Pennsylvania Forest Land Expanded to Include Miller Mountain

Pennsylvania has grown its state forest land again with the addition of 2,500 acres to Pinchot State Forest in Wyoming County.

The property, called Miller Mountain, is the first forest land in the county follows last year’s creation of Vosburg Neck State Park, the county’s first state park.

Read More

Pennsylvania Property Owners May Soon Pay Blight Fines

Owners of vacant and blighted properties in Pennsylvania may soon have to pay annual fees that get more expensive with each passing year.

Where those fines will get levied, though, would depend on what local governments decide to do.

Read More

Pennsylvania Basic Ed Funding Hearings Wrap with Charter Schools

Student Homework

Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding Commission hearings ended in Harrisburg this week, where charter schools took center stage.

After months of painstaking reflection on the inadequacies of the state’s funding, charter school administrators were asked to defend against commentary from others within the educational community who believe that their schools are a drain on district budgets.

Read More

Commentary: Let the Donor Revolution Begin

The donor revolts at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and elsewhere are the long-overdue wake up calls that their faculty and administrators needed. The overwhelming majority of politically progressive faculty and administrators have long guarded their right to advance their cherished political causes inside and outside the classroom, while punishment has awaited those who challenge the shibboleths. Instead of the free exchange of ideas and the intellectual capaciousness that ultimately advance social justice, it is now clearer than ever that it is not social justice they have fostered but mindless ideology and hate.

Read More

UAW Ratifies Five-Year Contract with Mack Trucks

United Auto Workers union members ratified a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with Mack Trucks covering about 3,900 employees at facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.

“The new agreement guarantees significant wage growth and delivers excellent benefits for our employees and their families,” Mack President Stephen Roy said in a statement. “At the same time, it will safeguard our competitiveness and allow us to continue making the necessary investments in our people, plants and products.”

Read More

Exit Clause for Abused Renters Debated in Pennsylvania House Committee

Legislation offering an exit clause to renters subjected to domestic abuse is headed to the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, despite concerns that the proposal could cause unintended harm to landlords.

Under the bill, renters can break a lease on a property shared with an abuser after providing written notice to the landlord detailing their experiences and concerns. Police reports, medical notes, arrest records, protection from abuse orders, and documentation from the state’s Victim Advocate Office also suffice as notice.

Read More

Yet Another Billionaire Donor Demands University of Pennsylvania Fix Its Anti-Semitism Problem

Influential donors have been retracting their support from the University of Pennsylvania, citing concerns over anti-Semitism on campus following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Now, billionaire Len Blavatnik, a philanthropist and noteworthy figure in the business world, has joined the growing list of benefactors expressing discontent with the university’s handling campus anti-Semitism.

Read More

Pennsylvania State Police Open Second Hiring Round amid Surging Interest

Nixing the college degree requirement for Pennsylvania State Police troopers has returned dividends, drawing a surge in applications that’s pushed the agency to open a second hiring round.

After a two-month enrollment period earlier this year, the PSP saw a 258% increase in candidates taking the written exam, the agency announced in a press release.

Read More

Soros-Backed Pennsylvania Candidate Loses DA Bid Despite Landslide Primary Win

Matt Dugan, the Democratic candidate running for district attorney in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County, lost his election bid despite receiving nearly $2 million of funding from megadonor George Soros, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Dugan first challenged incumbent District Attorney Stephen Zappala in the county’s May primary election, beating Zappala by 10 points after receiving $700,000 in funding from the Soros-funded Pennsylvania Justice and Public Safety Political Action Committee (PAC), according to the Post-Gazette. The PAC donated an additional $1.1 million to Dugan’s campaign between June and October, but Zappala managed to beat the Democratic challenger by 3 points despite his major loss just months earlier.

Read More

Pennsylvania Convictions for Driving Past School Bus Stop Arms Up 47 Percent

Convictions for driving past school bus stop arms in Pennsylvania increased 47% in 2022, according to state data.

Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kara Templeton said that 511 residents faced penalties for violating the law, up from 348 in 2021. During the agency’s Oct. 18 event to raise awareness for school transportation safety, she said law enforcement and bus drivers witnessed 164 incidents in just one day.

Read More

Pennsylvania Set to Receive $4 Million for Rural ‘Renewable Energy’ Projects

On the heels of $22 million in federal cash for energy efficiency projects, Pennsylvania will get another $4 million more.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that $3.6 million will support another 30 projects for efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects “to lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resiliency of their operations in rural Pennsylvania.”

Read More

Pennsylvania Rectifies Its Rainy Day Fund

Pennsylvania’s rainy day fund will receive a big deposit after lawmakers settled a dispute with the governor’s administration this week over the definition of “surplus.”

State Treasurer Stacy Garrity said the $898 million contribution into the account, which helps agencies and programs withstand economic downturns, will keep the government operational for 48 days before running out of money – 3.5 days above the national median.

Read More

Commonwealth Court Strikes Down Carbon ‘Tax’

Commonwealth Court struck down Pennsylvania’s entry into an emissions regulatory program Wednesday, agreeing with critics that it’s an unconstitutional tax.

The decision delivers a blow to supporters of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – a multi-state program that charges power generators for the pollution they produce – who had hoped Pennsylvania might join the rest of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in the agreement.

Read More

University of Pennsylvania Took Money from School That Settled with U.S. Gov’t over Alleged Hezbollah Ties

The University of Pennsylvania, which hosts the Penn Biden Center, took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2022, roughly five years after AUB paid a settlement to the United States government in connection with its alleged ties to Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terror organization.

UPenn received $474,947 from AUB in 2022, with the donations earmarked as “Education/Tuition/Scholarship,” according to a 2021-2022 foreign gift disclosure obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. AUB settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, paying $700,000 and promising to revise its policies, following a suit alleging the university assisted organizations linked to Hezbollah, Reuters reported.

Read More

University Tuition May Freeze for More Pennsylvania Support After All

The state House agreed Tuesday to boost support of Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities in exchange for a tuition freeze in the 2024-25 academic year.

Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University will receive $640 million more from the state after months of legislative wrangling.

Read More

Police Seize 50,000 Fentanyl Pills, Charge Two Arizona Men with Trafficking Drugs to Pennsylvania

Police in Pennsylvania seized 50,000 fentanyl pills disguised as prescription opioids and arrested two Arizona men who they said were trafficking the narcotics in a cross-country trek on Friday.

The arrests of Arizona men Leroy Williams and Ryan Hofer were confirmed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry (D) in a statement that confirmed a joint effort from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), her office, and Pennsylvania State Police.

Read More

Infrastructure Crisis Escalating in Pennsylvania Public Schools

Lead paint, coal furnaces, hallway instruction, classrooms partitioned with teetering stacks of books and supplies, students and teachers struggling to work in unabated heat during sweltering weather — these are all images invoked by testifiers before the Basic Education Funding Commission over the last few months.

Experts say this barely scratches the surface of a massive infrastructural crisis across the state.

Read More

Pennsylvania Ambulance Reimbursement Rates Made Whole

Emergency service agencies across Pennsylvania have warned of funding shortfalls and labor shortages, but a recently passed bill will help ease a fraction of the pain.

House Bill 1351, signed into law this week as Act 15, will require Medicaid to reimburse EMS agencies for every mile an ambulance travels with a patient. Previously, no payment would be made for the first 20 miles of travel.

Read More

Pennsylvania School Staff Appeared to Hide ‘Gender Identity’ of Bullied Student Being Told to Commit Suicide

Educators at a Pennsylvania middle school acknowledged that the school was withholding information about a student’s “gender identity” and preferred name after the child was bullied and told to commit suicide, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Southern Lehigh School District (SLSD) instructed teachers and staff in October 2021 to use students’ preferred names or pronouns but told them to keep the information from parents if students request it, according to a DCNF investigation. Tara Cooke, a counselor for SLSD’s Joseph P. Liberati Intermediate School, and Deanna Webb, formerly the school’s vice principal, discussed an incident in which several male students allegedly told a “female” student to kill herself. The administrators noted that they had yet to inform the child’s parents about the victim’s “gender identity,” according to a May 18, 2022 email in a public records request by several concerned parents, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.

