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee, who talks about her concerns.food-safety-ag-hearing-schwank-wrapstory
Some municipalities in Pennsylvania that rely on State Police patrols and protection rather than establishing their own police department may be getting a bill from the state in the near future. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County who’s proposing legislation that would charge some municipalities for coverage.state-police-coverage-bill-schwank-webstory
An Allegheny County lawmaker is making an effort to provide some financial relief for those individuals who are suffering from diabetes. Here’s more with Senator Matt Smith, sponsor of legislation that would require insurance companies to cover diabetic-related pain treatment.sb-759-diabetes-bill-smith-webstory
A Senate Committee has approved health care legislation that its Democratc Chairman, Senator Mike Stack, says is not really needed.senate-bill-3-stack-wrap
Senator Rob Teplitz says his resolution declaring April “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania — along with a state law banning texting while driving — is not enough to stop the practice.distracted-driving-teplitz-wrap
Holocaust survivors were honored in a ceremony at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, and Senator Mike Stack was on hand to honor them, saying there are important reasons why their stories need to be told.holocaust-remembrance-ceremony-stack-wrap
Democratic and Republican state Senators are teaming up in Harrisburg to propose nine government reform bills that would hold state elected officials to be more open and accountable to Pennsylvania taxpayers. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack of Philadelphia who, at a State Capitol news conference, talked about four of the bills that he’s introducing.government-reform-bills-stack-wrapstory
Senator Larry Farnese has proposed legislation that would create a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for illegally carrying a firearm in Philadelphia.mandatory-gun-sentences-farnese-wrap
More than 250 people packed the Chester County Historical Society building Wednesday night to answer the “call to action” to end human trafficking in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County who organized the event in support of legislation that would help put an end to modern day slavery.human-trafficking-dinniman-webstory
Crime is not just a problem in Pennsylvania’s big cities. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee met with police and social service workers recently to talk about the growing problem of violent crime in the state’s smaller cities, towns and townships.crime-roundtable-wrap
A Dauphin County lawmaker says Gov. Corbett’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court should be someone who people can trust to interpret the law and not pursue a personal or political agenda. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz who says the governor should pick a non-ideological moderate to replace convicted Justice Joan Orie Melvin who announced she’ll resign on May 1.supreme-court-replacement-teplitz-webstory
Senator Jim Brewster will introduce legislation that would create a Pennsylvania hunting heritage license plate.hunting-heritage-license-plate-bill-brewster-wrap
Legislation is being introduced in Harrisburg to protect the public from the impact of political and financial influence if Gov. Corbett eventually gets his way and privatizes the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County, sponsor of the bill.lottery-rules-bill-teplitz-webstory
Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County says if the House-passed bill to privatize the state store system comes up for a vote in the state Senate, he’s going to vote ‘no’. Here’s more with Senator Teplitz who says modernizing the state store system would be a more constructive approach to making it more customer-friendly while allowing the state to maintain a valuable asset.lcb-privatization-no-vote-teplitz-remarks
A bill has been introduced in Harrisburg that would help pay for the training of emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County, sponsor of the legislation, who says the measure is aimed at relieving a financial burden from volunteer fire companies.als-emt-training-funds-solobay-webstory
As the liquor privatization bill heads to the Senate, Senator Jim Brewster thinks Pennsylvanians would be better served by modernizing the state liquor system.lcb-modernization-brewster-wrap
A Senate Resolution recognizes Tuesday, March 26, as Epilepsy Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County, sponsor of the Senate Resolution.epilepsy-awareness-day-resolution-costa
A state Senate committee responsible for reforming education in Pennsylvania heard from its “customers” at a public hearing last week in Chester County. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, who says high school students got a chance to give their opinions about what’s needed to improve the education system in the commonwealth.education-hearing-students-dinniman-webstory
While Gov. Corbett and four former governors support a merit selection system for judicial elections, one state lawmaker says he’s opposed because there’s a better way of electing state judges. Here’s more with Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County who plans to introduce legislation to change the way in which appellate court judges are elected in Pennsylvania.state-judges-election-wozniak-webstory
