Dispute over purely public charities definitional ability continues

Dispute over purely public charities definitional ability continues

The inter-branch conflict over whether the courts or the legislature has the ability to define what enterprises constitute purely public charities continued Tuesday as Senate Bill 4—the constitutional amendment placing the definitional authority with the legislature—advanced through the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The legislation is not without conflict within the legislature itself.

As when the bill passed through the Senate Finance Committee last week, a number of members voted in opposition to the legislation under the logic that the change in definitional authority could have a detrimental impact on municipalities and their ability to tax businesses, an arguably critical source of revenue.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Gov. Wolf will sign Senate medical marijuana proposal

Gov. Wolf will sign Senate medical marijuana proposal

In what was described as a 180-degree change from the prior administration, Gov. Tom Wolf Tuesday told legislators and families supporting the legalization of medical marijuana he would sign such legislation if it got to his desk.

“I believe that doctors should have the ability and the right to prescribe the drugs they understand and makes the most sense for their patients,” he said. “No Pennsylvanian should suffer needlessly when we have the ability to treat them.”

The bill, currently in the form of Senate Bill 3, is largely the same product that passed the Senate last year by a 43-7 vote.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Medical marijuana legalization has new life as House Majority Leader expresses support

Taking a decidedly different tone from House Republican leadership last session, new House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) said he was supportive of the concept to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania during Monday’s press club luncheon.

“I do support the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania,” he said. “I am hopeful we can get to a situation where we can negotiate a product in the House with a product in the Senate that the governor is willing to accept and sign into law.”

Monday, January 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Lawsuit filed over Arneson’s firing focuses on office’s independence, quasi-judicial function

In the latest in the saga over Gov. Tom Wolf’s firing of current/former Office of Open Records executive director Erik Arneson saw the Senate Republican Caucus file a lawsuit on his behalf Monday afternoon.

The lawsuit seeks a declaratory judgment for the caucus as to Arneson’s status and seeks to have the court use its powers of injunctive relief to place Arneson back at OOR’s helm.

In making their argument, the Senate Republicans offer that the OOR’s executive director is not subject to the governor’s at-will removal given the independent nature of the office and the quasi-judicial function of the office, both of which they claim courts have found act as checks on the governor’s authority to remove appointees. 

Monday, January 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Leader Reed sets House GOP agenda

House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) struck a tone of bipartisanship at Monday’s Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon where he outlined his caucus’s legislative priorities, noting they broadly align with Gov. Tom Wolf’s as announced at his inaugural addressed.

While he said his caucus agrees economic, education, and government reform are a priority, Rep. Reed noted there may be a difference as to how to achieve the broad-based policy goals on which many—if not all—agree Pennsylvania needs to tackle.

Monday, January 26, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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