Read More

Pennsylvania State Senate OKs Parental Warning for Explicit School Content

The Pennsylvania Senate remains divided over a proposal that asks for parental permission before students can view sexually explicit content at school.

In the end, a majority of lawmakers – including all 21 Republicans and one Democrat – approved the legislation, sending it to the House for consideration.

Read More

Supply Problems Stoking Pennsylvania’s Housing Shortage

As housing costs rise in many parts of the commonwealth, Pennsylvania policymakers want to boost supply to meet demand.

“If we don’t continue to increase the inventory at all levels, we’re never going to get to where we need to be,” Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, said during a House Housing and Community Development meeting on Monday. “We can’t build our way out by just building subsidized housing.”

Read More

Pennsylvania Ups Israeli Bonds 44 Percent amid Hamas War

The state Treasury Department said it invested $20 million into Israeli bonds amid the country’s ongoing war with Hamas.

Altogether, the 44% increase brings the state’s total ownership to $56 million. Israel invests the money into its economy and pays investors interest twice a year, typically. 

Read More

University of Pennsylvania Faculty Cry ‘Intimidation’ After Donors Pull Funding over Statements on Hamas

Three leaders of the University of Pennsylvania faculty senate released a statement Thursday condemning those who “use their pocketbooks to shape our mission” after donors began withdrawing support over the school’s response to the Israel-Hamas war.

UPenn donors began pulling their funding from the university after President Liz Magill failed to initially label Hamas as a terrorist organization in an Oct. 10 statement about the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians. The university’s faculty senate tri-chairs, Tulia G. Falleti, Eric A. Feldman and Vivian L. Gadsden, accused individuals of trying to censor free speech by “surveilling both faculty and students” and criticized those who would try to use their “pocketbooks” to buy the speech of university students and faculty, according to the statement.

Read More

No New Primary Election Date in Pennsylvania

The primary election will happen April 23, despite several legislative attempts to move up the date and capitalize on Pennsylvania’s swing state status.

Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, said the upper chamber would not consider an amended bill that would reschedule the election for April 16 – even though it included property tax reform the chamber supported.

Read More

In Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Former Attorney John Eastman, He Discussed How Nixon Exercised Substantive Authority Accepting Electoral Slates

The disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar John Eastman is in its eighth week, and expected to continue into a ninth week. On Wednesday, Eastman testified all day, focusing especially on the 1960 election and then-Vice President Richard Nixon’s role deciding which of three electoral slates from Hawaii to accept. 

Eastman said Nixon received three slates of electors from Hawaii, including one that was not certified — the second one from the Democrats. Nixon opened up all three envelopes and chose which one to accept, the third Democratic one that was certified by the governor after the recount. None of the alternate slates of electors in the 2020 election were certified by a state government entity.

Read More

Explicit Book Access in Pennsylvania School Libraries Faces a Reckoning

Sexually explicit books in school libraries make many parents uncomfortable, but some educators say policies that limit access for students are ineffective, at best.

Still, local officials want guidance from the state about how to allay concerns over books available to children, some as young as sixth grade, that depict or describe graphic sexual acts, incest and pedophilia.

Read More

University of Pennsylvania Loses Major Donor and Board Member over Anti-Semitism

The University of Pennsylvania lost the support of one major donor and saw one board of trustees member resign, both out of protest against the rise of anti-Semitism at the university in the wake of the massive Palestinian attacks against Israel.

As reported by Breitbart, Jon Huntsman, a former Governor of Utah, former U.S. ambassador, and former presidential candidate, announced publicly that he would not be donating to the school any further, due to the school’s refusal to issue a statement of any kind on the matter.

