Auditor General: Officials in 18 counties accepted gifts from voting machine manufacturers

Auditor General: Officials in 18 counties accepted gifts from voting machine manufacturers

As counties across the state work to comply with a mandate from the governor requiring new voting machines, the state auditor general announced Friday at least 18 counties reported accepting gifts from election equipment vendors dating back to 2013. 

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the report found four companies feted county election officials with gifts ranging from travel to amusement park tickets to free food and drink. The inquiry was launched after it was revealed last year that the top elections official in Luzerne County accepted a Las Vegas trip from manufacturer Election Systems and Software.
Friday, February 22, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Despite questions over a lack of hearing, House Judiciary approves Marsy's Law

Despite questions over a lack of hearing, House Judiciary approves Marsy's Law

The House Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that would protect the rights of crime victims in the state’s constitution, despite objections from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and at least four committee members.

The amendment, known as Marsy’s Law, has been enacted in at least six other states. The Pennsylvania version, authored by Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) would ensure victims have the right to be notified about court proceedings, be present at hearings and speak at plea and sentencing proceedings, among other rights.
Thursday, February 21, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Fees, climate change sticking points in House Environmental Resources hearing

Fees, climate change sticking points in House Environmental Resources hearing

Fees collected by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the ongoing debate on the effects of climate change are slated to be major issues for the House Environmental Resources committee this session, if a Tuesday hearing with top DEP staff is any indication.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell presented his agency’s budget overview before the committee but spent most of his time fielding questions from members related to how his program spends money gained from fees it charges for permit applications, including for companies seeking to drill in the Marcellus Shale formation.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
Southeast PA lawmakers aren't backing down on pipelines, despite action on Mariner East project

Southeast PA lawmakers aren't backing down on pipelines, despite action on Mariner East project

Many lawmakers and conservationists breathed a sigh of relief when the Department of Environmental Protection announced last week it would halt permit review on the controversial Mariner East pipeline.

But not Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-Chester).

“On the heels of that announcement, I’m watching bulldozers roll into my neighborhood right now,” Friel Otten said. “As I drive through my community, they are ramping up to get started on construction throughout Chester County again.”
Friday, February 15, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
As lawmakers probe Wolf's teacher pay raise, long term effects worry school districts

As lawmakers probe Wolf's teacher pay raise, long term effects worry school districts

For Louis Lepley, superintendent of the North Star School District, attracting and retaining teachers in his rural Somerset County district can be a tall task.

“You can’t blame them, we’re not one of the higher paying districts in the state, and when [teachers] get that experience then we see a lot of them leave,” Lepley said. “And hats off to them--unless they have local ties, there’s a good chance they’re leaving.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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