Government & Politics

Government & Politics
5:15 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Ex-PA Lawmaker to Lead Welfare Agency

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Public Welfare has officially submitted his letter of resignation.  It was widely rumored that Sec. Gary D. Alexander would be stepping down from the post. His last day on the job will be Feb. 15.

The governor’s office said Alexander is leaving state government to pursue private-sector opportunities and spend more time with his wife and children who reside in Rhode Island.

Read more
Government & Politics
3:00 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Horseracing Industry Balks at PA Budget

A horseracing industry group says the governor’s budget gallops away with too much money from a fund that supports it.

The Pennsylvania Equine Coalition is taking issue with Governor Corbett’s proposal to draw $31 million out of the Race Horse Development Fund for agricultural programs and other line items.

Last year, more than $54 million was diverted from the fund, but a spokesman for the industry group says this year’s plan is not an improvement, because revenues to the fund are on the decline.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:34 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Dem Leaders Urge Corbett to Renounce Possible Electoral Changes

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/electoral wrap.mp3

Pennsylvania Senate Minority leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and House Minority leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) called on Governor Tom Corbett to disavow any plans to change the state’s Electoral College system.

Currently Pennsylvania follows the “winner take all” approach during presidential elections where the candidate who receives a majority of the state’s votes also receives its 20 electoral votes.

Read more
Government & Politics
4:08 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Airport Fracking Proposal Draws Frustrated, Angry Crowd at Only Public Hearing on Issue

The only public hearing on allowing Marcellus Shale production on airport land drew a standing-room only crowd to Robert Morris University in Moon Thursday night. The evening started with Allegheny County Council Chair Bob Macey outlining rules which included asking for no heckling, threats, or other noise when speakers are at the microphone. Those rules went out the door when Consol Energy President Nick Deluliis gave his presentation, quoting the Duke Environmental Law Policy Forum.  

Read more
Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Pittsburgh Controller Sees Improvement in Handling of Narcotics Fund

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb says the Police Bureau’s administration of its Confiscated Narcotics Trust Fund has improved, but there is still work to do.

The Controller’s office this week released a follow-up to a November 2010 audit of the fund.

The fund pays for expenses associated with narcotics and undercover work performed by the Pittsburgh police. The money comes from cash and proceeds from the sale of items confiscated from local drug busts. The funds are reported to the federal government and the released back to the city.

Read more
Government & Politics
2:06 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

PA Budget Holds Mixed Bag for Agriculture

The governor’s budget proposal would mean a three percent boost in overall funding for the Department of Agriculture, due to special funds.  But Gov. Corbett wants to make a 10 percent cut to dollars earmarked for the agency in the state’s General Fund, and farmers are hoping some portion of that reduction can be rolled back.

Pennsylvania Farm Bureau spokesman Mark O’Neill said not enough money is going toward crucial agricultural research programs run through Penn State, including Cooperative Extension.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:30 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Policy Group Wants More Funding for Education in PA Budget

A leading education group in Pennsylvania is happy to see an education funding increase in Governor Tom Corbett’s budget proposal but its leader thinks the bump is not enough.

"These increases in no way begin to restore the overall cuts that were made over the last two years and in no way begin to undo the harm that was created by those cuts to education over the last two years," said Education Policy and Leadership Center President Ron Cowell

Read more
Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Allegheny County to Look for New Airport Authority Chief

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has demoted its two top managers and will begin searching for a new chief executive officer whose primary responsibility will be attracting more flights to Pittsburgh International Airport.

The moves were prompted by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who appoints the board's members.

Read more
Government & Politics
1:00 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

South Side Nightlife Patrols Successful; $100K Proposed for Anti-Crime Programs

Pittsburgh's Bureau of Police is reporting a high number of arrests and citations made by its "South Side Saturation Detail," which has patrolled the busy nightlife corridor of East Carson Street each Friday and Saturday night since mid-January.

Read more
Government & Politics
1:00 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

South Side Nightlife Patrols Successful; $100K Proposed for Anti-Crime Programs

Pittsburgh's Bureau of Police is reporting a high number of arrests and citations made by its "South Side Saturation Detail," which has patrolled the busy nightlife corridor of East Carson Street each Friday and Saturday night since mid-January.

Read more
Government & Politics
9:29 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Zoning Changes Prepare Homewood for Long-Term Redevelopment

Now that construction has begun on a low-rise apartment building for seniors in Homewood, the Pittsburgh City Councilman who represents the neighborhood has rezoned the community's business district to accommodate three or four additional apartment buildings.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:49 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

VA Employees Accused of Falsifying Info Before Legionnaire’s Outbreak

The U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing today on the Legionnaire’s outbreak at the VA’s Pittsburgh hospital in Oakland between June 2011 and last November.

Steve Schira, Chairman and CEO of Liquitech, Inc, which manufactures copper ionization systems, testified his employees saw Veterans Affairs staff fabricating copper ionization data before the recent outbreak.

Liquitech staff provided advice to the hospital regarding its water treatment.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:06 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Reaction to Corbett's Budget is Swift and Strong

Response to Governor Tom Corbett’s 2012-2013 budget proposal is coming in from all corners of Pennsylvania today.  The budget contains good news from some special interest groups and not-so-good news for others.  And of course there are the usual partisan responses. 

