Tom Corbett

Same-Sex Marriage
11:57 am
Thu August 29, 2013

PA Attorneys: Gay Couples Like Kids, Can't Marry

Attorneys for Pennsylvania's Republican governor say marriage licenses given to same-sex couples in the state are invalid because the couples were barred from marrying — just like "12-year-olds."

Gov. Tom Corbett's administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County.

State attorneys say in a Wednesday court filing the licenses have no "legitimacy." They compare gay and lesbian couples to children, who can't marry because a 1996 law says marriage is between a man and a woman.

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Government & Politics
2:16 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Corbett Forces Out 2nd Education Chief in 3 Months

Gov. Tom Corbett has dismissed another education secretary, the second in three months.

Corbett's office said Monday that the governor has asked for and received the resignation of his nominee for the job, William Harner, less than three months after he started.

A Corbett spokeswoman says Harner's removal is because of a personnel matter that doesn't involve his service to the state, but she declined to elaborate.

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Government & Politics
5:50 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

State Officials’ Free Gala Tickets Lead To Discrepancies In Ethics Reports

A look at how public officials treated free tickets to an event in Philadelphia shows a wide variety of interpretations of the state ethics law.

In 2012, the Barnes Foundation celebrated its art collection’s new home with a gala in the new building. Between 2006 and 2011 the museum received more than $47 million in public funding.

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Government & Politics
7:03 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Corbett, Krancer Fail To Disclose Vacation Homes

Governor Corbett has failed to list an out-of-state vacation home he bought last year on his annual financial disclosure form.

The governor and his wife, First Lady Susan Corbett spent $265,000 last year on a condo at a beachfront resort community in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Public records show the deed and mortgage documents were filed December 5, 2012, but the governor did not list it in his annual Code of Conduct statement of financial interest.

Government & Politics
3:30 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Democratic Congressional Delegation: Don't Mess With PA's Electoral College

Democratic Congressman Mike Doyle wants it on record that he and the rest of his fellow Democrats in the Pennsylvania delegation are opposed to changing the Electoral College.

They have sent a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett warning him that passage of PA Senate Bill 538 would have consequences. The bill was introduced in February by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware) and hasn't shown much movement since. But Doyle said that does not mean the bill is dead.

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Politics
3:34 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

PA Democrats Launch Campaign Against Gov. Corbett

Leading up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s expected re-election announcement, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party is launching a “Promises Made, Promises Broken” campaign aimed at highlighting what they called the Republican governor’s failures.

“From taxes to state parks, the governor has broken campaign promises, we intend to hold him accountable,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn.

The campaign is in anticipation of Corbett’s re-election campaign which is expected to have a “Promises Made, Promises Kept” theme.  

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State Government
3:28 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

In Latest Shake-Up, Two Top Corbett Aides Jump Ship

Gov. Tom Corbett says he's hiring his third chief of staff and his third secretary of legislative affairs in as many years as he struggles to improve his public image and his clout inside the Capitol.

Corbett made the announcement Wednesday.

Veteran Republican lobbyist and political strategist Leslie Gromis Baker will replace Steve Aichele as Corbett's chief of staff. Aichele was Corbett's chief counsel when he took office in January 2011, but became chief of staff last year in a separate shake-up.

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Government & Politics
7:10 am
Mon July 1, 2013

State Budget Signed On Time, But Deadline Moves for Rest of Corbett's Agenda

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an on-time budget, but he can claim zero victories on his other top priorities: liquor privatization, transportation funding or pension overhaul.
Credit Mary Wilson / 90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett has signed an on-time budget, but without any victories on his other top three legislative priorities.

Liquor privatization, transportation funding and pension overhaul will have to wait until the fall for further legislative action.

A transportation funding plan got stuck in the House. A bid to change how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania stalled in the Senate. Pension overhaul is a plan neither chamber is ready to advance.

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Government & Politics
11:56 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Gay Rights Advocate Says PA Law Means Inequality

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage says nothing about the validity of Pennsylvania's ban.

