January 31, 2011

Senate Judiciary Committee Sets Feb. 8 Meeting

February 8-- NEW. Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider Senate Bill 42 (Greenleaf-R-Montgomery) further providing for the registration of sexual offenders and sentencing, Senate Bill 59 (Greenleaf) further providing for the review of complaints, for criminal investigations and for target letters of the Judicial Conduct Board, Senate Bill 79 (Greenleaf) further providing for interstate and international procedures for depositions and subpoenas, Senate Bill 88 (Greenleaf) regulating unincorporated nonprofits in areas of organic nature, structure, formation, alteration, management and dissolution, Senate Bill 211 (Eichelberger-R-Blair) further providing supervisory relationship to offenders.   Room 8E-B East Wing.  11:30.

Rep. Shapiro Running For County Commissioner

Not Sitting Still: Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-Montgomery) confirm he will now run for Montgomery County Commissioner, just after former Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Joe Hoeffel announced he would not run.

Monday NewsClips

What Will Corbett Cut?
A Capitol Question: What Will Corbett Cut?
Corbett's Two-Year Budget Cycle Proposal Not A Shoo-In
Avuncular Corbett May Disappoint Hard-Core Partisans
John Baer: See All That Political Reform Going On? You Do?
Public-Private Transportation Deals Sought For State's Roads
Pennsylvania's Medicaid Costs Balloon As Populations Ages
Lawmakers Hope To Gather New Momentum On Old Proposals
Editorial: The Low Bidder On Philly Family Court
Santorum Beefs Up Staff For Iowa Run
Supreme Court Upholds Union-Only Projects
E-Town Students Get New Scholarship Opportunity
Child Custody Law New This Month
Editorial: Superior Court Must End Wonderland Justice
Businesses On Hook To Pay U.S. For Unemployment Benefits
PA Mulls Limiting Prescription Transfers
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClps

January 28, 2011

Jan. 31 PA Environment Digest Now Available

January 31 PA Environment Digest now available. Click here to print this Digest.

Video Blog: Renew Growing Greener Coalition Lobby Day A Success

On January 24, the Renew Growing Greener Coalition hosted a series of events to lobby for the renewal of the Growing Greener Program.
“It is imperative that we provide the information to our policy-makers necessary to elevate this issue to the highest priority. Funding for Growing Greener is not a luxury, it is essential for the future economic vitality of the state, and for the future of our rich natural heritage,” said Andrew Heath, Executive Director of the Coalition.
Video Blog: Andrew Health Recaps Lobby Day Activities
Click here to read more…

Rendell Administration Publishes Last Regulatory Agenda Today

In one of the final actions of his administration, Gov. Rendell this week published his semi-annual Regulatory Agenda in compliance with Executive Order 1996-1. (Pa Bulletin page 679)
            The Agenda shows which regulations are under development or planned for the coming year grouped by state agency.
            Subsequent agendas will be published on the first Saturdays in February and July.

Friday NewsClips

Corbett Aim: Reform State Government
Op-Ed: Show You’re A Leader Gov. Corbett
Editorial: Pay To Party
House Turmoil Spurs Party Calls For Resignations
After Rules Showdown, What Comes Next For House?
Blog: State Political Parties Get In On House Rules Fight
Democratic Chair: Turzai Should Step Down
Column: Democrats, There’s No Crying In Reform
Editorial: House GOP Abuses Power
Editorial: Real Story Of Stormy House Reform Meeting
House Republicans Ready Gaming Reform Bills
Gaming Chief: Wait To Auction Foxwoods License
Editorial: A Good Call On Foxwoods
Super Bowl Delays Orie Jury One Day
Judge Keeps Evidence In Orie Case
As Costs Rise, Legislature Urged To Adopt Prison Reform
Wagner: Use Alternative Sentencings For Nonviolent Inmates
Auditor General Against Building New Prisons
Auditor General: Prison Spending Needs To Be Checked
Auditor General Calls For Halt To New Prisons
Tea Party Caucus Hears From Toomey
PA Senators To Be Players On Economic Policy
Plan To Privatize Stores Doesn’t Add Up, Critics Say
Editorial: Community Trust Critical In Harrisburg’s Act 47 Plan
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 27, 2011

Senate Posts Budget Hearing Schedule

The Senate Appropriations Committee posted its budget hearing schedule this afternoon. The House posted its budget hearing schedule earlier in the week. Here is the Senate schedule--

March 16
9:30-- Governor’s Budget Office/Executive Offices and Office of the Governor
1:00-- Treasury Department
3:00-- Department of Labor & Industry

March 17
9:30-- Department of General Services
1:00-- Public Utility Commission
3:00-- Insurance Department

March 21
1:00-- Department of Community & Economic Development/PA Housing Finance Agency
3:00-- Department of Military & Veterans Affairs

March 22
9:30-- PA Liquor Control Board
1:00-- PA State Police
3:00-- Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