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn

Read more
Government & Politics
6:10 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Schools, Roads, Taxes All in Corbett's Budget Plan

An ambitious budget proposal released Tuesday by Gov. Tom Corbett would boost Pennsylvania's core state government spending by nearly 3 percent while increasing support for public schools, cutting business taxes and counting on the Legislature to adopt long-term changes to public pensions.

Read more
Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

PA Governor Tom Corbett Increases Spending by Three Percent

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett laid out a budget Tuesday that would boost core state government spending by nearly three percent.  It would most notably increase support for public schools, cut business taxes and call for long-term changes to public pensions. 

The full budget presentation as submitted can be read below.

Read more
Government & Politics
12:52 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

PA Lawmakers Want Details From Gov. On Medicaid Expansion

Some state lawmakers are prodding the governor to announce a final decision on whether he’ll agree to expand Medicaid, the government-run health insurance program for the poor.

Gov. Corbett’s office wouldn’t comment on whether the budget address will include a final decision on whether to expand Medicaid, but Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said Monday he doesn’t think such an announcement is likely.

“We’re still trying to get more information from the federal government over the full costs and reimbursement and terms of expansion,” he said.

Read more
Government & Politics
12:47 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Federal Prosecutor Picked to Lead Sandusky Probe

Former federal prosecutor Geoff Moulton has been tapped by Attorney General Kathleen Kane to lead an investigation into the handling of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case. Moulton signed on with Kane’s office last week, said a spokeswoman, and his first day on the job was Monday.

In addition to Moulton’s 8 years’ cumulative experience in a U.S. attorney’s office, he prepared the U.S. Treasury report reviewing the failed government raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:33 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Family Relationships Deter Crime

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/ACJC 2_Charlee Song.mp3

The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative has instituted programs and systems to reduce the number of former inmates who commit new crimes and return to jail.  Yesterday, we looked at how addiction and criminal thinking contribute to recidivism.  Today we look at the role the family can play in motivating an inmate to turn around his or her life.

Read more
Government & Politics
10:06 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Wheatley Draws Attention to Black AIDS

One in ten Pennsylvanians is African American, yet blacks account for about 50% of state residents afflicted with AIDS.

As part of an effort to raise awareness of AIDS and HIV in the black community, State Representative Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny County) has introduced a resolution proclaiming February 7th as Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

The day is part of a national movement to get members of the black population tested and educated about the disease’s prevention.

Read more
Government & Politics
7:29 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Amtrak Service May be Derailed

Officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Amtrak are in talks about the future of the Pennsylvanian – that’s the route from Pittsburgh to New York, which also makes stops in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. The train currently runs once a day each way. Amtrak is paying the $5.7 million to operate the route, but the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 forces Amtrak to transfer the cost of certain routes to the state. As a result, PennDOT will have to foot the bill starting in October 2013.

Read more
Government & Politics
12:52 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Corbett to Flat-fund PA Higher Education

Pennsylvania Governor Corbett said Friday he won’t propose a funding cut for state-supported and owned colleges and universities next fiscal year.

The governor’s announcement comes with strings attached: the schools will receive level funding, but they’ve promised to keep tuition hikes as low as possible. Last year, when lawmakers worked a similar deal with colleges and universities, the rule was to keep hikes within the rate of inflation – about three percent.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:22 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Efforts to Curb Recidivism at the Allegheny County Jail

With support and rehabilitation in every aspect of their lives, some people have been able to build new lives and avoid going through a revolving door at the jail.  It's not easy, and it takes a lot of resources:  GED and job training; interview skills; drug and alcohol addiction treatment; cognitive behavioral therapy to identify and modify "criminal thinking" and "risk thoughts"; parenting classes and interaction with family specialists; and services for a year after release.

Read more
Government & Politics
7:23 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Panetta: 'My Mission Has Always Been To Keep The Country Safe

For more than 40 years, Leon Panetta has split his life on two coasts: his home in California and his work in Washington, D.C. It's a career that included 16 years in Congress, stints as White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and as the head of the CIA and the Pentagon under President Obama.

As Panetta prepares to leave his job as defense secretary, he sat down with Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday, to talk about his years in Washington and serving in the Obama administration.

Read more
Government & Politics
7:15 pm
Sun February 3, 2013

Education to be Highlighted in Corbett Address

The plight of Pennsylvania's public schools will dominate many of the Legislature's debates this spring as the politics of education grows increasingly volatile.

It'll start with Gov. Tom Corbett releasing his budget proposal Tuesday.

Corbett has left open the possibility that he'll propose more aid for public schools. School districts continue to struggle a year after Republicans pushed through deep reductions in state support.

Read more
Government & Politics
8:13 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Pension Reform: Big Part of PA Budget Debate?

Governor Tom Corbett is expected to focus in part on the state’s rising public pension costs in his budget address Tuesday.  

Corbett has suggested he’s interested in a reform package that includes reducing the unearned benefits of current state and school employees.

But Dave Fillman, director of Council 13 of the Pennsylvania American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, the state’s largest public sector union, said his group will definitely take the commonwealth to court if legislation is passed to change the benefits of current employees.

Read more

Pages