Municipal pension reform work continues amid budget stalemate

Municipal pension reform work continues amid budget stalemate

Legislators sponsoring bills to reform municipal pensions are continuing their work to get to compromise legislation while others are focused on resolving the Commonwealth’s budget stalemate, which is now a month old.

While Senate Bill 755 and House Bill 316 moved out of their respective standing oversight committees earlier this summer, the bills received little attention neither in the immediate run-up and aftermath of the June 30th budget deadline nor in the subsequent session days in July.

According to Rep. Keith Grenier (R-Lancaster) and Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair)—sponsors of the aforementioned legislation—the two have been meeting to prepare amendments to the legislation they’ve offered that are largely in line with a task force report on the issue delivered by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year.

“There’s still quite a bit of action behind the scenes with this [and] we’ve actually been sitting down with some of the key parties,” said Rep. Greiner. “I think the key, kind of what we’re really looking at and focusing at, is Auditor General DePasquale’s task force report on municipal pensions.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
VIDEO: PSP and Office of Victim Advocate partnership improves notifications to victims of sexual violence

VIDEO: PSP and Office of Victim Advocate partnership improves notifications to victims of sexual violence

This morning, Commonwealth Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm and Pennsylvania State Police Captain Scott Price announced a new partnership that ensures all victims receive timely notifications when a sexually violent predator is identified by the courts. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015/Author: Alanna Koll
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Budget veto override still a possibility, Speaker Turzai says

Budget veto override still a possibility, Speaker Turzai says

Speaking to the Pennsylvania Press Club Monday, House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said the General Assembly may try to push an override of Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget-bill veto.

“[Our goal] is to actually get the governor to recognize that he does not have the votes for what he has put on the table and he does not have the support of the citizens of Pennsylvania for what he has put on the table and he has not backed off of it at all,” he said. “We have to look at overriding if we aren’t going to have a substantive discussion.”

He said the House voted down the governor’s tax package 193-0.

“You don’t get to negotiate from a figure that has almost zero support,” he said. “That’s not how negotiations work.”

Monday, July 27, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

Republicans see Isenhour’s replacement of McGinty as a positive development

Shortly after Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday formally announced the resignation of his Chief of Staff, Katie McGinty, and announced Secretary of Legislative Affairs Mary Isenhour as her replacement, Republicans praised the move as a positive development in terms of ongoing budget negotiations.

“Mary Isenhour is a great pick and probably should have been his pick from the beginning,” said House GOP spokesperson Steve Miskin. “It’ll be good to have someone who actually factors in these meetings.”

Miskin praised Isenhour’s consistent efforts to work with members of the legislature and listening to their concerns in an attempt to work through issues.

Senate Republicans were of the same opinion.

“We view it as a positive,” said Senate Republican spokesperson Jenn Kocher. “There’s a lot of respect for Mary and Mary’s ability to carry forward the governor’s agenda as opposed to her own agenda."

Thursday, July 23, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

House takes procedural step with eye toward a budget agreement

The House Appropriations Committee took a step Wednesday to put a budget vehicle into place for the eventuality of an agreed-to budget plan between Republicans and Gov. Tom Wolf.

House Bill 1460 cleared the committee along a party-line vote and contains the exact same language as the budget bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by Gov. Wolf just over three weeks ago.

While an agreement still seems to be a ways off, committee Chairman Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) said the move was necessary as part of House rules in order to make sure an agreed-to product can be considered in a timely manner.

“House rules require the posting of a General Appropriations bill for second consideration, it takes about two weeks in advance of when this bill will actually be voted on the floor,” he told committee members. “We are voting House Bill 1460 today so we can get it a first reading and get it in position for second consideration whenever we’re able to reach a negotiated agreement with the administration."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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