More Republicans cancel PA Society plans as House members caucus on detail-less budget framework outline

More Republicans cancel PA Society plans as House members caucus on detail-less budget framework outline

Tuesday, both caucuses of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives met to discuss the five-party budget framework legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf agreed to just a week ago.

While the broad strokes of the plan remain the same—increased education spending, some sort of liquor reform, and pension reform—the details as to how those priorities would be achieved and how the money will be raised to fund them remained giant question marks.

“There’s still some details that need to be worked out with the administration and the Senate, particularly as it relates to education funding distribution models and that sort of stuff,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) after a three-hour, post-session Republican caucus meeting.

“This was the first step in the process of getting action on all these items within the next week,” he added.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Porn email special prosecutor’s probe to be “far more than a fishing expedition”

Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Tuesday the appointment of Douglas Gansler as a special deputy attorney general tasked with investigating emails sent on state government servers that are tied to the current email scandal known both as “porngate” and “hategate.”

Gansler, a one-time Maryland attorney general, who was subject to failed impeachment proceedings in 2010 over his argument that Maryland should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, is currently a partner in the Washington, DC law firm BuckleySandler LLP.

In appointing Gansler to begin the email probe, Attorney General Kane said the investigation is part of what being an independent attorney general “is all about.”

“Every person has equal rights to fairness in the judicial system, in the criminal or civil courts, in the workplace, and in our government,” she said. “No African American should walk into a courtroom where the judge, or prosecutor, or defense attorney mocks and ridicules him or her behind a closed network because of the color of his skin. No woman should go to work and be subjected to consistent treatment of consistent indignity by women haters because they were born with one less body part.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
AG Kane to make special prosecutor announcement in Philadelphia

AG Kane to make special prosecutor announcement in Philadelphia

Attorney General Kathleen Kane is expected to follow through on a promise made last week by holding a press announcement Tuesday in Philadelphia to release the details of special prosecutors she will appoint to search government servers for more porn-related emails.

Kane spokesperson Chuck Ardo said Monday he did not know whether or not the attorney general will be taking questions during her appearance at the Constitution Center and had no further details on the announcement other than the 11:00 a.m. start time.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Special Committee on Senate Address voting last week 5-2 to move ahead with developing removal procedures that would put the question of whether there is reasonable cause to remove the attorney general before the entire Senate body.

Monday, November 30, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Work continues on details of “house of cards” budget

Work continues on details of “house of cards” budget

Monday, the first day after the Thanksgiving holiday, the details of what a final budget agreement will look like remained shrouded in mystery, as staff continued meetings to flesh out the details of what has been described by some as a “house of cards” budget.

After last week’s near-collapse of a potential budget agreement, legislative leaders emerged from a meeting with a governor with what appeared to be new resolve to complete a still-fluid budget framework in the weeks before Christmas.

According to multiple sources, staff from all legislative caucuses and the Wolf administration met over the weekend to keep that spirit alive and discuss various aspects of a final budget.

House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) told The PLS Reporter that at least a dozen meetings took place at the staff level between Thanksgiving and Monday, where they were “trying to put all the pieces together” to get agreement between all four legislative caucuses and the governor’s office.

Monday, November 30, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Senate to move forward with developing Kane removal procedure while AG threatens to fight process, investigate for more porn-related emails

The Special Committee on Senate Addressed met their November 25th deadline and released their report on whether or not the Senate should move forward with removal proceedings on Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

By a 5-2 vote, the committee recommended the Senate move forward with removal and said they would have a resolution to present to the full body within 15 days for a vote that will outline the process and procedure by which the Senate will provide due notice to Attorney General Kane and hold a hearing to determine if there is reasonable cause to remove the attorney general.

Senators Art Haywood (D-Montgomery) and Judy Schwank (D-Berks) voted in opposition to moving forward with the removal proceedings.

In another matter addressed by the report, all seven senators sitting on the committee voted in agreement that the Senate does have jurisdiction over the matter.

In finding sufficient evidence to move forward with the removal proceedings, the report says the committee found that many of the attorney general’s job functions are legal in nature, the attorney general is not performing a majority of her job responsibilities, and the current situation is “having a significant adverse impact on public opinion."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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