Pennsylvania

Will State Elections Bring Statehouses Closer to Balance? | 06-15-2018

Lauren Arthur is not a household word, except perhaps in the neighborhood of suburban Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives. But Arthur, who on June 5 won a special election to fill a vacancy in the Missouri state senate, epitomizes the high hopes of...

State Legislative Chambers Vulnerable to Democratic Wave Election | 06-15-2018

In a normal wave election - which is typical of the first midterm election of a new president - the party out of power picks up six to eight state legislative chambers. A normal wave in November could give Democrats control of both chambers in Arizona...

Politics in Brief - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

RANKED-CHOICE VOTING GETS INAUGURAL STATE-LEVEL RUN IN ME: In last Tuesday’s primary election, MAINE became the first state to use ranked-choice voting, already employed in about a dozen cities, including Minneapolis and San Francisco. Although...

Energy - June 18 2018 | 06-15-2018

PA Governor Signs SB 234 PENNSYLVANIA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signs SB 234 , which allows municipal governments to set up energy improvement districts where private lenders can loan money to commercial or agricultural property owners who want to finance...

Half of States Have Considered Internet Privacy Bills in 2017-18 | 06-08-2018

At least 27 states have considered but only two, Oregon and Virginia, have passed legislation dealing with internet privacy in the current session, according to information compiled from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State...

Environment - June 11 2018 | 06-08-2018

PA House Approves HB 2154 The PENNSYLVANIA House approves HB 2154 , which, among several things, removes an existing requirement for oil and gas drillers who damage a water supply to restore it. The measure, which also allows up to 210 gallons of crude...

Many States Have Considered Sports Betting Bills in 2018 | 06-01-2018

Nineteen states have considered legislation related to sports betting in 2018, according to information compiled from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Legal Sports Report and LexisNexis State Net . One state, West Virginia, has passed...

More States Considering ACA Medicaid Expansion | 05-18-2018

Thirty-two states have expanded Medicaid in accordance with the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act but letting states decide whether or not to implement the Medicaid expansion provided for by the federal law. A budget proposal...

Four More State Primaries Reveal Election-Year Trends | 05-18-2018

Four states - Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon and Pennsylvania - held primary elections last Tuesday, and at least one trend continued from the previous week’s primaries : Female candidates did well in Democratic primaries. Among other things, they claimed...

Supreme Court Okays Sports Betting | 05-18-2018

In a landmark decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a quarter-century-old law barring states from legalizing wagering on professional and amateur sports. New Jersey argued that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA...

Many Dems Okayed PA ‘Gerrymander’ | 05-04-2018

Pennsylvania Democrats celebrated when the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s 2011 congressional district map, drawn by the Republicans who controlled both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office at the time...

Some State Progress in Deadly Opioid Crisis | 04-20-2018

Thirteen states have made progress in battling the deadly opioid epidemic while eight states have notably failed to deal with the crisis, according to a report issued this month by the National Safety Council (NSC). It comes on the heels of a report earlier...

Education - April 23 2018 | 04-20-2018

IL House Approves HB 4870 The ILLINOIS House approves HB 4870 , a bill that allows infused medical marijuana to be administered to students by parents in Prairie State elementary and secondary schools. It moves to the Senate (ABC7CHICAGO). IA Governor...

Social Policy - April 23 2018 | 04-20-2018

PA House Approves HB 2050 The PENNSYLVANIA House approves HB 2050 , which would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion based on the belief the expected child is likely to have Down syndrome. It moves to the Senate (PENNLIVE). PA House...

Budgets in Brief - April 16 2018 | 04-13-2018

MD APPROVES BIG INTENTIVE PACKAGE TO LURE AMAZON: MARYLAND lawmakers approved the largest incentive package in the state’s history, as much as $8.5 billion, in an effort to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in Montgomery County...

Many States Considering Bans on Pharmacy ‘Gag Clauses’ | 03-30-2018

As of March 22, at least 27 states had introduced bills this year prohibiting pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) or health insurer contracts that prevent pharmacists from informing customers about alternatives to medications they’ve been prescribed...

The Rewards and Perils of Redistricting | 03-16-2018

In democracies, voters are supposed to choose their legislative representatives. Increasingly, however, U.S. courts have found that representatives choose their voters through partisan gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts. With...

Half of States Use Commissions for Redistricting | 03-16-2018

Commissions, rather than legislatures, have primary responsibility for drawing state legislative and/or congressional districts in 13 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In another 12 states, commissions either assist legislators...