March 23
9:30-- Department of Revenue
1:00-- Department of Health
3:00-- PA State system of Higher Education

March 24
9:30-- Department of Environmental Protection
1:00-- Department of Transportation
3:00-- Department of Aging

March 28
9:30-- Office of Auditor General
1:00-- Judicial Department
3:00-- State Related Universities

March 29
9:30-- Department of Education
1:00-- Department of Corrections/Probation & Parole
3:00-- Office of Attorney General

March 30
9:30-- Department of Public Welfare
1:00-- Department of Agriculture
3:00-- Gaming Control Board

March 31
9:30-- Department of State
10:30-- PEMA/Homeland Security

Thursday NewsClips

House Reform Agenda Dissolves As Lawmakers Clash
GOP Accuses Dems Of Blocking Bills In House
Reform Turns Into Screaming Match In House
House Courtesy Vanishes, Replaced By Circus
House Dems Protest GOP Moves
Blog: House Dems In Uproar Over GOP Rules Changes (Video)
Editorial: Baby Steps Toward Reform
Editorial: Dig In To Doings Of Government
2 Lawmakers Want Rules For Transition
Mellow Lawyer Asks Court To Unseal Records
Lawmakers Want To Learn Value Of Liquor Stores
Op-Ed: 5 Proposals For Fixing U.S. Senate, Sen. Casey
Rivers Casino To Add Games, New Ballroom
Gaming Board Report Defends Foxwoods Ruling
Gambling Self-Exclusion A Hit
Op-Ed: Community Colleges Are Key To National Success
Marijuana Laws Should Be Eased In PA
Foreclosures In Scranton Jump 69 Percent
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 26, 2011

House Democrats Walk Out Of Rules Committee Meeting

House Democrats stormed out of a Rules Committee meeting this afternoon after Republicans proposed House Rules changes which would reduce the number of Democrats serving on each standing committee by one.
            A second rule change would allow the House to table individual amendments rather than table a bill, which had been used by both parties in the past.
            House Democrats had proposed 42 amendments to the reform bills Republicans moved out of committee earlier in the week.
House Reform Agenda Dissolves As Lawmakers Clash
GOP Accuses Dems Of Blocking Bills In House
Proposed House Rule Changes Rankle Democrats
Blog: House Dems In Uproar Over GOP Rules Changes (Video)

House Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing Schedule

The House Appropriations Committee released its budget hearing schedule today:

March 14
10:00 -- Department of Revenue
1:00 -- Department of Aging
2:30 -- Public Utilities Commission
3:30 -- Office of Consumer Advocate

March 15
9:00 -- Auditor General
10:00 -- Treasury Department
11:00 -- Attorney General
1:30 -- Gaming Control Board

March 16
9:30 -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
10:30 -- Department of Environmental Protection
1:30 -- Department of Agriculture
3:00 -- Department of State

March 21
10:00 -- Department of General Services
1:00 -- PSERS/SERS

March 22
10:00 -- Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
11:00 -- State Police
1:30 -- Department of Corrections/Board of Probation and Parole

March 23
10:00 -- Department of Transportation
1:00 -- Insurance Department

March 24
10:00 -- Department of Community and Economic Development
1:00 -- Department of Health (including Department of Drug and Alcohol)

March 28
9:30 -- Judiciary
10:30 -- State-Relateds (Univ. of Pitt, Penn State, Temple Univ., and Lincoln Univ.)
1:30 -- State System of Higher Education
2:30 -- PHEAA

March 29
10:00 -- PA Liquor Control Board
1:00 -- Department of Education

March 30
9:30 -- Department of Labor and Industry
10:30 -- Community Colleges
11:30 -- Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
1:30 -- Department of Public Welfare

March 31
10:00 -- Budget Secretary – Office of the Governor/Executive Offices
1:00 -- Member Testimony

House Adds Session Days To Schedule

The House has added January 27 as a non-voting session day and January 31 as a voting day.

Wednesday NewsClips

Corbett Unveils His State Government Reform Plan
Corbett Presents Legislative Reform Package
Corbett Delivers Promised Plan For State Reform
Corbett Targets Bloat, Budget In Reform Plan
Corbett Proposes 2-Year Budget Cycle
Editorial: Now The Hard Part On Reform
Editorial: Corbett’s Reform Agenda, Where’s The Wrecking Ball?
Feds: PA Must Repay $220 Million
House Agrees On Benefit Cuts
House Leaders Tighten Perks For Legislators, Staff
Heavy Hitters Paying Big Bucks For Inauguration
Editorial: Investigate State Political Abuse
Casey, Toomey Seating Plans Foiled
Rendell: Paid To Pontificate
Rendell: Critiquing Obama’s State Of The Union Speech
Lawmaker Wants To Bar Legislators Serving On Gaming Board
House Bill Targets Gaming Board
Editorial: Gaming Board Should Include Treasurer
Abortion Clinic Inspections In PA Turn Up Problems
14 Abortion Clinics Told Of Problems
Senate Panel Approves Bill To Bar Abortion Coverage
4 Senators Push State Bill On School Choice
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 25, 2011