Most Pennsylvanians are unaware that “March Madness” office betting pools are illegal. Senator Lisa Boscola has introduced a bill to stop these office pools from creating criminals.office-pool-bill-boscola-wrap
Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tim Solobay is now on the floor of the Senate that would require Carbon Monoxide Detectors in most homes, especially rental units.carbon-monoxide-detectors-solobay-wrap
New employment numbers are out, and they do not paint a good picture for Pennsylvania. Senate Democrats say the state is heading in the wrong direction economically.missed-job-opportunities-hughes-wrap
Senator Jim Ferlo has introduced legislation that would provide medical, dental, vision and mental health coverage for every Pennsylvanian.single-payer-health-care-bill-ferlo-wrap
Tuesday, March 19th, is being recognized as Arts Education Advocacy Day in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County, sponsor of the Senate Resolution, who talks about the importance of the arts to our education system in the commonwealth.arts-education-day-pa-costa-remarks
A bipartisan group of state senators has unveiled a package of 16 bills to provide widespread improvements to Pennsylvania’s child protection laws. At a State Capitol news conference, Senator LeAnna Washington of Philadelphia, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, outlined her legislation which would define child abuse.child-protection-bills-washington-wrapstory
A freshman Dauphin County lawmaker is leading the effort to form a bipartisan Government Reform Caucus, comprised of Senate and House members, to develop and promote legislation to reform state government in Harrisburg, including eliminating cost-of-living pay increases for lawmakers. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz who made the announcement at a State Capitol news conference.government-reform-caucus-teplitz-wrapstory
The Penn State University Board of Trustees will appear before a state Senate committee in Harrisburg on Monday, March 18. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who says the Freeh Report and the future structure of the board of trustees and its authority will be major topics.psu-freeh-report-yudichak-wrapstory
Senate Democratic Policy Committee to hold roundtable discussion in April on the growing problem of violent crime in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County.violent-crime-hearing-yudichak-psa
Senate Democrats are introducing legislation that would compel Pennsylvania to expand its Medicaid program so that some 600,000 or more people without health care insurance will get coverage. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County who says the bill is necessary because Gov. Corbett is refusing to participate in a program that’s aimed at helping the working poor.medicaid-expansion-bill-costa-wrapstory
A state Senate panel concerned with school safety and emergency planning from pre-school to college held a public hearing today in Harrisburg to examine what’s being done to protect students, staff and the public from internal or external threats. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness.school-safety-hearing-solobay-wrapstory
Senator Jim Ferlo, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, says instead of seeing the state’s liquor business privatized, he’d like to see it modernized.lcb-modernization-bill-ferlo-wrap
State Senate Democrats held a public hearing in Pittsburgh on Friday, March 1st, to discuss the budgetary and economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania.medicaid-expansion-hearing-wrap
A Philadelphia lawmaker is urging Gov. Corbett to accept a Commonwealth Court ruling and reinstate the adultBasic Care health insurance program for the working poor in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, who’s been fighting to restore the program ever since the governor ended it two years ago.tobacco-fund-court-ruling-stack-webstory
Public safety and thousands of jobs are at stake if nothing is done to increase revenue for improvements to roads, bridges and mass transit. That’s the message that came out of today’s state Senate budget hearing for PennDOT. Here’s more with Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.penndot-budget-hearing-wrapstory
The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare told state Senators at a budget hearing in Harrisburg that they’re working to restore benefits to those who lost them during a review process in 2011. But Senator Shirley Kitchen was not convinced DPW is doing all it can.budget-hearing-dpw-kitchen-wrap
Senator Judy Schwank has introduced legislation that would encourage students to stay in their home school districts to receive on-line cyber classes.cyber-charter-school-bill-schwank-wrap
Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County told state Department of Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis at the department’s Senate budget hearing today that it needs to investigate lower graduation rates and higher truancy rates at cyber charter schools. Here’s more with Senator Dinniman, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, who also says that the General Assembly needs to pass legislation making charter schools and cyber charter schools much more financially accountable.cyber-charter-schools-dinniman-webcuts
