Government & Politics

Government
6:13 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Pennsylvania Senate Race Tightens, Cash Could Be Why

The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania for months was viewed as a forgone conclusion but it might come down to the wire afterall.

Two polls out this week show Republican candidate Tom Smith is trailing Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Casey by just a few points.

The new numbers come from a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll showing Casey ahead by just two percent among likely Pennsylvania voters.

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Government
11:43 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Ann Romney Stumps in PA

If the past week is any indicator, the presidential race in Pennsylvania is close enough for the wives of the candidates to pay a visit, but not the candidates themselves.

Ann Romney stumped for her husband at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County Monday afternoon. Her visit to the area comes a week after that of Jill Biden, the Vice President’s wife, who touched down in seven cities in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

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Government
8:33 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

PA Table Games Up 15%, Rivers Up 20%

Gross revenue from table games in Pennsylvania rose 15.4 percent last month compared to September of 2011 according to the PA Gaming Control Board.  In total, the state's 11 casinos generated $59.3 million in gross revenue from table games in September.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, the Rivers Casino took in $6,533,142 from 116 tables in September of this year compared to $5,433,105 from 107 tables in 2011.  The Meadows Casino had 80 tables in use in Sept. 2012, which took in $2,818,372, compared to $3,160,914 last year on 78 table games. 

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Government
6:56 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Natural Gas Impact Fee Collections to be Distributed

In the next ten days, municipalities and counties across the state are slated to receive their cut of the the roughly $204 million of impact fee revenue from Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. Local governments in drilling regions are getting cash to spend on a menu of pre-approved areas, such as low-income housing and road repair. State Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said the money could have a big impact on communities that have experienced the heaviest drilling activity.

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Government
4:37 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Jesse Jackson Encourages Pittsburghers to go to the Polls

The Reverend Jesse Jackson's political tour of Pennsylvania -- which began over the weekend in Philadelphia, touring union halls, churches and speaking on radio programs -- continued today with a stop in Pittsburgh to rally local voters. Early in the day he spoke at a community breakfast featuring numerous elected officials including Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. He’s touring areas of the U.S. to encourage people to go the polls November 6th, especially in this state where he said efforts are underway to disenfranchise voters.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 15, 2012

B-PEP Registers Pittsburgh Voters

The Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) teams hit the streets of Pittsburgh the last few months, making sure people registered to vote before last week's deadline and the group[ thinks it did a fairly good job.

Celeste Taylor, B-PEP Voting Rights Community Organizer, said they sent teams to register voters in the Hill District, at Pittsburgh churches, and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC).

She said they were most successful at CCAC where they registered more than 600 voters.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 15, 2012

PA House Dems Want Justice Dept Review of State's Sandusky Investigation

It’s unclear whether debate over a Democratic measure will tie things up in the state House this week.
 Last week’s session ended when Democrats attempted to advance a proposal urging federal authorities to reexamine how the state handled the prosecution of Jerry Sandusky. 

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Government
7:13 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

Arlen Specter: A Timeline

Major events in the timeline of former Sen. Arlen Specter's career in politics:

— 1959: Hired as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia.

— 1964: Serves on the Warren Commission, which concludes that a lone assassin killed President John F. Kennedy.

— 1965: Runs successfully on Republican ticket for Philadelphia district attorney, even though he was a Democrat.

— 1967: Loses election for Philadelphia mayor.

— 1969: Elected to second term as district attorney.

— 1973: Loses bid for third term as district attorney.

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Government
7:10 pm
Sun October 14, 2012

Longtime Senator Arlen Specter Dies

Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, the outspoken Pennsylvania centrist whose switch from Republican to Democrat ended a 30-year career in which he played a pivotal role in several Supreme Court nominations, died Sunday. He was 82.

Specter, who announced in late August that he was battling cancer, died at his home in Philadelphia from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said his son Shanin. Over the years, Arlen Specter had fought two previous bouts with Hodgkin lymphoma, overcome a brain tumor and survived cardiac arrest following bypass surgery.

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Government
9:35 am
Sun October 14, 2012

PA Sen. Draws Attention to Homeless Children

Noting that children who find them selves on the street some time during the shcool year are 60-percent more likely to drop out of school than the average student, State Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh) introduced a resolution last week declaring the Week of October 14th Homeless Children’s Awareness Week in the commonwealth.

“in 2010 alone 1.6 million children experianced homelessness with more than 31,000 of those yopuths residing in Pennsylvania,” said Fontana.

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Government
7:22 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Rep. Treasurer Candidate Outlines Pension Solution

Republican candidate for State Treasurer Diana Irey Vaughan presented Thursday a three-step solution to take on what she said are dangerous problems in the state’s two pension plans.  The Washington County Commissioner criticized current State Treasurer Rob McCord’s handling of the state’s pension system over the last three and a half years while presenting her own plan to shore up the Service Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS).

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Government
5:10 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Attorney General Campaign Ad Accused Of Making Inaccurate Statements

Dave Freed, the GOP candidate for state Attorney General, said any responsible prosecutor would commit to reviewing how the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office.

The case has become a political football, even as Sandusky headed to court to receive his sentence, but Freed, the Cumberland County District Attorney, said his answer has not changed regarding the Sandusky case.

