November 1, 2014 |
They've become some of Pennsylvania's biggest out-of-state political contributors: a small group of multimillionaires - most of them gay - who want every state to allow same-sex marriage and to pass laws protecting LGBT rights. Since the mid-2000s, they have poured more than $1 million in campaign contributions into the commonwealth through Democratic organizations, buoying campaigns here for governor, attorney general, and seats in the General Assembly. The biggest donors include Tim Gill, a Colorado software entrepreneur; David Bohnett, a California technology tycoon; and Jon Stryker, heir to a medical-device fortune who lives in Michigan.
October 31, 2014 |
Uber executive David Plouffe, former campaign manager and White House adviser to President Obama, said Wednesday new ride-share legislation in Washington was a model for Philadelphia and other cities. Meanwhile, Uber's defiant entry into Philadelphia continued to create drama on the city streets, as another Uber driver was nabbed by Philadelphia Parking Authority enforcement officers Tuesday night for providing rides in defiance of the PPA's ban on ride-share services. The car was impounded and the driver and Uber were each fined $1,000.
October 30, 2014 |
THESE DAYS in America you can do all sorts of things legally, if you don't mind leaving home. For example, if you want to cavort with prostitutes, we have a state for that. If you want to smoke marijuana, we have two states for that, Colorado and Washington, and may soon have more. And if you are gay and happen to live in a state that still has laws against same-sex marriage, you can travel with your beloved to one of 32 states that now permit same-sex ceremonies. But, if you are afflicted with a terminal illness that entails the near-certainty of a lingering, painful death, your options are much more limited.
October 23, 2014 |
Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report Tuesday calling for sweeping changes in state law to lessen the financial impact that the city's growing number of charter schools has on the School District and taxpayers. Butkovitz's office has previously released reports that criticized the district's oversight of its 86 charter schools and detailed cases of possible fraud in some. The new report, he said, examines charter schools as a factor in the district's continuing financial crisis.
October 23, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania House's passage Monday of a controversial bill granting legal standing to the National Rifle Association to sue over local gun laws has put dozens of municipalities on notice. The implicit threat of the legislation, which Gov. Corbett has indicated he will sign, is: Repeal your gun ordinances or risk costly lawsuits. Word of the bill's approval in the final hour of the legislative session drew strong reaction from all corners of the southeastern part of the state.
October 20, 2014 |
Sign a contract for goods or services, and you've got at least three days to back out, right? Wrong, as readers of this month's Inquirer report on Sundance Vacations should know. The Wilkes-Barre business sells lodging packages under contracts that say they are "not subject to any 'right of rescission' and may not be canceled. " Although some Wisconsin lawyers disagree, saying their state's timeshare law provides a seven-day escape clause, Sundance has escaped legal challenge in Pennsylvania.
October 10, 2014 |
Legally speaking, can the School Reform Commission really do this? Legislation authorizing the takeover of the Philadelphia schools, signed in 1998 and implemented a few years later, gives the state broad powers to manage the financial affairs of the district, and it is on that basis that the SRC canceled its contract Monday with the teachers union. Public employee contracts enjoy broad, if not absolute, legal protections in Pennsylvania, but the SRC says the legislature created a carve-out for Philadelphia schools, and subsequent amendments only bolstered its powers.
October 8, 2014 |
At the University of Pennsylvania Law School, students in professor Leo Katz's criminal law class are equipped with laptops, coffee, and fat red law books. Halfway through class, Katz begins to fire off questions on Barber v. Superior Court . Some students stutter and hesitate. Others breeze through. Together, the class debates the legal difference between killing and letting die. That's a real-life Penn law classroom. A fictional version premiered on Sept. 25, when ABC debuted the series How to Get Away With Murder (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
October 3, 2014 |
Mayor Nutter on Wednesday wanted to make a few things clear: He does not condone marijuana use. It is not a particularly wise personal choice. And it remains illegal. With that out of the way, he put pen to paper and signed a new city ordinance that decriminalizes possession and public use of small amounts of the drug. As of Oct. 20, possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana will be considered a civil offense in Philadelphia, punishable by a $25 fine. Public use of the drug also will be a civil offense, with a $100 fine or up to nine hours of community service.
October 3, 2014 |
THE ATTACK on a gay couple in Center City last month spurred the House Democratic Policy Committee to change topics before a hearing at the Kimmel Center yesterday afternoon. "This was originally scheduled to be about nondiscrimination in sports," said state Rep. Brian Sims, D - Phila., whose district encompasses the site of the alleged assault, at 16th and Chancellor streets on Sept. 11. "But when the hate crime happened, we switched it over so we could make it about hate crimes in general," he said.