A state lawmaker is urging colleagues to support a bill he is drafting to legalize esports betting in Pennsylvania. Representative Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia) began circulating a memorandum last week making the case for legitimating video-game betting in the Keystone State, observing that the esports business took in $1.1 billion worldwide in 2022 and is predicted to soon realize a $1.8-billion global value.Read More
The Pennsylvania Senate this week passed an amendment to the state Constitution that would require individuals to provide identification to vote in person in an election.
Also contained in the bill the chamber approved are an amendment that would open the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse and another amendment that would strengthen legislators’ power against a governor’s regulatory authority.Read More
Pennsylvania state Senator Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) is asking colleagues to cosponsor legislation to let law-abiding state residents carry concealed firearms without a permit, something he tried but failed to get enacted last session.
The senator’s original bill passed the General Assembly in autumn of 2021 but Governor Tom Wolf (D) vetoed it. Its chances of becoming law have diminished even further insofar as Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently was elected in November to succeed Wolf and Democrats won a majority of seats in the state House of Representatives.Read More
Pennsylvanians’ electric bills rose by an average of nearly three-quarters over the last two years and policymakers have only made the problem worse, according to the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation (CF).
State residents served by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) have seen their rates go up by just over half since December 2020. Customers of the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) have meanwhile experienced a doubling of their power costs during that time. All other providers have also risen their rates considerably.Read More
Pennsylvania’s new House Freedom Caucus announced its initial leaders this week, with state Representative Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg) to chair the new organization and Representative David Rowe (R-Mifflinburg) to serve as vice chair.
Keefer and Rowe were among the 20 GOP members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote against this fiscal year’s budget, a compromise between the majority-Republican General Assembly and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf which increases state spending by 16.6 percent to $43.7 billion. In remarks to the press, the new caucus’s leaders complained of the extent to which government is growing in the commonwealth and promised to pursue zero-based budgeting as well as regulatory reform.Read More
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) on Wednesday joined a number of state, federal and city officials to celebrate the awarding of $2.5 million in taxpayer funds to a gay and transexual activity center in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood.”
Wolf said the money from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) will go toward several major renovations envisioned for the William Way LGBT Community Center just south of City Hall. The grant comes in addition to $1 million the center received from the state in 2019 to improve the property’s heating, ventilation and cooling systems as well as to remodel the building’s front area.Read More
Pennsylvania state representatives expect to vote Wednesday on whether to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D); a legislative panel voted to move the idea forward on Tuesday.
All 14 attending members of the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee supported advancing an impeachment bill sponsored by Representative Martina White (R-Philadelphia). All eight Democrats present for the vote opposed the legislation.Read More
Days before the 2022 midterm elections, Pennsylvania Republican Senate leaders wrote to their commonwealth’s chief voting overseer seeking assurance that laws governing undated absentee ballots will be followed.
The letter from Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Greensburg) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) goes on to urge acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) to follow official procedure on other electoral matters as well.Read More
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court this week ordered counties to decline to count any absentee or mail-in ballot delivered in an undated envelope.
State law, which has permitted no-excuse absentee voting since 2020, requires those not voting in person to place their ballot into a secrecy envelope before placing it into a return envelope. Voter must sign and date that outer envelope for their ballot to be valid under state statute.Read More
Business leaders in Pennsylvania don’t see inflation subsiding in the near future, according to a survey released this week by the Harrisburg-based Lincoln Institute for Public Opinion & Research.
A total of 212 businesses from across the Keystone State responded to the institute’s poll, with just over half of the respondents being business owners; 20 percent serving as either chief executive officer, head of finance or head of operations; and about a fifth serving as either state or local manager.Read More
In a recent ranking of America’s governors, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf ranked at the bottom of the pack – 44th for his fiscal policies.
An annual fiscal policy report card from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, graded the nation’s governors “from a limited-government perspective.” In their grading that emphasized lowering taxes and cutting spending, Wolf earned an “F.”Read More
Pennsylvania Democrats remain opposed to discarding undated absentee ballots, despite a Supreme Court decision suggesting that the ballots should not count.
