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 »

Chris Christie Is Rarely in New Jersey, and It Could Be Costly to Taxpayers

Christie 2016 campaign video

We told you earlier this week that Chris Christie barely spends time in New Jersey anymore, and that home state residents aren’t too happy about that. Now there’s a wrinkle to that story: All that out-of-state travel the governor is doing to run for president? Jersey taxpayers might end up paying the bill.

And it’s a big bill: Possibly as much as $1 million. 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 »

Late on Taxes? Didn’t File? A “Tax Amnesty” Could Help You Make Things Right.

(Creativa Images/Shutterstock)

(Creativa Images/Shutterstock)

Maybe you put off paying your taxes a little too long. Maybe you never filed in the first place. If that’s the case — and you’re worried about state government cracking down on you — some good news may be in the offing: A tax amnesty could be on the way.

Rep. Marguerite Quinn, a Bucks County Republican is proposing a tax amnesty to give scofflaws a chance to make good while at the same time raising fresh funds for state government. Taxpayers seeking amnesty would receive reduced interest on their unpaid taxes, as well as a eduction of other penalties. Read more »

Pa. Waits for Wolf Budget Decision

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's hopes of ending Pennsylvania's 99-day-old state budget impasse were dashed Wednesday when nine of his fellow Democrats joined all House Republicans to vote against his revised plan to raise billions in income and gas drilling taxes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

Gov. Tom Wolf could decide today whether to end the state’s months-old budget impasse — or whether to extend it into the New Year, AP reports. Read more »

Senate Approves “House Version” of State Budget

[UPDATE] In an 11th-hour move, the Pennsylvania Senate has passed a $30.3 billion dollar budget package with a 33-17 vote. The legislators had previously been in favor of a $30.8 billion package preferred by Governor Tom Wolf.

On his personal Facebook page, House Majority Leader Dave Reed said:

“The Senate just passed the House version of the budget with a bipartisan vote of 33-17. This budget spends over $3.5 billion less than the Governor originally wanted and $600 million less than what had been on the table. It will still increase funding for Pre-K thru 12 education by over $200 million, but will not require a sales tax or income tax increase. The bill will be signed in the House tomorrow and sent to the Governor’s desk. Hopefully he signs it and our schools and human service agencies will finally get their monies.”

In response to the news, Governor Wolf issued this statement through his spokesman:

“It was only one day ago that the House displayed a historic show of bipartisanship that bucked Speaker Turzai and the tea party. Yesterday, the House advanced a responsible budget with historic education funding and placed it on the verge of passage. It is deeply disappointing that today the Senate has caved to those same House leaders and extreme interests to continue the failed status quo and harm our schools and children by denying them these critical additional funds.

“A historic compromise budget that included the largest increase in education funding in history, reforms in public pensions, and a reduction in the deficit was within reach. It seems that the Republican legislature is intent on continuing the Harrisburg status quo and getting out of town to go on vacation instead of continuing the hard work to move Pennsylvania forward.

“Change is difficult, and clearly more so given this legislature, but we must continue our fight for historic education funding that will begin to restore the cuts from five years ago, and a budget that is balanced, paid for, and fixes our deficit.”

Observers have noted that the governor notably did not use the word veto. Once it hits his desk, Wolf will have 10 days to sign or veto it.

[ORIGINAL] We’ve said it before: Take all news about the Pennsylvania state budget standoff with a grain of salt. When last we checked in on the Harrisburg Budget Standoff, the House of Representatives appeared to have reversed course in the face of a threatened veto from Gov. Tom Wolf and was ready to vote on a full 12-month state budget.

Today, the House appears to have reversed course on that too.

The latest report is that Republican leadership in the House has pulled the budget off the floor because no means of paying for it had been attached. Pension reforms the leadership had insisted on were also left out of the bill. Read more »

Wolf Says He’ll Veto “Stopgap” Budget

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's hopes of ending Pennsylvania's 99-day-old state budget impasse were dashed Wednesday when nine of his fellow Democrats joined all House Republicans to vote against his revised plan to raise billions in income and gas drilling taxes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

Gov. Tom Wolf told Pennsylvania lawmakers today he will veto any attempt to pass a “stopgap” budget, even though previous attempts to pass a full-year budget have repeatedly failed.

“Let me be clear, I will veto this bill if it reaches my desk,” the governor wrote in a letter to lawmakers and released publicly by his office. Read more »

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