February 9, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Controversy has nipped at Erik Arneson's heels over the nearly two decades he served as a spokesman for Senate Republicans. His first boss, Sen. David "Chip" Brightbill, became majority leader after his predecessor was sent to jail for corruption. Brightbill, of Lebanon County, was ousted in 2006 over an ill-fated legislative pay raise. And Arneson's last boss, Sen. Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County, was pushed out as majority leader in a coup last fall. But now Arneson, 44, for years the affable face of Senate Republicans, is at the center of his own high-profile storm.
January 18, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Politics, not good policy, fueled the controversial push by Republicans in Harrisburg in 2011 to change the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes in presidential elections, according to a Washington-based ethics group. The Pennsylvania nonprofit All Votes Matter spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying elected officials to push the change. It was largely funded by out-of-state groups with ties to Charles and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll conservative causes.
April 5, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - A bill to reduce the size of the Pennsylvania legislature withstood a battery of criticism to easily clear the state House on Wednesday, the first such vote by lawmakers to trim their own ranks in 45 years. The bill, which passed 140-49, would reduce the House from 203 seats to 153 and the Senate from 50 senators to 38 - thus relieving the state of the dubious distinction of having America's second-biggest state legislature. The proposal now goes to the Senate, where the concept, at least, has the support of Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware)
June 24, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - A bill that would require Pennsylvanians to show photo identification at the polls cleared the House on Thursday after nearly 10 hours of partisan debate over three days. The 108-88 vote sent the measure to the Senate. The bill would require most voters to show photo ID before casting a ballot in any election. Residents now have to show ID only the first time they go to the polls. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), the sponsor, said the measure was necessary to cut down on "significant voter fraud plaguing Pennsylvania's elections.
January 15, 2011 |
After signing 119 death warrants over the last eight years and watching as not one of the condemned first-degree murderers was executed, Gov. Rendell yesterday called on lawmakers to overhaul the state's death-penalty law. "As a former district attorney and death-penalty supporter, I believe the death penalty can be a deterrent - but only when it is carried out relatively expeditiously," Rendell wrote in a letter to members of the General Assembly....
November 30, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - For eight years, Gov. Rendell has lobbied hard in the halls of the Capitol for what he calls "commonsense" handgun laws. He wanted to limit sales to individuals to one handgun a month. He wanted owners to report lost or stolen weapons. He wanted to close a loophole in state law that he believes lets criminals use gun permits obtained in other states. At each turn, the legislature - including some of his allies in the Democratic-controlled House - knocked down the proposals like so many slow-moving clay birds on a skeet-shooting range.
November 16, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - In a surprise move late Monday, the state House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Rendell's veto of a school-code bill that he contended gave unfair tax breaks to certain charter-school landlords. If the Senate follows suit, it would mark the first time the legislature has overridden a Rendell veto, sending the governor off with a parting slap as he wraps up his second and last term. On Oct. 22, Rendell vetoed the bill, which includes a long list of education initiatives, because of a provision that would exempt from property taxes those nonprofit foundations that rent their properties to charter schools.
October 23, 2010 |
Gov. Rendell on Friday vetoed a comprehensive education bill that he said gave an unfair tax break to charter-school landlords - a move that blindsided and outraged some legislators and advocates of the measure. The provision would have exempted nonprofit foundations that rent property to charter schools, and let them apply the tax break retroactively. But the governor's veto took down with it a wider law that included about 20 other initiatives - among them, ones to combat student violence, make textbooks more affordable, and improve financial literacy.
October 21, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell on Thursday said the effort to strike a deal this year on a natural gas tax was "dead," finally uttering the one word that no one had dared even whisper about the issue. In doing so, the governor blamed legislative Republicans, saying they have refused for weeks to "negotiate in good faith" on establishing a tax rate for drilling in the Marcellus Shale, and accusing them of pandering to the drilling industry at the expense of Pennsylvania's taxpayers. "They clearly desire to put the costs of natural gas drilling on the backs of Pennsylvania taxpayers, rather than on the large multinational oil and gas corporations who stand to reap enormous wealth from our state's resources," Rendell said in a statement Thursday morning.
October 12, 2010 |
HARRISBURG - The governor got his meeting. But he didn't get his deal. Gov. Rendell on Monday met with a small group of legislators and representatives from the natural-gas industry in hopes of resuscitating talks on taxing the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale. In the end, no consensus emerged. But the governor, through a spokesman, called the meeting, which lasted about an hour, a "terrific discussion" and said he believed the group made "significant progress" toward a deal.