Lawsuit challenging some line-item vetoes could be filed by end of the month

Just over three months ago, Gov. Tom Corbett line-item vetoed various portions of the General Appropriations bill and the Fiscal Code, largely cutting or moving expenditures aimed toward the legislature.

Tuesday, The PLS Reporter talked to all four caucuses to discuss their financial outlook and what their feelings are on overriding the governor’s vetoes or pursuing legal action.

Differing views were found among the caucuses.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Gift Ban Legislation Takes Center Stage in Senate, House Will Wait on Legislative Push

Legislation banning public officers from taking cash gifts or their equivalents made its way through the Senate State Government Committee Monday afternoon with the legislation anticipated to be passed by the full Senate by the end of the week.

Senate Bill 1327 by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) amends the law regulating public officers to prohibit the acceptance of cash gifts or their equivalents from a lobbyist or someone with business before the Commonwealth.

Sen. Baker noted she has been interested in introducing the legislation for months, particularly since she represents the area affected by the “Kids-for-Cash” scandal where judges took cash in exchange for sentencing juveniles to facilities owned by those offering the bribes when the sentences were not warranted.

“I believe this bill is a straightforward, commonsense approach,” Sen. Baker stated.

She further noted the bill addresses situations where public officers receive things like “Kohl’s Cash” or other store rewards. “We wanted to ensure that some of those common sense things were also considered as part of the legislation,” she said.

Sen. Baker called this a first step in putting a fundamental principle into law.

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Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

INTIMIDATION TACTICS BILL CLEARS COMMITTEE, HEADS TO FULL SENATE

A loophole in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code allowing for violent intimidation tactics during collective bargaining negotiations is one step closer to being closed.

House Bill 1154, introduced by Rep. Ron Miller (R-York), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today by unanimous vote. One amendment was adopted to the bill.

The bill as amended would close the loophole that allows certain harassment, stalking, and other intimidation tactics when they take place in conjunction with collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The amendment ensured that speech protected by the state and federal constitutions would remain protected under the crimes code; however, it also ensured that uses of weapons of mass destruction in such negotiations are completely illegal.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

RALLY CALLS FOR BETTER HUMAN TRAFFICKING LAWS

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal operation in the world. Pennsylvania is one of only two states lacking a sex trafficking statute.

A group of Senators and advocates met in the Capitol Tuesday morning to show their support for a bill attempting to change both of those facts.

Senate Bill 75, introduced by Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery), aims to provide a definition of human trafficking and prohibit it in Pennsylvania while also giving power to prosecute the perpetrator of human trafficking. The bill also provides training to respond to human and sex trafficking, details a coordinated response plan, and provides for victim services and protection.

“We have to stop treating victims as criminals,” said Sen. Greenleaf. “That’s what’s happening right now.”

Showing bipartisan support for the bill, Senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) agreed with Sen. Greenleaf.

“This is nothing short of human slavery,” opined Sen. Leach. He said Senate Bill 75 would make Pennsylvania one of the most progressive states in the country when it comes to human trafficking enforcement.

Sen. Dinniman stated the impetus to move the bill should come from Pennsylvania’s Quaker founding, a group that he said was vehemently anti-slavery. “We and you are part of a tradition in this Commonwealth, that every man and woman is of value,” Sen. Dinniman said.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views
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