Senate Democrats Re-Do Leadership Elections In Response To Sen. O'Pake's Death

Senate Democrats reshuffled members in Caucus Leadership posts in response to the December 27 death of Sen. Michael A. O’Pake (D-Berks), who was Caucus Whip.
            Those elected were:
-- Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia) will succeed Sen. O’Pake as Whip. Sen. Williams previously served as Caucus Chairman;
-- Sen. Richard Kasunic (D-Somerset) will replace Sen. Williams as Caucus Chairman.  Sen. Kasunic previously served in leadership as Democratic Policy Committee Chairman;
-- Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) was elected to replace Sen. Kasunic as chair of the Democratic Policy Committee. She previously served as Caucus Administrator; and
-- Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) was chosen to replace Sen. Boscola as Caucus Administrator.
            Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said he is pleased with the new leadership team.
            “Each of these senators brings a fresh perspective, extensive experience and legislative skill to these caucus positions,” Sen. Costa said.  “With the new Senate Democratic leadership team in place, I look forward to working with our new leaders and caucus members in pushing our agenda forward."
            Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams was elected to the Senate in 1998. He previously served five two-year terms in the state House of Representatives.  Last year, he was elected to Senate Democratic Leadership as caucus chairman. Williams also serves as Democratic chairman of the State Government Committee.
            Sen. Richard Kasunic was elected to the Senate in 1994, after serving six terms in the House of Representatives.  He is a long-term member of Senate Democratic Leadership. He also serves as chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee as well as the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee. 
            Sen. Boscola was elected to the Senate in 1998 after serving two terms in the House.  She was appointed last year to Senate Democratic Leadership as caucus administrator. Boscola also serves as the Democratic Chair of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, as well as the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
            Sen. Fontana was first elected to the Senate in a 2005. He previously served as an inaugural member of Allegheny County Council.  Sen. Fontana is also Democratic Chair of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee.

Corbett Announces Government Reform, Efficiency Plan Principles

Gov. Tom Corbett today released his top points for government reform, following through on his commitment to root out waste and fraud, while returning fiscal responsibility and accountability back to Pennsylvania.
            “I am committed to provide an open, transparent, accountable and trustworthy government that puts our taxpayers first and gets the commonwealth back on track,’’ Gov. Corbett said.
            “We are facing a multi-billion dollar deficit and we must do something about it,’’ Gov. Corbett said. “I made a commitment to the people of Pennsylvania that I would reform state government, and I intend to make good on that commitment starting today.’’
            At the top of his list is changing to a biennial budget process. Across the nation, 20 other states already use a two-year budget cycle, which Corbett believes will provide a more focused, long-term analysis of the effectiveness of government programs and the use of tax dollars.
            It would also provide agencies and programs the opportunity to better control costs and develop more predictable budgets of their own.
            Earlier, two lawmakers, Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) introduced legislation to amend Pennsylvania’s constitution to a biennial budget system. Corbett supports that action.
            Corbett’s other top measures for government reform include:
Transparency in State Government: Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to create an ongoing joint task force with the General Assembly to examine ways  to institute broader transparency and make information available online more accessible.
            The current online database will be enhanced to include all aspects of the state budget as well as all revenues and expenditures, allowing taxpayers to easily search for financial information across all of state government, including contracts.
            Pennsylvanians have a right to know the potential fiscal impact of proposed legislation. Corbett will work with the General Assembly to ensure that accurate fiscal notes are attached to each piece of legislation coming to the floor of either chamber for a vote. That way, members of the House and Senate, as well as Pennsylvania taxpayers, can properly assess the value of each legislative change.
Performance-Based Budgeting: Working with his cabinet members, Corbett will establish performance goals, review them annually and require state departments and agencies to meet them.  Funding for any program that has failed to meet its stated goals over a multi-year period will be reviewed.
Consolidation of Services: Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to work with all state agencies to consolidate services, especially information technology and administrative office functions, to eliminate waste and make government more efficient.
            In addition, Corbett is requesting legislative leaders and members of the judiciary to do the same where possible and economically feasible.
            One example could be the sharing of computer and printing services between departments.
Sunset and Audit of State Boards and Commissions: Governor Corbett is issuing an executive order to establish a task force to immediately review all of the Commonwealth’s boards and commissions. The panel will have one year to conduct its work and submit a report.
            Boards and commissions found to be inactive or ineffective will be sunset. For new boards, commissions, the commonwealth will institute a five-year life span.  
Reducing the Size & Cost of Government: Corbett is setting a goal to streamline state government by reducing the cost of how it does business by 10 percent during his four-year term in office in all branches of government.
            Additionally, Corbett wants to centralize communications between agencies, upgrading technology and lowering costs, and he is encouraging members of the judicial and legislative branches to do the same.
            As a first step toward this reduction, Corbett is directing the Department of General Services to conduct an immediate audit of the state’s vehicles under the governor’s jurisdiction – including a review of any leases and identifying the number of state-owned vehicles. The audit is to be completed within 90 days.
Ban Gifts during the Procurement Process: Corbett is directing the Office of Administration and Department of General Services to conduct an immediate review of all policies that govern gifts during the purchasing process and bidding for state contracts.
            The governor is asking that the review be completed within 90 days and that the Department of General Services continue to work to strengthen existing policies to ban them.
Elimination of WAMs and Discretionary Funds: Corbett will eliminate the use of discretionary funds, known as walking around money or WAMS, which are used to finance pet projects.
Elimination of per Diems for State Employees: Corbett is directing the Office of Administration to require state employees under his jurisdiction to provide receipts for travel, food and lodging. The governor ordered an updated policy for employees be completed within 90 days.
            The governor also encouraged members of the legislature and judiciary to take similar steps toward better management of taxpayers’ money.
Reduce Legislative Reserves: Corbett believes that the General Assembly should limit the amount of taxpayer money which is held in reserve. This will be a topic of negotiation during the budget process.
Health Insurance Contributions: Corbett is encouraging the members of the legislature to make the same financial contribution as other state employees for the health insurance they receive.
NewsClip: Corbett Unveils His State Government Reform Plan

