Government & Politics

Government & Politics
12:23 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Pittsburgh to Adjust Property Tax Rate to Account for Reassessment

Although the total value of all property in the city of Pittsburgh will rise from 2012 to 2013 thanks to Allegheny County's property reassessment, the city is legally required to collect the same amount of property taxes from last year to this year. That means the city must lower its property tax rate, and Pittsburgh City Council started that process Wednesday.

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Government & Politics
9:38 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Casey Bill Would Give Tax Credits to Companies That Add Jobs

Saying the economy is not generating jobs at a fast enough pace, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) wants to give tax credits to companies that expand their workforce.

Casey today introduced The Small Business Job Creation Act of 2013 which would give a tax break to businesses that hire new workers and increase wages. Based on current average weekly earnings of private sector employees, a business would receive a tax break of approximately $4,250 over the course of the year for hiring an additional employee.

The private sector created 168,000 jobs in December.

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Government & Politics
9:25 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Dueling Rallies Tackle Gun Issue in Harrisburg

Dueling rallies from groups on either side of the gun debate filled the halls of the state Capitol Wednesday.  

First to convene was the gun rights group Pennsylvania Responsible Citizens – with about 150 people standing on the Capitol steps. Not many would welcome standing outside in 15-degree weather, but there was reason for the outdoor venue.

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Government & Politics
8:35 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Set to Confirm New Citizens Police Review Board Member

After an amicable interview with Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday, it appears Karen McLellan of the North Side will become the newest member of the Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB). 

McLellan, a former Pittsburgh policewoman for 31 years, would join the police watchdog group immediately following a Council vote on Tuesday. Her term would expire on the last day of October this year. Several of the seats on the CPRB must go to individuals with certain expertise.  In this case the appointee must have experience in law enforcement.

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Government & Politics
7:15 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

PA "Benefit Corporations" Pledge to Give Back to Community

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A new law allows corporations to contribute to the community and be environmentally friendly without a legal repercussion from stakeholders.  As of Tuesday, Pennsylvania became the 12th state to allow a company to file as a benefit corporation. 

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Government & Politics
6:10 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Jury Selection Moving Quickly in Judge Orie Case

Seven jurors have been selected for the corruption trial for suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine.

They are charged with illegally using Melvin's former Superior Court staff to run her political campaigns. Both deny wrongdoing.

Allegheny County prosecutors say Melvin used her taxpayer-funded staff to campaign for the state's highest court in 2003 and 2009.

Twenty potential jurors were interviewed Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Lawyers hope to pick 12 regular jurors and four alternates.

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Decision to Close PA Prisons Comes Under Fire

The Corbett administration's plan to close two state prisons in western Pennsylvania encountered turbulence Tuesday as some senators and union leaders called for slowing down the process to allow the roughly 800 employees at the two facilities to plan their futures.

The discussion at a two-hour Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused as much on the lack of advance warning and the upheaval facing employees at Greensburg and Cresson prisons as it did on the cost-cutting plan to shut down the facilities by June 30.

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Government & Politics
2:48 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Exec. Fitzgerald Gives 'State of Allegheny County' Address

During his annual 'State of Allegheny County' address Tuesday, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the first-ever enforcement of a 2007 law that requires the owners of tax-exempt properties to prove to the county that they are deserving of nonprofit status.

If even some of the county's 27,000 tax-exempt properties began paying up, that could mean a large new revenue stream for the county.

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Government & Politics
9:14 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Cautious Praise for PA Lottery Deal Aired in Committee Hearing

Pennsylvania’s top Republican senators are asking Gov. Tom Corbett to make it clear that a privately-run Pennsylvania Lottery won't be able to compete with casinos through online gambling.  The request was made public on the same day a state House committee held a hearing on the deal to privatize the operations of the Lottery.

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Government & Politics
8:20 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Rallies in Harrisburg to Focus on Both Sides of Gun Debate

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People from across Pennsylvania will gather in Harrisburg Wednesday, some to call for tougher gun laws in the state, some to voice support for how things currently stand. CeaseFirePA is holding its “Day of Action” to voice support of a five-point agenda to lawmakers:

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Government & Politics
1:14 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

PA Senator Casey "Impressed" by Inauguration Speech

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said he was impressed by President Barack Obama's second inauguration speech.  The President touched on a myriad of topics of interest to Casey including energy, the economy, and gun control.

“I thought [it] was focused not only on the inspiration—what brings us together as Americans, our founding documents, the most inspiring words of our history, but also the fact that he focused on today and the future,” Casey said just minutes after the address.

He said he was most impressed by the acknowledgement of short and long-term goals.

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Government & Politics
9:12 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Allegheny County Project Prom Kicks Off Tenth Anniversary

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It’s not too early and not too cold to start thinking about the high school prom and the Allegheny County Department of Human Services is hoping you will do just that.  The department has kicked off its tenth annual Project Prom, which offers free formal attire and accessories to local students who might otherwise find it difficult to afford the requisite finery.  

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Government & Politics
9:03 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Pittsburgh Progressing In Equal Opportunity, Still Needs Work

“Would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. be proud today?”

