With push to bring back mandatory minimums gaining traction, Democrats are divided on policy's merit

With push to bring back mandatory minimums gaining traction, Democrats are divided on policy's merit

There is little doubt that criminal justice reform has been one of the biggest bipartisan movements in recent years in the Capitol, with members of both parties coalescing around reducing the state’s prison population to save money and give many offenders a second chance.

But now members are faced with a dilemma - as they search for ways to curtail gun violence across the commonwealth, should that kind of reform extend to those convicted of gun or violent crimes.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Democratic legislators hold hearing on the use of force in Pennsylvania

Democratic legislators hold hearing on the use of force in Pennsylvania

Over a year after the shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr, the ripple effect from the teenager’s death continues to be felt. On Tuesday afternoon in the neighborhood where he lived, Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) and Rep. Summer Lee (D-Allegheny) gathered advocates and lawmakers from across the state to discuss legislation that would prevent police officers from using lethal force in the course of making arrests. 

As it stands the commonwealth gives officers a great deal of flexibility in when to use lethal force. If passed, the legislation - already controversial in its infancy - would only permit shooting if it’s necessary to protect an officer or others from imminent death or injury. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: Pittsburgh
Save it for a rainy day: As lawmakers look to save the surplus, some say it’s already raining

Save it for a rainy day: As lawmakers look to save the surplus, some say it’s already raining

Ever since updated revenue figures showing a positive balance were released this spring, Pennsylvania lawmakers have been clamoring to put as much of the state surplus as they can into the Rainy Day Fund. 

The fund, which serves as a state coffer for economic downturns and emergencies, has one of the lowest totals in the country, leaving Pennsylvania vulnerable in the event of a natural disaster or recession. 
Wednesday, June 26, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Organizers and elected officials confront UPMC board at tension-filled meeting

Organizers and elected officials confront UPMC board at tension-filled meeting

Once a year, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s board members host a public meeting for patients and the public to testify and to gain a better understanding of how decisions are made. With tension over labor unions rising and a consent decree set to expire in weeks, activists, workers on strike, patients, and a gaggle of elected officials on Tuesday took the meeting as a chance to air their grievances about the health enterprise’s labor practices and, in their opinion, less than charitable behavior.

However, in the blazing sun and with looming security at UPMC Montefiore Hospital, where the meeting was held, the crowd of 150 would find that easier said than done.
Wednesday, May 29, 2019/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: News and Views
Abortion vote underscores shifting makeup of Democratic caucus

Abortion vote underscores shifting makeup of Democratic caucus

A bill barring abortion on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis cleared the House Tuesday, prompting cheers from abortion opponents. 15 Democrats joined an overwhelming majority of their Republican colleagues in supporting the controversial proposal.

But a first glance at the roll call vote on HB 321, authored by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), belies its significance relative to the changing profile of the Democratic Caucus in the House. 
Wednesday, May 15, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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