Joe Scarnati

Government & Politics
6:45 am
Thu March 20, 2014

State Senate OKs Rural Community College Plan

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.

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 2011 study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

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School Safety
3:30 am
Mon February 3, 2014

$3.9M Program to Help PA Districts Hire Police Officers Underway

A $3.9 million state grant program that will assist Pennsylvania school districts in hiring police officers has officially begun.

The program is awarding districts with money that must be used to strengthen school safety procedures.

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.

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Government & Politics
4:20 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Scarnati Calls for Action on Public Pension Overhaul

The state Senate president pro tem is beginning his eighth year with a call to action for some kind of public pension system overhaul.   

Sen. Joe Scarnati, a Republican of Jefferson County, has been re-elected unanimously to his position.  

In his first address to the Senate this year, he said the budget outlook demands lawmakers grapple with rising public pension costs.

"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.

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Pennsylvania Legislature
4:54 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

In Harrisburg, At Least 3 Proposals to Trim PA Legislature

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).

At least three different proposals to reduce the size of the General Assembly are floating around the state capitol.

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.

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Schools
11:23 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Grants for Guards Open to Public and Private Schools

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.

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.

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Liquor Privatization
6:31 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Lawmaker: Liquor Privatization Distracting from State Budget

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.

Not the Senate President Pro Tem.

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.

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