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NEWS
May 25, 2015 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer
Montgomery County Commissioner Chairman Josh Shapiro has told national Democratic Party leaders that he will not run for the nomination to challenge Republican Sen. Pat Toomey next year. "I am incredibly humbled and flattered by their interest, but ultimately concluded I am not interested in going to Washington to be a legislator at this stage in my career," Shapiro said Friday in a brief interview. Senior Democrats had been encouraging Shapiro to jump into the primary against Joe Sestak, a retired Navy rear admiral and former Delaware County congressman who lost a close race to Toomey in 2010 but who also has a strained relationship with members of the party establishment.
NEWS
May 21, 2015 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, Daily News Staff Writer farrs@phillynews.com, 215-854-4225
IN A SPECIAL election held yesterday that coincided with the primaries, voters chose state Rep. John Sabatina Jr., a Democrat, to fill the state Senate seat for Philadelphia's 5th District that was vacated when Mike Stack resigned in January to take his current position as lieutenant governor. Given that it was a special election, all registered voters within the 5th District in Northeast Philadelphia were able to vote, regardless of party affiliation. Sabatina received more than 75 percent of the votes, easily beating out his Republican challenger, Tim Dailey, a high-school teacher.
NEWS
May 21, 2015 | By Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Don't go scraping off the "Jersey Girls Don't Pump Gas" bumper stickers just yet. Two state senators - soon to be joined by an assemblyman - are sponsoring legislation to end New Jersey's more-than-six-decade-long ban on self-service gas. If the bill were to pass, Oregon would be the only state to ban self-serve. However, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), an ardent supporter of full service, said Tuesday that there was no way he would allow a vote on the bill. "As long as I am Senate president, the ban on self-serve will stay in place," Sweeney said in a statement.
NEWS
May 14, 2015 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Pennsylvania lawmakers are again taking a crack at legalizing medical marijuana, with the Senate passing a bill Tuesday to allow the drug to be prescribed for epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, and other ailments. A previous effort failed in the fall. Backers hope that by delivering it to the House earlier in the legislative session, with a supportive governor and a window of compromise surrounding the budget, it can pass this year. Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who cowrote the bill, said having a governor who is enthusiastic about medical marijuana "changes the dynamic completely.
NEWS
May 8, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sens. Robert P. Casey and Pat Toomey called Wednesday for an audit of every regional Veterans Affairs office nationwide - the latest round of scrutiny aimed at an agency already facing sharp questions for its management in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Under a bill unveiled by Pennsylvania's two senators and supported by members of a bipartisan working group cochaired by Casey, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office would be required to review regional VA offices within a year of passage for "consistency" in decision-making, and to find and share best practices at facilities that are doing well.
NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. Pat Toomey waded into the roiling debate over law enforcement Tuesday, defending most officers as honorable and dedicated, and worrying that "scapegoating" mobs were clamoring to punish police whether or not they are found guilty of wrongdoing. In a 15-minute speech on the Senate floor, the Pennsylvania Republican acknowledged that there were "real and horrible" cases of misconduct and that "unlawful" police activity could not be tolerated. But, he added, "if you listen to many of the police critics that we hear from today, you'd think that there's some sort of epidemic of crimes perpetrated by the police, and that . . . I assure you, is not true.
NEWS
May 6, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former New Jersey State Sen. Martha W. Bark, 86, a Republican from Burlington County, has died, a family friend confirmed Monday. No details of Sen. Bark's death or funeral arrangements were available from the friend, who answered the phone at Sen. Bark's home, or from officials who commented on her accomplishments. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) said in a statement: "This is a sad loss for Martha's family, her friends, and those she served with in public office.
NEWS
April 28, 2015
IF YOU THINK (at all) about Philly state lawmakers, what comes to mind? Take a minute. Take two. Not much positive, right? Well, without getting any hopes up, meet freshman Philly state Sen. Art Haywood. He is, by any measure, apart from the pack, separate from the stream of sameness the city tends to send to Harrisburg. He did not come up through Democratic City Committee. He did not work for a politician. Most ward leaders didn't support him in last year's primary.
NEWS
April 26, 2015 | By Ben Finley, Inquirer Staff Writer
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski officially started his U.S. Senate campaign Friday at a Montgomery County union hall, saying that he would save and create middle-class jobs. Contending he would bring "sanity back into Congress," Pawlowski became the second candidate to officially draw a bead on Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, already in the crosshairs of national Democratic leaders. Pawlowski spoke to about 50 people at the Fort Washington office of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a group that represents 7,000 eastern Pennsylvania workers.
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