State Bill Would Squash Philly’s New Wage Law

Kenney Senate

The fight against Philadelphia’s new wage law may be far from over, and this may come as no surprise to its Philadelphia backers. Comcast already threatened to sue the city over it and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has condemned the law as a misguided assault on business.

And now, legislators in Harrisburg passed senate bill 241 on Wednesday that would serve to nullify the Philly law that bars employers from asking a job candidate what they’ve earned in the past.

The bill, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Tom McGarrigle of Delaware County, was first brought forward on January 31st. Sections of the bill make amendments to the state’s Equal Pay Law. One clause for example, prevents employers from retaliating against an employee who files a pay equity lawsuit in court. And another section basically says that employers can’t force workers to keep quiet about what they’re paid. The measures ostensibly foster equity—employees can’t face consequences if they take action in court and less secrecy around pay gives employer’s less of an opportunity to discriminate.

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Mayor Kenney to Sign Pay Equity Bill

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Mayor Kenney’s support for the pay equity bill hasn’t wavered over the last week. He’s expected to sign the bill into law on Monday, the Inquirer reports.

Kenney made it clear that he will not veto the bill, which will ban employers from asking job candidates what they earned in the past. And he’s made it clear that he’ll sign the bill in the face of opposition. Comcast threatened to lob a lawsuit at the city over First Amendment claims, and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has argued that the bill would create a bureaucratic hassle for businesses that rely on wage history to make decisions about job candidates.

“We just wanted to make sure that all the legal aspects of it were tight before we signed it,” Kenney said. “We may get sued, we may not. But Council passed this measure by a unanimous vote, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t sign it.” Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

The Philly Ballot Questions You’ll See on Election Day 2016, In Plain English

Photo by

Photo by

We know what you’re thinking: Who in God’s name cares about ballot questions when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are up for election? It’s true. The presidential race makes these proposals look as important as the choice between taking a nap and watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But the truth is, it will take just 10 minutes to learn everything you need to know about next week’s ballot questions. And one of them is kind of shady!

Below, we list the questions as you’ll see them in the voting booth, as well as how officials described them “in plain English.” Then we broke them down into really, really plain English.
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Councilman Derek Green Introduces Bill Addressing Gayborhood Racism

Councilman at Large, Derek S. Green, Esq.

Councilman-at-Large Derek S. Green, Esq.

On the heels of the October 25th Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations hearing on Gayborhood racism, City Councilman-at-Large Derek Green introduced companion bills on Thursday that would tie a business’s ability to retain its commercial activity license to its adherence to the city’s existing Fair Practices Ordinance. Read more »

OPINION: Black City Officials Should Speak Out Against Gayborhood Racism

City Council President Darrell Clarke

City Council President Darrell Clarke

It has been nearly two weeks since a video leaked of ICandy owner Darryl DePiano repeatedly using the n-word among his peers. Since then, it has been revealed that one of the named victims during DePiano’s racial tirade was Ricky Peterson, a former black employee of ICandy who no longer feels “comfortable going back to the Gayborhood.”

But despite numerous boycotts and protests that have taken place before and since this incident, black elected officials in Philadelphia — both City Council members and state legislators — have not spoken out publicly against this particular act of racism and potential discrimination in the city.

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How a Council Bill Requiring More Parking Could Backfire

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

PlanPhilly reported yesterday that the City Planning Commission and a number of community groups are having a rough time coming to terms with a bill that would increase the amount of off-street parking developers are required to provide when they build new houses and apartments.

If you’re someone who has ever struggled to find parking in the city, the bill might strike you as a good idea. More off-street parking for residents means more on-street parking for everyone else, right? Well, maybe. Maybe not. And in the long run, it could make parking more difficult and housing more expensive. My former colleague Ashley Hahn has the whole thing in a nutshell right here, but here it is in an even smaller nutshell. Read more »

Henon: “To My Knowledge,” the FBI Hasn’t Contacted My Office

Photo via City Council's Flickr

Photo via City Council’s Flickr

Thursday was City Council’s first meeting of its fall session, which also marked the first day that Councilman Bobby Henon, whose office was raided by the FBI a month ago, had to face a scrum of reporters.

In case you haven’t been following HenonWatch 2016 over here at Philly Mag, we’ve been trying to get him to answer questions about the FBI raid on August 5th. That was the same day that the feds searched the home of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the leader of IBEW Local 98, the union that also pays Henon as a consultant. We’re all still sort of in the dark about the nature of the investigation, and Henon hasn’t been turning the lights on. Read more »

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