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NEWS
June 3, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Lai, TRENTON BUREAU
New Jersey's third-largest public university broke public bidding laws when it purchased a custom conference table shipped from China that ultimately cost nearly a quarter-million dollars, the state comptroller said in a report Wednesday. Officials at Kean University in Union County authorized a Chinese manufacturer to build and ship the 22-person, state-of-the-art table before obtaining approval from the school's board of trustees, according to the comptroller's 19-month investigation.
NEWS
June 2, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he'd be "shocked" if Atlantic City submits a sufficient financial plan to the state by the end of October that would block a takeover of the local government. Sweeney (D., Gloucester) says he hopes the city meets the terms of legislation signed into law Friday by Gov. Christie that gives local officials five months to submit a balanced budget to the state for calendar year 2017 and a five-year plan to stabilize its finances. But, Sweeney told reporters in his Statehouse office Tuesday, "I am not confident that they will solve their own problems.
NEWS
June 1, 2016
ISSUE | ID THEFT PennDot within law For decades, Pennsylvania law has permitted access to drivers' records by certain entities strictly for lawful purposes, such as vehicle insurance, credit, jobs, and safety checks of drivers who operate school buses and heavy trucks ("ID theft taken too lightly," May 24). Applicants for insurance, jobs, and credit authorize access to their records. Similar programs are in place in many other states. When a state Budget Office audit found problems with one data aggregator with authorized access, the state Department of Transportation cut off its access.
NEWS
May 31, 2016
Solid new evidence on preventing drunken-driving deaths validates Pennsylvania's new law requiring more DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices on their cars. That's also the right route for New Jersey, which is considering similar legislation. In Pennsylvania, the long drive to require most first-time offenders to have Breathalyzer-equipped locks on their cars ended successfully with Gov. Wolf's signature last week. The milestone came just before the long Memorial Day weekend, a time when typically heavy traffic too often leads to fatalities when alcohol becomes part of the mix. The new law could lead to a 15 percent reduction in alcohol-related highway deaths within a few years, according to University of Pennsylvania researchers, who surveyed states that already require devices that prevent vehicles from being started by an intoxicated driver.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2016 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Staff Writer
Could a national sales tax be on the horizon? Since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009, America's real GDP growth has averaged just 1.8 percent a year, well below the nation's prerecession average of 3.5 percent growth. Slow growth in the economy demands tax reform, according to some economists. In response, Ed Liva, director of the Villanova University Graduate Tax Program, is hosting on Thursday the law school's first Tax Policy Symposium, "Fundamental Tax Reform and Tax Policy Issues in Election Year 2016.
NEWS
May 31, 2016 | By Carley Mossbrook, Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky claimed a seat in the House nearly nine months ago with the hope of being a voice for the people. The Delaware County Democrat has cosponsored a number of bills important to her constituents. But since winning a special election, Krueger-Braneky has quickly learned that the measures she and others bring to the table have a slim chance of ever making it to the governor's desk. With 253 members, Pennsylvania boasts one of the largest full-time legislatures in the nation - and though its members keep busy churning out legislation, few of those bills actually become law. Of 3,998 bills introduced in the House and Senate during the 2013-14 session, 369 bills became law, or 9.2 percent.
NEWS
May 30, 2016
With Donald Trump unopposed on the Republican side, New Jersey Democrats will cast some of the season's last votes on a contested presidential nomination on June 7. As the Editorial Board detailed before the Pennsylvania primary, despite the enthusiasm generated by Bernie Sanders, HILLARY CLINTON is better prepared for the office. South Jersey Democrats will also decide three congressional nominations. The most heated contest is in the Camden County-based First District, whose freshman congressman, Donald Norcross, likes to say he's just an electrician in a tie. But Norcross harnesses a lot more power than the average working man. The son of a labor leader and brother of South Jersey's top Democratic power broker, Norcross headed the regional AFL-CIO before his path to political office was cleared by the precisely timed midterm retirement of the state Assembly speaker himself.
NEWS
May 28, 2016 | By Melanie Burney, Staff Writer
The First Congressional District Democratic primary in New Jersey easily could have been a sleeper: an incumbent with big name recognition facing a challenge from an upstart newcomer. But that has not been the case. The June 7 race pits long shot Alex Law, 25, of Voorhees, hoping to score a political upset over Rep. Donald Norcross in his first reelection bid. The winner will face Republican Bob Patterson in the November election. Patterson, of Haddonfield, is unchallenged in the GOP primary.
NEWS
May 27, 2016
By Madeleine Dean It is difficult to find a more contentious issue in the United States than gun laws. Two things that both sides can agree on, however, is that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals and that criminals who illegally carry or try to purchase a firearm should be prosecuted. Gun rights advocates like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump argue that we should "enforce the laws on the books. " On this - and perhaps only this - I agree with Trump. When the legislature returns after the holiday, the House Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, is scheduled to vote on a number of gun-related bills - some that require stronger penalties for gun-possession violations, others to increase mental-health-records reporting to the federal government.
NEWS
May 27, 2016 | By Carley Mossbrook, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - Soon, college fraternities and sports teams won't be the only ones who can be punished for hazing. Gov. Wolf signed a bill Tuesday that will broaden Pennsylvania's anti-hazing law to cover middle and high schools, and require districts to adopt and enforce anti-hazing policies. "Children need to be able to come to school and learn, as well as after school," Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan said. "Only when they feel safe will they be able to do that. " The push to strengthen the law was spurred by hazing incidents across the state and country that included forced alcohol consumption, sleep-deprivation, humiliation, and sex acts.
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