Veteran lawmaker goes it alone with compromise budget proposal

Rep. Bob Freeman (D-Northampton), a nearly 30-year veteran of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and current Democratic Chairman of the House Local Government Committee, went rogue Wednesday by offering what he feels is a “win-win” piecemeal budget compromise.

“I think it is clear from where we are in the budget impasse today that we have already exhausted every other conceivable option,” he said during a Wednesday morning news conference releasing his proposal. “It’s time to do the right thing.”

Rep. Freeman also made it clear that his proposal does not yet represent the views of any one caucus or the administration, saying the plan is of his own creation.

In more detail, the proposal put forward by Rep. Freeman requires five pieces of legislation all of which he said are needed and should be implemented in a particular order so as to ensure true compromise.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Capitol Quick Hits for 10.20.15

Capitol Quick Hits for 10.20.15

Here are the highlights from news conferences, rallies, and advocacy days held in the Capitol today: 

  • Citizen activist Gene Stilp, and an inflatable pink pig, held a rally in the Main Capitol Rotunda calling on the Senate and Gov. Wolf to take steps to remove embattled Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office. Stilp called on the Senate to exercise a little-known Constitutional provision that allows it to call, after a hearing, for the removal of a state official by a two-third vote.
  • A group of legislators, led by Rep. Kristin Philips-Hill (R-York) and Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), this morning announced the introduction of HB 1649, legislation intended to eliminate the practice of “ghost teaching.” Rep. Philips-Hill explained a loophole in current law allows public school teachers to take leave from the classroom and work fulltime for a teachers’ union while continuing to accrue salary, pension, and seniority.
  • Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin) was joined by the Capital Region Partnership for Career Development in the Capitol Main Rotunda to highlight the critical need to prepare students for life beyond high school graduation. Sen. Teplitz also introduce a resolution designating Oct. 20, 2015 “Pennsylvania Career Development Day.” 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: Event Central
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PA takes first step in changing how appellate judges are selected

PA takes first step in changing how appellate judges are selected

Not without controversy, a constitutional amendment that would change how Pennsylvania’s appellate judges are selected took its first step Tuesday by clearing the House Judiciary Committee by a 16-11 vote.

House Bill 1336 by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) would create a merit selection system for members of Pennsylvania’s intermediate courts and supreme court, allowing a commission of 13 members appointed by the governor and members of the legislature to make recommendations to the governor as to who should become appellate judges when vacancies arise.

Under the bill, the commission would send three names to the governor, who would pick one to be confirmed by a majority of the Senate.

Rep. Cutler introduced similar legislation last session that was ultimately pulled from the committee’s agenda before it could be brought up for a vote.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Frankel bills to address physician gag order in Act 13

VIDEO: Frankel bills to address physician gag order in Act 13

Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), along with Rep, Steve Santarsiero (D-Bucks) and PennEnvironment held a press conference Tuesday morning to release the PennEnivronment report "Dangerous and Close," showing that fracking is encroaching on vulnerable citizens in school and childcare facilities. Rep. Frankel also introduced two pieces of legislation that he said would address public health concerns, specifically regarding the physician gag order of Act 13. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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Rank-and-file Republicans challenge Gov. Wolf on “agreed-to” budget lines

Rank-and-file Republicans challenge Gov. Wolf on “agreed-to” budget lines

Saying they are offering a “lifeline” to social service organizations and public schools, Representatives Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland) and Dan Moul (R-Adams) announced today they are introducing as separate bills the 274 budget line-items they say Republicans and the administration agreed to, but were vetoed by the governor.

According to a news release from the two members, the 274 lines will be introduced in 12 separate appropriations bills.

The legislators said Monday that the rationale for this tactic is clear: these organizations need the money and the legislative math is in their favor.

“Although, of course, we are still in the process of negotiating a budget with the governor, we don’t need to be doing it while holding our human service agencies, and school districts, and school children as hostages,” Rep. Bloom told reporters during a Monday morning press conference.

Monday, October 19, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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