That is the question Vibrant Pittsburgh has posed nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights leader’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. While there has been significant progress made in education, equal employment, healthcare, and socioeconomic status, Pittsburgh can still do more.

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Government & Politics
9:03 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Sen. Kasunic Wants to Reform Small Games of Chance Law

If reforms are not made, Pennsylvania’s current Small Games Law will lead to some volunteer organizations having to close their doors, according to State Senator Richard Kasunic (D-Fayette County).

Kasunic has proposed legislation he thinks will make it easier for non-profits to raise money.

Kasunic said, soon after the Legislature passed the current law, organizations began to complain about the reporting problems it created.

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Government & Politics
9:03 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Rep. Murphy’s SMART Act Helps Seniors, Cuts Red Tape in Medicare Repayment Process

When a senior citizen covered by Medicare is treated after an accident or an injury, it’s generally paid for by Medicare. Those medical expenses must then be reimbursed through insurance or a legal settlement. But, the process by which that was to happen has not been running smoothly. The Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers, or SMART, Act aims to remedy that.

SMART Act sponsor, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) said the hurdles in the Medicare Secondary Payer program were becoming troublesome and costly for seniors and the system.

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Government & Politics
8:24 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Pennsylvania Democrats To Celebrate In DC

Democrats from across Pennsylvania will head down to Washington, D.C.  Monday to commemorate President Obama’s second inauguration and to send a clear message to the president as he begins his second term.

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Government & Politics
8:03 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

New Year's Eve 911 Officers Did Not Follow Training, but Didn’t Break Rules

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said officers who responded to a call from Ka’Sandra Wade, who was killed that same night, did not act in accordance with their training. But, he said they also didn’t break department and rules or protocols.

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Government & Politics
7:56 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Pennsylvania Auditor General Looks at Marcellus Shale’s Water Impact

After less than a week on the job, newly-sworn in Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced his office will conduct a performance audit of water programs related to the development of Pennsylvania’s shale gas reserves. He said his office will look at a number of facets.

“How does the permit staff go out and review the drilling operations before they issue a permit? What systems are in place to continue to monitor it? Are they doing random inspections, or are they consistently monitoring each site? Those are some of the things we’ll be looking for,” said DePasquale.

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Government & Politics
7:26 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Health Activists Ask Ravenstahl, Fitzgerald to Make UPMC "Act Like Charity"

Religious leaders, healthcare activists, and UPMC employees gathered in Downtown today to deliver a “Code of Conduct for a Strong, Healthy Pittsburgh” to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The code of conduct urges UPMC to do more to support local communities and provide affordable care to everyone.

Erin Ninehouser, Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (one of the groups supporting the code), said UPMC only spends about two percent of its revenue on charity care.

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Government & Politics
5:36 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Lottery Privatization Deal Finalized by Corbett

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's administration has finalized a contract to allow British lottery operator Camelot Global Services to run the Pennsylvania Lottery for the next 20 years. A spokesman for the state attorney general's office said the contract paperwork arrived Wednesday night. Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office has 30 days to review it.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Corbett on Defensive in Lottery Deal

Capitol Media Service

<strong>UPDATE 12:50pm 1/17/13:</strong> The Corbett administration has signed the 20-year deal with Camelot Global Services to run the PA Lottery.

<strong>Original story:</strong>

It is widely expected that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett will announce Thursday that he has inked a final deal with a private British firm to run the state’s lottery for the next 20 years.  The administration came out strong Wednesday against those who have been bashing to tentative deal.

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Government & Politics
9:26 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Pittsburgh Council Poised to Open City Assets to Corporate Sponsorships

Pittsburgh is one vote and the mayor's signature away from allowing private businesses to sponsor city-owned assets like vehicles and buildings.

In hopes of creating another source of income for the city's coffers, Pittsburgh City Council members voted in favor of the "Market Based Revenue Opportunity" (MBRO) bills on Wednesday, 6-0, with one abstention by Councilman Daniel Lavelle. A final vote on the legislation is scheduled for next Tuesday.

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Government & Politics
8:33 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

County Controller Wagner: CCAC Running a “Tight Ship”

For the first time in more than a decade, a comprehensive audit was conducted of the Community College of Allegheny County. Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the report found operations are efficient and above-board.

“CCAC is really running a sound operation and that is something they can not only count on today, but we believe they’re running themselves in a way that will enable our residents to count on them for many many years to come, despite economic challenges,” said Wagner.

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Government & Politics
6:47 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Lamb Officially Added to List of Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates

Mt. Washington resident and Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb officially announced his plans to run for mayor Wednesday morning calling for more accountability and transparency.

Lamb announced his mayoral bid at a small Brookline café Wednesday morning.  He will be competing against incumbent mayor Luke Ravenstahl and East End city Councilman, Bill Peduto.  Former Pennsylvania Auditor General, Jack Wagner, and others have also been rumored to be considering a run for mayor.

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Government & Politics
5:09 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

PA National Guard Headed to Inauguration

Approximately 1,300 members of the 19,000 member Pennsylvania National Guard will be on their way to Washington D.C. later this week for President Obama's second Inauguration. Nearly 6,000 National Guard soldiers from all over the country will be assisting with crowd control during the ceremony next week.

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