Pennsylvania

Politics in Brief - November 20 2017 | 11-17-2017

CA SENATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES TO BE INVESTIGATED BY OUTSIDE COUNSEL: CALIFORNIA’s Senate Rules Committee issued a statement last week indicating that an outside legal team will now be handling the investigation of any sexual harassment or...

Budgets in Brief - November 20 2017 | 11-17-2017

US HOUSE PASSES TAX PLAN: The U.S. House passed its version of the GOP tax overhaul last week on a 227 to 205 vote, with none of the chamber’s Democrats supporting the plan and 13 Republicans opposing it. But passage of the Senate version isn’t...

Education - November 13 2017 | 11-10-2017

PA Governor Doesn't Sign HB 178 PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Wolfe (D) allows HB 178 , which lets school districts cite “economic reasons” as a rationale for furloughing teachers, to become law without his signature. The law also requires...

States Preparing for Legal Sports Betting | 11-10-2017

Thirteen states have introduced and three have passed legislation this year dealing with the legalization of sports betting, currently prohibited in all but a handful of states by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) passed by Congress...

Business - November 6 2017 | 11-03-2017

Pennsylvania Governor Signs HB 271 PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signs HB 271 , which legalizes online poker, online table games, online slots, daily fantasy sports and internet lottery sales in the Keystone State. The law also allows 10 of the state’s...

Another Slow Year for Ballot Measures | 11-03-2017

On Nov. 7 voters in 7 states will consider a total of 22 statewide ballot measures, bringing the count for the year - with measures on the ballot last month in two states - to 27. That continues a downward trend in the number of measures on the ballot...

Budgets in Brief - November 6 2017 | 11-03-2017

US HOUSE PROPOSES TAX PLAN ELIMINATING SALT DEDUCTION: The draft tax bill (HR 1) released by the U.S. House last week, as previously reported it might , calls for elimination of the federal deductions for state and local income and sales taxes, often...

Sexual Harassment Prevalent Problem in Statehouses | 11-03-2017

Incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault involving female state lawmakers, legislative staff or lobbyists have been reported recently in at least 16 states. The legislatures in all of those states have training programs or policies in place to...

Lawmakers Look to End Harassment Under the Dome | 11-03-2017

What started as a flood of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against powerful Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has morphed into an ever-widening outcry against such outrages regularly committed by men in all workplaces, including statehouses...

Health & Science - October 16 2017 | 10-13-2017

California Vetoes AB 715 CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoes AB 715 , which would have created a new state working group tasked with determining best practices in prescribing opioid medications. Brown said such state-level work groups already exist...

Politics In Brief - October 2 2017 | 09-29-2017

DHS CONTACTS STATES ABOUT 2016 ELECTION HACKING The Department of Homeland Security directly notified election officials in 21 states last month that they had been targeted by hackers connected to the Russian government during the 2016 election campaign...

Budgets In Brief - October 2 2017 | 09-29-2017

BIG DISPARITIES IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY BETWEEN US ZIP CODES Fifty-two percent of the new jobs created in the first few years of the recovery from the Great Recession came in the 20 percent of U.S. ZIP codes that were already among the most prosperous...

Late State Budgets on Rise | 09-15-2017

Over the past few years, late state budgets have become increasingly common. In 2013 five states had to call special sessions to pass their FY 2014 budgets, although all five managed to do so before the 2014 fiscal year actually began. But 11 states started...

Budgets In Brief - September 11 2017 | 09-08-2017

TRUMP SIDES WITH DEMS ON DEBT-CEILING EXTENSION President Trump aligned with Democratic U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on a plan to raise the federal debt ceiling...

Governors In Brief - September 4 2017 | 09-01-2017

HOGAN PROPOSES MD SENTENCING LEGISLATION Responding to what he called “out of control” violent crime in Baltimore, MARYLAND , Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said he plans to introduce a major package of anti-crime legislation when lawmakers reconvene...

Budgets Late In Many States | 07-07-2017

Ten states started the 2018 fiscal year on July 1 without a budget in place, according to the Tax Foundation. A partial government shutdown in one of those states, Maine, ended on the 4th of July when Gov. Paul LePage (R) signed a budget compromise eliminating...

Crime & Punishment - July 3 2017 | 06-30-2017

Pennsylvania Approves HB 1238 The PENNSYLVANIA House approves HB 1238 , which allows for someone to be charged with felony animal abuse for activities beyond killing an endangered species or fostering an animal fighting ring (LANCASTERONLINE). Crime...

