The Brief: We’ll Soon Know the Names of All Cops Who Shoot Civilians

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. AP | Matt Rourke

1. The police department is going to start releasing the names of officers who fire at civilians.

The gistCity Paper reports that Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced in a memo yesterday that “the department will immediately begin disclosing the names of officers who discharge their firearms in Officer-Involved Shootings ‘within seventy-two (72) hours of the incident.'” According to the memo, this was one of the recommendations made by the U.S. Department of Justice in its scathing report on police shootings in Philadelphia. Also, the department will examine each case to ensure that “no threats are made toward the officer or members of their family prior to the release of this information.” Read more »

GOP Budget Falls Short of Philly Schools Request

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the GOP-led legislature’s state budget Tuesday night, in part, he said, because it would set aside far less education funding than he believes is fair.

How much less?

Earlier this year, the Philadelphia School District asked state lawmakers for an extra $206 million. The Republican bill would have provided only an additional $21.8 million to the school district, according to data from Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher. That’s about 11 percent of the surplus funding that district officials said they need. Read more »

The Brief: Why No One in Philly Smokes Anymore

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

1. Philly’s smoking rate has fallen to a record low.

The gist: CBS3 reports that “the percentage of adult Philadelphians who smoke has dropped from 27.3 percent in 2008 to 22.4 percent in 2014-15, according to data from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey.” Even more impressive: A drop took place among all ethnicities and socioeconomic groups in the city, and it happened after smoking rates went up in 2000 and 2008. Also, the recent smoking rate doesn’t factor in the full impact of Philly’s new cigarette tax, which has likely caused smoking to become even less common. Read more »

Wolf Expected to Veto GOP Budget

tom-wolf-budget-940x540

Gov. Wolf, center, during happier times at the Legislature.

Looks like Harrisburg may blow past Tuesday’s June 30 deadline for a state budget.

The GOP-controlled legislature worked through the weekend with the House passing its own $30.1 budget on Saturday and a Senate committee giving its approval Sunday night. But Gov. Wolf sent signals he would veto the bill, which includes none of his ideas for education funding or taxing the Marcellus shale, two of his big priorities. Read more »

The Brief: Police Shootings Plummet 62% in Philadelphia

A Philadelphia Police Department promotion ceremony. | Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photo by Mitchell Leff.

A Philadelphia Police Department promotion ceremony. | Copyright City of Philadelphia. Photo by Mitchell Leff.

1. Police shootings fell 62 percent between 2012 and 2014.

The gist: 2012 marked a modern high for police shootings: City cops fired at civilians 104 times that year, killing 16 and injuring 32. Last year, the number of shootings dropped significantly. Philly.com reports that police fired at civilians 40 times in 2014, killing four and injuring 21; so far this year, they killed one person and wounded seven. “This is exactly what we want to see,” Kelvyn Anderson, the director of the watchdog group Police Advisory Commission, told Philly.com. “Whatever the department is doing, this is exactly where we want it to go.”
Read more »

Court Strikes Down Law That Let NRA Sue Pa. Cities

nra-suit

A Commonwealth Court has struck down the new state law that let the NRA — and other third parties — sue Pennsylvania cities for their gun restrictions.

The law is “unconstitutional and void,” the court said in Thursday morning’s ruling. Read more »

Kane Fires Another Staffer

Kathleen Kane

George Moore told Kathleen Kane she should fire her controversial chief of staff. The chief of staff still has a job. Moore doesn’t.

Moore, a 16-year veteran of state government, was fired Wednesday from his job as Kane’s labor-relations coordinator. He told the Inquirer he believed he’d been terminated because he recommended the firing of Jonathan Duecker after two women reported Duecker had sexually harassed them. Read more »

Philly Activists Fast for Education Funding

Photo Credit: POWER Philadelphia

Photo Credit: POWER Philadelphia

POWER Philly is in Harrisburg for 10 days to pray, fast and meet with state legislators with the hope of getting fair funding for Pennsylvania’s public schools into the state budget, which is supposed to be completed and signed by June 30th.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be here fasting and getting involved,” Sheila Armstrong, a POWER activist told Philly Mag this week. “I’m a woman of faith, a Christian, and I told my sons, ‘This is a missionary trip. We are doing God’s work.'” Read more »

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