Read More

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Revive Crypto Mining Impact Study

The state House revived plans for an impact study on cryptocurrency mining and potential reporting mandates for companies at work in the industry.

The House Environmental Resources and Energy committee voted Monday to remove a two-year moratorium on new operations from House Bill 1476, though it still faced Republican opposition.

Read More

Suburban Leaders Blast Philadelphia DA Krasner for Crime Wave

Suburban Philadelphia legislators and law enforcement officials lambasted the city’s crime policies, blaming District Attorney Larry Krasner for not prosecuting criminals.

“My district has seen an increase in crime in our area — a majority of which is not even committed by Bensalem residents but by individuals crossing over the border from Philadelphia,” Rep. Kathleen C. Tomlinson, R-Bensalem, said during a House GOP Policy Committee hearing on crime.

Read More

Other States’ Film Tax Credits Dwarf Pennsylvania’s Program

Pennsylvania’s investment in film tax credits hasn’t delivered the economic returns policymakers had anticipated, according to a recent analysis.

In its five-year review, the Independent Fiscal Office said the program’s $8.5 million net tax revenue does accomplish its legislative intent, even if tens of thousands of dollars in potential profit seep out of the state in the meantime.

Read More

Pennsylvania Policy Group Says $200 Million Rail Service Deal Picks Taxpayers’ Pockets

Though many celebrated expanded Amtrak service for Pittsburgh, critics cry foul, pointing to long-term trends that work against train travel in western Pennsylvania.

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy warned the $200 million state investment announced in September to bring twice-daily service from Pittsburgh to New York City was a misuse of taxpayer dollars, benefiting Norfolk Southern and Amtrak more than residents.

Read More

Pennsylvania Spending on Alternative Fuel Rebates Hits $15.7 Million

Pennsylvania’s alternative fuel rebate paid $15.7 million to residents over the last 12 years, according to state data.

Since 2018, the Department of Environmental Protection provided rebates for 5,060 full-battery electric vehicles, 1,714 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and 42 electric motorcycles.

Read More

Pennsylvania Spends $600,000 to Fix Up Recovery Houses

As Pennsylvania invests more taxpayer money into drug addiction treatment, about $600,000 has gone to recovery homes for building upgrades to put them in compliance with state and federal rules.

The commonwealth’s licensed recovery homes – overseen by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs – give people recovering from addiction a place to live, as well as access to resources like medication-assisted treatment. 

Read More

In Disbarment Trial of Former Trump Attorney John Eastman, Kari Lake’s Attorney Goes over Significant Laws Broken in Various States During 2020 Election

The disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, wrapped up its seventh week on Friday, with more testimony from Kari Lake’s attorney Kurt Olsen, and Eastman resuming the stand briefly at the end. Olsen discussed several laws he said he believes were violated by state election officials in Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Olsen began testifying about a Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint that he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking to stop Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin from certifying their 2020 election results due to multiple violations of state law and constitutional problems. One of the reasons he said he brought the complaint was that signature verification was halted in the 2020 election in Detroit. 

Read More

Pennsylvania Bill Relaxes Licensing Rules for Veteran First Responders

Pennsylvanians serving in the military may soon see their credentials as first responders preserved while deployed.

House Bill 404, introduced by Rep. Dane Watro, R-Hazleton, would expand the commonwealth’s policy of using military experience to fulfill licensing and certification rules for EMTs. The bill would exempt those serving from continuing education or in-service training requirements. 

Read More

After Student Walkout, Pennsylvania School District Reverses Transgender Bathroom Policy

The Perkiomen Valley School District in Pennsylvania recently passed a policy that mandates kids use the bathroom associated with their biological sex after students staged a walkout in protest of the school board for originally rejecting the proposal. 

The school board originally voted against the policy titled “Policy 720” in a 4-5 vote. However, the vote changed earlier this week after board member Don Fountain voted to approve the policy instead.