Education - July 3 2017 | 06-30-2017

Pennsylvania Approves SB 383 The PENNSYLVANIA Senate approves SB 383 , which would allow Keystone State school boards to authorize teachers and other non-police school employees to carry firearms on school property. It moves to the House (TRIBLIVE...

Environment - June 19 2017 | 06-16-2017

Pennsylvania Approves HB 1071 The PENNSYLVANIA Senate gives final approval to HB 1071 , legislation that would prohibit cities, towns, and counties from banning or taxing recyclable plastic bags. It moves to Gov. Tom Wolf (D) for consideration (PHILADELPHIA...

Soda Tax Revenue Fizzling In Philly | 06-16-2017

The new 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax Philadelphia began levying on sugar-sweetened beverages in January has brought in $25.6 million so far. Unfortunately, that’s far short of the $46.2 million the “soda tax” was projected to generate in the...

PA Passes Pension Reform | 06-16-2017

Last week Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed into law the pension reform bill passed by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly a week earlier. The bill ( SB 1 ) will shift state government workers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2019 and...

More Govs Join Climate Alliance | 06-09-2017

Nine more states last week joined the newly-created U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition to uphold the tenets of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, an international coalition aimed at combatting the impacts of global climate change. The coalition was formed...

NJ Casinos Get Big Boost From Online Gambling | 06-09-2017

For the last several years, New Jersey casino revenue has been declining by an average of 7.6 percent a year. But through April of this year, total casino gambling revenue was up 1.7 percent over the same period last year. The reason for the change of...

Health & Science - May 22 2017 | 05-19-2017

Missouri Amends HB 90 The MISSOURI House declines to take up an amended version of HB 90 , which would have made the Show Me State the last in the nation to adopt a prescription drug monitoring system (KANSAS CITY STAR). Iowa Signs HB 524 IOWA...

PA Gov Pitches Unusual Plan To Reduce Medicaid Spending | 05-12-2017

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe (D) has proposed an unconventional way to reduce Medicaid spending in his state, which could become a necessity if Congress succeeds in repealing the Affordable Care Act: raising the state’s minimum wage. His administration...

Budgets In Brief - May 8 2017 | 05-04-2017

ND LAWMAKERS ROLL BACK SPENDING NORTH DAKOTA’s Republican-led Legislative Assembly passed a budget for the 2017-19 biennium last month that reduces general fund spending to 2011-13 budget levels. The $4.3 billion in general fund spending included...

PA Eyeing Online Gambling | 04-28-2017

Facing a $3 billion budget shortfall through next summer, Pennsylvania, the nation’s second biggest commercial casino state after Nevada, is considering a host of gambling expansion ideas, including becoming the first state to take both its casino...

Sanctuary Cities Split Country | 04-28-2017

To anyone who has watched the national political culture split into two poles over the last decade or so, it should be little surprise that the country is moving in opposite directions on so-called sanctuary cities, those which bar local officials from...

A Master Idea | 03-31-2017

Dedicated members of “Arnie’s Army” know the great golfer Arnold Palmer was a native of Latrobe, PA. But in later years Palmer loved to winter in Florida, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill near Orlando is one of the most...

Governors In Brief - March 20 2017 | 03-17-2017

Martinez Vetoes Slew of Bipartisan NM Bills NEW MEXICO Gov. Susana Martinez (R) surprised lawmakers in both parties last week by vetoing without explanation at least nine Senate-sponsored bills, most of which had wide bipartisan support. The vetoes...

Dams With ‘High Hazard Potential’ Scattered Across U.S. | 03-17-2017

As of 2015, 1,235 of North Carolina’s dams were classified as “high hazard potential” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the highest number in the nation. Texas had 1,212 dams with that same hazard potential, meaning that a...

PA Senate Dems Suffer Cyberattack | 03-10-2017

On Friday, March 3, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats’ computer network was hit by a “ransomware” attack, a form of cyberattack in which computer access is blocked until a ransom is paid. The following Monday the caucus’ network, including...

Governors In Brief - March 6 2017 | 03-03-2017

Wolf Pitches Job Protection Plan PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said new businesses that accept state grants to start their companies must be held accountable for the jobs they say they will create. Wolf’s budget proposal includes a three-point...

