Movita Johnson-Harrell sworn in as state representative

Movita Johnson-Harrell sworn in as state representative

Monday marked a historic day for the Pennsylvania General Assembly, as the House of Representatives swore in Movita Johnson-Harrell (D-Philadelphia) as the newest member of the chamber — and also the first Muslim woman in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 
 
Johnson-Harrell now represents the 190th legislative district, which covers a portion of Philadelphia. 
Monday, March 25, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Did You Get The Memo? Sexual assault, special elections and committee chair selection legislation

Did You Get The Memo? Sexual assault, special elections and committee chair selection legislation

With so much legislation filed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, some naturally garner more attention than others. From resolutions designating the state pet of Pennsylvania to bills that have significant financial implications, a lot can be unearthed from sifting through the legislature’s co-sponsorship memos.
 
In the past week, there has been an array of proposals that would affect everything from sexual assault protocols in schools and the General Assembly to how special elections in the state are funded, which is why we’re going to take a look at some of the most interesting co-sponsorship memos filed in the General Assembly this week.
Friday, March 22, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Auditor general paints grim financial picture of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Auditor general paints grim financial picture of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released results Thursday of his recent audit into the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), painting a harrowing picture of the agency’s financial state and the uphill battle the commission faces in sustaining the turnpike while also keeping it affordable for travelers.
 
DePasquale pointed to financial barriers the commission is facing — including $11.8 billion worth of debt and annual payments to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) of $450 million for non-turnpike projects — as catalysts for the commission’s dismal financial picture and rising toll costs.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Senate Democrats unveil student loan refinancing plan

Senate Democrats unveil student loan refinancing plan

Pennsylvania college graduates have the highest amount of student loan debt per capita in the nation, and over 1.8 million residents carrying student loan debt. Three Pennsylvania senators are hoping their latest proposal will make it easier for these students to pay back their student debt by providing them the opportunity to refinance their loans at a lower, fixed interest rate.
 

Senators Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), Katie Muth (D-Montgomery) and Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny) spoke with reporters Wednesday to outline the Pennsylvania Student HELP Act, a multi-faceted bill that would allow students to refinance debt payments at a 4 percent fixed interest rate, while also enhancing protections for borrowers. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
Pension forfeiture bill nears governor’s desk

Pension forfeiture bill nears governor’s desk

In what will likely be the first bill signed into law this session, SB 113 is nearing Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk and after confirmation to a House amendment by the Senate, is just a signature away from strengthening pension forfeiture requirements for public officials convicted of job-related felonies.  

The bill, sponsored by Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin), aims to close a loophole that currently allows public employees to keep taxpayer-funded pensions when convicted of certain felonies. If signed into law, those found guilty of crimes relating to public employment — including conspiracy — would have their pension benefits forfeited under the new law.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019/Author: Justin Sweitzer
Categories: News and Views
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