Government & Politics

Government
8:43 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

President Obama Visits Suburban Philly Toy Factory, Urges Action to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

President Obama brought his message about the fiscal cliff to a toy manufacturer in Montgomery County Friday.  The visit is an attempt to leverage public opinion to get his way on a deal with Congressional Republicans. 

The president says he’s hopeful that, come January first, the country won’t wake up to more austere budgets and higher tax rates across the board. But that’s not stopping him from asking people to tweet their members of Congress to come up with a deal soon.

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Government
12:22 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

DA Reveals Security Findings in Western Psych Shooting

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. has released consultant reports recommending security upgrades in the wake of a shooting at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in March.

A spokesman for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center didn't immediately comment on the findings by two private security consultants. They recommend $2.1 million worth of upgrades, including adding a command and operations center, a new security card access system for employees, video surveillance, panic buttons and emergency call stations.

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Government
9:17 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Corbett Tackles the Lottery and Agrees to Cooperate with Sandusky Investigation

The governor’s office is still reviewing the lone bid submitted to run the Pennsylvania Lottery.  The bid came from a British company after months of behind the scenes work.         

Governor Corbett is downplaying his misgivings about gambling when discussing its potential expansion in the state.

“The question is, is there more gambling?  Yes.  Is there a benefit to it?  Yes.  Am I concerned about gambling addiction?  Yes,” said Corbett. “But it is going on.  And I’m looking at, you know, can we get more revenue for senior projects, for senior programs.”

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Government
5:20 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Pennsylvania Opens First Trade Office In Indonesia

Pennsylvania this week became the first state to open a trade-based office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) new center will provide support and resources to business throughout the state looking to develop viable international markets and increase sales.

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Government
3:53 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

President Obama Fights the Fiscal Cliff in PA

The nice thing about bully pulpits is they’re terrifically mobile. President Obama is bringing his to Montgomery County Pennsylvania this Friday to promote his plan for averting the fiscal cliff.

Christopher Borick, a pollster and political science professor at Muhlenberg College, says after a first term marked by deep conflict, a trip like this is fuel for the Republican critique that the president hasn’t been easy to work with.

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Government
12:35 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Former DEP Sec Runs for PA Governor

John Hanger, a Democrat and former secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, is the first to announce he’ll seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

At an event in Harrisburg, he touted his record of breaking up the electric utilities' monopoly in Pennsylvania in the 1990s and leading the charge to create a renewable energy industry in the commonwealth.

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Government
2:54 am
Thu November 29, 2012

City Council Divided over Proposed Change to Council District Map

Pittsburgh City Council voted 5-4 on Wednesday to approve a controversial amendment to the Council District map proposed by the Reapportionment Advisory Commission (RAC) earlier this fall.

After half an hour of heated discussion, a slim majority passed the revision, which shifts around several wards in order to maintain the District 2 boundaries from the current 2002 Council District map. Councilwoman Theresa Smith represents District 2 and proposed the amendment during debate on Wednesday.

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Government
9:27 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Mother of Toddler Mauled by Zoo Dogs Will Not be Charged

The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium should have launched a better immediate response to the early November incident in which a South Hills toddler was mauled to death by a pack of African painted dogs after falling into the zoo exhibit, according to District Attorney Stephen Zappala.

As he announced some preliminary results of his investigation into the incident, the DA did not say whether he would seek criminal charges against the zoo, but Zappala said he will not charge any family members.  Zappala did mention some potential charges he would review in similar situations.

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Government
8:36 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

City Council on Track to Create Equal Opportunity Department

Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to legislation that would give city government the ability to crack down on contractors who flout Pittsburgh's equal opportunity requirements while doing business with the city.

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Government
9:01 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Child Abuse Task Force Calls For Sweeping Changes

A special task force created in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal is calling on the legislature to make changes in the law to allow reports of child abuse within an institution to go up the chain of command.

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Government
6:41 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Making Allentown Safer One Phase at a Time

Allentown is between Mt. Washington and the South Side, the T runs right down its main street, and there is a small business district. But, blight and safety concerns have hampered growth in the area. A little less than two years ago, the Allentown Business District Safety Initiative was launched to address that. Phase I added lighting, gates and fencing to improve the safety of the neighborhood.

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Government
8:57 am
Tue November 27, 2012

On-Line Holiday Shoppers: Don't Forget the Sales Tax

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Pennsylvanians who observed Cyber Monday by taking to the Internet for some holiday shopping should save their receipts. Consumers are responsible for reporting online purchases to the state when those purchases don’t include sales tax.

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Government
8:57 am
Tue November 27, 2012

$26.5M For Parks, Trails Improvements in PA

Nearly two hundred projects across the commonwealth are receiving a combined $26.5 million in grants intended to enhance existing and create new recreational opportunities as well as conserve natural resources.

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Government
8:20 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Allegheny County Juvenile Justice Recommendations Released

Following two years of work, the Allegheny County Commission on Juvenile Justice has released a report outlining recommendations and rules for those working in all levels of the juvenile justice system.  