Candidates To Run For O'Pake Seat Announced

Republicans nominated Larry Medaglia, the Berks County Register of Wills, to fill the seat caused by the recent death of Sen. Michael O'Pake (D). Democrats nominated Judy Schwank, the former Berks County Commissioner. The special election is set for March 15.

Tuesday NewsClips

Turzai Says He’ll Push For Private Sale Of Wine, Liquor
Turzai Ready To Start Legislating Big Changes
House GOP Majority Leader’s Liquor Privatization Plan
Liquor Privatization Bill Includes Hiring Incentives For Current Employees
House Considers State Store Sale Study
Former LCB Official: Privatization Complex, But Current Effort Serious
Corbett Plan Would Cover Those On adultBasic
Governor Props Up Health Insurance For Working Poor
PA Seeks Federal Help For People Who Need Health Insurance
Termination Notices Go To adultBasic Subscribers
Harrisburg Reform Advocates Hopeful
Editorial: Real Reform Is Needed
Editorial: Will Legislature Finally Get The Reform Message
Column: Will Corbett Make Good On Legislative Reform?
Swift Reaction By Corbett, Lawmakers To Abortion Clinic Horror
Blog: Corbett Proclaims School Choice Week
Op-Ed: Finally Pulling The Plug On Death Penalty?
DGS Searches For New Firm To Operate Capitol Cafeteria
Rendell Re-Joins Ballard Spahr As Partner
Rendell Returns To Old Philadelphia Law Firm
Rendell Close To Signing NBC Deal
Charges Against Sen. Orie To Stand For Now
Judge Refuses To Dismiss Ethics Charges Against Orie
Conklin Calls For Constitutional Convention
PA Casinos To Thrive As Atlantic City Loses Revenue
Table Games In Erie Falls In December
Barletta: Seating Situation A Nice Gesture
PA’s Unemployment Rate Continues Slow Decline
Editorial: New Property Assessment Law Needed
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 24, 2011

Reforming Government From The Bottom Up, Starting With The Capitol Cafeteria

The Department of General Services announced today it is soliciting bids from vendors to operate the Capitol Cafeteria located in the East Wing of the Main Capitol Building in Harrisburg.  
           A key component of this lease will be for the successful vendor to promote, and make available, foods meeting the criteria of the Commonwealth's PA Preferred Program.   That means the selected vendor will make every effort to:
-- Use 100-percent PA-sourced fresh, unprocessed foods such as: potatoes, apples and mushrooms;
-- Use 100-percent PA-sourced fresh proteins and further processed proteins: beef, veal, pork, poultry, trout and hybrid striped bass, processed meats;
-- Use seasonal PA-sourced fruits, vegetables, etc.; and
-- Use 100-percent PA-sourced processed foods including: bread, dairy products, snack foods/baked goods, beverages, candy, ready-made sandwiches/subs and other ready-to-eat foods.
           Proposals are due on February 24. For more information on the Solicitation For Proposal, view the Capitol Cafeteria SFP directly.

