Pre-Thanksgiving flurry leads to more negotiations on to-be agreed to budget framework

Pre-Thanksgiving flurry leads to more negotiations on to-be agreed to budget framework

After the Senate unexpectedly announced Tuesday evening they would return to session that night and try to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s stopgap budget veto, a flurry of activity between the four legislative caucuses and the governor’s office left Republicans and Democrats to try and negotiate a full-year spending plan that can be passed sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Legislators have yet to decide on when they will reconvene, but all seemed to agree that there will be no voting session held until the week of November 30th.

Staff will stay through the Thanksgiving holiday to work on legislation that can be run that week.

Details on what remains of the budget framework announced two weeks ago were scant Tuesday night as legislative leaders tried to keep mum on specifics about what lies ahead as the budget situation became as intense as ever in the nearly five-month long budget stalemate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

Pension reform vehicle continues progress while compromise plan languishes in discussions

The Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday voted along party-lines to move along Senate Bill 1071, the pension reform legislative vehicle, while a compromise amendment continues to languish amid discussions and actuarial analysis.

The bill in its current form reflects Senate Bill 1 as vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in early July.

“It is the intent of the chair to advance this bill forward, given the time that we’re standing in the year and the lengthy process associated with providing for an amendment to the retirement codes, as a means to advance the process forward,” Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) told the committee Tuesday.

He said it is not the intent to advance the provisions of Senate Bill 1 again to the governor, but to use it as a vehicle for an amendment “that is being worked on now, that has been worked on for the last several months as a means to provide for an alternative plan design change, pension changes to be considered by the General Assembly.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
State Police one step closer to having confirmed commissioner

State Police one step closer to having confirmed commissioner

Tuesday saw a significant step forward for the Col. Tyree Blocker, the acting commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, as his nomination was unanimously recommended favorably by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

This marked the first time a nominee of Gov. Tom Wolf to be Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement officer was favorably recommended to the entire Senate.

The previous nominee, now-Pennsylvania Homeland Security Director Marcus Brown, was reported to the Senate without recommendation.

In presenting Col. Blocker to the committee, Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) said he is “person of excellence.”

Citing Col. Blocker’s knowledge of community relations, new technology, and State Police structure, Sen. Dinniman stated he has the respect of the troopers who will be serving underneath him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: Sen. Williams calls for judicial investigation and reform

VIDEO: Sen. Williams calls for judicial investigation and reform

Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) is calling on the Attorney General's office to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the latest series of email communications involving Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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VIDEO: Santora urges Gov. Wolf to resume EITC Program

VIDEO: Santora urges Gov. Wolf to resume EITC Program

In a Tuesday morning press conference, Rep. James Santora (R-Delaware), along with other members of the Republican caucus, urged the governor to release letters to businesses that have planned to participate in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program to help bring proper funding to Pennsylvania schools. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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