Jim Christiana

Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

Gov. Tom Wolf said he would be "willing to have conversations" about compromises on the 5 percent severance tax on natural gas he's proposed to balance the state budget.

"I'm willing to have conversations," Wold told reporters while touring Big Beaver Elementary School in Darlington on Monday. "I want a better Pennsylvania. If I'm convinced we can have a better Pennsylvania with something better than what I've proposed, then I'm all ears."

The Pennsylvania House unanimously approved legislation to allow students receiving welfare benefits to enroll in an academic support program for up to two years while completing an associate's or technical education.

Under House Bill 934, eligible students pursuing occupations deemed high priority by the state – maintenance and repair workers, nursing aides, sales representatives and others – can count class and study hours toward the required number of work hours needed to obtain monthly Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance.

New Bills Push for School Spending Transparency

Oct 7, 2013

Legislation proposed by state Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to create an online database where people could search the state’s public schools’ finances.

House Bills 1411 and 1412, known as SchoolWATCH and CharterWATCH, would create an online system similar to PennWATCH, a state website with information on government spending in Pennsylvania.

Christiana said every public school’s expenditures, including charter and cyber schools, would be searchable online.

Confusion continues to swirl around the coming split of Highmark and UPMC, and a pair of western Pennsylvania state representatives is hoping to calm the fears of many in the region.

Reps. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) and Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny) this week introduced a pair of bills (HB 1621 and HB 1622) that would force all not-for-profit health care insurers and health care providers to open their services to all insurance holders, not just their own.