Shortly after Governor Tom Wolf (D) and acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) indicated they will continue to instruct counties to count mail-in ballots that come in envelopes on which voters did not write a date, state Senator Jim Brewster (D) proposed legislation to end the date requirement entirely.Read More
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf last week vetoed a bill approved by the General Assembly that would prohibit premature release of a prisoner that has committed a violent offense while imprisoned.
The bill, known as “Markie’s law” and sponsored by Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Ellwood City, passed 41-9 in the Senate and 133-69 in the House. Wolf is term-limited, and headed out at the beginning of January; both chambers are majority Republicans.Read More
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano this weekend condemned the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid and arrest of Bucks County resident Mark Houck, a prominent pro-life activist.
According to a LifeSiteNews.com report citing Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie’s firsthand reaction to the SWAT team’s Friday-morning visit to the home where the two live with their seven children, between 25 and 30 armed agents arriving in approximately 15 vehicles surrounded the house.Read More
As political-party attorneys and the state of Pennsylvania argued over “curing” election ballots on Thursday, the Democratic judge hearing the case suggested that differing county rules could undermine confidence in election integrity.
Judge Ellen Ceisler, one of two Democrats on the seven-member Commonwealth Court, conducted the hearing in which Republican Party lawyers pressed their case against Pennsylvania Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D). Per litigation filed three weeks ago, the plaintiffs contended that the court should not permit the secretary to let counties notify absentee or mail-in voters that their ballots contain mistakes that can supposedly be corrected or “cured.”Read More
Pennsylvanians who support legal protections for innocent life including the unborn resoundingly celebrated the enthused showing at Monday’s Pennsylvania March for Life in Harrisburg, the Keystone State’s second such annual event.
Thousands of residents marched to the Capitol Building in support of legislation to prevent abortion, an issue that has seen a resurgence of interest since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide was nullified earlier this year. Pro-abortion activists held their own rally for Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial candidacy the day afterward, drawing few attendees.Read More
A Pennsylvania House committee announced this week it will investigate cases of “ghost flights” of illegal immigrants, possibly including children, that reportedly landed in the Keystone State.
The state House Government Oversight Committee accepted a referral from House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Quarryville) and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) which voiced concern about media accounts of nighttime air delivery of persons who unlawfully entered the United States. Cutler and Benninghoff observed that whistleblowers have suggested these flights into the commonwealth’s northeastern region, allegedly chartered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), contain minors as well as adults. The individuals were reported to have been driven out of state after arriving.Read More
Pro-lifers and scored a momentary win this week as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided against bypassing the Commonwealth Court and hearing a case against a proposed constitutional amendment.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia were among organizations that filed amicus briefs with the majority-Democrat Supreme Court urging it to make Governor Tom Wolf (D) first take his case to the Republican-controlled lower court. In that forum, judges will rule on the validity of a proposed amendment stating that the commonwealth does not confer a constitutional right to abortion.Read More
Two Pennsylvania state legislators on Friday proposed a law to facilitate compensation for those who the commonwealth imprisons based on wrongful convictions.
Representatives Frank Ryan (R-Palmyra) and Regina Young (D-Philadelphia) plan to introduce the legislation to bring Keystone State policy into line with 38 other states that indemnify exonerated people.Read More
As unionized public-school staffers protest the School District of Philadelphia’s failure to assent to the union’s salary and training terms, threatening to strike at the beginning of the school year, school-choice advocates are reminding parents of alternatives.
Bus drivers, custodians, maintenance staff and other workers represented by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ have authorized a strike that could compromise the resumption of schooling that is scheduled for next Monday. Pro-strike workers insist they are underpaid, noting that cleaners make roughly $16,000 per year at the low end. At the high end, construction inspectors make approximately $70,000.Read More
A report released Monday by Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) shows that new Keystone-State employment opportunities fell in June, marking a three-month overall decline.
