Pennsylvania

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...

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...