A Philadelphia lawmaker says Gov. Corbett is shortchanging public school education in his proposed state budget, especially poorer school districts, and the proof is in the test scores statewide. Here’s more with Senator Vincent Hughes, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who told Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis at the department’s budget hearing before the Senate that the governor’s budget proposal is unacceptable.education-budget-hearing-hughes-wrapstory
A Luzerne County lawmaker calls on Penn State University Board of Trustees to seek an amendment to the consent decree to remove NCAA sanctions. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a Penn State alumnus, who questioned Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis, who also sits on the board of trustees, about the Freeh Report and its impact on the university.education-budget-hearing-psu-yudichak-wrapstory
The state Department of Aging faces possible funding shortfalls that could leave holes in its budget. Senator LeAnna Washington is worried about that, as well as the possibility that the department isn’t being attentive to what’s happening to the state’s elderly.budget-hearings-aging-washington-wrap
Although the Corbett Administration continues to defend its push to privatize the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery, a Lackawanna County lawmaker says he’s convinced that it would be a bad deal for the state and senior citizens. Here’s more with Senator John Blake, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Democratic Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.revenue-budget-hearing-lottery-wrapstory
Pennsylvania’s state-related universities agreed to “flat” funding from the Commonwealth this year, but there were still questions about their budgets at a Senate hearing – along with some pointed questions for the president of Penn State.budget-hearing-universities-yudichak-wrap
Senate Democrats say they’re skeptical that the Corbett Administration’s pension reform plan for state workers and school employees will reduce the state’s unfunded financial obligation — at least in the short term. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who says the governor’s plan to go to a defined contribution retirement plan could create a larger debt and headache for taxpayers.psers-sers-budget-hearing-wrapstory
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources plans to use 77 million dollars in royalties from oil and gas drilling to repair roads and dams in state forests this year. Senator John Yudichak hopes this doesn’t lead to more drilling in state forests.budget-hearings-dcnr-yuidchak-wrap
A state Senate budget hearing for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board centered mostly on talk of privatization of the state store system but, at least in the Senate, there doesn’t seem to be much support for it. Here’s more with Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Democratic Chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee which has oversight of the LCB.lcb-budget-hearing-ferlo-webstory
A Berks County lawmaker says the Corbett Administration’s state budget plan to eliminate General Fund money next year to local conservation districts is a bad idea. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, who questioned D-E-P Secretary Michael Krancer at the department’s Senate budget hearing.conservation-districts-funding-schwank-wrapstory
A Philadelphia lawmaker is questioning the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s ability to cover uninsured kids through the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, who said at the department’s Senate budget hearing that he’s alarmed by the drop in enrollment.chip-insurance-hearing-stack-wrapstory
As the Senate Appropriations Committee holds budget hearings this week for the offices of Auditor General, Attorney General and Treasurer, a Dauphin County state Senator says Gov. Corbett and the state legislature should not neuter state watchdog agencies through flat funding. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz who says an increase in funding is needed to get the job done for Pennsylvanians.budget-hearings-row-offices-teplitz-wrap
Senate Appropriations Committee members, both Republicans and Democrats, seem satisfied with answers from State Attorney General Kathleen Kane on her decision to block Gov. Corbett’s outside contract with a United Kingdom based company to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County, a member of the committee.kane-hearing-blake-webstory
Gov. Corbett has signed legislation that would require all proceeds from the 60 million dollars in NCAA fines paid by Penn State in the Sandusky case to be used exclusively in Pennsylania. Sen. John Yudichak says the state is within its rights to require the NCAA to keep the money within the state.ncaa-penn-state-fines-bill-signed-yudichak-cut1
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has issued a decision to reject the plan to privatize the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Senator John Yudichak applauds the move.lottery-reaction-attorney-general-decision-yudichak-wrap