Despite the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday, gay marriage bans still stand in Pennsylvania and roughly three dozen other states. Pennsylvania's constitution, however, does not ban gay marriage.

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State Government
6:56 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Crunch Time for Corbett's Agenda, and State Budget

As the state budget deadline looms, lawmakers are still considering Gov. Tom Corbett's "big three" priorities: pension reforms, transportation funding and liquor reform.
Credit 90.5 WESA

The state budget deadline is days away, but the spending plan is practically an afterthought to lawmakers as Gov. Tom Corbett's other priorities remain unresolved.

A scaled-back pension overhaul proposal is advancing in the Senate and still needs House approval. But it's not the subject of intense disagreement between the chambers, as Senate GOP spokesman Erik Arneson notes is true of other items on the governor's to-do list, like transportation funding and liquor privatization.

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Government & Politics
12:59 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

DCNR Chief's Resignation 'Asked For and Received'

Another member of the Corbett administration is out: Richard Allan, head of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has resigned.

The news came in a press release from the governor's office, which said the resignation was "asked for" and would be effective immediately.

No reason was given for Allan's departure.

"It's a personnel matter so I can't discuss it, other than to say that it has nothing to do with any differences of public policy," said Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley.

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Transportation
9:45 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Speeding Ticket Surcharge May Be On Chopping Block

State lawmakers may take issue with making speeding tickets cost any more than they already do.

A proposal to tack a $100 surcharge on moving violations was the subject of questions at a Wednesday House Transportation Committee hearing on the $2.5 billion transportation funding proposal.

The revenue generated from the surcharge would be slated for mass transit, and with a number of rural House lawmakers already balking at funding mass transit systems, the proposal might be one of the least popular items in a bill full of unpalatable revenue generators.

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State Government
3:41 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Corbett Pushes Liquor Privatization Ahead of Expected Action in Senate

At an umpteenth press conference called by the governor on liquor privatization, press aides futzed around, arranging a people asked to stand around the podium with ready smiles and applause.

The state Senate is next to act in this saga that began with a plan to close down the state wine and spirits stores.

State lawmakers have less than three weeks before the governor's deadline for passing a liquor privatization bill. Much is still unknown about how the process will unfold.

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Politics
4:10 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Peduto Meets with Corbett, Other Officials in Harrisburg Visit

Pittsburgh Councilman and Democratic Mayoral Nominee Bill Peduto is reaching across the aisle — and the state — to bridge the relationship between Pittsburgh and the Capitol.

Peduto spent Monday and Tuesday in Harrisburg for what he called a “relationship-building” visit.

“There hasn’t been that much communication between the city and Harrisburg for the past several years, so I think it’s welcome, but again, at the same time it’s not something that you can just do once, it has to be on a consistent basis,” Peduto said.

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State Government
12:26 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Corbett, Counties Push Block Grant Expansion

Several county commissioners and state lawmakers are joining Gov. Tom Corbett in a push to expand a pilot program to change the way counties receive human services funding.

The proposal is one of the governor's lower-profile budget priorities. He wants to allow all counties to receive their state funding for seven distinct human services in a single block grant.

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State Government
6:54 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Union Rallies Against Corbett's Budget, Pension Plans

An estimated 350 state and public sector workers rallied at the state Capitol Monday to call for more funding for education and human services.

Members of the Service Employees International Union also urged Gov. Tom Corbett to drop his calls for pension overhaul, which would include reducing the future benefits of current state and public school employees.

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Transportation
3:58 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Gov. Urges More Investment in Roads and Bridges

Governor Tom Corbett and PA Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch look at the underside of the Liberty Bridge, which is one of 4,000 structurally deficient bridges in the state.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Governor Tom Corbett stood under Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge to discuss the need for more investment in road and bridge projects, as well as mass transit. This comes days after the Pennsylvania Senate voted to boost state funding for transportation systems by nearly 50 percent.

“We are moving in the right direction toward a transportation funding program that is sustainable, that is long-term, that is fair, and that is balanced,” said Corbett, “between my proposal and the one offered by Senate Bill 1, it means our roads and bridges will be safer, our economy more sound.

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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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