Wolf to Sign LGBT Non-Discrimination Orders Tomorrow

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Governor Tom Wolf plans to sign a pair of far-reaching anti-discrimination executive orders tomorrow, according to a statement released by his office.

The orders — one pertains to commonwealth employees, while the other covers state grants and the procurement process — forbid any agency under the governor’s jurisdiction from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, among other areas.

The aim, Wolf’s office said, to “make clear that Pennsylvania is inclusive, welcoming, and open for business for everyone.” Read more »

Wolf Will Let GOP Budget Become Law

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Gov. Tom Wolf today said he would let a Republican-passed state budget become law, ending — at long last — the budget impasse that has persisted since last summer.

Wolf made the announcement at a 1 p.m. press conference, simultaneously tweeting his comments through his official account. He said the $6.6 billion budget package would become law without his signature. Read more »

LOCAL NEWS: Marni Snyder to Stay on Ballot in the 182nd

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for State Rep. of the 182nd District.

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for representative of the 182nd District.

A ballot challenge lodged against 182nd District candidate Marni Snyder has been dismissed.

State House candidate Marni Snyder can remain on the ballot for the 182nd District in the April primary, Judge Rochelle S. Friedman ruled on Tuesday. Another candidate in the race, Lou Lanni, had challenged the validity of certain signatures on Snyder’s nominating petitions. Ultimately none of the challenges were upheld during the proceeding, including one arising from a photograph Snyder had circulated of a young girl writing “Philadelphia” on a petition form. “I knew we would have enough signatures and was happy to lose that signature to make an impression on her,” said Snyder. “But I will never apologize for trying to inspire young girls and young women to aspire to public office.” Lanni was not originally available for comment.

UPDATE: Lou Lanni sent the following statement, “My campaign and I had every reason to be suspect of Ms. Snyder’s petition signatures. There were several obvious falsities in her petitions which spurred us to make a challenge. However, Ms Snyder and I have had our day in court and I certainly respect the judge’s ruling. This has become an interesting race for The seat of State Representative for the 182nd District of PA. While there are four candidates competing for your vote, I respectfully submit that there is only one candidate who is not looking for career in politics but rather for a position which will allow for the 182nd to be best represented. That candidate is me, Lou Lanni. I am a lifelong Philadelphian, I know this city inside and out, I know the problems which it faces, and most importantly I am confident that I am the only candidate who will provide the sound solutions to these problems. I love this city and I simply want to do everything in my power to represent it. I am certain I have the experience and abilities to do this job better than any of my opponents.” Read more »

Clinton, Trump Lead Among Pa. Voters

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the leading presidential candidates in Pennsylvania, according to a new Franklin & Marshall poll.

Primary election day is still two months away — April 26 — but Clinton holds a sizable lead over opponent Bernie Sanders among likely voters, 51 percent to 29 percent. Trump’s margin is much lower over a still-divided Republican field: He clocks in a 21 percent of likely Republican voters, compared to 18 percent for Marco Rubio, and 16 percent each for John Kasich and Ted Cruz.

Philadelphia is proving to be bulwarks for both front-runners, according to the poll: Clinton attracts 59 percent of the metro area’s Dems, while Trump commands the support of 50 percent of area Republicans — by far his most concentrated pocket of support in the state.

The survey had an error range of plus or minus 3.1 points. Read more »

State Should Pay for Gender-Reassignment Surgeries, Says Pa. Governor Wolf

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.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is speaking out against the very state that he runs after the state-run Medicaid program said it wouldn’t pay for a gender-reassignment procedure for a 30-year-old transgender man who has since filed suit over the denial of coverage. Read more »

Gov. Tom Wolf Has Prostate Cancer; Treatment Starts Soon

Tom Wolf - cancer diagnosis press conference

Tom Wolf speaks at the press conference about his cancer diagnosis this morning.

Gov. Tom Wolf has prostate cancer, he announced today.

It was caught early, Wolf said at a press conference, and is not expected to interfere at all with his duties as governor. In the coming weeks, he will undergo treatment. He said that, because he caught it early, his prognosis is excellent.

“I’m convinced it’s eminently treatable,” Wolf said. “I feel great. It was detected very early, so the procedure is going to be a truly minor one.” Wolf said he won’t undergo chemotherapy.

The treatments for his cancer will not require him to hand over power to Lt. Gov. Mike Stack. He said he’ll undergo his treatment in the York area, where he’s from, and will take a short vacation at some point with his family before treatment starts. “I haven’t had a vacation yet as governor,” Wolf said. Read more »

Gov. Wolf Requests Federal Disaster Money for January Snowstorm

January 2016 snowstorm

Photo | Dan McQuade

January’s snowstorm was so bad, Tom Wolf wants federal money to help recover from it.

Pennsylvania’s governor announced today he has requested federal disaster assistance for the storm, dubbed Winter Storm Jonas by the Weather Channel.

“Our numbers so far show that municipal, county and state agencies spent more than $55 million to respond to this storm,” Wolf said in a release. “In many places, it wiped out an entire year’s budget for snow response and removal, and winter isn’t over yet.” Read more »

Wolf’s Policy Director, John Hanger, Resigns

Former Pennsylvania environmental protection secretary John Hanger during a gubernatorial candidates forum Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

John Hanger, Gov. Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning. | AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma

Governor Tom Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning, John Hanger, is leaving the administration.

In a statement, Hanger explained that he wants to spend more time with his wife and daughter, who live in Worcester, Mass. His last day will be February 26th. Hanger’s wife is vice provost for faculty affairs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Read more »

Misdemeanor Crimes Are Now Easier to Get Sealed in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signs the bill expanding criminal record sealing today in Harrisburg. (Photo: Wolf’s Twitter)

Today, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a bill that makes it easier for people to have their criminal records sealed in Pennsylvania. The law only applies to non-violent misdemeanors.

“Too many first-time and low-level offenders are serving their time and unable to improve their lives after leaving the system because they have a criminal record,” Wolf said in a statement. “And, they are too likely then to return to the system. We must do everything we can to break this cycle; it is robbing too many of their lives and it is costing taxpayers far too much.”

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 166 amends the criminal code to allow people who have served their time in prison and have not been arrested in the last seven to 10 years to petition the court to have non-violent misdemeanor convictions sealed. Read more »

Gov. Tom Wolf to Lawmakers on Budget: “The Time for Games Is Over”

Gov. Tom Wolf talked doom and gloom at today’s annual budget address.

“Pennsylvania now faces a $2 billion budget deficit,” Wolf told a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate today in Harrisburg. “This deficit isn’t just a cloud hanging over Pennsylvania’s long-term future. It is a time bomb, ticking away, right now, even as I speak. If it explodes – if the people in this chamber allow it to explode – then Pennsylvania will experience a fiscal catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen.”

Budget problems have been exacerbated this year because the state is currently operating on a partial budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year. A full budget is more than 200 days late. Wolf focused more on chiding the legislature than on his plans for the new budget, though he did release a 900-page budget at the same time as his speech.

“The time for games is over,” Wolf said. “And now it’s time to finish the job we should have finished last year. … I can’t accept – Pennsylvania can’t afford – another irresponsible budget that ignores the fact of this fiscal crisis and pretends our problems don’t exist.” Read more »

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