Tom Corbett

Pennsylvania
9:52 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Judge Tosses Corbett's Lawsuit Against NCAA

A federal judge on Thursday threw out the governor's lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions against Penn State related to Jerry Sandusky, calling his argument "a Hail Mary pass" that easily warranted dismissal.

U.S. Middle District Judge Yvette Kane's decision puts an early end to the anti-trust lawsuit Gov. Tom Corbett filed in January in which he sought to overturn a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship limits and other penalties.

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Transportation
6:33 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Corbett Administration Again Pushes Transportation Plan

Gov. Tom Corbett is in call-to-action mode, urging passage of a transportation funding proposal for the second time in a week.

A $2.5 billion plan is expected to be passed by the full Senate within the next two weeks.

But the real question is whether House Republicans will vote for a bill that does things like hike driver’s license fees and uncap a tax paid by gas stations.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said he’s been going to each House lawmaker to explain what’s at stake.

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Government & Politics
9:28 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Governor Asks for Backup on His To-Do List

Gov. Tom Corbett is asking for help pushing through the major items on his legislative agenda: liquor privatization, transportation funding and an overhaul of the state's pension systems.

During his Thursday morning address to the capital area chamber of commerce, he banged on the podium as he issued his first call to action on the plan before the state Senate to phase out state wine and spirits stores.

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Bill of Rights
1:33 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Original Copy of Bill of Rights Coming to Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Corbett signs the visitors book at at the National Constitution Center, where the Bill of Rights will be on public display.
Credit PA Commonwealth Media Services

For the first time in several decades Pennsylvanians will be able to view an original copy of the Bill of  Rights.

It’s 1789 — Congress approves the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The states ratify the amendments December 15, 1791 and President George Washington sends a handwritten copy of the Bill of Rights to each of the 13 states. Pennsylvania’s copy goes missing in the late 1800s and New York’s copy might have been destroyed in a fire at New York’s archives.

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Government & Politics
11:24 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Corbett Says Latino Comment Taken Out of Context

Gov. Tom Corbett's office says his comments about a lack of Latinos on his staff were taken out of context to discredit him.

The first-term Republican said in response to a question at an Al Dia newsmedia-sponsored event in Philadelphia last week that he did not have any Latinos on his staff. Then he asked people at the forum to help him find one.

His office issued a statement Wednesday that said he was only referring to his immediate staff, a small group.

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Standardized Testing
11:09 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Corbett Orders Short Delay to Tweak Common Core

Gov. Tom Corbett has ordered a delay in the adoption of new high stakes standardized tests for public schools in Pennsylvania.

The new Pennsylvania Common Core standards were supposed to be implemented in July. The class of 2017 would need to pass the subject-specific tests before graduating.

But Education Department spokesman Tim Eller says the postponement won’t result in any major changes.

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Government & Politics
11:19 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Polls Show Rising Support for Legalizing Medical Marijuana in PA

Gov. Tom Corbett won’t be budged by public opinion polls when it comes to marijuana.

Support is high for legalizing the drug when obtained with a doctor’s prescription.

But Corbett has said making medical marijuana legal will not rule out abuse of the drug, because prescription drugs are abused now.  

"This is a gateway to many other drugs," he said. "I believe we have a drug problem in this country. We have a drug problem in the state of Pennsylvania."

Corbett made his remarks on the Radio Pennsylvania “Ask the Governor” program.

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Education
3:41 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Corbett to Tap New Education Secretary

Gov. Tom Corbett says he'll name a central Pennsylvania public school superintendent as his new education secretary, with outgoing Ron Tomalis becoming an adviser on higher education issues.

Corbett said in a statement Wednesday that he'll nominate Cumberland Valley School District Superintendent William Harner as education secretary.

Corbett's statement didn't explain the reason for the change.

