State Could Ban Cold Medicine Sales to Minors

Wikimedia Commons | MarkBuckawicki

Wikimedia Commons | MarkBuckawicki

The war on cold medicine continues.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican who serves parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties, told colleagues this week he will sponsor a bill that bans over-the-counter sales of certain cold medicines to children under the age of 18.

The medicines — Robitussin, Tylenol Cough & Cold, and NyQuil — contain an ingredient, dextromethorphan, that helps suppress coughs. It can also help you get high.

“Unfortunately, some teens are abusing DXM by consuming these medicines in large amounts,” Greenleaf said in a Tuesday memo to colleagues, using a shorthand, DXM, to identify the drug. He said a recent study shows a third of teens use the medicine to get high. Read more »

Pa. Senate to Vote Wednesday on Kane’s Future

"PennsylvaniaKathleen Kane’s ability to survive scandal will face its biggest test so far on Wednesday.

That’s when the Pennsylvania Senate will vote, deciding whether or not the attorney general — whose law license is suspended while she awaits trial on criminal charges — should be ousted from office. Read more »

Study: Philly Support for Public Schools Is On the Rise

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

There is a perception in some circles that the City of Philadelphia has been less than generous when it comes to public schools. But maybe it’s time to rethink that view.

new report from Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics suggests the city has dramatically boosted its financial support for schools in recent years — and that the city’s oft-impoverished residents are carrying a heavier-than-expected tax burden as a result.

The study, “How Well Does Philadelphia Support Its Public Schools? A New Perspective,” avoids concluding that the city “does more than it gets credit for doing.” But it highlights important data: Read more »

Pa. Bill Could Curb Corporate Political Spending

If corporations are going to spend money lobbying government and making campaign contributions, Eddie Pashinski wants to make sure they do so with the consent of their shareholders.

Pashinski, a Luzerne County Democrat in the Pennsylvania House, said this week he will soon introduce a bill requiring shareholder approval of corporate political expenses. The bill, based on similar legislation in Maryland, will bring “fairness and transparency to our system of campaign finance,” Pashinski said in a written memo. Read more »

Cruz Seeks State Audit of School District

cruz schools

A Philly Democrat is once again seeking a state audit of the Philadelphia school district’s finances, saying the district needs to show a “greater level of accountability” for its spending.

Rep. Angel Cruz, who represents a portion of North Philly, sent a memo to colleagues last week, asking for their support of his effort. Read more »

Josh Shapiro Running for Attorney General “To Clean Up a Mess”

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

In this Sept. 4, 2013 file photo, Josh Shapiro speaks in Harrisburg, Pa. Shapiro will announce his candidacy to be attorney general on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower, File)

When he formally announces his candidacy for attorney general on Tuesday, Josh Shapiro will do so in a three-and-a-half-page letter to Pennsylvanians that never once mentions Kathleen Kane — but that clearly defines her time in office as his reason for running.

“The election will come down to this: Who can lead the office with integrity, who has the judgment and executive experience to clean up a mess, and who has a track record of fighting for our collective values,” Shapiro writes to supporters. Read more »

Pennsylvania Bill Would Do Away With Non-Compete Clauses

A Berks County Democrat is proposing to do away with non-compete clauses in employment contracts, saying they quash innovation and drive workers out of state.

“In particular, small businesses are being harmed most because they cannot afford to incur the cost of paying an employee while the employee waits for a non-compete period to expire,” Rep. Thomas Caltagirone said in a memorandum last week to fellow legislators. “Under the current archaic indentured servitude system, businesses, workers and our economy suffer.” Read more »

Kane Won’t Defend Self in Pa. Senate

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speak during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speak during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

A bipartisan State Senate committee will meet next week to decide whether to recommend Kathleen Kane’s ouster from the attorney general’s office — but Kane won’t be there.

PennLive reports that Kane plans to skip the hearing, even though the hearing could lead to her losing her job. “She may submit something in a statement or she may choose to provide testimony in some other form,” Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo told the website. Read more »

Philly Dem Proposes State Assault Weapon Ban

Guy J. Sagi | Shutterstock.com

Guy J. Sagi | Shutterstock.com

A Philly Democrat wants Pennsylvania to impose an assault weapons ban at the state level.

Sen. Larry Farnese on Tuesday sent colleagues a memo urging the ban, as well as a resolution calling on Congress to reimpose an assault weapons ban at the federal level.

“In the absence of a federal ban, a statewide assault weapons ban is a commonsense approach to curtailing gun violence,” he wrote. Read more »

A Modest Proposal to End State Budget Impasse: Fire Half the Pa. Legislature

harrisburg in half

I’ve got a solution to the ongoing budget crisis in Harrisburg — let’s tear down the General Assembly and start over again.

Let’s abolish the Pennsylvania House, govern the state with a unicameral legislature elected from our current Senate districts, and make our state government finally, belatedly effective.

It’s an extreme solution, sure, but the problem is extreme: We start 2016 without 2015’s budget work complete. And it’s not like this is a new problem: Tom Corbett’s run of on-time budgets aside — his only real accomplishment — late budgets occur so often that they appear to be a feature, not a bug, of Harrisburg governance. There is zero reason to believe this year’s budget process, due to start in just a few weeks, will go any better than last year’s. Read more »

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