Examining numbers from the federal Department of Labor, the IFO found that around 393,000 new jobs opened in June. Although that number exceeds the 281,000-per-month average for job openings that preceded COVID-19 in 2020, it continues a downward slope that began after new employment offerings reached 514,000 in March.Read More
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) came to Pittsburgh this weekend to argue that his success governing Florida needs to be replicated in Pennsylvania and that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-PA-Gettysburg) is the man to do it.
The Adams County lawmaker is running against Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, someone who Mastriano and DeSantis believe will intensify the liberal governance the Keystone State has underwent during Tom Wolf’s eight-year administration.Read More
Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D-PA-Philadelphia) proposed two bills to promote abortion in the Keystone state: an abortion training program and a bill to require insurers to cover abortion without cost sharing.
In a memorandum seeking cosponsors for her training measure, the democratic socialist representative from south Philadelphia indicated the legislation would bestow funding on the state Department of Health to provide medical professionals with up-to-date abortion instruction.Read More
State Representative Frank Ryan (R-PA-Palmyra) this week proposed amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to eliminate the portion of property taxes collected by localities to fund public schools.
In February, Ryan sponsored another bill to abolish school property taxes by statute; that measure has yet to receive a vote in the House of Representatives Finance Committee. While enacting a statute requires majority assent of the House and Senate and the signature of the governor, amending the state Constitution requires House and Senate approval in two consecutive sessions. The policy would then go before Pennsylvania voters as a ballot question for approval or rejection and the governor would play no role in that process.Read More
Twenty Republican members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week called on acting Pennsylvania Education Secretary Eric Hagarty to reverse controversial state guidelines concerning schools’ treatment of sex and gender.
On a webpage titled “Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools and Classrooms,” the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) calls “binary gender,” e.g., the idea that gender and biological sex are properly denoted as either “male” or “female,” a “faulty concept.” The document also suggests that teachers host a “gender-neutral day” for students above the second grade wherein kids would identify ways in which they will eschew gender stereotypes on that day. Elsewhere, the guidance counsels teachers to ask a student his or her gender identity before assuming the right pronouns by which to call the child.Read More
Pennsylvania business advocates joined Governor Tom Wolf (D) at the York County Economic Alliance on Monday to welcome an upcoming change in tax policy championed by entrepreneurs across the commonwealth.
Via the new budget agreed to this summer by Wolf and the Republican-controlled General Assembly, Pennsylvania will begin a decade-long phased halving of its corporate net income tax (CNIT). Of the forty-four states with a business income tax, the size of the Keystone State’s current 9.99-percent rate is second only to New Jersey’s 11.5-percent tax. Besides these two states, only four others levy top business income tax rates that exceed nine percent.Read More
Pennsylvania state Representative Emily Kinkead (D-Pittsburgh) announced on Friday that she will sponsor a bill to require residents to obtain permits to buy guns.
Her legislation is a companion to a Senate measure authored by Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia). The senator began touting his legislation the day after the May school shooting in Uvalde, TX in which an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers.Read More
This week’s decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholding Act 77 which legalized no-excuse absentee voting in the Keystone State is spurring Republican lawmakers to renew their push for election reform.
A Republican-led legislature passed and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 77 three years ago. Moderate Democratic Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) initially drafted the bill to get rid of straight-party voting, a policy on which Republican legislators largely agreed with her. More Democrats came around to support the measure once a section was added allowing voters to cast mail-in ballots without providing a reason they could not come to the polls (i.e., illness, injury or travel).Read More
Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) on Tuesday denounced guidelines the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has outlined for the treatment of controversial gender issues in public schools.
The senator, who is running for governor against Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, particularly objected to recommendations that teachers consider utilizing nonconventional pronouns like “ne, ve, ze and xe” that some who claim to be neither male nor female have begun using to refer to themselves. Mastriano also criticized Governor Tom Wolf (D) and PDE for denying the link between biological sex and the gendered terms (i.e., male and female) that correspond to it.Read More
As the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly advances a constitutional amendment to preserve its ability to restrict abortion, Governor Tom Wolf (D) is suing to defeat that amendment and taking executive action in favor of the practice.