Corbett Administration Takes Steps To Address adultBasic Health Insurance Hole

In an effort to provide continuing health coverage for Pennsylvania’s working families, Governor Tom Corbett’s nominee for Insurance Commissioner today asked the federal government to help resolve a problem left by the prior administration.
            The state’s adultBasic health insurance program covers approximately 42,000 Pennsylvanians who have modest incomes but do not qualify for Medical Assistance. However, all available funding for adultBasic is set to expire on Feb. 28.
            Michael Consedine, the nominee for Insurance Commissioner, today asked the Obama Administration to re-allocate funds from states not using high-risk pool money to the Commonwealth to allow for more coverage for low-income Pennsylvanians.
            Additionally, Consedine asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to confirm that qualifying adultBasic enrollees with pre-existing conditions be allowed to move immediately over to the PA Fair Care plan and retain health care coverage.
            “Many adultBasic enrollees have pre-existing conditions and are exactly the people that the PA Fair Care plan was created to help,’’ Consedine said.
            Pa Fair Care is the federally-funded insurance pool set up in Pennsylvania for people with pre-existing conditions that have trouble obtaining commercial insurance.
            “Making the PA Fair Care program available is one more option to help these people and we will continue to press this issue for our citizens,’’ Consedine said.
            AdultBasic had been funded by a combination of tobacco-settlement revenues and donations from the state’s four Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans, with premiums costing just $36 a month.
            As the tobacco funding was used to pay for rising Medical Assistance costs, the Blues agreed to pay a percentage of its revenues into a fund supporting the program. That agreement expired in December 2010, but the Blues agreed to contribute an additional $51 million to keep the program going until June 2011.
            However, members of the Corbett transition team discovered before taking office that the adultBasic program was essentially bankrupt.
            With no funding alternative in place, transition team members negotiated an agreement with the Blue Cross companies to waive their normal restriction on people with pre-existing conditions who move from adultBasic to the Blues’ current Special Care plans for low-income people.
            For more information, visit the Pa Fair Care webpage.

Rendell To Re-Join Ballard Spahr Law Firm

Gov. Ed Rendell will be returning to Ballard Spahr as a partner, the firm announced today.
NewsClip: Rendell Re-Joins Ballard Spahr As Partner

Monday NewsClips

Corbett: Government Change Plan Out Tuesday
Corbett, Legislators Discuss Savings
John Baer: Corbett Had Us Expecting A Promising First Week
PA House Begins Move To Reform Government
Editorial: Transparency Not Just Cost
Editorial: Good Budget Outcome Could Lure Work To PA
Potential Winners, Losers Under Corbett Budget
Corbett Offers Peek At New Digs
Gov. Corbett Welcomes Citizens To His New Home
Editorial: Appointed AG Should Agree Not To Run For Job
NE Lawmakers Get First Crack At Hot-Button Issues
Legislators For NE Set Up Shop
All NE Senators Assigned To Appropriations Committee
Delaware County’s Rep. Davidson Blazed New Trail
Mood Better For Appointed Appellate Judges
Table Game Revenue Grows In PA
Editorial: Fearless, But Inept Gaming Board
Lawmakers Expected To Mull Tuition Vouchers
Is PA Ready For School Vouchers?
Funding Bar Raised For State System Universities
Editorial: PSEA’s Bias On Full Display
Lawmakers, Corbett Respond To Philadelphia Abortion Case
Legalized Abortion Continues To Divide Midstate
Editorial: Life Is The Better Choice
PA Chief Justice Calls For More Pro Bono Work
Concern For Lawyers
New Year, New Challenges For H-1B Use
Midstate Businesses Worry About Rising Gasoline Prices
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 20, 2011

Legislative Leaders Seek Reapportionment Commission Chair Applicants

The four caucus floor leaders – Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) – announced they are seeking applications from individuals interested in serving as the chair of the 2011 Legislative Reapportionment Commission.
            The LRC is a five-member panel responsible for redrawing the boundaries for state Senate and state House districts. Article II, Section 17, of the state constitution names the four caucus floor leaders as members of the Commission. They are to choose a fifth member, who serves as chair of the LRC.
The constitution requires that the chair of the LRC be a citizen of Pennsylvania who does not hold a local, state or federal office to which compensation is attached.
            "Redistricting is a once-a-decade exercise, and among the most important issues we will address in 2011. One of my goals is for this to be the most open and transparent redistricting process in the history of Pennsylvania," said Sen. Pileggi. "A public search for someone to chair the Commission is the best first step in making that happen."
            "To ensure each Pennsylvanian is fairly represented in the Legislature, we will have a very public process," said Rep. Turzai. "In fact, fairness, efficiency and openness will be our guiding principles. I certainly hope people follow our progress and participate through the public hearings, our forthcoming website or writing us personally."
            "Reapportionment is a painstaking and incredibly important process in which all Pennsylvanians need to be included,” said Sen. Costa. “Balance and transparency need to be the over-riding principles which guide that process, and I look forward to getting started by opening that process to qualified applicants who want to participate as a member of the commission."
            "The determination of fair districts of equal population will take months, but it begins with the selection of a fifth member to chair the LRC," said Rep. Dermody. "It is a huge responsibility and I hope that many interested people will ask for consideration."
            The floor leaders, who will be officially certified as members of the LRC in February, said they expect to hold one or more public hearings to interview applicants.
            State legislative districts must be redrawn to reflect population changes over the past decade as measured by the federal census. Each Senate district and each House district must conform to the one person, one vote standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 (Reynolds v. Sims).
            Interested individuals must be willing to serve, uninterrupted, for the entire timeframe required for the Commission to complete its work, approximately early April through November. Although serving as chair of the LRC is not necessarily a full-time commitment, it does require a significant investment of time. Historically, the chair of the LRC has been provided with a small staff for the duration of the Commission's work.
            Previous LRC chairs include retired Supreme Court Justice Frank J. Montemuro, Jr., in 2001, attorney Robert J. Cindrich in 1991, James O. Freedman, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1981, and Professor A. Leo Levin of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1971.
            Applicants should send a resume or curriculum vitae, along with a letter explaining their qualifications to serve as chair of the Commission and their reasons for being interested in the position, to:  Legislative Reapportionment Commission, c/o Kathy Sullivan, Executive Director, Legislative Data Processing Center, G-27 North Office Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120.
            Submissions can also be sent via email to: redistricting@palegislature.us. Applications must be received no later than February 18.
            The leaders also said in addition to those who apply via this process, other qualified individuals may also be considered to chair the Commission. If the floor leaders do not reach agreement on an individual to serve as chair of the LRC, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will make the appointment.

