Gov. Wolf waives background check fees for volunteers

As the House continues to advance legislation that would significantly alter the background check provisions of a 2014 child protection law, Gov. Tom Wolf took care of one of the issues some took with the legislation and waived background check and child abuse clearance fees for volunteers working with children.

The $10 fee for those employed to work with children has been reduced to $8 under the governor’s order.

The changes will become effective July 25, 2015.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Court orders Arneson reinstated as Open Records office head

The much anticipated and long-awaited Commonwealth Court decision in Arneson v. Wolf was issued Wednesday morning with the court ordering by a four to three decision that Erik Arneson be reinstated as the Executive Director of the Office of Open Records and be compensated for back pay.

In so ordering, the court further held that Gov. Tom Wolf exceeded executive authority in firing Arneson, who was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett just days before his term expired.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Municipal pension reform bill Floor vote will likely be held off

Municipal pension reform bill Floor vote will likely be held off

While House Bill 316—a bill to substantially reform Pennsylvania’s more than 1,400 municipal pension plans—was moved out of the House State Government Committee Tuesday morning, its consideration on the House Floor will likely be held off until state public pension reform legislation is dealt with by the legislature.

House Bill 316 would require all municipalities to move newly-hired police and firefighters into a cash balance pension system.

“There are no immediate plans [to run the bill] at this particular moment,” said Steve Miskin spokesperson for the House Speaker and Majority Leader. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Turzai on budget talks: “There’s a wide gulf on many issues”

Turzai on budget talks: “There’s a wide gulf on many issues”

Following Tuesday morning’s meeting between legislative Republican leadership and Gov. Tom Wolf, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told The PLS Reporter “there’s a wide gulf on many issues.”

“We’re continuing to meet, there’s a lot of issues to cover, a lot of work to do,” he said exiting the meeting.

Also leaving the meeting was House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) who struck just a slightly more optimistic tone about resolving outstanding issues including pension reform and liquor privatization.

However, he said one sticking point continues to be the exact amount of the deficit that needs to be tackled in the FY 2015-2016 budget, until that can be determined, Rep. Reed said those issues will have to wait.

“We need to figure out what is a structural deficit [and] that folks are actually agreeing on what the numbers are,” he said. “There still is a significant difference between the House and the Senate, where the IFO and where the Budget Secretary is on what an actual budget deficit is.” 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House poised to vote on resolution condemning Gov. Wolf

House poised to vote on resolution condemning Gov. Wolf

The House Judiciary Committee moved to the full House a resolution calling Gov. Tom Wolf’s moratorium on the death penalty unconstitutional and condemning his actions in instituting the moratorium and issuing continued death penalty reprieves.

Three Democrats joined all Republicans on the committee in supporting the resolution.

“Pennsylvania law currently provides the use of the death penalty as punishment for some of the Commonwealth’s most ruthless, heinous criminals,” said Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery), prime sponsor of the resolution. “Shortly after taking office, the governor announced he was unilaterally implementing a moratorium on death penalty executions.”

In February, Gov. Wolf said he was issuing the moratorium until he receives and reviews the report of the Advisory Committee and Task Force on Capital Punishment and any recommendations in the report are addressed. The report was due in December 2013.

Monday, June 8, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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