Keystone State governors typically don’t play a role in the constitutional-amendment process. If both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate pass an amendment in two consecutive sessions, the commonwealth submits the measure as a ballot question for voters to accept or reject at the ballot box. If a majority agrees to it, the amendment becomes law, with or without gubernatorial blessing.Read More
Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities are moving ahead with tuition increases in spite of Republican lawmakers’ exhortations that they freeze their prices.
Earlier this week, state Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) sent a letter to the administrators of Temple University, Lincoln University, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State University to urge them not to further economically burden students or their families as inflation rages. Soon thereafter, GOP leaders of the state House of Representatives sent their own message to the four schools which operate independently but rely heavily on state funding.Read More
State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) this week wrote to Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities to urge them to abandon their planned tuition increases and freeze in-state tuition in light of skyrocketing inflation.
The senator noted that the Keystone State’s Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget allots $600 million in total to Lincoln University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania State University. Those institutions are also getting $40 million in new discretionary funding from Gov. Tom Wolf (D). With such generous state subsidies, Mastriano reasoned, partially public universities should make every effort to avoid putting new pressures on students and their families.Read More
State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-PA-Reading) announced on Monday she will introduce a bill mandating that Pennsylvania hotel and motel businesses train their workers in human-trafficking awareness.
Human trafficking, an industry the International Labour Office believes to generate $150 billion each year, is a form of slavery whereby human beings are defrauded or coerced into servitude that is often sexual in nature. The U.S. Department of State estimates that about 25 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking. Of those, nearly a third are children or teenagers and roughly half are women.Read More
John Fetterman handily won campaigns for mayor of heavily Democratic Braddock, PA in the 2000s and 2010s and won two statewide Pennsylvania primaries, one for lieutenant governor in 2018 and another for U.S. senator this year. His history of opposing hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking” to extract natural gas didn’t burden him in those races.
But now the Democratic lieutenant governor faces a general election for U.S. Senate against Republican celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz. And although Fetterman now says he does not support prohibiting fracking, his past support for a fracking ban promises to complicate his appeal to working Keystone Staters on whose livelihoods fossil-fuel development depends.Read More
Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers are suing the commonwealth over its 2019 law expanding mail-in voting, arguing it’s invalid after a recent court ruling.
On Wednesday, 14 state Republicans filed a lawsuit against acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman, a Democrat, to throw out the mail-in law.Read More
Gov. Tom Wolf is term-limited and not running for reelection, and it may be for the best. Only five governors in the country are less popular.
That’s according to the latest Morning Consult survey, which looked at governors’ popularity across the nation.Read More
Pennsylvania state Sen. Gen Yaw (R-Williamsport) this week announced he is authoring a bill to bar any county that bans natural-gas development on county-owned lands from getting certain natural-gas revenues.
Specifically, Yaw’s proposal would prevent those jurisdictions from receiving allocations from the commonwealth’s gas-drilling impact fee, including any grants from the Marcellus Legacy Fund that finances regional environmental improvement projects. Revenues collected from the levy on companies extracting gas from the sedimentary rock known as Marcellus Shale totaled $234.4 million last year. The fee has brought nearly $2.3 billion into the state Treasury over the last decade.Read More
Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) released a report Tuesday detailing “a myriad of election issues” in the Keystone State.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol Building, Grove reviewed his findings, including inconsistent vote-counting rules, ballot harvesting, fraud and administrative errors. The new report is the third he has issued concerning election problems since November 2020.Read More
Pennsylvania’s Senate State Government Committee on Monday heard expert testimony on possible changes to the state’s rules for handling instances when the governor or lieutenant governor cannot perform his or her duties.
The issue has become especially salient ever since Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) suffered a stroke on May 13. He recovered but only gradually returned to his job and to his U.S. Senate campaign. He missed 18 session days as presiding officer of the Pennsylvania Senate, leaving him out of the conclusion of budget deliberations.Read More
Pennsylvania state Reps. Craig Williams (R-Chadds Ford) and Chris Quinn (R-Media) on Friday lauded area lawmakers and activists for their work toward enactment of “Deana’s Law” which toughens drunk-driving sentences.
