Arneson to resume Open Records director post for the time

Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday that his administration would not oppose the motion to lift the stay of the Commonwealth Court’s order of last week reinstating Erik Arneson as head of the Office of Open Records, while his office appeals the decisions.

In cases of an appeal, there is an automatic stay of the lower court’s order unless lifted.

After the Commonwealth Court held that Gov. Wolf exceeded his authority in firing Arneson in February, the Wolf administration stated their intention to appeal. When Arneson showed up to work at the Office of Open Records after the court order, he was turned away pending the appeal.

The decision Monday effectively reinstates Arneson to the post for which he was hired by Gov. Tom Corbett and later fired from by Gov. Wolf.

Monday, June 15, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Capitol Quick Hits for 6.15.15

Capitol Quick Hits for 6.15.15

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

  • A diverse group of organizations comprising the Disability Budget Coalition held a rally in the Main Capitol this morning to tell their individual stories about how home and community based services have helped them while saving the Commonwealth money. Disability advocate Linda Anthony explained more than eighty organizations have joined forces to champion the fact that community support for the disabled saves money and makes sense.
  • Members of the Government Reform Caucus joined together in the Media Center today to call for enactment of a gift ban and to discuss the caucus’s legislative endorsement process. Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), co-chair of the Government Reform Caucus pointed out that last year the caucus was pushing gift ban legislation, and with the governor’s enactment of a ban, remains hopeful to get it done this year.
  • Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne and Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin Wiessmann today urged Pennsylvanians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and reminded them of the opportunity to confidentially report any suspicions of elder abuse using a statewide hotline. 

Monday, June 15, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: Event Central
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PlanCON reform urged by public school officials

PlanCON reform urged by public school officials

Groups and officials representing Pennsylvania public school interests called on lawmakers and the governor to support legislation that would significantly reform PlanCON, the process by which school districts are reimbursed for construction projects.

“[PlanCON] consists of eleven laborious, paperwork intensive, bureaucratic, archaic, and out-of-date paperwork submissions,” said Jay Himes of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. “Taken altogether, it is simply a train wreck when it comes to the state budget and its ability to fund the commitment the Commonwealth should have made for schools to get reimbursed.”

He said the current PlanCON process and the lack of funding resulting in less-than-expected reimbursements for construction projects has led to cuts in programs and personnel as well as increases to property taxes.

Speakers noted many of PlanCON’s provisions—which have their origin in the 1970s—still remain in effect today.

Monday, June 15, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Republicans claim agreement reached on structural deficit; administration says conversations are ongoing

Republicans claim agreement reached on structural deficit; administration says conversations are ongoing

Republicans in the legislature are claiming a major breakthrough in the steps toward a budget agreement: agreement between them and the Wolf administration on a deficit number.

According to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware), the agreement reached with the governor late last week puts the current structural deficit at $1.2 billion.

“The meeting took place maybe last Tuesday or Wednesday and the meeting was with the four chairmen of the Appropriations Committee and the four executive directors as well as the Budget Secretary as well as the governor himself,” Rep. Adolph told The PLS Reporter.

“After about an hour and a half discussion, there has been agreement that the starting point for this year is somewhere around $300 million and the structural deficit that we are working with is somewhere at $1.2 billion.”

Monday, June 15, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Star power added to Pennsylvania medical marijuana saga

Star power added to Pennsylvania medical marijuana saga

At first it was the Mama Bears—Thursday it was Montel—as the one-time daytime talk show host came to the Capitol Rotunda to call on lawmakers to enact medical marijuana legalization legislation this session.

Montel Williams addressed by name Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga), who chairs the House Health Committee where a Senate-passed legalization bill sits, and urged him to move the bill from committee.

Rep. Baker has said he will not bring the bill up for a vote in his committee due to his opposition to the legalization of medical marijuana without further study.

“Politics is the only reason this bill has been held up,” Williams said, calling upon Rep. Baker to do “real research” on the subject of the medical benefits of marijuana.

Thursday, June 11, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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