Why The Latest Liquor Privatization Bill Might Actually Pass

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Yes, we’ve heard a million times before that the Pennsylvania Legislature is mulling a liquor privatization bill. A million times before, it’s gone nowhere. So why highlight the latest bill from Sen. Scott Wagner, a York County Republican?

Answer: Precisely because it’s originating in the Senate, where previous House attempts at privatization have long gone to die. Read more »

Court: Wolf Wrong to Fire Open Records Chief

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Gov. Tom Wolf isn’t having much luck on the personnel front this week.

Two days after the Pennsylvania Senate rejected his nomination to lead the State Police, a Commonwealth Court panel on Wednesday ruled Wolf was wrong to fire the state’s new open records chief right after he took office earlier this year. The court ordered Erik Arneson, who had been appointed to the post by then-Gov. Tom Corbett shortly before Corbett left office, be reinstated to the job, complete with back pay for time missed during the legal battle.

“We find clear legislative intent that the Executive Director of OOR, an independent body, is insulated from the Governor’s power to remove appointees at will,” the court said in its ruling. (See full ruling below.) Read more »

Gov. Tom Wolf Recalls State Police Nominee Marcus Brown

Marcus Brown (left); Tom Wolf (right, photo by Jeff Fusco).

Marcus Brown (left); Tom Wolf (right, photo by Jeff Fusco).

Gov. Tom Wolf today recalled the nomination of Marcus Brown to lead the Pennsylvania State Police, but said Brown would stay in the post as acting commissioner — signaling, perhaps, that he’d wait and try to have Brown confirmed to the post at a later date.

“I continue to have full faith in Col. Brown’s ability to lead the State Police, and he will remain as acting commissioner,” Wolf said in a press release. Read more »

As Harrisburg Readies for Budget Brawl, Philly Sends Its C-Team

The opening moves are now being made in what will likely be a fierce, months-long battle between newly-elected Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican leaders in the State Capitol.

The stakes are immense. Wolf’s audacious freshman year budget seeks nothing less than a fundamental restructuring of the state tax system and $1 billion in new education spending. It’s an agenda that — win or lose — will have enormous consequences for the state in general, and for Philadelphia in particular. Should Wolf’s vision, or a significant chunk of it, win out, Philadelphia will get a big, badly-needed cash infusion for city schools and a new tax structure that would make it far more competitive with the suburbs and big cities elsewhere.

It sure would help Wolf, and by extension, Philadelphia, if the city’s delegation in Harrisburg featured an array of powerful pols working in unison to help the new governor’s boundary-pushing budget get passed.

But that’s not the delegation Philadelphia has. Not by a long shot. Read more »

City Council to School District: Go Away Already

Students have a modest request of City Council. | Photo  courtesy of Philadelphia City Council. Produced and Edited by Michael Falconi and Jenae Brown.

Students have a modest request of City Council. | Photo courtesy of Philadelphia City Council. Produced and Edited by Michael Falconi and Jenae Brown.

There are few City Hall scenes more dispiriting than the display of mutual contempt that unfolds each year when the School District of Philadelphia comes to City Council begging for money.

This year’s spite of spring featured: Read more »

Gov. Wolf Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana

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Good news for N.A. Poe: Gov. Tom Wolf says he is in favor of decriminalizing pot.

“I believe, for a number of reasons, that we ought to decriminalize marijuana use,” Wolf told Pittsburgh TV station WPXI. “I think our prisons are over-crowded as a result of people going to jail for reasons that, you know, we break up families for reasons that we shouldn’t.”

He added: “We destroy lives and we make it hard to find employment. So often right now possession of a small amount is a felony and an employer looks at that and dismisses (the person) automatically.”

Read more »

Penn State Students to Tom Wolf: Help End “Epidemic” of Campus Sex Assault

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They’ve called out the mighty Penn State administration. They’ve organized rallies in support of women who were allegedly pictured nude and unconscious on websites run by the school’s Kappa Delta Rho chapter. And now, they’re knocking on Gov. Tom Wolf‘s door.

Penn State senior Lauren Lewis and alumnus Josephine Rose met Friday with John Hanger, Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning, to urge the him “to do everything possible within his authority to ensure that campus sexual assault survivors are supported and protected.”

Read more »

Wolf Promises Veto of Sick-Leave-Killing Bill

Not so fast Republicans.

Not so fast Republicans.

With the Republican-controlled state Senate moving forward with a bill that would essentially kill Philadelphia’s new paid sick leave requirements, Gov. Tom Wolf said he would veto the measure, according to Newsworks.

Philadelphia’s new law requires that businesses employing 10 or more people must provide one hour of paid sick leave per every 40 hours worked. But the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill earlier this month that would pre-emptively stop local governments from passing laws requiring companies to offer paid sick leave — essentially eradicating the Philadelphia law.

“Governor Wolf supports paid sick leave for workers, and local municipalities’ ability to pass ordinances for leave that they believe will help families and the economy,” a spokesman from the governor’s office said.

Read more »

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