Dems Score Major Upset in PA Congressional Race | 03-16-2018

Democrat Conor Lamb appears to have eked out a razor-thin victory - with a roughly 600-vote margin out of more than 230,000 votes cast, at the time of this writing - over Republican Rick Saccone in a special election in Pennsylvnia’s 18th Congressional...

My Kid the Jerk | 03-16-2018

If you live in Pennsylvania and your kid likes to torment others, you might want to start a special savings account. As the Washington Post reports , Pennsylvania State Rep. Frank Burns will soon introduce legislation that would hit the parents of repeat...

Good Thing He Wasn’t an Undertaker | 03-16-2018

One of the first things any candidate needs is name recognition. So perhaps then Meteorologist Drew Anderson is already one up in the game. And no, I didn’t screw that up. Anderson legally changed his name to Meteorologist Drew Anderson last year...

Over Half of States Seeking to Maintain ‘Net Neutrality’ | 03-02-2018

At least 29 states have introduced legislation this year aimed at reinstating the requirement that internet service providers treat all content the same in terms of price and accessibility, which was eliminated last year with the Federal Communications...

Seat Flips Sign of Democratic Wave in November? | 03-02-2018

In a special election this month in Kentucky’s 49th House District, where President Trump received 72 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential race, Democrat Linda Belcher defeated Republican Rebecca Johnson, the widow of the former representative...

Remap Ruckus Continues in PA | 02-16-2018

This month Pennsylvania’s top Republican lawmakers, House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, submitted a new congressional district map for approval by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. The map was drawn in accordance with...

Politics in Brief - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

FL CONSIDERING RESTRICTING ACCESS TO VOTER INFORMATION: A bill introduced by FLORIDA Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R) would restrict voter information that has been publicly available for decades to election officials, voters inquiring about their own information...

PA Republicans Defy State Supreme Court Remap Ruling | 02-02-2018

Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the congressional district map drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2011 was gerrymandered to the point of “clearly, plainly and palpably” violating...

Governors in Brief - January 22 2018 | 01-19-2018

NORTHAM ISSUES VA NON-DISCRIMNATION ORDER : New VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a trio of executive orders, including one that bars state agencies under Executive Branch control from discrimination “based on race, sex, color, national...

Some States Act on Gun Control | 01-19-2018

Although there appears to be broad public support for some gun control measures , federal action on any of them seems unlikely in the current political climate. “The possibility of evidence-based firearm laws has become so politically toxic...

Wolf Declares PA Opioid Disaster | 01-12-2018

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has declared the Keystone State’s ongoing opioid abuse crisis to be a statewide health emergency. Pennsylvania’s drug overdose rate is twice the national average. Wolf’s declaration allows state officials...

Politics In Brief - January 15 2018 | 01-12-2018

NC CONGRESSIONAL MAP RULED PARTISAN GERRYMANDER The congressional map drawn by NORTH CAROLINA’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2011 was struck down this month by a panel of federal judges on the grounds that it violated the 14th Amendment...

Health & Science - December 18 2017 | 12-15-2017

HEALTH & SCIENCE IN RI The city of Providence, RHODE ISLAND announces a plan to make the city’s 12 fire stations places where residents can go to be connected to substance abuse treatment and counseling. The plan is modeled after a similar...

Social Policy - December 18 2017 | 12-15-2017

PA HOUSE APPROVES SB 3 The PENNSYLVANIA House approves SB 3 , which would bar doctors from performing abortions on women who are past their 20 th week of pregnancy. The measure moves to Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who has vowed to veto it (MORING CALL [ALLENTOWN...

States With Most to Lose by Elimination of SALT Deduction | 12-15-2017

Taxpayers in nine high-income, high-tax states claimed more than 60 percent of the state and local tax (SALT) deductions on federal tax returns nationwide in 2014, according to the Tax Foundation. Seven of those states, which include California, where...

2018: A Year of Living Dangerously | 12-15-2017

The shadow of President Donald Trump and the Republican tax bill will hover over state governing bodies in 2018, a year of midterm elections that Tim Storey, political analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures, says will be “a referendum...

Most States Taking Action on Cybersecurity | 12-08-2017

As of Oct. 30 at least 43 states had introduced over 240 bills and resolutions related to cybersecurity this year, according to analysis of LexisNexis State Net data by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Twenty-seven of those states have enacted...

CHIP Money Running Out in States | 12-01-2017

At least 11 states will exhaust their Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funds before the end of the year, if Congress fails to extend federal funding for the program, according to a survey of state Medicaid officials by the Kaiser Family...

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...