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Government & Politics
6:16 am
Wed May 15, 2013

The Makings of Pennsylvania's Pension Funding Crisis

In recent years, the Public School Employees Retirement System took a sled ride down a pretty steep hill. The PSERS went from 123 percent funded in 2000 to an 81 percent funding level six years later. Its little sister, the State Employees Retirement System, went along for the ride. The Corbett administration has introduced legislation to reform the pension systems, but unions argue the governor's plan violates the state constitution.
Credit 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett and his allies in the state Legislature have introduced controversial legislation to reform the pension systems for state employees and public school teachers.

The sponsors say the bills make necessary cuts to reduce the state’s massive liability problem. Unions argue that the measures are illegal because they cut current workers’ future benefits.

To get a handle on how Pennsylvania’s two public pensions ended up in their current funding crisis, one has to look more than a decade into the past.

A Big Commitment

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State Government
3:57 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Corbett Hesitant to Rank Legislative To-Do List

Gov. Tom Corbett is reluctant to pull any legislative issue from the very top of his crowded agenda.

But other legislative leaders appear more than happy to do it for him.

The governor has said he wants four things done before lawmakers leave for their summer recess: a budget, liquor privatization, a transportation funding package and an approved overhaul of the state’s two pension plans and the debt that comes with them.  

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State Pensions
6:18 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Three Months Later, Corbett's Pension Plan Takes Shape in Legislation

State House and Senate lawmakers have stepped up to sponsor legislation to advance the governor’s plan to overhaul the state’s two pension systems.

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Government & Politics
3:53 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Corbett & Sen. Dems in War Over His Words

A week has passed since Gov. Tom Corbett's ill-received comment tying Pennsylvania's  7.9 percent unemployment rate to job applicants unable to pass drug tests.  But Senate Democrats are revisiting earlier comments that they say are reflective of Corbett's policies.  The governor insists it’s much ado about words.

The Senate’s top Democrat says clumsy statements by the governor are significant not because they make easy hay for political opponents, but because of what they reveal about Corbett himself.

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Business
4:14 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Some Employers See Merit in Corbett's 'Drug Tests' Comment

Some employers say finding job applicants who can clear drug tests is a real concern, though it may not be as large a contributor to the state's 7.9 percent unemployment rate as a recent comment by Gov. Tom Corbett would suggest.

"There are many employers that say 'We're looking for people, but we can't find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them,'" Corbett said on the Radio Pennsylvania show Ask the Governor. "And that's a concern for me, because we're having a serious problem with that."

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Politics
3:12 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Poll Shows Corbett's Approval Rating Still Low

A new poll finds Gov. Tom Corbett is stacking up poorly against real and potential Democratic challengers in the 2014 gubernatorial election.  

The Quinnipiac University survey of more than 12,000 registered voters pegs the governor’s disapproval rating at 47 percent, with 38 percent of those surveyed approving of his job performance.

Senate Democratic leader Jay Costa said although some argue the governor has time to buff up his image, the results are far from meaningless.  

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Health
1:57 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Commonwealth Court Denies Injunction to Stop State Health Centers from Closing

The Commonwealth Court has denied an injunction to not close state health centers, according to the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which represents public health nurses.

The Corbett administration is planning on closing or consolidating 26 state health centers. The Department of Health has said that closing centers would allow services to be streamlined and for staff to work in a more mobile capacity. State health centers provide services such as vaccinations and STD testing.

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State Supreme Court
5:12 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Corbett Offers Little Clues on State Supreme Court Vacancy

Gov. Tom Corbett isn’t giving any indication of what kind of influence the Senate Democrats may have over who he’ll nominate to fill an upcoming vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

The minority caucus will be crucial, since confirmation requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate.   

Last week, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Corbett a list of five names – all Republican judges – from which to choose to guarantee a swift confirmation process.

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Kathleen Kane
4:38 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

State AG: Culture of Corruption 'Won’t Ever Be Eliminated'

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane doesn’t believe it’s possible to rid the state of corruption, but her office is working to set an example to public officials through prosecution.  

