Government & Politics

Government
5:15 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Turzai: Liquor Privatization Not Dead Yet

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania went home for the summer without voting on a plan pushed by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) to privatize liquor sales in the state, but he said the idea will be back under consideration in the fall.

Turzai's plan calls for the state to close its more than 600 Wine & Spirits Stores and then issue 1,600 licenses to sell wine and distilled spirits. Beer distributors will be given first crack at purchasing the licenses. The remainder would be sold to the highest bidders.

Read more
Government
6:00 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Pittsburgh Becomes First U.S. City to Host One Young World Summit

The One Young World Summit will be held in the United States for the first time this fall and right here in Pittsburgh. The conference provides an opportunity for aspiring leaders to represent their respective businesses and showcase their talent.

Katie McSorley, President of the Mid-Atlantic region for Euro RSCG, one of the largest marketing and public relations firms in the world, said the event is not only a meeting of the best and brightest youth, but a networking opportunity as well.

Read more
Government
5:30 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

City Finances Could Be Headed for Trouble

The city of Pittsburgh ended 2011 with a surplus of $20 million. That's according to the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) released today by City Controller Michael Lamb. That may sound like good news, but Lamb said the surplus was due to one-time revenue sources.

Read more
Government
5:15 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Former Senator Pippy to Lead New Coal Lobbying Group

In the face of what they call "unnecessary regulations" from the federal government, two large coal industry organizations have merged to form the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance (PCA).

Former state Senator John Pippy will lead the new lobbying group, which comprises the Pennsylvania Coal Association and Families Organized to Represent the Coal Economy (FORCE).

"We're bigger, we're stronger, and we're going to be louder," said Pippy.

Read more
Government
9:30 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Obama Adds Energy for Pittsburgh Audience

Several hundred gathered on the Carnegie Mellon Campus Friday under the hot sun to see President Barack Obama wrap up a two-day tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania, but dozens of them swooned even before the president took to the stage. Medical teams were handing out water to the sun-baked crowd, but there was a steady stream of supporters who were hitting the grass and being taken away in ambulances.

Read more
Government
5:30 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Republican Governors Stump for Romney in Pittsburgh in Advance of Obama Visit

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty made a stop in Pittsburgh Friday, day two of their two-day bus tour of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. The pair was following the two-day campaign tour of President Barack Obama.

Jindal, Pawlenty and some area Republicans addressed a modest crowd gathered at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. Chairman of the Republican Party in Allegheny County Jim Roddey said a Pennsylvania win is a must for Mitt Romney.

Read more
Government
6:30 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Voter ID Law Affects More than Expected, Nearly 1 in 10

The number of voters in Pennsylvania without the IDs they need to cast votes this fall is about 9 times larger than the 1% originally estimated, according to a new report by state officials.

By comparing voter registration rolls with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation databases, the Department of State determined 91% of commonwealth voters have PennDOT identification numbers. The original estimate cited by the Corbett administration was 99%.

Read more
Government
6:15 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

President Visits Pittsburgh Friday

President Barack Obama will conclude a two-day campaign bus tour in Pittsburgh Friday afternoon with a public event at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. Obama's "Betting on America" tour will make stops in Maumee, Parma and Sandusky, Ohio before coming to Pennsylvania. Ben LaBolt, the national press secretary for the Obama campaign, said the president will speak to the need to continued investment in America.

Read more
Government
6:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

New Law ‘Finally’ Allows Expert Witnesses in Sexual Assault Trials

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are able to call upon expert witnesses in sexual assault trials, under a new state law.

Kristen Houser of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape said Pennsylvania is the last state to allow expert testimony in sexual assault cases.

She said social workers, psychologists, counselors, and other experts can now tell jurors about "the range of normal behaviors that a victim may exhibit" following sexual assault.

Read more
Government
5:10 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Senator Jay Costa: Don't Hold Speical Election

In a letter to Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley, State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) requested there not be a special election held in Pennsylvania's 37th District to replace Senator John Pippy (R-Allegheny). Pippy resigned this past weekend after the 2012-2013 budget was signed.

Read more
Government
4:00 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

County Council to Consider Allowing Councilmembers to Run for Office without Leaving Office

The Allegheny County Council this evening will consider an ordinance that would ask voters to decide if its members can stay in office while seeking another elected position. Currently the home rule charter stipulates that if any of the part-time councilmembers want to run for higher office, they must resign.

Read more
Government
7:00 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Congressman Doyle Among Those Who Walked Off Floor During Holder Vote

Last week, as the U.S. House was preparing to take a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal and civil contempt for refusing to turn over documents related to the bungled gun-trafficking investigation known as Fast and Furious, more than 100 congressional members walked off the floor in protest. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) was among them.

Read more
Government
7:15 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

Pippy Resigns From Senate

John Pippy is ready for a new career. Pippy, a Republican from Moon Township, resigned his state Senate seat over the weekend after seven years in the House and nine in the Senate. Pippy announced in January that he would not run for reelection in the 37th district and leaves with five months remaining in his term.

