February 13, 2014 |
TRENTON - Housing advocates hammered away at the Christie Administration for its handling of the distribution of resettlement and home rebuilding funding for Superstorm Sandy victims during a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee. The hearing was the latest in a series of legislative inquiries about how funding is, or isn't, making its way to storm victims. Since last summer, residents of shore communities and their advocates have been testifying about how difficult it is to collect on homeowners insurance policies and obtain federal aid. Thousands of applications for disaster aid have been rejected - but without explanation to homeowners as to why. Meanwhile, some state officials including Gov. Christie have touted the funding distribution as a successful effort that's returned thousands of people displaced by the storm to their homes.
February 8, 2014 |
President Obama's pick to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division easily cleared his first hurdle toward confirmation Thursday, despite mounting criticism of his work in an appeal of the death sentence of Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. In a 10-8 vote along party lines, the Senate Judiciary Committee backed the nomination of 46-year-old civil rights attorney Debo Adegbile. The decision set the stage for a Senate showdown this year that is all but sure to rip scabs off three decades of hard feelings surrounding the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
February 5, 2014 |
THE STATE Senate will vote today on the nominations of City Councilman Bill Green IV and nonprofit executive Farah Jimenez to the School Reform Commission, according to a spokesman for Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi. The Senate is expected to confirm both nominations, which Gov. Corbett announced in Philadelphia three weeks ago. If confirmed, Green, a Democrat, will replace former chairman Pedro Ramos. Jimenez, a Republican, is president of the People's Emergency Center.
February 4, 2014
THE $8 billion in cuts to the food-stamp program over the next 10 years approved last week by the House in a new Farm Bill is being described as "small. " Compared with the total Farm Bill - $950 billion over 10 years - "small" is an accurate term. But to someone trying to feed a family who may now see food stamps slashed by up to $90 a month, those "small" cuts mean more days of gnawing hunger, of going without the basics, of hungry children. And in the America we thought we lived in, the fact that millions of our own citizens are going hungry should be no small matter at all. But somehow, that America - one of the richest and supposedly most morally advanced in the world - has turned mean and suspicious of its own citizens.
February 1, 2014 |
Should SEPTA and PATCO combine their commuter rail operations? Would North Jersey commuters be better served if PATH trains were run by NJ Transit or New York City's MTA? A plan to consider such mergers cleared a New Jersey Senate panel this week. The proposal, by two North Jersey Republican lawmakers, would create a six-member passenger rail study commission to find ways to save money and expand rail service "through the unification, consolidation, merging, sharing, and coordination of transit services among the various transportation agencies in the region.
January 31, 2014 |
A GROUP OF state Senate Democrats proposed a budget yesterday that would boost education funding by $300 million for 2014-15 without a tax increase. The funding was part of an overall budget proposal that offered $1.1 billion in additional revenue and savings, said state Sen. Vincent Hughes, chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The Democrats' proposed increase comes as Gov. Corbett is expected to present his budget next week. It is a "down payment of a billion-dollar increase that we need to have over the next three years," said Hughes, surrounded by members of the Philadelphia Senate delegation inside district headquarters in North Philadelphia.
January 30, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Doctors and the broader public may be split on the prospect of legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. But the mothers who lined up at a Senate hearing Tuesday to testify about their children's severe chronic illnesses and a lack of treatment were not. Christine Brann's 3-year-old son, Garrett, has Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy. She said that doctors had tried 10 medications to control his seizures, but none worked. "Medical marijuana is the only course of treatment we have left," said Brann, of Hummelstown, Dauphin County.
January 19, 2014 |
Two Republican New Jersey legislators said Friday that they would not run for the U.S. Senate, leaving unclear who might challenge Democratic Sen. Cory Booker this year. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R., Union) said he "looked seriously" at running but did not want to leave his leadership post in the Legislature. "I just did not think I could continue to be the Republican leader and run for Senate," Bramnick said. "I had to choose between those two. " Bramnick, a moderate, was widely considered among Republicans as their best chance to unseat Booker, who took office in November after defeating tea-party favorite Steve Lonegan in a special election to finish the term of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg.
January 8, 2014 |
Three Democratic state senators vowed Monday to renew their push for same-sex marriage and antidiscrimination laws in Pennsylvania despite deep partisan divide on the issue. Sens. Mike Stack and Larry Farnese of Philadelphia and Daylin Leach of Montgomery County said at a news conference that the tide was shifting in their favor, particularly on Senate Bill 300, which would make it illegal to deny employment or housing because of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. "If we had this legislation kicked out of committee," Farnese said, "we have the votes, Democrat and Republican, to pass Senate Bill 300. " The bill and its companion bill in the House have 100 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle.
December 28, 2013 |
South Jersey Democratic leaders are withholding their endorsement in a possible congressional swing district next year until State Sen. Jeff Van Drew decides whether he will run. Democrat Bill Hughes Jr., a lawyer whose father held the seat for 20 years before he died, announced his candidacy in October in the Second District race against Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo. The chairs of the Democratic Committees in Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, Burlington, and Camden Counties wrote an open letter this week saying they would wait for Van Drew to decide to "ensure that ample opportunity has been afforded to all qualified individuals.