Joe Scarnati en State Senate To Consider Smaller Government Across All Branches <p>Fewer legislators, fewer judges and no lieutenant governor — that’s the vision approved by a state Senate committee this week.<br /><br />Proposed constitutional amendments to shrink the size of government across the three branches have been sent to the full Senate for consideration. Under the measures, the House would go from 203 to 153 members, the Senate would lose five seats, two judgeships each would be eliminated from the state Superior Court and Supreme Court. The lieutenant governor would also get the axe.<br /> Tue, 03 Jun 2014 21:04:19 +0000 Mary Wilson 30328 at State Senate OKs Rural Community College Plan <p>A rural community college based in western Pennsylvania is one step closer to becoming a reality. The proposal to start setting up a 15th community college passed with just four votes cast against it in the state Senate Wednesday.<br /><br />The bill, proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), aims to provide educational and job-training opportunities in a region that has been historically underserved, according to a <a href="">2011 study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee</a>.<br /> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:45:35 +0000 Mary Wilson 26169 at $3.9M Program to Help PA Districts Hire Police Officers Underway <p>A $3.9 million state grant program that will assist Pennsylvania school districts in hiring police officers has officially begun.</p><p>The program is awarding districts with money that must be used to strengthen school safety procedures.</p><p>With the funds, districts are expected to place a school resource officer or school police officer within the building or buildings in the district, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Tim Eller said.</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 08:30:00 +0000 Julian Routh 23690 at Scarnati Calls for Action on Public Pension Overhaul <p>The state Senate president pro tem is beginning his eighth year with a call to action for some kind of public pension system overhaul.&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br />Sen. Joe Scarnati, a Republican of Jefferson County, has been re-elected unanimously to his position. &nbsp;<br /><br />In his first address to the Senate this year, he said the budget outlook demands lawmakers grapple with rising public pension costs.<br /><br />"The choices we need to make will be many but the largest cost and growth in next year’s budget will be pension cost and we need to make choices," Scarnati said.<br /> Tue, 07 Jan 2014 21:20:06 +0000 Mary Wilson 22486 at In Harrisburg, At Least 3 Proposals to Trim PA Legislature <p>Although Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state, it has the largest full-time legislature in the nation with 253 members (203 in the House, 50 in the Senate).</p><p>At least three different proposals to reduce the size of the General Assembly are floating around the state capitol.</p><p>The Speaker of the House, Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County) said he will introduce two measures: one that would reduce the House to 153 members, and the other to shrink the Senate to 38.</p> Wed, 14 Aug 2013 20:54:29 +0000 Kevin Gavin 14850 at Grants for Guards Open to Public and Private Schools <p>Private schools will be able to compete for state grants to pay for armed security guards in Pennsylvania under a law recently signed by the governor.<br><br>Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati introduced the proposal in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. His spokesman, Drew Crompton, said the state already gives money to private schools, so allowing them to compete for the grants isn't so far removed from current practice.<br> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 15:23:04 +0000 Mary Wilson 12784 at Lawmaker: Liquor Privatization Distracting from State Budget <p>On the eve of a state Senate committee's first of three hearings on liquor privatization, some might say the issue of selling off the state wine and spirits stores is ripe for discussion.<br><br>Not the Senate President Pro Tem.<br><br>Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) said Monday he's "a little frustrated" that the liquor privatization issue is eclipsing what he thinks should be the central focus right now: the state budget, which is due in two months' time.<br> Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:31:48 +0000 Mary Wilson 8722 at