“Among the recommendations in the report are: judicial ethics, including mandatory formal training sessions on judicial ethics at regular intervals. Judicial training: including a recommendation that all family division judges attend a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education each year,” said Allegheny County President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.

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Government
7:42 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Community Update On 911th Airlift Wing

As Congress considers legislation to block the closure of the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon Township, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) will hold a community meeting this evening to update local residents on the status of the base.

Other area officials including State Representative Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) and County Council members Heather Heidelbaugh, Michael Finnerty and Vince Gastgeb will be on hand to discuss the next steps needed to keep the critical military installation.

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Government
9:13 am
Mon November 26, 2012

Transportation Funding, Pension Reform Top Senate GOP Agenda

State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Chester) said top billing for the legislative agenda next year goes to a transportation funding package.

"That infrastructure is critical," Pileggi said.  "We need to invest in it.  I think that'’s our number one job-creating, legislative agenda item for the coming session."

Republicans are working with a slimmer majority this year, 27-23,  after losing three seats in the November election.  But, Pileggi said getting votes shouldn'’t be a problem and even if it were, transportation funding is likely to be a bipartisan issue.

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Government
9:13 am
Mon November 26, 2012

City Budget Season Kicks Off With Your Input

It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the holiday season -- the city budget season, in which Pittsburgh City Council will tweak the mayor's budget proposal to hammer out a final spending plan for 2013.

The process begins today with a public hearing on Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's $469.5 million operating budget proposal, and his $65 million capital budget plan.

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Government
2:18 pm
Sat November 24, 2012

PA Won't Have to Limit Military Funeral Honors

A limit on taxpayer-paid military funeral honors to burials within 100 miles of Philadelphia and central Pennsylvania has been lifted by the state National Guard after it received a commitment for more federal money, a state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs spokeswoman said Friday.

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Government
5:39 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

Two State House Seats Still Up for Grabs

The general election is long over, but because some candidates ran successfully for two offices at the same time, a pair of special elections will have to be scheduled.  One seat will be vacated when Democratic Representative Eugene DePasquale of York County when he resigns from the House to be sworn in as Auditor General. He was elected in November, but also re-elected to his House seat. DePasquale says his office isn't rushing to finish constituent casework.
 

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Government
8:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

Auditor General Says State University Boards Need Fewer Members

http://2cccd5dfe1965e26adf6-26c50ce30a6867b5a67335a93e186605.r53.cf1.rackcdn.com/Smaller Board Wrap Web.mp3

The four state-related schools, which receive hundreds of millions of dollars in commonwealth funding, have recently come under fire for the size of their boards of trustees.

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Government
2:01 pm
Thu November 22, 2012

County Controller's Office Could Sustain Layoffs Due to Budget Cut

The Allegheny County Controller's office is warning of possible layoffs it would sustain if County Council passes the 2013 operating budget proposed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

At Council's Budget and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday, Deputy County Controller Amy Griser said her office could be forced to lay off as many as twenty employees if the 10 percent cut goes through. Griser said the Fitzgerald plan would put the County Controller budget at $5.7 million, roughly $650,000 less than the current allocation.

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Government
8:23 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Putting A Yellow Dot in Your Car Window Could Save Your Life

You’re in a car accident on your way to work. Emergency responders arrive to help, but they face two challenges: they don’t know whom to contact on your behalf, and they know little about your medical history.

The Pennsylvania Yellow Dot and Emergency Contact Information programs are aimed at solving both problems.

The Yellow Dot program allows people to fill out forms with emergency an medical contacts, and their current medical information.

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Government
8:07 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

Mixed Reactions to Pennsylvania Lottery Privatization Bid

Governor Tom Corbett is reviewing a contract bid from Camelot Global Services that would put the British company at the helm of Pennsylvania's $3.5 billion lottery system. In the meantime, politicians and experts are expressing mixed reviews of the privatization bid, which promises billions of dollars in additional revenue over the next twenty years.

 

State Senator Wayne Fontana, an opponent of privatization, said it’s curious that the commonwealth has received only one finalized bid since it requested private management proposals in April.

 

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Government
1:12 pm
Wed November 21, 2012

PA Gets Single Bid to Run Lottery

The Britain-based company that runs the national lottery in the United Kingdom is pledging to produce more than $34 billion in profits over 20 years if it wins a contract to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery, Gov. Tom Corbett's administration said Tuesday as it moves toward privatizing the state's $3.5 billion system.

The administration said it will weigh the offer by Camelot Global Services, which it said is good until Dec. 31, and is the only one it said it will receive after two other companies that it would not identify dropped out.

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Government
1:03 am
Wed November 21, 2012

County Councilman Offers Alternative 2013 Budget

Allegheny County Councilman Michael Finnerty has drafted a 2013 operating budget that offers higher spending levels for the County Controller, the sheriff's office, and the Department of Human Services.

Finnerty said his plan takes roughly $236,000 from the "fringe benefits recovery" line item to pay for those spending increases. The millage rate of 4.73 and overall spending amount of $799.4 million in the Finnerty budget remain identical to the plan offered by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

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