In the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, two state Senate Committees held a joint hearing to listen to educators and police officials about what the state can do to avoid and deal with school violence. Senator Andy Dinniman is Democratic Chairman of one of those Committees, the Senate Education Committee.school-security-hearing-dinniman-wrap
A legislative panel heard from Pennsylvania’s Transportation Secretary on Gov. Corbett’s transportation funding plan. Senator John Wozniak, Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, says it’s a good starting point but much more discussion and debate is needed.transportation-hearing-wozniak-wrapstory
A bill is headed for a vote on the Senate floor that would allow people who have committed nonviolent misdemeanors to have their criminal record cleared. Senator Tim Solobay says it’s become a factor for some job hunters.expungement-bill-solobay-wrap
Legislation is being introduced in Harrisburg to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, sponsor of the bill, who wants to legalize and regulate marijuana the same way alcohol is treated in Pennsylvania.marijuana-legislation-leach-webstory
If you can’t win the election by getting more votes than the other guy, then change the rules of the game. That’s what Senate Democrats say Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to do when it comes to the presidential election. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County who strongly opposes Senate Republican legislation that would change the way in which Electoral College votes are allocated in Pennsylvania.electoral-college-change-costa-wrapstory
Senate Democrats say Gov. Corbett’s $28.4 billion proposed state budget does little to solve key problems and relies on shaky and faulty figures. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County.budget-response-website-costa
Senator John Yudichak says beer distributors have told him that the Governor’s liquor privatization plan might wind up putting them out of business because it gives their competitors an unfair advantage.liquor-privatization-beer-distributors-yudichak-wrap
A bill is being introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate that would ease the requirements on the state’s Small Games of Chance Law that was approved last year. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County, sponsor of the legislation, who says his proposal would, among other things, allow non-profit organizations and social clubs keep a greater share of their gambling revenue to operate their organization.sb-390-small-games-bill-wrapstory
Legislation that would strengthen the fight against human trafficking in Pennsylvania has cleared a major hurdle in the state Senate. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County who says the measure will, among other things, more clearly define sex and forced labor trafficking in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.sb-75-committee-vote-wrapstory
Senator Shirley Kitchen reminds us that February is Black History Month in Pennsylvania, and Senator LeAnna Washington says this year marks the 100th birthday of an important civil rights pioneer.black-history-rosa-parks-wrap
An Allegheny County lawmaker is taking aim at Gov. Corbett’s plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s state store system – and make beer and wine more readily available. Here’s more with Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, which has oversight of the Liquor Control Board.lcb-privatization-ferlo-wrapstory
With the Super Bowl just days away, a Lehigh Valley lawmaker is lobbying her Senate colleagues to approve small sports betting pools in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Lisa Boscola of Northampton County who explains what her legislation would permit.sports-betting-pool-bill-lmb-wrapstory
Senator Tina Tartaglione was among lawmakers from the House and Senate who held a hearing at the Capitol questioning Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry about chronic delays and busy signals plaguing the state’s unemployment compensation phone system.unemployment-call-center-hearing-tartaglione-wrap
Senator John Yudichak says legislation is headed to the Senate floor that will keep the fines levied against Penn State in response to the Sandusky scandal here in the state.ncaa-psu-sanction-legislation-yudichak-wrap
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing January as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, sponsor of the resolution.cervical-cancer-month-2013-schwank
Governor Corbett has not yet decided if Pennsylvania will participate in Medicaid expansion available under the federal government’s new Affordable Care Act. Senate Democrats say he should decide to participate, and do it quickly.medicaid-expansion-wrap
As the Pennsylvania Senate began its work in earnest this week, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County outlined the legislative priorities for Senate Democrats in the 2013-2014 session.costa-2013-legislative-priorities
The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing January as National Blood Donor Month in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with the sponsor of the resolution, Senator Lisa Boscola of Northampton County.blood-donor-month-2013-boscola
