Tuesday, March 12, 2013
This ruling is a victory in favor of hard-working Pennsylvanians, state Sen. Fontana says.
Tuesday, March 12
Last week, the Commonwealth Court ruled that two statutes that stripped money from the successful adultBasic and Medical Assistance Benefits for Workers with Disabilities programs were unconstitutional because they diverted money from the federal Tobacco Settlement to finance items other than health care in the general budget. I consider this ruling a victory in favor of hard-working Pennsylvanians who have found themselves in a position where they lack health care benefits because of Gov. Tom Corbett Administration policies of cutting programs for low-income residents. Under the Tobacco Settlement of 1998, tobacco companies agreed to distribute $200 billion over 25 years among Pennsylvania and other states. However, two subsequent laws …
'Every Pennsylvania resident needs reliable transportation, and safe, modern infrastructure is crucial to attracting jobs and investment to our region." - state Rep. Erin Molchany
Tuesday, March 12
On Feb. 20, I was pleased to host a hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel on the vital issue of transportation funding. Fourteen of my colleagues from around the state visited our district to hear regional leaders on the issue speak and answer questions on funding needs and the future of Pittsburgh's and the state's transportation network. I requested a hearing on this topic because every Pennsylvania resident needs reliable transportation, and safe, modern infrastructure is crucial to attracting jobs and investment to our region. Our transportation issues are statewide problems—on urban mass transit and rural routes alike—and we are in this situation because of decades of underinvestment. …
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The governor has raised funding in some areas but at least some opponents don't feel the budget addresses important issues.
Gov. Tom Corbett delivered highlights of his proposed 2013-14 budget in a speech before the state Legislature on Tuesday morning. The $28.4 billion state budget plan, a 2.4 percent increase over this year, includes no general tax increases. In one of the most controversial areas, Corbett recommended against expanding Medicaid, as provided for under the Affordable Health Care Act. Corbett plans to ask the federal government for flexibililty to let Pennsylvania customize the health insurance program for its needs or have the state reject the Medicaid expansion. Under the act, also known as Obamacare, Medicaid could expand to cover people earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level and provide coverage for upwards of 600,000 uninsured …
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Paul Cozza filled a vacancy on the court in August.
Baldwin Township Democrat Paul E. Cozza, an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge since August, will run for a full term on the court this coming election season, according to a news release. Cozza was nominated to fill a vacancy on the court by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett this past June and was unanimously confirmed by the state Senate in July before being sworn into office on Aug. 14. "It is an honor to serve the people of Allegheny County on the Court of Common Pleas, which is why I am seeking a full term in the upcoming election," Judge Cozza said in the release. "As one of only two candidates in the race who is a sitting judge, I have demonstrated that I have the background and experience necessary to effectively serve as…
Friday, December 28, 2012
Sally Haas, president of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, died unexpectedly on Thursday. Friends and colleagues praise her leadership.
Chip Holsworth, president of the Military Affairs Coalition of Western Pennsylvania, said that the local military advocacy group will have to search "far and wide" to find another leader like Sally Haas. Haas, the president of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce and the co-chair of its military coalition, died unexpectedly on Thursday following surgery for an undisclosed condition. She was 58 and lived in Whitehall Borough. A fixture at coalition meetings and Moon Township military community events, Haas was tireless in her efforts to stave off a potential closure of the 911th Airlift Wing in Moon, Holsworth said. "She was our most active member," Holsworth said. "It's an incredible loss." Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who …
Sunday, December 9, 2012
This week, some state House Democrats voiced their opposition to Gov. Corbett's plan to award a contract to privatize the lottery to Camelot Group—with no other bidders in the running.
The Pennsylvania Lottery is one of the most successful and well-managed state lotteries in the nation. Last year, the PA Lottery had annual sales in excess of $3.2 billion and, according to House Democrats, has held administrative costs to record lows of just over 2 percent. According to DailyFinance.com, Pennsylvania State Lottery has steered $20.6 billion to a variety of causes since it began, but its profits have primarily been funneled into an elderly benefits fund. This fund includes subsidies for transportation, tax rebates and Medicare. As of last year, about 61 percent of the annual ticket sales go to prizes, 30 percent goes to the state and the rest is for expenses. That's a higher percentage of prize return than most other states…
Friday, November 30, 2012
The state representative calls for new direction in Harrisburg.
State Rep. Martin Michael Schmotzer has issued a news release to thank the residents of Pennsylvania's 22nd House District for the opportunity to serve them. Schmotzer's term in the House comes to a close today, Nov. 30. "It's been an honor to serve and represent the people of the 22nd District," Schmotzer said, "from Brookline and Beechview to Baldwin (Township) and Whitehall (Borough). I kept all my promises to you. I had a 100-percent voting record, I didn't take the health care coverage, and I showed up for work every day. "The most important votes I cast were probably those dealing with the (state) budget," the Democrat and longtime Baldwin-Whitehall School Board member from Whitehall said. "I was adamantly opposed to locking in last …
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Pennsylvania voters elect their first woman and first Democrat to be the state's attorney general.
Kathleen Kane achieved two firsts in her Pennsylvania attorney general election victory: She defeated Republican David Freed 56 to 41 percent in unofficial results from Tuesday's voting. Kane won the support of Lehigh Valley voters on her way to statewide success: Lehigh County Northampton County Kane, 46, is a former Lackawanna County prosecutor who will now oversee an office with a staff of about 700 and subject to legislative battles over a budget that now stands at $81 million, according to a Philly.com report. Kane had a slight fundraising edge in the race. Both candidates pledged a review of the Jerry Sandusky child rape case and its handling by former Attorney General Tom Corbett, now the state's governor.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The former Marine, representing parts of Baldwin-Whitehall, co-sponsored both bills.
State Rep. Harry A. Readshaw, whose 36th Legislative District includes parts of Baldwin and Whitehall boroughs, said in a news release on Wednesday that two bills of critical importance to Pennsylvania veterans are close to becoming laws. Readshaw, a Democrat, is a co-sponsor of both bills. Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 1531, which would create a Veterans Trust Fund in the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to provide funding for various grants and programs. A new "Honoring Our Veterans" vehicle license plate authorized by that bill would help to finance the Veterans Trust Fund. Of the new plate's fee, $15 would go directly to the trust fund. Also contributing to the …
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
'The initial cause of their shutdown was to avoid voting on a resolution calling for a federal investigation of why Jerry Sandusky was allowed to remain free for more than two-and-a-half years.'
State Rep. Martin Michael Schmotzer said in a news release on Tuesday that Republican majority leaders of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are still stalling legislation regarding child sex abuse and education reform. The week of Oct. 1, the House was scheduled to vote on a bill (H.B. 2318) that would require school districts to include age-appropriate child exploitation awareness education guidelines—that would be developed by state officials—in the health curriculum for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Schmotzer, a longtime Baldwin-Whitehall School Board member, has filed education reform amendments to the bill. "First, Republicans stalled this legislation by canceling a session day and cutting another one short," …