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Government
8:35 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Medicare Part D Beneficiaries Spend More on Medication Than They Should

A new analysis out of The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health found Medicare Part D beneficiaries overpay for their drugs by hundreds of dollars.

Researchers found that only 5.2 percent of beneficiaries choose the cheapest plan and recipients on average pay $368 more than they would have if they had chosen the cheapest plan in their region.

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Government
12:55 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Sandusky Expected to Speak at Sentencing

Jerry Sandusky professed his innocence and vowed to continue fighting his child molestation conviction in a recorded statement broadcast on the eve of his sentencing Tuesday, a possible preview of remarks he was expected to make at the hearing.

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Government
6:56 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Jill Biden Kicks Off Two-Day Pennsylvania Tour In Harrisburg

Jill Biden is making campaign stops in Pennsylvania in an effort to bolster get-out-the-vote efforts in the state.  All of Biden's scheduled events are Obama-Biden re-election campaign at regional offices, including stops in Harrisburg, Scranton, Hazleton, Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, and Philadelphia.

About 150 attended the event when Biden stopped in Harrisburg on Monday.  She was counting down the time left to register voters before the October 9th cut-off.

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Government
6:27 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

More Dem Voters than GOP in PA, but Numbers Slide Since 2008

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The deadline to register to vote in the November election is Tuesday, October 9th, and the latest state data shows voters registered as democrats outnumber Republicans by 1.1 million.  That'’s down slightly from the 1.2 million voter advantage Democrats enjoyed in 2008, when President Obama won the election by 600,000 votes over Republican candidate John McCain.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Voter Registration Deadline Looms

80 to 90 million Americans are expected to cast ballots in the November 6 presidential election. Tuesday October 9 is the final day to register to vote.

Mark Keeler, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said the requirements for voter registration are straightforward.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Are You Getting The Oomph You Expect From Gasoline?

The Pennsylvania House passed, and sent to the Senate, legislation that would authorize inspectors to begin random testing of octane levels in gasoline.  

Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Bucks/Montgomery) said the state Department of Agriculture’s Weight and Measures inspectors are required to check that gas pumps are correctly dispensing gas.  He said Senate Bill 341 would task those same officials to also check octane levels in the gas.

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Government
7:35 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Small Reforms to Small Games of Chance Laws

Legislation to ease restrictions on small games of chance in Pennsylvania is moving through the General Assembly.  By a vote of 46-3, the state Senate has approved a bill to reform state law to legalize 50/50 drawings.

Although State Senators Richard Kasunic (D-Fayette) and Tim Solobay (D-Washington) voted for the reform, they believe not enough was done to protect and accommodate non-profit volunteer organizations.

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Government
9:35 am
Sun October 7, 2012

Proposal To Eliminate Safety & Emissions Tests For New Vehicles

Legislation in the state Senate intended to save Pennsylvania drivers approximately $50 million a year is drawing criticism from some inspections stations.  Senator John Wozniak (D-Cambria) successfully amended the bill so that safety inspections and emission tests would be waived for the first two years and 10 years respectively after the purchase of a new vehicle.

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Government
12:29 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

City Drops Appeal Opening Door to St. Nick's Demolition

The demolition of the historic St Nicholas church on Rt. 28 can go forward now that the city of Pittsburgh has withdrawn an appeal.

In July, a judge ordered that St. Nicholas Parish could raze the 110-year-old church, which the city and a group of community activists considers historic. That order called on the city to issues a certificate of economic hardship that would allow the parish to obtain a demolition permit.  The city appealed that decision.

This week the city withdrew its appeal, meaning the demolition can go forward.

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Government
6:53 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Medicaid Co-Pay For Families With Disabled Kids Rescinded

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has decided to delay implementation of the co-pay program that would have applied to parents of some children with physical, intellectual and mental disabilities.

The co-pay did kick in this month for families with a disabled child on Medicaid earning 200 percent above the federal poverty level. These families, who previously had services paid for by the state, would have had to pay a fee on every service their child receives. It would have affected 48,000 families. 

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Government
6:36 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Pennsylvania Won't List Bats as Endangered For Now

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced that it's not moving forward at this time on regulatory changes to protect three species of cave-dwelling bats, whose numbers have declined drastically due to the fungus known as White Nose Syndrome:  the northern long-eared bat (99% decline), the tri-colored bat (98% decline), and the little brown bat (99% decline).

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Government
5:05 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

House Resolution Singles Out Outspoken Groups

A coalition of human service organizations gathered under the banner of Better Choices for Pennsylvania claim they have been singled out by the state for being vocal in the debate over state funding for human services. A House Resolution ordered a legislative committee to conduct an financial audit of a specific list of service providers.

Stephen Drachler, chair of Better Choices for Pennsylvania, believes this resolution is all about perception.

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Government
7:35 am
Fri October 5, 2012

State Lawmaker Wants Federal Investigation into Handling of Sandusky Case

A Democratic-led effort to debate whether to have federal authorities look into how the Jerry Sandusky investigation was handled caused the abrupt end to Wednesday’s House session. The resolution would urge the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the way then state Attorney General Tom Corbett’s office handled the Sandusky situation.

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