Senator John Wozniak, Senator Jim Brewster and members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee had some questions and some criticisms for the state Department of Corrections about their plans to close two Western Pennsylvania prisons.prison-hearing-wrap
The Pennsylvania Senate today adopted a resolution honoring former state Senator H. Craig Lewis of Bucks County, a distinguished attorney, legislator, and business executive who died on Sunday, January 13. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County who highlights Senator Lewis’ 20 year career in the state Senate.craig-lewis-resolution-costa
Senator Shirley Kitchen reminds us that Monday, January 21st marks the commemoration of what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 84th birthday.martin-luther-king-resolution2013-sen.kitchen
Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County is inviting midstate residents to join him at a donation drive to help victims of Superstorm Sandy as part of the annual Central Pennsylvania Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 21. Here’s more with Senator Teplitz who reminds us of what Dr. King said: “Life’s persistent and most urgent question is — What are you doing for others?”mlk-day-teplitz-webcuts
Pennsylvania’s new Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says he’ll order a review of the state’s water protection programs to evaluate potential threats caused by Marcellus Shale drilling across the commonwealth. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Resources & Energy, who supports the audit.depasquale-swearing-in-yudichak-wrapstory
A Luzerne County lawmaker says he supports State Treasurer Rob McCord’s stand that he won’t pay the British company hired to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery until he’s satisfied that its’ plans to expand gambling are legal. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak, a member of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, who says the controversial privatization management agreement is being awarded without approval of the General Assembly.mccord-swearing-in-yudichak-wrapstory
It’s an historic day in Pennsylvania….as the state’s first elected female attorney general is sworn into office. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who attended the swearing-in ceremony at the State Capitol for newly elected Attorney General Kathleen Kane of Scranton.kane-swearing-in-yudichak-wrapstory
Following a Senate Finance Committee hearing Monday in Harrisburg, Senate Democrats say they’re not completely sold on Gov. Corbett’s plan to privatize the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County and Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County who are both skeptical about the governor’s ability to award a 20-year management contract to a United Kingdom company without approval from the General Assembly.lottery-hearing-blake-teplitz-wrapstory
The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on Monday January 14th. Committe member Sen. Rob Teplitz says it will be the legislature’s first look at Gov. Corbett’s proposal to privatize management of the Pennsylvania Lottery.lottery-hearing-preview-teplitz-wrap
As the 2013 Farm Show comes to a close in Harrisburg, Senator Judy Schwank says one thing is clear: new technology on today’s farms can lead to exciting new job opportunities for Pennsylvania students.farm-show-tech-schwank-wrap
Friday, January 11th, is being recognized as “National Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, sponsor of a Senate Resolution that’s intended to raise awareness about the second most pervasive crime worldwide.human-trafficking-day-leach-wrapstory
The State Department of Corrections has decided to close two prisons in Cambria and Westmoreland Counties. Senator John Wozniak says the state should take into account the huge impact the closings will have on local communitiesprison-closings-wozniak-wrap
A Montgomery County lawmaker says transferring inmates from one prison to another may save the state some money, but reducing our prison population is the key to real cost savings in the Department of Corrections. Here’s more with Senator Daylin Leach, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who gives his reaction to the Corbett Administration’s announcement that two prisons in Cambria and Westmoreland counties will close this June.prison-closings-leach-webstory
Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County hosted nearly 200 local residents, educators, medical and economic development professionals from Northeast Pennsylvania at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton for an important discussion about the commonwealth’s emerging bioscience industry. Here’s more with Senator Blake who says the Northeastern Pennsylvania Regional Bioscience Initiative will support future growth in pharmaceutical and clinical research; medical devices and equipment; and in professional, allied health care jobs.bioscience-forum-blake-01-07-2013
Senator Daylin Leach says he’d like to add Pennsylvania to the list of states that have legalized marijuana over the past few years.legalize-marijuana-legislation-leach-wrap
