Pension reform’s goals start to take shape despite lack of agreement

Pension reform’s goals start to take shape despite lack of agreement

While budget negotiators continue to hammer out the finer points of what the pension reform portion of the budget framework will entail, those close to the negotiations gave The PLS Reporter a closer look of what goals the reforms hope to achieve as vehicle legislation continued to make its way through the General Assembly Wednesday.

Senate Bill 1071, the current vehicle bill, passed through the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday along a party-line vote.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Senate’s removal power confirmed by LRB legal opinion

At the request of Chairman John Gordner (R-Columbia) of the Special Committee on Senate Address, the Legislative Reference Bureau in a legal opinion Tuesday confirmed the Senate’s authority to remove a sitting attorney general under Article 6, section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The opinion was drafted by Legislative Reference Bureau Director Vince DeLiberato.

The legal authority of the committee was questioned by Attorney General Kathleen Kane in a letter sent to the committee looking into whether or not there are grounds to proceed with the removal process.

"Article VI, § 7 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania provides three distinct methods for removing certain individuals from office:(1) mandatory removal of any civil officer upon conviction for any misbehavior in office or an infamous crime; (2) permissive removal of an appointed civil officer, except judges, at the pleasure of the appointing power; and (3) mandatory removal of an elected civil officer, with exceptions that do not include the Attorney General, 'by the Governor for reasonable cause, after due notice and full hearing, on the address of two-thirds of the Senate'," the opinion reads. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Capitol Quick Hits for 11.17.15

Here are the highlights from news conferences, rallies, and advocacy days held in the Capitol today: 

  • A coalition of community service providers today rallied in the Capitol Rotunda to call attention to the plight of human service organizations across the state and demand passage of an acceptable state budget.
  • Members of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1201 held a rally in Harrisburg to demand a fracking tax and a fair budget. Supporters marched along State Street, ending with a demonstration on the Capitol steps.
  • The Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation held a press conference to unveil a bill package to combat the proliferation, illicit use, and abuse of opioid prescription drugs in Pennsylvania.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
Categories: Event Central
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Property tax elimination vote put off amid technical concerns

A tentatively scheduled vote on a plan that would completely eliminate school district property taxes in Pennsylvania was nixed Tuesday amid technical concerns that sponsors of the plan have agreed to address in advance of a vote by the full Senate now tentatively scheduled for next week.

"Today was supposed to be a full Senate vote to consider the elimination of school property taxes – a proposal drafted by over 80 grassroots taxpayer advocacy groups from across the state," read a released statement from the proposal's sponsors. "Some minor technical concerns regarding the bill’s implementation have been raised. We agreed to make tweaks to the proposal and have it considered next week by the full Senate.”

When asked about the proposal, Senate Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) said there is an interest in moving the proposal next week so long as the issues are taken care of.

“We’re taking a look at it, making sure it’s in a form that members are comfortable with,” he said. “It’s a significant bill, a lot of moving parts. There’s been questions raised regarding some of the provisions of it to make sure it works properly, so there’s been a conversation amongst our front office and the sponsors of the bill to make sure those concerns are addressed and the plan is to move it later."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Pension reform vehicle introduced, scheduled for committee vote

Pension reform vehicle introduced, scheduled for committee vote

A vehicle for the pension reform proposal that is being worked on as part of the budget framework was introduced by Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) Tuesday as Senate Bill 1071 and has already been scheduled to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday morning.

As reported Monday, that committee will also be considering municipal pension reform legislation Wednesday as well.

According to Sen. Browne, the legislation as introduced is merely a vehicle at this point and reflects much of what was in Senate Bill 1, which was vetoed by the governor earlier this year.

“The reason for that is to put a bill in that can carry the final product,” he said. “That bill was structured to carry reforms for both systems, so it was appropriate for us to use that as a vehicle for the final product.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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