Pennsylvania State Legislature

Health
3:30 am
Tue November 19, 2013

High-Cost 'Specialty Tier' Prescription Drugs Under Scrutiny in PA

Tough to swallow: Pennsylvania lawmakers are studying the possibility of capping the price of so-called “specialty tier” prescription drugs for policy holders in the state.
Credit Flickr user Grumpy-Puddin

If you have hemophilia, multiple sclerosis or any number of other hard-to-treat diseases, the cost of your medications alone could reach into six figures, depending on your insurance coverage.

“It’s roughly $15,000 a month, and from that I’m lucky to have good insurance so we have good co-pay structure, co-insurance," said Nick Vizzoca, whose 13-year-old son has hemophilia.

The Pittsburgh resident said he is worried his son’s medication could be placed into a specialty tier and the co-pay could sky rocket.

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State Senate
3:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

State Senator to Introduce Legislation Against Frivolous Lawsuits

State Sen. Larry Farnese of Philadelphia will introduce legislation meant to protect community and civic organizations from frivolous lawsuits.

Farnese was spurred into action by the dissolution of the Old City Civic Association in Philadelphia, which he says was overwhelmed by lawsuits that steadily increased their insurance premiums until they could not afford them anymore.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Micek On ACLU Lawsuit, "Payday Loans" & PennDOT's Lost Construction Season

Many issues still remain unaddressed in the PA legislature.
Credit Tim Lambert / WITF

In the wake of Governor Corbett’s budget signing and the Supreme Court’s overturn of the Defense of Marriage Act, John Micek Opinions Editor of the Harrisburg Patriot-News explains the many pressing issues at the state level. 

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Transportation
7:50 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Rendell Enters the Fray over Transportation Funding

Ed Rendell couldn't sit this debate out.

The former Democratic governor has penned a letter to all the state House members pleading for their votes on the $2.5 billion transportation funding plan — and not to let it be linked to other issues, like liquor privatization.

In years past, top lawmakers have talked about such deal-making as perfectly acceptable. The Senate President Pro Tem calls it the "Rendell school of leverage."

But the school's namesake said the stakes are too high now.

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State Government
12:14 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

State AG: Proposed Funding Increase Not Enough to Stave Off Furloughs

Pennsylvania’s top fiscal watchdog isn’t sure an offer from state House Republicans to hike his agency’s funding could prevent some of the layoffs planned for mid-June.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the proposed $2.6 million increase wouldn’t be enough to bring back all 67 people throughout the state who are slated to lose their positions.

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Cities
2:24 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Pennsylvania Senate Panel Examines Futures of Cities Large and Small

Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee met in Pittsburgh to examine the challenges faced by cities of all sizes in the commonwealth.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Cities throughout Pennsylvania, regardless of size, are facing similar issues such as blight, aging infrastructure and unsustainable pension systems. To learn more about the future of municipalities, the state Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee held a hearing Wednesday to better assess needs.

The first person to address the committee was Pittsburgh’s 8th District City Councilman and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Peduto. He said there are four main issues facing the city: pensions, economic development, education, and infrastructure and transportation.

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State Legislature
3:40 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Human Trafficking Legislation Introduced in Harrisburg

State Sen. Daylin Leach of eastern Pennsylvania is supporting two pieces of legislation designed to combat human trafficking in Pennsylvania.  

Leach said too often, minors are arrested for prostitution and treated as criminals when they are, in fact, victims.  

"They're forced into doing this by pimps and traffickers, yet the pimps and traffickers are never there when the person's arrested," Leach said. "So we charge the young lady and she has a criminal record, and she has to deal with that, whereas the person who's actually responsible faces no consequences."

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