Did porngate email spotlight lead to new open records requirement?

Beginning last summer as an outgrowth of the Moulton investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case and continuing this fall with the controversy surrounding Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the once-deleted and later discovered pornographic and lewd emails sent between state employees and officials has put a new spotlight on how emails are stored in agency servers.

The Commonwealth Court in an unreported opinion Wednesday at least hinted that the spotlight caused by the controversial emails and ensuing fallout led to their conclusion that an agency must search its servers to determine whether potentially deleted emails exist before denying a Right to Know request on the basis of the emails not existing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Quiet Capitol preludes busy session weeks to come

As budget meetings between Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative Republican leaders continue in private out of Pennsylvania’s capital on the day following the extended Labor Day weekend, the Capitol’s main rotunda took on a hush reminiscent of the first few days post-budget veto.

To the outward observer, not much would appear to be going on at Pennsylvania’s seat of government.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

IFO: Year-to-date revenue collections down one percent

A report out this week from Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office shows year-to-date General Fund revenue collections as of August were down just under one percent from August 2014.

According to the IFO, the Commonwealth collected $1.87 million in August, bringing FY 2015-2016 collections to about $4 billion, a decrease of $34 million from FY 2014-2015.

August General Fund collections, however, were up 4.3 percent when compared to the monthly collections for August 2014.

The collections numbers were largely confirmed by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue in a release Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

DeNaples restrictions upheld by Gaming Control Board

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Wednesday denied a petition by Louis DeNaples, the one-time owner of Mt. Airy Casino, to have board-placed restrictions on his ability to do business with the casino removed and limit the scope of a background check so businesses he owns can serve as a vendor to the casino.

While the petition to remove the restrictions and limit the background check received a majority vote, it did not receive a “qualified majority vote,” which consists of at least one gubernatorial appointee of the board and all four legislative appointees voting in favor of a particular matter.

Board Chairman William Ryan and Commissioner Annmarie Kaiser voted against DeNaples’s petition. Both were appointees of Gov. Tom Corbett.

Richard Jewell, a June 2015 appointment of House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), was the dissenting legislative appointee.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General tries to light a fire under budget negotiations

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale had one message for budget negotiators Tuesday: his office is watching.

“If you don’t get a budget deal done, the Auditor General is going to continue to hammer the lack of wasting money, not getting the deal done, and our kids are going to get hurt in the process,” he said.

The message came in a press conference where DePasquale announced that for the first time in the history of his office, the Department of Auditor General will be taking into account the costs being incurred by school districts as a result of the stalemate.

Accordingly, he said, his office is directing school district auditors to include an analysis of the cost of the budget stalemate during the course of normal school district audits.

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