"I felt like now was the time," said Pippy. "[When] you're realizing how much you're missing in the family life, I think that's probably a good indicator that it's time to try something different."

Read more
Government
1:27 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Corbett Signs $27.7 Billion PA Budget

After days of long meetings and last-minute bills flying, Gov. Tom Corbett signed a $27.7 billion no-new-taxes budget just before midnight Saturday that was the centerpiece of several long-term victories for his legislative agenda.

There were defeats for the governor too, though his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature tried to squeeze out as many victories for Corbett as they could in the waning moments of the fiscal year. Minority Democrats staunchly opposed elements of the budget as well.

Read more
Government
1:25 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Governor Corbett Signs $27.7 Billion 2012-13 Pennsylvania Budget

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a state budget plan into law at the eleventh hour last night.

The $27.7 billion dollar spending plan was approved with minutes to spare as budget negotiations continued very close to the cusp of the new fiscal year that began at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Read more
Government
7:40 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Democratic Candidate Greg Parks Withdraws From Senate Race

Democratic Greg Parks has withdrawn from his Pennsylvania State Senate race. Parks earned a write-in nomination in April but has decided to step down due to "personal reasons."

Parks, the now former candidate from District 37, said despite removing himself from the campaign, he will continue to stay active in public service. "I will closely follow the nomination process to fill the Democratic slot in this race, and will offer my full support as Chair of the Pleasant Hills Democratic Committee to whoever is nominated," Parks said.

Read more
Government
1:21 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Lawmaker Wants Better Oversight of Provider's Budgets

Language to shine a light on executive pay at nonprofits that contract with the state is now in the mix of budget-related legislation. State Representative Scott Petri (R-Bucks County) said after past state budget cuts to the Department of Public Welfare, and with more cuts looming, lawmakers were getting an earful from groups that contract with the DPW.

Read more
Government
6:20 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

City Council Gives Preliminary Approval to Agreement for Funding from Non-Profits

The Pittsburgh City Council is on path to reach another multi-year agreement with the city's largest non-profits to provide payments in lieu of taxes. Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a measure that would authorize the city to enter into an agreement with the Pittsburgh Foundation, which will collect and manage the payments.

Read more
Government
5:38 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Rare Voices: Pittsburgh Women in Politics

Women's voices are uncommon on the Pennsylvania political scene.

In fact, the state ranks 47th in the nation in terms of female representation and participation in politics.

That's one reason photographer Martha Rial took a closer look at the political lives of three women of different generations in the region.

From them, she found that the issue of gender in politics hasn't changed much in 50 years.

Read more
Government
12:50 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Details of State Budget Still Murky

Senate and House Republicans released spreadsheets Tuesday afternoon detailing their negotiated $27.7 billion spending plan, and said the House Appropriations Committee would vote on the amended plan Wednesday morning, but some budget matters are still fuzzy.

Read more
Government
3:45 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Turzai’s Voter ID Comment Draws Democratic Fire

Democrats are pouncing on Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai's (R-Allegheny County) statement that Pennsylvania's new voter identification law will allow Mitt Romney to win the state in November's presidential election. Turzai made the statement over the weekend while he was listing legislative accomplishments to the crowd at a state Republican Party gathering in Hershey.

Democratic state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) countered by saying the statement finally makes it clear why the voter ID law was passed.

Read more
Government
2:00 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Human Service Block Grant Fight Grows in Pennsylvania

A budget tussle in Harrisburg is heating up over the fate of seven county-run human services programs that serve people with intellectual disabilities and substance abuse problems. Both the funding method and the amount of state assistance are at issue.

An original 20% cut for the human services programs became a 10% cut after budget negotiators used improving revenue reports to persuade Governor Tom Corbett to soften his earlier proposal.

Read more
Government
8:45 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Democrats Continue Fight for Education Funding

In the final days of state budget negotiations, state House Democrats aren't letting up on their push for an increase in public schools funding.

Democratic Representatives Eddie Day Pashinski of Luzerne County and James Roebuck of Philadelphia headed to the governor's office today to lobby the Corbett administration to earmark more money for public education. They had petitions containing some 15,000 signatures, but they were met at the door by Education Secretary Ron Tomalis and that was as far as they were able to get.

Read more
Government
7:00 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Senate Set To Vote On Corrections Reform

The state Senate is expected to give its approval today to prison reform legislation, which is receiving bipartisan support.

Senate minority leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said SB100 is a "solid step" toward improving the corrections system in Pennsylvania and includes ideas proposed by his caucus, "including increased programming for short term nonviolent offenders to help effectuate their timely release back into the community, aggressively utilizing alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders and increasing the use of treatment programs," Costa said.

Read more
Government
7:00 am
Mon June 25, 2012

State Budget Likely To Be Approved This Week

State lawmakers this week are expected to approve a $27.7 billion budget for the new fiscal year that begins Sunday, July 1.

In his February budget address, Governor Tom Corbett outlined a $27.14 billion spending plan, but after closed-door discussions with Republican legislative leaders, he agreed to come up to the $27.66 billion level proposed by the Senate. Some of the addition $500 million would go to reducing the governor's proposed cuts to education.

Read more

Pages