Philadelphia Soda Tax Exceeds Expectations In First Month | 03-03-2017

Last year, when Philadelphia became the second U.S. city to approve a tax on sodas and other sugared beverages (two years after Berkeley, California became the first), the city’s Department of Revenue estimated the levy would generate $2.3 million...

Social Policy - February 13 2017 | 02-10-2017

Pennsylvania Approves SB 3 The PENNSYLVANIA Senate approves SB 3 , which would ban women from obtaining an abortion after the 20 th week of pregnancy, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger but with no exceptions for cases of rape...

New York And Florida Agencies Top Cybersecurity Rankings | 02-10-2017

The New York State Education Department, Florida Governor and Wisconsin Government were the state entities with the strongest cybersecurity standards of 600 local, state and federal government organizations analyzed and ranked in February 2016 by the...

Majority of States Have Expanded Medicaid Under ACA | 12-16-2016

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid in accordance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but left to states discretion by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius in...

Crime & Punishment - December 5 2016 | 12-02-2016

New York Approves SB 8117 NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo approves SB 8117 , which requires that sexual offense evidence, or rape kits, are processed in a timely manner. The law also requires kits to be tracked from the originating police agency to forensic...

Business - November 21 2016 | 11-18-2016

Business In Michigan The MICHIGAN Legislature gives final approval to a four-bill package – SBs 995 , 996 , 997 and 998 – that collectively approve testing of autonomous vehicles on a 122-mile stretch of Wolverine State highways. The package...

Business - November 14 2016 | 11-11-2016

Business In Pennsylvania A PENNSYLVANIA court rules that employee drug tests are not confidential. The court ruled that a Keystone State law barring disclosure of patients’ substance abuse and addiction treatment records to third parties does...

Health & Science - November 7 2016 | 11-04-2016

Health In Washington The WASHINGTON D.C. City Council gives initial approval to so-called ‘death with dignity” legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe a terminally ill patient drugs they could use to end their own life. The Council...

Budgets In Brief - October 17 2016 | 10-14-2016

Changes Coming to NC Lottery Lottery officials and state lawmakers in NORTH CAROLINA said last week they are considering changes including making reselling tickets a crime. The news comes after an investigation by The Charlotte Observer revealed that...

Governors In Brief - October 3 2016 | 09-30-2016

Gov. Wolf Urges Passing of PA Opioid Measures Citing “a public health crisis the likes of which we have not before seen,” PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) addressed a rare joint session of the legislature last week to urge them to take action...

Budgets In Brief - September 19 2016 | 09-16-2016

Suspicious Tax Credits in OR An independent audit of renewable-energy projects that received Business Energy Tax Credits in OREGON uncovered enough circumstantial evidence to refer 79 of the projects - one in four, representing $340 million of the...

Budgets In Brief - September 12 2016 | 09-09-2016

AL Approves $1B BP Settlement Spending Plan ALABAMA lawmakers approved a plan last week to spend most of a $1 billion settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on debt repayments, Medicaid and highway projects in Baldwin and Mobile...

Governors In Brief - August 22 2016 | 08-19-2016

Christie Denies Role in Trump Tax Deal NEW JERSEY Gov. Chris Christie (R) denied any involvement in a 2011 tax settlement deal between Garden State officials and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump that allowed his Atlantic City casino to pay only...

Maybe He Should Have Run This Year | 08-12-2016

If you think a certain unnamed presidential candidate is a little impolitic, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports , former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling posted on his Facebook page that he is planning to run for...

Most States Allow Transportation Network Companies | 08-12-2016

Thirty-seven states have passed laws regulating transportation network companies (TNCs), according to the R Street Institute and LexisNexis State Net’s legislative tracking database. The most recent addition to that group is Delaware, where Gov...

Dumpster Fire? No, Dumpster Pool! | 08-12-2016

Most folks don’t associate dumpster diving with anything good, but then Philadelphia is a world all its own. As ClickOnDetroit.com reports , Philly city officials are asking residents not to swim in dumpsters some industrious folks have turned into...

PA Passes ‘Netflix Tax’ | 08-05-2016

Part of a $1.3 billion budget bailout passed by Pennsylvania lawmakers and signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) last month was an extension of the state’s 6-percent sales tax to include digital downloads and streaming services. Nicknamed the “Netflix...