The 97th annual Pennsylvania Farm Show opens Saturday and runs through Jan12th at the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg. Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, says the Farm Show is a great place to take your family and your appetite.2013-farm-show-schwank-wrapstory
The state Department of Revenue has given volunteer organizations another year to get reports ready on the revenue they get from small games of chance. Sen. Tim Solobay, who had requested the reprieve along with Sen. Rich Kasunic, says it’s just what these groups needed.small-games-reporting-delay-solobay-wrap
A Luzerne County lawmaker says he welcomes Gov. Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA over its sanctions against Penn State, but he’s wondering whether the suit has merit or if the governor is filing it just for political purposes. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak who says it’s time for everyone to put politics aside and do what’s best for the Sandusky victims, Penn State, and its students and athletes.corbett-suit-ncaa-yudichak-wrapstory
New Year’s Day marked the beginning of a new two-year legislative session in Harrisburg as state lawmakers took the oath of office, including three new Democrats in the state Senate. Among those sworn into office were Senator Matt Smith of Allegheny County, Senator Sean Wiley of Erie County and Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County.2013-swearing-in-wrapstory
Senator Richard Kasunic says Pennsylvania’s new Small Games of Chance law is causing some hardships for social clubs and volunteer fire companies, especially in rural communities, and needs to be changed. Here’s more with the Fayette County lawmaker who’s planning to introduce legislation next month to help non-profits comply with the law and keep their doors open.small-games-chance-bill-rak-webstory
Legislation will soon be introduced in Harrisburg that would raise the retirement age for judges and district justices in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Lisa Boscola of Northampton County who plans to introduce the bill when the state legislature returns in January.
A Cambria County lawmaker explains why he has joined several other state lawmakers, four members of AFSCME, and two senior citizens in filing a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to prevent Gov. Corbett from turning over the management of the Pennsylvania Lottery to a private company. Senator John Wozniak says the governor alone should not be able to decide to privatize management of the lottery or expand the games it offers.lottery-lawsuit-wozniak-wrapstory
Senate Democrats have outlined their priorities when it comes to transportation funding in Pennsylvania.
Acknowledging the growing problems in financially distressed small cities across the state, Senate Democrats discussed their plans today at a State Capitol news conference to address a wide range of problems impacting aging and distressed communities. Here’s more with Senators John Wozniak of Cambria County and John Blake of Lackawanna County on the Senate Democrat’s Growth, Progress and Sustainability, or GPS plan, to strengthen distressed communities.
Members of Pennsylvania’s Electoral College, including Sen. Vincent Hughes, joined electors from all 50 states in casting their ballots for President Obama and Vice-President Biden.
State lawmakers are asking Gov. Corbett and his administration to delay the reporting requirements of Pennsylvania’s new Small Games of Chance Act to give the legislature more time to address concerns raised by social clubs and organizations affected by the new law. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County, one of several Senate Democrats, who sent a letter to the governor asking for the delay.
Human services providers and people with disabilities told a state Senate panel this week in Erie that the availability of crucial human services to those in need, especially people with disabilities, is losing ground in the face of dwindling state financial support and questionable bureaucratic decisions. Here’s more with Senator-Elect Sean Wiley of Erie, who requested the hearing before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Senate Democrats say they’re willing to work with Gov. Corbett to approve a comprehensive transportation funding plan — as soon as the governor is willing to tell them what he wants to do. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County and Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee, who are both urging swift action on transportation issues.
Senator Mike Stack says a new state law will help Pennsylvania combat the growing epidemic of methadone abuse.
Senate Democrats say the Governor should open up the lottery privatization process so that the public and lawmakers can have a chance to get all the facts and offer their opinions.
Senate Democrats say a Senate Republican plan to change the way in which Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes are allocated in presidential elections is wrongheaded and shows poor judgment on what the state Senate’s priorities should be heading into next year. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack of Philadelphia who says the current winner-take-all allocation works just fine and there’s no need to fix a system that isn’t broken.
Senate Democrats have set their budget priorities for the new session of the General Assembly that begins in January, and the focus is on jobs.
