Storm, DA concerns scuttle Senate vote on life without parole

Storm, DA concerns scuttle Senate vote on life without parole

Hundreds of people bused into Harrisburg from across the state Tuesday in hopes of seeing the beginning of the end for life without parole in Pennsylvania.

But by the end of the day, they were marching around the Capitol in defiance, chanting, “Let our people go, or next election you will go.”

The advocates, many from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, had gathered to watch a scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee vote on SB 942 from Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), which makes life sentence recipients eligible for parole after 15 years.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Leaders put big picture reforms on radar for last days of session

Leaders put big picture reforms on radar for last days of session

Legislative leaders have, after months of stalled efforts and with fifty days to the election, started pushing big changes to state government.

Speaking to the Philadelphia Daily News’ John Baer, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said that during the run-up to sine die, he wants to prioritize congressional redistricting reform and shrinking the size of the state legislature before the November general election, perhaps even adding session days.

This follows up on Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) officially releasing his bill to open primaries last week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Comprehensive redistricting reform is dead for 2020, but allies are still looking at smaller fixes

Comprehensive redistricting reform is dead for 2020, but allies are still looking at smaller fixes

Despite a lot of talk, redistricting reform never advanced out from under the weight of over 600 House amendments.

But despite their failure this year, advocates and lawmakers allies are looking at what they can do without a constitutional amendment to change the system ahead of the next census.
Monday, August 6, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
School funding sparks loud campaign fights, raises legislative questions

School funding sparks loud campaign fights, raises legislative questions

It all started one month ago in the waning days of budget season, with a meeting between advocates and the governor’s staff and some off-the-cuff remarks at a Philadelphia press conference.

But as the calendar turns to August, a controversy over the state’s school funding formula has held on as a campaign cudgel and legislative worry, as accusations of intimidation and collusion resound.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Blunted in legislature, redistricting reformers wonder about referendums

Blunted in legislature, redistricting reformers wonder about referendums

Outside the shady home of Gov. Tom Wolf in York County two weeks ago, members of Fair Districts PA, the redistricting reform advocacy group, unveiled a somewhat clunky, although earnest, chant.

“The people have the right, to alter and reform,” the group repeated at the urging of Executive Director Carol Kuniholm.

Friday, July 27, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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