Federal judge strikes down House policy on who can offer opening prayer

Federal judge strikes down House policy on who can offer opening prayer

A Pennsylvania House policy mandating that any guest chaplain believe in a deity or a higher power was struck down in federal court this week.

The ruling, first reported by the Associated Press, invalidates the current interpretation of an existing a House rule — specifically, House Rule 17. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Horror at grand jury report lingers, but agreeing on action still an open question

Horror at grand jury report lingers, but agreeing on action still an open question

With the breadth of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania now fully realized, eyes are turning to see how the General Assembly will respond this fall.

House leadership promised the day of the report’s release that a vote on SB 261, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) to indefinitely extend statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, would come this fall.

But Scarnati reiterated his opposition to a House-backed provision to let victims of childhood sexual abuse sue in civil court for damages Wednesday evening.

Thursday, August 30, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
Single payer in Pennsylvania? House Democrats hold roundtable on proposal

Single payer in Pennsylvania? House Democrats hold roundtable on proposal

Sara Atkins is a mother of five children who are all described as “medically complicated.” They all have one of Tourette’s, OCD, ADHD, and other mental illnesses.

One of her children has to have treatment that costs $30,000 per month.

House Democrats hope that HB 1688 could alleviate some of that stress. The House Democratic Policy Committee gathered in Bala Cynwyd outside Philadelphia this week to have an open discussion about health care in Pennsylvania.
Thursday, August 30, 2018/Author: Taylor Allen
Categories: News and Views
In heart of gentrification, Pittsburgh officials propose first use of affordable housing fund

In heart of gentrification, Pittsburgh officials propose first use of affordable housing fund

Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess (District 9), with Mayor Bill Peduto and community leaders, is attempting to ease displacement in East Liberty after years of redevelopment and gentrification through a projects funded in part by the affordable housing fund.

Announced last week, the proposal comes after a few years of fighting that’s turned the East End neighborhood into a model for what long time, often African-American, city residents fear from the city’s tech renaissance.

Thursday, August 30, 2018/Author: Atiya Irvin-Mitchell
Categories: News and Views
State prison system on lockdown as unknown substances sicken employees

State prison system on lockdown as unknown substances sicken employees

All state correctional institutions are on indefinite lockdown Wednesday as the administration deals with more reports of unknown substances sickening state corrections officers.

During August, 29 staff members have fallen ill in ten of Pennsylvania's prisons after coming into contact with the substances. State Police testing since has only revealed that one case involved synthetic cannabinoids.

“The safety and security of our employees is my number one concern,” Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said in a statement. “Our state prisons, especially those in the western part of the state, have experienced recent incidents in which employees have been sickened and we need to get to the bottom of this issue now.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2018/Author: Stephen Caruso
Categories: News and Views
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