The new act is named after Deana DeRosa Eckman, a 45-year-old Delaware County resident who died in a February 2019 car collision caused by six-time Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) offender David Strowhouer in Upper Chichester Township. Strowhouer had a blood-alcohol content of 0.199, more than twice the level the commonwealth permits, and was driving 80 miles per hour before striking Eckman’s vehicle head-on.Read More
A report released this week by Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) indicates that 120,000 fewer residents are working or actively seeking work than in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The study showed the state’s labor force participate rate (LFPR) for those aged 16 and older to be 63 percent in May 2019 and to have declined to 61.9 percent one year later. That percentage has continued gradually decreasing — to 61.8 percent in May 2021 and to 61.7 percent two months ago.Read More
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) this week signed legislation banning nongovernmental entities from issuing grants for election administration and also creating a state-run grant program to meet such administrative needs.
State Senators Lisa Baker (R-Dallas) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-Jacobus) sponsored the measure in response to revelations that left-leaning nonprofits like the Chicago-based Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) bestowed large sums of money on localities across the nation in 2020. (Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, contributed $350 million to the organization that year.) Most CTCL grants going to Pennsylvania counties subsidized election administration in Democrat-heavy areas.Read More
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on Friday signed Pennsylvania’s $45 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23.
The governor and Republican-controlled legislature were only able to agree to the fiscal blueprint a week after the June 30 deadline. Revenues covering budget items include $42.8 billion in state taxpayer dollars and $2 billion in federal money.Read More
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week passed a bill barring municipalities from adopting measures that restrict the use of natural gas or other energy sources.
The House approved the legislation by a vote of 117 to 83, with the Republican majority almost entirely supportive. The bill originated in the state Senate, having passed that chamber last October by a vote of 35 to 15. It awaits Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature or veto.Read More
As July begins, Pennsylvania enters into Fiscal Year 2022-23 without an FY 22-23 budget.
Republicans who control the General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf have yet to agree on all facets of the spending plan. Altogether, the governor has proposed allotting $43.7 billion in taxpayer money in the next budget cycle, a figure that Republicans have said is too high.Read More
Pending the signature of Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania will be the 22nd state to join an EMS compact making it easier for emergency workers to practice across state lines.
The agreement standardizes privilege to practice rules, validates licenses in a national registry, and grants emergency medical workers the ability to work across state lines on a short-term basis. By aligning rules and standards, Pennsylvania poses fewer barriers to out-of-state workers who may relocate to the commonwealth.Read More
Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Thursday ruled to stop a tolling plan that would have affected nine bridges throughout the state.
In November 2020, the state Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board voted to open the door to tolling bridges on Interstate 78, Interstate 79, Interstate 80, Interstate 81, and Interstate 83 to fund their repair or replacement. Cumberland County, Bridgeville Borough, South Fayette Township and Collier Township eventually sued Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) administration to prevent the state from establishing the collection booths.Read More
A Pennsylvania Senate bill to allow a voter to act as a poll watcher outside of his or her own county passed the state House of Representatives this week, though Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he will veto it.
Sponsored by Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg), the “Poll Watcher Empowerment Act” received the support of every Republican and no Democratic representative. When it passed the Senate earlier this month, every Republican voted for it and every Democrat voted against it except for Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem).Read More
State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) asked colleagues Tuesday to co-sponsor a bill he plans to introduce to let teachers carry guns in Pennsylvania schools.
Under the proposal, teachers who hold concealed carry permits may be armed on school property provided they complete “a rigorous firearms course from a certified instructor.” Similar measures are now in effect in 28 states.Read More
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives Liquor Control Committee this week passed legislation to privatize liquor sales.
While the Republican-run General Assembly passed and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed a 2016 measure allowing grocery stores to sell wine and liberalizing some other alcoholic-beverage regulations, the Keystone State remains among the most tightly controlled in terms of liquor distribution. The commonwealth owns 600 “Fine Wine & Good Spirits” stores which have sole permission to sell both wine and hard liquor; only Utah’s system is equally monopolistic.Read More