Government & Politics

Government
7:47 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

County Controller Outlines Potential PAT Revenues

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the county transit agency could be doing more to earn itself money.

Wagner said she thinks $10 million per year is a conservative estimate of the amount the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) is "leaving on the table."

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Government
4:40 pm
Wed August 29, 2012

Reaction from the GOP Convention

A Pittsburgh area delegate is pleased with the GOP National Convention so far, calling it "amazing."

Melissa Haluszczak, of Coraopolis,  is one of 72 delegates chosen to attend the convention from Pennsylvania.  She said each speaker Tuesday had a different perspective.  Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum focused on social conservative issues while Anne Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a different approach.

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Government
11:52 am
Wed August 29, 2012

DePasquale Signs 'Majority Party' Pledge

A relatively new political action committee focused on marrying state public policy to polling data has just gotten its first statewide candidate to sign on.

Eugene DePasquale, a state Representative from York County and the Democratic candidate for state Auditor General, put permanent pen to large, demonstrative paper today in the Capitol and aligned himself with the mission of The Majority Party PA. 

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Government
9:32 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Ravenstahl Touts Pittsburgh Successes in Washington D.C.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was one of nine speakers from around the U.S. addressing the White House Forum on Urban Innovation today. He was asked to discuss the city’s successes in job creation, economic improvement, and education, most specifically the Pittsburgh Promise.

“While the entire story was well-received I think the focus and the majority of the questions I was asked was about the Promise, how we did it, how we started it, how we funded it, how it’s working, and the like, and there seemed to be a lot of interest in that program,” said Ravenstahl.

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Government
8:30 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

PA GOP Sen. Candidate says no Exception on Abortion

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The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania said Monday that his opposition to abortion under any circumstances was something his own family had to deal with when his daughter became pregnant out of wedlock.

Tom Smith, the nominee running against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, made the comment after being asked how he would argue to keep the baby if a daughter or granddaughter were to become pregnant as a result of rape.

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Government
8:10 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Massachusetts Democrats Bash Romney on Education, Jobs

A pair of Massachusetts state representatives is touring Pennsylvania with a Democratic bus tour, criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his record as Governor of their home state.

Massachusetts Representatives James Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) joined up with local Democrats outside the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers building on Monday to bash Romney's policies on education and job creation.

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Government
7:02 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

New Voter ID Cards Will Be Available Starting This Week

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A new photo identification card, strictly for voting purposes in Pennsylvania, will be available starting this week. It was created in response to the state’s voter ID law, which requires voters to show an acceptable form of photo identification before casting their ballots.

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Government
4:50 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Ferlo Trying to Stop Highmark Premiums Hike

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Highmark is trying to raise premiums for 11 health insurance plans, but one state lawmaker is trying to put brakes on the company's request.

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Government
4:45 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Battle over PA Funeral Director Law Continues – State Ordered to Pay $1.1 Million in Legal Fees

This past spring, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down 11 provisions of the law that governs Pennsylvania’s funeral homes. The judge, last week, finalized his ruling, ordering the state to pay more than $1.1 million in legal fees and barring the state from enforcing sections of the law he deemed unconstitutional.

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Government
1:21 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Local, State Candidates Leery of Campaign Donations Via Text

The Romney and Obama presidential campaigns are poised to begin accepting donations via text message -- but it may be a while before state and local candidates in the commonwealth can do the same.

Aubrey Montgomery, finance director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said a state law could be interpreted to prohibit such contributions.

For a campaign to be able to accept texted donations, it needs to have an agreement with the wireless carrier. Montgomery said that could clash with Pennsylvania'’s law, which bans so-called “aggregating third parties.”

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Government
7:35 am
Mon August 27, 2012

New Law Changes Nonprofit Fundraising

Sometimes a new law is heralded by the groups it’'s meant to help.  Other times, it’'s an occasion for some organizations to realize they'’ve been out of compliance for years. 

Legislation signed into law in February governing small games of chance was intended to benefit the nonprofit groups holding raffles and drawings to raise money for their community, but lawmakers and State Police troopers enforcing it say the changes have led to confusion.  

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Government
7:35 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Allegheny Among Counties Being Considered for State Block Grants

Allegheny County Human Services Director Marc Cherna says he thinks Allegheny County has a good chance of being chosen as one of 20 counties across Pennsylvania that will be allowed more flexibility when it comes to spending state human services funds. 

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Government
12:54 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Rothfus to Speak at GOP Convention Monday

A Pittsburgh area politician will have five minutes to address the delegates and the country at the Republican National Convention on Monday.

Keith Rothfus, is the Republican nominee running against U.S. Representative Mark Critz (D-PA-12) in the November election.  He admitted he's a little nervous, and that he wasn't planning on going to the convention before he was asked to speak, but said his selection is an honor.