Read More

Ramaswamy Campaign Disputes Grinnell Police Account of Crash Amid Protests at an Iowa Campaign Stop

The campaign for GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy is pushing back against police accounts about an incident Thursday afternoon involving protesters and a car that reportedly struck a Ramaswamy campaign vehicle.

Read More

Voting Changes Rejected; Moving Pennsylvania Presidential Primary Still Possible

The state House has overwhelmingly rejected a joint proposal to move the primary election date and implement sweeping voting changes that frustrated lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The chamber struck down Senate Bill 224 by a vote of 177-26. In total, all 101 Republicans and 76 Democrats, including House Speaker Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia, disapproved.

Read More

In Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Former Attorney John Eastman, Retired DoD Analyst Reveals Biden Got Fewer Votes than Hillary in Philadelphia

The disbarment trial of Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar John Eastman entered into its seventh week on Tuesday, with two of Eastman’s witnesses returning to the witness stand for cross-examination. Physicist John Droz discussed the reports he oversaw on election anomalies in the 2020 election, and retired Department of Defense analyst Ray Blehar revealed that despite the huge increases in votes for Joe Biden compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016, Biden got fewer votes than she did in Philadelphia.

Read More

Math Behind Pennsylvania’s Rainy Day Fund Deposit in Dispute

Lawmakers and Gov. Josh Shapiro find themselves at odds once again over the amount the administration deposited into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

The Office of the Budget said Thursday it transferred $411.6 million into the savings account, or about 10% of the $4.1 billion revenue surplus left over on June 30 – the end of the prior fiscal year.

Read More

Fiscal Conservatives from Arizona and Tennessee Helped Depose Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House

U.S. Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) laid it all on the line Tuesday afternoon in supporting a motion to vacate to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) from the post he has tenuously held for less than a year.

Read More

Witness in Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Former Attorney John Eastman Found ‘Vote Laundering’ of 280,000 to 300,000 Votes in Pennsylvania’s 2020 Election

The sixth week of the disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, wrapped up Friday with testimony by two witnesses from Eastman’s team. Attorney Kurt Olsen, who is representing Kari Lake in her election challenge, testified first. Next, Ray Blehar, a retired Department of Defense analyst, testified, discussing his findings that 280,000 to 300,000 votes in Pennsylvania were “vote laundered” through the electronic tabulating machines.
Olsen began his testimony explaining why he decided to become involved in an election lawsuit over the 2020 election. He said, “I believed that something was not right.” He listed what concerned him: video clips of poll workers not allowed to watch tabulation, the controversy in Michigan’s Antrim County, results that didn’t make sense such as the stopping of counting ballots overnight in key counties, and “clear violations of law.” 

Read More

Pennsylvania State Police Interest Surging After College Credit Requirement Axed

Pennsylvania state police applications spiked over the last month after the governor axed the agency’s college credit requirement.

Nearly half of the 1,200 candidates were not eligible before the Aug. 28 announcement. Overall, interest has surged – in the previous half-year hiring period, the agency had received 1,745 applications.

Read More

Education Equity Divides Pennsylvania Policymakers

For more than a decade, policymakers in Harrisburg – and the circle of education influencers that they attract – have struggled to define equity for public school students.

Now, with a court mandate baring down, the state must reimagine the free and fair public education system promised in its Constitution – the guarantee envisioned by revolutionary elected officials like Thaddeus Stevens, whose influence still looms large in the halls of the Capitol.

Read More

Physicist Testifying at Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Attorney Former John Eastman Discusses Report That Found 130,000 Instances of ‘Voter Fraud’ in Nevada

Physicist and auditor John Droz testified all day Thursday in the ongoing disbarment trial of Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional scholar, John Eastman. California Disciplinary Court Judge Yvette Roland, who contributed to Democrats while on the bench, spent a large portion of the day successfully attempting to keep Droz’s investigative reports into the 2020 election and his testimony from being admitted into evidence. Some of his testimony that was struck from the record afterward discussed a report that attorney Jesse Binnall delivered to Congress, laying out what he found as 130,000 incidents of voter fraud in Nevada’s 2020 election.

Read More