In an interview today with 90.5 WESA's  Essential Pittsburgh program, Kane discussed the scandal in the Turnpike Commission.

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Arts & Culture
3:26 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh and Santiago to Swap Artists Via Cultural Exchange Program

Gov. Tom Corbett signed an agreement Tuesday making Chile and Pennsylvania "Sister Chambers" by fostering job growth and business development opportunities between the two governments. The agreement came at the end of the governor's trade mission to Brazil and Chile.

The state's First Lady, Susan Corbett, is reaching out to the Chileans in a different way, announcing a cultural exchange program based in Pittsburgh and Santiago. 

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Tax Reform
4:05 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Corbett Tax Plan Full of Promises, But Opponents Have Doubts

Gov. Tom Corbett's tax reform plan is getting a closer look from state lawmakers.

The proposals would lower the state’s corporate net income tax and complete the elimination of another tax on businesses.  

Department of Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said the net effect will be more than $1 billion in new tax revenue over the next 17 years.  

"That comes from personal income growth, that comes from employment, and that comes from sales tax revenues that are derived from those who are now working that weren’t before," he said.

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Government & Politics
7:37 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Corbett to Embark on South American Trade Mission

Gov. Tom Corbett is headed on his second trade mission to connect Pennsylvania businesses, commerce groups and a university with potential customers in Chile and Brazil.

Nineteen companies are going on the trip, including a small business aiming to help blind musicians read music, a global manufacturer of plastics that just bought part of the old Sunoco Marcus Hook refinery and Walmart.

Also attending are 19 representatives of the commonwealth, including the heads of a few state agencies and First Lady Susan Corbett, who plans to promote Pennsylvania tourism.

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State Government
6:27 am
Fri April 5, 2013

Lower Interest Rate Extended for State Loan Programs

The Corbett administration is sweetening the pot for a bit longer for businesses applying to participate in certain state loan initiatives.

A three-month pilot program offering a lower interest rate is being extended for applications submitted through June. The lower rate was inspired by a recommendation from a governor-appointed commission tasked with finding ways to spur investment in the manufacturing sector and support efforts to retain and create jobs.

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Economic Growth Initiative
5:29 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Corbett Administration Hewing to New Rules for Grant Program

The Corbett administration says it’s trying to make an executive branch grant program leaner without having to wait for legislation.

Scroll through a list of projects that have gotten money since 1986 from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, which is controlled by the governor’s office, and you see some big numbers: $35 million. $85 million. $185 million dollars.

Sometimes the grants went to train stations and business parks. Sometimes they went to convention centers and stadiums.

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Pennsylvania
10:15 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Millionaire Tom Knox Won't Run for Pa. Governor

Millionaire business executive Tom Knox says he won't run for Pennsylvania governor and is instead considering another bid for Philadelphia mayor.

Knox said in a statement Thursday he has decided not to run for governor. In recent weeks, other Democrats have been announcing plans to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in his expected 2014 re-election bid.

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Liquor Privatization
6:58 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Corbett Warns Senate: Finish Liquor by July

The liquor privatization bill that passed the state House is complex.

It has been years in the making. Its bouquet contains elements of many differing retail interests.

But unlike a fine wine, Gov. Tom Corbett isn’t asking the state Senate to let it breathe or drink it in slowly.

The governor’s message here is: Get it down quickly.

At a press conference near Reading on Wednesday, he turned to the lone state senator in the room with a warning:

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Health
12:03 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Corbett Meets With Sebelius: No Decision Made on Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Tom Corbett met with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday night to discuss, among other things, potential Medicaid expansion in the state. 

Expanding Medicaid, the federal-state medical assistance program, would cover thousands more people in Pennsylvania. Part of the Affordable Care Act, governors have the option to decide if they will expand coverage in their states.

Corbett has said he won't because he doesn't think the state can sustain the costs of the program over time. 

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