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Government
11:42 am
Sat August 25, 2012

Facebook Page Demands Corbett's Impeachment

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Government
7:07 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Pittsburgh Police Chief: Hiring Procedure is Fair

While Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper would not comment specifically on pending litigation, he says the police department’s hiring process is fair.  Harper's comments came 24 hours after the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal suit alleging the department discriminates against African American applicants.

Harper told Essential Pittsburgh Host Paul Guggenheimer Friday that, “as a chief of a major city police department, diversity is very important.” 

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Government
5:22 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

City Pension Board Keeps Assume Rate Of Return At 8%

The city of Pittsburgh Pension Board has opted not to seek a study of whether it should lower the projected rate of return on the pension fund's investments.  The city uses a rate of 8% but City Controller Michael Lamb, a member of the Pension Board, suggested a study to consider lowering the rate of return to 7.5% or even 7%.

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Government
5:18 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

GOP National Convention Anticipation from PA Delegate

Delegates chosen by voters in this year's presidential primaries and caucuses are getting ready to attend the 2012 Republican National Convention  starting Monday inTampa.

Charlie Gerow is one of  72 delegates from Pennsylvania.  This will be the Mechanicsburg resident's 10th GOP National Convention.   Gerow expects this convention will be slightly different than others because of the reaction to the Romney-Ryan ticket.

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Government
8:52 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

County Airport Gets $1.1 M for Electrical Upgrades

The Allegheny County Airport Authority will be adding a new power generating system at the airport in West Mifflin with the help of a $1.1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  Airport Authority spokesperson JoAnn Jenny says about $400,000 will be used for the project.

“In the event of a power outage we will still have emergency backup to operate the terminal, the FAA tower at Allegheny County Airport, and runway lighting will still stay lit,” said Jenny

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Government
7:17 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Design a Bike Corral For Pittsburgh

Think about those circular "3 Rivers" bike racks on sidewalks throughout Pittsburgh or even years back, those long racks in school yards where you placed the front tire of your bike.  Now a Pittsburgh councilman is inviting design ideas for "bike corrals" that would be functional and aesthetically pleasing.

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Government
6:23 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

ACLU Alleges African Americans Discriminated Against in Police Hiring

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania has filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of all African Americans who feel they were unfairly passed over for hiring into the Pittsburgh police force.  The suit comes after two years of investigations, Right to Know requests and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filings.

The suit was announced just days after the city praised the most diverse class of police recruits in decades where 2 of the 41 recruits where black, one was Hispanic, one was Asian and one was Native American. 

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Government
3:45 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

School Libraries Hurting For Funds

 A study of the status of Pennsylvania’s public school libraries shows a well-established system of librarians who may be spread too thin.  About 73 percent of the commonwealth’s public schools have taken part in a study that reveals school libraries are hurting for funding and resources.  

School librarians do more than shush students, says University of Pittsburgh professor Mary K. Biagini.
They help teachers with reading curricula, encourage kids to read outside of school, and they’re proven to be linked to high student achievement. But that’s only if they have the time. 

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Government
8:12 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

South Fayette to Fight State Review of Drilling Ordinance

South Fayette Township is likely to file a petition in Commonwealth Court to stop the state government from "reviewing" its ordinance to regulate Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling.

South Fayette Board of Commissioners President Deron Gabriel said he thinks the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) has no authority to pass judgment on the local law.

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Government
7:07 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Wagner to Audit Pentagon's Proposal to Close 911th Air Base

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner will audit the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) proposal to shut down the 911th Airlift Wing.  That is as soon as he gets the appropriate information from the Pentagon.

The audit comes at the request of U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), who's "not going to wait" while the DOD suspends all base closures until July 2013. At a press conference Wednesday at the Moon Township air base, Murphy said the Pentagon's decision was based on faulty data.

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Government
2:21 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Advisory Group Says Manufacturers Can't Fill Job Openings

A new report looking into ways to strengthen Pennsylvania's manufacturing industry includes 15 recommendations ranging from employee education to regulatory overhaul. 

An advisory group comprised of manufacturing company presidents, manufacturing association representatives, and government officials has sent those recommendations to Governor Corbett and the state legislature.  Their report cites a 2011 study that shows more than 80% of surveyed U.S. manufacturers can’'t fill jobs because potential employees are lacking in needed skills.

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Government
7:13 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Ryan: "Clear Choice" for Pennsylvania Voters

U.S Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) outlined the differences between President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a rally in the Pittsburgh area on Tuesday. It was his first visit to Pennsylvania as the GOP vice presidential candidate.

"It's a clear choice," said Ryan. "We can either have that opportunity society with a safety net, the society of prosperity and upward mobility where you can make the most of your life -- that's the American idea. Or, we can do more of the same. We can stick with the president's plan."

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