Senior citizens who may be entitled to a rebate on their property taxes or rent paid in 2011 have until the end of the year to apply. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who’s encouraging seniors to find out if they’re eligible and apply for the rebate if they haven’t already.
Senator John Blake is joining with a Pennsylvania environmental group in calling for the renewal of federal tax incentives for wind power that are set to expire next month.
Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County says a special state task force on improving child protection laws in Pennsylvania has laid out an excellent “blueprint” for the state legislature to follow when it returns to session in January. Here’s more with Senator Schwank, a member of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, on her reaction to the recommendations dealing with the issue of child abuse.
Film office officials in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia say Pennsylvania could attract more Hollywood movie and television productions if the legislature would expand the state’s $60 million tax credit program. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee and Community, Economic and Recreational Development, who supports increasing the tax credit program amount in next year’s state budget.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County says Gov. Corbett wants to outsource one of the most productive, efficient and critical agencies that we have in Pennsylvania — an agency that supports life-saving programs for many of the state’s 1.2 million older residents. Here’s more with Senator Costa reacting to the lone bid received by the state so far to manage the Pennsylvania State Lottery.
A Philadelphia lawmaker is asking Gov. Corbett to level with the people of Pennsylvania about his plan to privatize the Pennsylvania State Lottery. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack who questions why the governor would want to privatize something that is working so well.
A program to help ex-offenders re-enter society was cut out of this year’s state budget. But Senator Anthony Hardy Williams has come up with enough funding to keep the program alive.
Geisinger Health Systems breaks ground today for $3.8 million health care clinic in downtown Nanticoke, Luzerne County. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony and who says this is very important to the revitalization of Nanticoke’s downtown.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now accepting applications for this winter. Senator Tim Solobay says applicants should move quickly
Although the Presidential Election is over, and the next election in Pennsylvania isn’t for six months, the battle over the state’s Voter ID Law continues. Here’s more with Senator Anthony Williams of Philadelphia who’s hoping the court will overturn the law that requires a photo ID to vote.
State lawmakers heard Tuesday from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the state auditor general about the turnpike’s growing debt caused in part by a state law that requires it to raise revenue to help PennDOT fund transportation projects and mass transit. Here’s more with Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County, a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, who says that practice has got to stop.
A new state law aimed at the college crowd strengthens the penalties for underage drinking and public drunkenness. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, a supporter of the measure recently signed into law by Gov. Corbett.
Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County helps announce a $20 million downtown economic development project for the city of Hazleton. DBi Services, an international company, will relocate its corporate headquarters and some 120 employees to center-city Hazleton. The project also calls for the remodeling of a pair of landmark Hazleton bank buildings. Here’s more with Senator Yudichak:
A new juvenile sentencing bill has been signed into law by Gov. Corbett. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who says it results from the notorious “Kids for Cash” corruption probe in Luzerne County in which many juveniles were given long-term sentences in a for-profit juvenile detention center even though they had committed minor offenses.
The Governor has signed into law a bill that allows corporations to help their communities while they turn a profit. Senator Daylin Leach championed the bill in the state Senate.
Legislation has been signed into law that’s intended to help farmers and the state’s agricultural industry. Here’s more with Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, established by the state legislature, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this week. And, it received a pleasant birthday wish from one of its more frequent critics. Here’s more with Senator Lisa Boscola of Northampton County, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, which has oversight of the PUC.
A bill that’s intended to help victims of human trafficking in Pennsylvania has been signed into law by the governor. Here’s more with Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, who led a two-year effort to get the measure through the General Assembly.
Legislation has been signed into law by the governor that cracks down on gang activity in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who spearheaded the effort to get the measure through the General Assembly and who attended Gov. Corbett’s bill-signing ceremony.
A measure that would help Pennsylvania combat the growing epidemic of methadone abuse has cleared the state legislature and is now before the governor for his signature. Here’s more with Senator Mike Stack of Philadelphia, a strong supporter of the legislation.
