Lawmakers, Ag Department look to prime Pennsylvania for hemp success

Lawmakers, Ag Department look to prime Pennsylvania for hemp success

As the state Department of Agriculture awaits federal approval for its plan to regulate the cultivation and sale of hemp products, both state agencies and lawmakers are searching for ways to support the burgeoning industry at a time where legal and regulatory landmines remain.

Hemp is increasingly touted as a potential economic boon for the state, especially when many farmers are feeling the pinch. A provision in last year’s federal Farm Bill separates hemp from marijuana and placedit within the regulatory purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The change paves the way for farmers to cultivate hemp, as well as any interstate commerce surrounding the plant.
Thursday, March 21, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
State Police defend interactions with federal immigration authorities at House hearing

State Police defend interactions with federal immigration authorities at House hearing

Pennsylvania State Police leadership defended a new policy limiting how they can interact with federal immigration authorities before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday in response to concerns from both conservative lawmakers and civil liberties groups.

Starting in January, PSP policy bars troopers from stopping residents for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status. It also prohibits detaining people based on non-binding administrative warrants issued by federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

With hearings to come, lawmakers stake out priorities on criminal justice reform

Legislators have made clear their intentions to continue efforts to trim Pennsylvania’s prison population, pointing to cost savings and the need to make the state’s criminal justice system more equitable.

But despite several major criminal justice reform measures already being introduced, the General Assembly is still in the early stages of charting its course forward on the matter. While none of the bills have gotten hearings as of yet, lawmakers have their sights set on altering the state’s probation system, moving away from cash bail and updating a major criminal justice law already on the books.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
PASSHE leader: Closing campuses would be 'irresponsible'

PASSHE leader: Closing campuses would be 'irresponsible'

State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein reiterated Monday his stance that closing one of the system’s 14 campuses would be “irresponsible public policy,” despite enrollment challenges.

Greenstein told the Pennsylvania Press Club that the lack of state investment in public higher education “threatens the state’s economic well-being.” The state ranks 49th in the country for the state share of higher education funding, but Greenstein noted that bringing that number in line with the national average would result in a 22-percent tuition cut for students.
Monday, March 18, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
House Committee approves controversial response to SCOTUS' Janus decision

House Committee approves controversial response to SCOTUS' Janus decision

Public sector employees would receive more information about their rights pertaining to union membership following a landmark Supreme Court decision, under a controversial bill advanced by a House committee Monday.

The measure, authored by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), would require public sector employees be regularly notified that they are not compelled to pay union dues. 

Monday, March 18, 2019/Author: Andrew Bahl
Categories: News and Views
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