Turzai on budget talks: “There’s a wide gulf on many issues”

Turzai on budget talks: “There’s a wide gulf on many issues”

Following Tuesday morning’s meeting between legislative Republican leadership and Gov. Tom Wolf, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told The PLS Reporter “there’s a wide gulf on many issues.”

“We’re continuing to meet, there’s a lot of issues to cover, a lot of work to do,” he said exiting the meeting.

Also leaving the meeting was House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) who struck just a slightly more optimistic tone about resolving outstanding issues including pension reform and liquor privatization.

However, he said one sticking point continues to be the exact amount of the deficit that needs to be tackled in the FY 2015-2016 budget, until that can be determined, Rep. Reed said those issues will have to wait.

“We need to figure out what is a structural deficit [and] that folks are actually agreeing on what the numbers are,” he said. “There still is a significant difference between the House and the Senate, where the IFO and where the Budget Secretary is on what an actual budget deficit is.” 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House poised to vote on resolution condemning Gov. Wolf

House poised to vote on resolution condemning Gov. Wolf

The House Judiciary Committee moved to the full House a resolution calling Gov. Tom Wolf’s moratorium on the death penalty unconstitutional and condemning his actions in instituting the moratorium and issuing continued death penalty reprieves.

Three Democrats joined all Republicans on the committee in supporting the resolution.

“Pennsylvania law currently provides the use of the death penalty as punishment for some of the Commonwealth’s most ruthless, heinous criminals,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery), prime sponsor of the resolution. “Shortly after taking office, the governor announced he was unilaterally implementing a moratorium on death penalty executions.”

In February, Gov. Wolf said he was issuing the moratorium until he receives and reviews the report of the Advisory Committee and Task Force on Capital Punishment and any recommendations in the report are addressed. The report was due in December 2013.

Monday, June 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Amid concerns, House committee advances changes to child protection law

While a number of members expressed concern that House Bill 1276 will roll back significant changes made to background-check provisions of Pennsylvania’s child protection laws, the House Children and Youth Committee moved the bill to the full House for consideration Monday by a vote of 24 to 2.

According to a House Republican caucus bill summary of the legislation, House Bill 1276 is aimed at narrowing background check requirements for employees and volunteers who work with children and clarifying 2014 changes to the law that have drawn the most complaints.

While a number of concerns were raised about the bill, Chairman Kathy Watson (R-Bucks) said any amendments would have to be offered in the floor and not in committee.

“I want to give everyone the opportunity to be heard…but it might not happen very seriously in the committee,” she said.

Monday, June 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Costa reacts to Senate rejection of Marcus Brown as state police commissioner

VIDEO: Costa reacts to Senate rejection of Marcus Brown as state police commissioner

Following a Senate vote of 26 to 22 to not confirm Acting State Police Commissioner Col. Marcus Brown's nomination, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa gives his reaction to the vote. 

Monday, June 8, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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Scarnati on Col. Brown confirmation process: “This is a nightmare that none of us have asked for”

Scarnati on Col. Brown confirmation process: “This is a nightmare that none of us have asked for”

The Senate on Monday declined to confirm Acting State Police Commissioner Col. Marcus Brown’s nomination to lead the Pennsylvania State Police by a vote of 26 to 22.

While three Republican senators joined all Democrats in supporting the nomination, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) told reporters Col. Brown’s failure to win confirmation was not the result of any one incident or controversy.

“I think the bigger issue was how the nominee handled these questions, the forthrightness he used to come forward,” he said. “His story kept changing on a number of these issues.”

Monday, June 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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