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NEWS
June 30, 2016 | By Maria Panaritis, Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - With four Philadelphia-area lawmakers dissenting, a Senate committee voted Tuesday to remove the most controversial provision of a bill that would let child sex-abuse victims sue their attackers. By a 9-4 vote, the Judiciary Committee passed an amendment barring the law from being applied retroactively, which would have enabled lawsuits by victims abused as far back as the 1970s. The vote was a victory for opponents who warned that the measure would lead to a flood of crippling lawsuits against the Catholic Church and other private institutions.
NEWS
June 25, 2016 | By Angela Couloumbis, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - For now, at least, the Pennsylvania House and Senate are agreeing to disagree on the best way to deal with the skyrocketing cost of public employee pensions. The Senate on Thursday rejected the pension proposal approved this month by the House. One prominent Republican said the chambers will form a joint committee to craft a stronger bill. "We want to get it done and we want to get it right," said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre), later adding: "It's by far the number one problem facing the commonwealth . . . and we are not giving up on it. " Late last year, the Senate approved a bill to change retirement benefits for future state and public school employees, calling for them to receive both a less generous version of the traditional retirement benefit for current employees as well as a 401(k)
NEWS
June 24, 2016
ISSUE | GUN CONTROL Casey: Senate must take action On Monday, the U.S. Senate defaulted on its basic obligation to keep America safe by rejecting commonsense gun legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases ("Gridlock on gun violence," Tuesday). Universal background checks and a ban of those on the terrorist watch list from buying guns represent the bare minimum steps the Senate should take to address gun violence. Some senators believe the only thing our nation can do to confront gun violence, which killed 33,646 Americans in 2014, is enforce existing law. I refuse to accept that.
NEWS
June 24, 2016
ISSUE | SEXUAL ABUSE Greenleaf's conflict Thank you for your editorial exposing certain members of the Pennsylvania Senate for the sham Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill that would give abuse victims more time to file criminal and civil claims, a conflict of interest, and the consequent lack of integrity ("Poor excuse to ignore abuse," Monday). It seems that Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Montgomery) has a distinct conflict - his law firm represented a religious order in Delaware that was sued by abuse victims.
NEWS
June 24, 2016 | By Colt Shaw, Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - After years of inaction, an effort to put antidiscrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender residents into state law got its first legislative vote Wednesday. The Senate Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved a bill that would prohibit discrimination in housing or employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The measure, which now moves to the full Senate for a vote, includes religious exemptions for houses of worship and faith-based schools.
NEWS
June 24, 2016 | By Angela Couloumbis and Maria Panaritis, STAFF WRITERS
HARRISBURG - A Senate committee is preparing to strip out the most contentious aspect of a bill that would expand the ability of child sex-abuse victims to sue for decades-old attacks, according to two legislative sources familiar with the move. The Republicans who control the Judiciary Committee could as soon as this week remove the provision that would apply the law retroactively, said the sources, who said they were not authorized to publicly discuss the plan. Hailed by victims' advocates, the language would have opened the door to a wave of lawsuits for child-sex abuse that occurred as far back as the 1970s.
NEWS
June 22, 2016 | By Jonathan Tamari, WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - A partisan divide on Monday blocked the four latest Senate proposals meant to curb gun violence, providing no change in the nation's gun laws but adding to this election year's political fodder. With the Orlando massacre still fresh, the stakes were particularly high in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, where Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) has trumpeted his support for expanding background checks on gun buyers and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty has attacked him as failing to take real action.
NEWS
June 21, 2016
A bogus hearing staged by the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee last week suggested some members are determined to protect the Catholic Church and insurance companies instead of securing justice for the victims of pedophiles and the institutions that protect them. Considering a bill passed by the House that would give abuse victims more time to file criminal and civil claims, the committee limited testimony to the question of the measure's constitutionality. That was interesting given that committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf's law firm represented the Norbertine Fathers, a religious order that was sued by abuse victims, and opposed a similar statute-of-limitations bill in Delaware on constitutional grounds.
BUSINESS
June 17, 2016 | By Andrew Maykuth, STAFF WRITER
The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved the nomination of David Sweet, a Philadelphia lawyer and adviser to former Gov. Rendell, to a five-year term on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Sweet, 67, a Democrat, was nominated by Gov. Wolf last month to replace Pamela A. Witmer, whose term expired at the end of March. Sweet was a senior advisor to Wolf, focusing on energy and economic development issues, and served as liaison to the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.
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