Thursday NewsClips

Mr. Corbett's First Day
Corbett's First Day As Governor Behind The Scenes
Corbett Says Cabinet Nominations Come Before Naming AG
Legislature May Trump Corbett Reform Plan
House Will Would Set Up Website To Monitor Spending
Corbett's School Choice Plan Draws Ire
Corbett Appears Set To Push School Vouchers
Ravenstahl No Show Didn't Dampen Corbett Inauguration
Candidates For Allegheny County Executive Line Up
Op-Ed: PA Should Proceed With Caution On Infrastructure Privatization
Editorial: PA Should End Death Penalty
PA Gets Two Fs, Two Cs In Tobacco Report
Court Hearing On Harrisburg Incinerator Debt Now In March
Editorial: How Will Governor Protect Environment?
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 19, 2011

Senate Names ALL Standing Committee Members

Senate Republicans and Democrats named members of all standing Committees. "*" means new member or new to position--

Agriculture & Rural Affairs: (R)-- Vogel*, Chair, Waugh, Vice Chair, Brubaker, Eichelberger, Robbins, Yaw
(D)-- Boscola*, Chair, Kitchen, Solobay*, Dinniman

Appropriations: (R)-- Corman, Chair, Tomlinson, Vice Chair, Argall, Baker, Brubaker, Gordner, Greenleaf, Mensch*, Pippy, Rafferty, Smucker, Vance, Waugh, White, M.J.
(D)-- Hughes*, Chair, Ferlo*, Boscola, Farnese, Tartaglione, Wozniak, Blake*, Yudichak*, Fontana*

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure: (R)-- Tomlinson, Chair, Gordner, Vice Chair, Erickson, Greenleaf, Piccola, Rafferty, Ward, White, M.J.
(D)-- Boscola, Chair, Solobay*, Kasunic, Ferlo, Wozniak

Education: (R)-- Piccola, Chair, Folmer, Vice Chair*, Browne, Corman*, Smucker*, Tomlinson
(D)-- Dinniman, Leach*, Williams, Ferlo*

Environmental Resources & Energy: (R)-- White, M.J., Chair, Erickson, Vice Chair, Baker, Vogel, White, D., Yaw
(D)-- Yudichak*, Chair, Dinniman, Solobay*, Leach*

Judiciary: (R)-- Greenleaf, Chair, White, M.J., Vice Chair, Alloway*, Earll, Gordner, Orie, Piccola, Rafferty
(D)-- Leach, Boscola, Hughes*, Stack, Farnese*

Law & Justice: (R)--Pippy, Chair, Alloway, Vice Chair, Erickson, McIlhinney, Rafferty, Yaw
(D)-- Ferlo*, Chair, Fontana, Farnese*, Tartaglione

Senate Republicans Name Committee Members

Senate Republican Committee Members (* means new member or new to position)

Agriculture & Rural Affairs: Vogel*, Chair, Waugh, Vice Chair, Brubaker, Eichelberger, Robbins, Yaw

Appropriations: Corman, Chair, Tomlinson, Vice Chair, Argall, Baker, Brubaker, Gordner, Greenleaf, Mensch*, Pippy, Rafferty, Smucker, Vance, Waugh, White, M.J.

Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure: Tomlinson, Chair, Gordner, Vice Chair, Erickson, Greenleaf, Piccola, Rafferty, Ward, White, M.J.