A bill that would provide a tax incentive to bring a new company to central Pennsylvania is being called by some nothing more than a tax give-away program for a Fortune 100 software company. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County and Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh, who both oppose the legislation that’s now before Gov. Corbett for his signature.
The Pennsylvania Senate has approved and sent to the governor legislation that would end the gassing of dogs and cats in the commonwealth. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, a strong supporter of the bill, which Gov. Corbett is expected to sign into law this week.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate hit 8.2 percent in September, above the national average of 7.8 percent. That’s the first time that’s happened in six years, and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says things must change.
A bill that’s aimed at helping the victims of human trafficking in Pennsylvania has been sent to Gov. Corbett for his signature. Senator Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, who led the campaign to get the legislation through the General Assembly, says it’s intended to end what many people call modern day slavery.
The state Senate has passed and sent to the governor legislation that will allow prosecutors to get tougher on “straw purchasers” of guns. Here’s more with Senators Larry Farnese and Anthony Williams, both of Philadelphia, who strongly support the measure which the governor is expected to sign into law by the end of the week.
Disability Day in the state Senate, sponsored by Senator Tina Tartaglione, allowed lawmakers to experience life from the viewpoint of those with disabilities.
Legislation that’s intended to crack down on criminal gangs in Pennsylvania has been approved by the State Legislature and is on its way to Gov. Corbett for his signature. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County, whose provision in the bill would make it a crime to recruit gang members.
Senator Jim Brewster of Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Senate today adopted a resolution expressing their condolences on the death of Marine Lt. Colonel Christopher “Otis” Raible of Irwin, Westmoreland County, who was killed in action while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan on September 15th. Here are Senator Brewster’s floor remarks honoring Lt. Colonel Raible:
Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County talks about legislation passed by the Pennsylvania Senate on a vote of 36-13 that would save drivers millions of dollars by ending obsolete motor-vehicle mandates, including his proposal to waive safety inspections on all new cars for the first two years. Here’s more with Senator Wozniak who spoke in favor of the bill on the Senate Floor:
Senator Jim Ferlo of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Senate pay tribute to fallen Pennsylvania State Trooper Blake T. Coble. Trooper Coble, 47, was killed earlier this month when his patrol car collided with a semi-truck in Beaver County. Here are Senator Ferlo’s Senate Floor remarks:
The checks are in the mail! That’s what Gov. Corbett and state leaders told municipal and county officials on Monday as they announced that more than $204 million is coming their way as a result of the Marcellus Shale impact fee. Here’s more with Senator Tim Solobay of Washington County who joined the governor, members of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission which oversees the impact fee collection and distribution, and other state and local elected officials at a State Capitol news conference.
It’s a sad fact that there are millions of homeless people across the United States including in Pennsylvania. What’s especially troubling though is the growing number of homeless children in the Commonwealth and the nation. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh, whose Senate-adopted resolution recognizes the week of October 14th through the 20th as Homeless Children’s Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.
As Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges continue to deteriorate, one state lawmaker says time is running out for Gov. Corbett to face the music and come up with a funding plan to keep our infrastructure from falling apart. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County who hosted a transportation summit this week in his district.
The 2011-12 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment test results showed the percentage of students statewide scoring proficient or advanced declined. The Education Department said cheating was to blame, but Senator Andy Dinniman has a different theory
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the Commonwealth. Senator LeAnna Washington says it’s a problem that’s growing all too fast.
Early detection is the key to survival and recovery, and that’s why Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so important — to make sure people take advantage of the screening that is available to them to catch cancer at its earliest stages.
Commonwealth Court has issued a Voter ID ruling that says in the general election in November voters can be asked for ID, but do not have to show one to vote and may vote in the booth as they normally do. Senate Democrats want to make sure all voters know this, and are asking the state to pull now-outdated ads telling voters they need an ID.
Street gangs are on the rise across the Commonwealth, and communities are banding together to fight their influence. Senator John Yudichak and local and federal officials have created a website — operation gang up .com — and are holding a series of town meetings throughout the area to educate the community and ask for assistance in fighting gangs.