Education: Piccola, Chair, Folmer, Vice Chair*, Browne, Corman*, Smucker*, Tomlinson

Environmental Resources & Energy: White, M.J., Chair, Erickson, Vice Chair, Baker, Vogel, White, D., Yaw

Judiciary: Greenleaf, Chair, White, M.J., Vice Chair, Alloway*, Earll, Gordner, Orie, Piccola, Rafferty

Law & Justice: Pippy, Chair, Alloway, Vice Chair, Erickson, McIlhinney, Rafferty, Yaw

Five Major Cabinet Posts Yet To Be Named

There are now five Cabinet agencies remaining where new Secretaries have not been named by the new Corbett Administration. These agencies all have interim Acting Secretaries from the previous Administration--
-- Department of Aging - Ray Prushnok
-- Department of Agriculture - Michael Pechart
-- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Cindy Dunn
-- Department of Labor & Industry - Pat Beaty
-- Adjutant General of Military & Veterans Affairs - Maj. Gen Stephen Sischo
Some other major appointments yet to be made--
-- Gaming Control Board (Chair)
-- Liquor Control Board (Chair)
-- Public Utility Commission (Chair)

House Names ALL Members Of Standing Committees

The House adopted House Resolution 21 today naming BOTH Republican and Democratic members to all standing Committees. Click Here for the list.

House Republicans Name Committee Members

House Republicans today released Committee assignments for all members. Click here to download the file. Update: The House later adopted House Resolution 21 naming BOTH Republican and Democratic members to all standing Committees. Click Here for the list.

Wednesday NewsClips

Lawmakers Praise Corbett's Thoughtful Inaugural Address
Hundreds Turn Out To Support Corbett
Spectators Brave Raw Weather To Watch Corbett's Inauguration
Corbett Takes Pennsylvania's Reins
Corbett Promises Fiscal Discipline, Responsible Government
Corbett Promises To Be Realistic About PA's Challenges
Corbett Sworn In, Citing Pending Storm Of Budget Deficit
Corbett Vows Government Reform
Corbett Promises Frugality, Reform
Corbett Calls For Reforming State Government
Tom Corbett State's 46th Governor
Corbett Takes Oath As 46th Governor
Drilling Critics Protest At Inauguration
John Baer: Corbett Day One, Optimism And That Deficit
Editorial: Corbett's Arrival Marks Era Of Fiscal Restraint
Editorial: Corbett Pushes Accountability Theme
Editorial: Corbett Sets Right Tone
Blog: Ed Who? References To Rendell In E-Lockdown
William Ryan Becomes Interim Attorney General
Did Corbett Bury Meehan Forgery Case?
Editorial: Sestak's Role
Fumo's Civic Fund Gets New Direction
Liquor Clerks To Fight Privatization
Editorial: Another PHEAA Outrage, Hershock's Payday
Colleges Turn To Textbook Rentals
Legislators Seek Uniform System For Updating Value Of Properties
3 From GOP May Seek Allegheny County Executive
Moody's Downgrades Bonds For Harrisburg
Harrisburg Budget Becomes Law Without Mayor's Signature
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 18, 2011

William Ryan, Jr. Named Interim Attorney General

William Ryan, Jr., the number 2 person in the Office of Attorney General, assumed the top spot today as interim Attorney General as Gov. Tom Corbett took the oath of office.
NewsClip: Ryan Becomes Interim Attorney General

Gov. Corbett's Inaugural Address

Corbett Sworn In As 1,000 Watch In Harrisburg
Corbett Promises Fiscal Discipline, Responsible Government
Corbett Sworn In As Governor
Gas Drilling Protesters Chant During Corbett's Speech
Click Here to see the full text of Gov. Corbett's Inaugural Address.

House Democrats Renew Commitment To Good Government

As Pennsylvania welcomes a new governor and ushers in a new legislative session, Democratic lawmakers in the state House of Representatives will continue pushing for a new era of good government in the three branches of state government.
            House Democrats are preparing a “good government” package of more than 20 bills, with the goal of building trust and accountability in offices under the governor’s jurisdiction, the judicial system and both chambers of the legislature, ensuring that they operate more effectively and responsibly.
            “The people of Pennsylvania have a right to expect efficiency and honesty from elected and appointed officials in state positions. House Democrats will work hard and offer specific legislation to see that these expectations are met,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny)
            The legislative package will focus on four key goals:
-- Ensuring that all offices of state government are transparent and open to the public through increased oversight and accountability;
-- Requiring that the spending of taxpayer money – and all public dollars – be done legally, responsibly and ethically, and that public expenditures be open and accessible to public review;
-- Providing broader protections against abuse of public office, and ensuring that elected officials and state employees are held to the highest legal, ethical and professional standards; and
-- Reinforcing through additional safeguards the requirement that no public, taxpayer-funded resources be used in campaign activities.
            Democratic Whip Mike Hanna (D-Clinton), said, “These are significant changes and it makes perfect sense to have this discussion at the beginning of a new administration when new individuals are taking the reins of numerous state agencies. The moment is ripe for passage of new laws to restore public confidence in government.”
            Rep. Dermody said that three bills in particular offer large potential to raise the quality of state government. One would direct the auditor general to conduct performance audits of every state program under the governor’s control within two years.
            Another bill would establish the Pennsylvania Government Accountability Portal, an Internet tool to let people review all state government spending. The House passed this bill unanimously in 2009 but the Senate did not act on it.
            The other would create the Commission on Realignment and Restructuring of State Government, consisting of four people appointed by legislative leaders and 10 appointed by the governor, to evaluate state agency operations and identify opportunities for creating efficiencies, including potential privatization of some operations. The commission’s initial report would be due Deember. 31.
            “Governor-elect Tom Corbett indicates he is serious about reform. We are poised to help in that effort with a number of ideas,” Rep. Dermody said.

Tuesday NewsClips

Note: Inaugural ceremonies are, as of now, still outdoors.
Corbett Will Be Sworn In As Governor
Corbett Promises To Be Realistic About PA's Challenges
Corbett Takes Reins Of Power Today
Corbett Set To Take Oath This Morning
Corbett To Be Sworn In As 46th Governor
After Ceremony, Corbett Faces Task
Corbett: Passionate About The Law
Inauguration Prep: Barn To Ballroom
Blog: Your Inaugural Schedule
Editorial: Corbett Set To Take Oath This Morning
Editorial: Corbett Begins His Reign Today
Editorial: Full Plate Greets Corbett
Editorial: Smooth Transition Should Not Be Taken Lightly
Op-Ed: Rendell, Always Interesting, For Better Or Worse
Architect Of State GOP Victories Keeps Sleeves Rolled Up
Corbett To Get Report On Health Care Overhaul
Rendell Report On Implementing Health Care Reforms
PA's Inaction Gives Criminals Ability To Buy Weapons Elsewhere
Editorial: It's Possible To Support Reasonable Gun Regulations
Rendell: Give Dogs To Inmates
Editorial: Port Authority's Cuts Still A Sorrow
Editorial: Bridge Preservers Should Take A Bow
New HACC President Followed School's Accomplishments
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips

January 17, 2011

Corbett To Be Sworn In Tuesday

Corbett Will Be Sworn In Tuesday As Governor
Wintry Mix Could Move Inauguration Ceremony Indoors

Disadvantaged Business Opportunities Order Updated At Last Minute By Rendell

Gov. Rendell today signed a revised executive order on minority- and women-owned business opportunities to reflect the strategies that have successfully increased disadvantaged business participation in state government contracting by nearly 600 percent since 2004.
"As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we must recognize the importance of expanding economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians," Gov. Rendell said. "We have proven that it is possible to help women- and minority-owned businesses thrive while increasing competition and getting the best deal for taxpayers, and I believe our policies and our progress can be a national model."
When Gov. Rendell took office, only 2 percent of state government's purchases of supplies, services and construction involved disadvantaged businesses. By 2009, minority- and women-owned businesses successfully competed for nearly 14 percent of state government purchasing, according to a report by the Department of General Services that was transmitted to legislators earlier this month.
Gov. Rendell issued his initial executive order on minority- and women-owned business opportunities in 2004. In October 2009, the Governor issued an executive order to specifically encourage small, disadvantaged businesses to participate in federal Recovery Act-funded projects.
Pennsylvania was recognized in 2008 as having one of the nation's top three disadvantaged-business programs. The revised executive order signed today reflects many of the program's successful strategies to expand outreach, certify additional disadvantaged businesses, improve contracting transparency and explicitly recognize professional services.
All of the changes reflect existing practices that are already in place across state government but were not specified in the 2004 executive order.
Text of the Governor's executive order is available online. The Department of General Services' 2009 annual report on minority- and women-owned business participation is available online

Monday NewsClips

Corbett Assembles His Team
PA's New Governor Will Face A Big Deficit
Column: Corbett Ushers In Striking Changes
John Baer: Dear Tom, Sincerely Ed
Pomp But No Parade For New Governor
Column: Corbett's First Challenge, Slaying WAMS
Editorial: Corbett's Challenge, A Balanced Budget
Health Care Advocates Try To Save adultBasic
Editorial: Corbett Can Get Better Deal For adultBasic
Former Governors Give Advice To Corbett
Rendell: A Governor To Love Or Loathe
Editorial: Rendell's Impact Seen On Every Corner
Freshmen Lawmakers Take Aim At PA's Debt Crisis
Sestak Wants To Stay Part Of The Dialogue
Cong. Kelly Wants To Make A Big Difference
Death Penalty Issue Resurfaces In PA
Wine Kiosk Developer Calls Glitches Standard
Life's A Beach For Federal Judges
50-Year Old I-81 Engine Of Growth For PA
Click Here for today's Environmental NewsClips