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NEWS
June 27, 2015 | By Amy S. Rosenberg and Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writers
Atlantic City is one step closer to getting a PILOT to steer it through rough economic seas. On Thursday, the New Jersey Senate passed a rescue package, including the long-awaited PILOT - Payment in Lieu of Taxes, a new casino taxation system - and other bills aimed at stabilizing the city's dire finances. The bills, stalled since December amid political wranging and an unsettled labor situation at Trump Taj Mahal, now go to Gov. Christie. The bills have been endorsed by both the casino industry and elected officials, including Mayor Don Guardian, who has said the stabilized tax system under the new PILOT was better than defending against repeated tax appeals that have put the city near bankruptcy.
NEWS
June 26, 2015 | By Madison Russ, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - The Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would let Pennsylvania consumers have wine shipped directly to their homes. The measure, which now heads to the House, allows all wineries to obtain a permit to ship any quantity. Under current law, out-of-state retailers have only been allowed to send wine to a state-run liquor store for residents to pick up. The GOP-led House could vote on the measure as early as next week, said House Republicans spokesman Steve Miskin. Though the bill has support in both parties, drama unfolded on the Senate floor when it came up for debate Wednesday.
NEWS
June 24, 2015 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
JUST LAST FRIDAY, South Carolina's two Republican U.S. senators were silent or vague when asked by the Daily News whether the Confederate flag should be removed from the grounds of their state Capitol. Yesterday, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott stood with Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as she called for the flag to come down. The whirlwind of events following the murders of prominent African-American pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinckney and eight of his parishioners in their Charleston church last Wednesday may have helped the senators make up their minds.
NEWS
June 17, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that would delay by two years a requirement that high school students pass Pennsylvania's Keystone exams to graduate. Under the plan, the proficiency tests - in algebra 1, biology, and literature - will not go in effect for incoming freshmen until the 2018-19 school year. Some people would like to see the exams postponed indefinitely. "I would have liked to have seen a bill passed that ended the Keystones, period, but that's not possible at this stage," said Sen. Andy Dinniman (D., Chester)
NEWS
June 12, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Key senators are reconsidering a plan to give railroads five more years to finish installing a mandated new safety system - signaling a potentially tougher stand to speed up work in the aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment in Philadelphia last month. "If we can figure out a way to get there sooner, we certainly want to be open to that," Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.), chairman of the Senate committee overseeing railroads, said after a hearing Wednesday. "If that entails something that doesn't require a blanket five-year extension, then we're open to that.
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - After claims of political stalling, a Senate panel on Wednesday will finally take up the nomination of Philadelphia-based Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The hearing before the Judiciary Committee could be a key step in advancing Restrepo's nomination, which liberal groups and other advocates say has been slowed by political gamesmanship, a charge Republicans have denied. Sens. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) and Patrick Toomey (R., Pa.)
NEWS
June 11, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would create a state-run system to take over low-performing Pennsylvania schools, sending to the full chamber a measure that Philadelphia's superintendent said could be devastating to city schools. Modeled after similar legislation in states such as Louisiana and Tennessee, Senate Bill 6 mandates that the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools - as defined by the state's school performance profile - transform themselves within three years, either by contracting with outside providers or converting to charters.
NEWS
June 10, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Chris Palmer, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In its sharpest rebuke yet to Pennsylvania's first-term governor, the Republican-led Senate on Monday rejected Gov. Wolf's controversial choice to lead the state police and signaled it would be unlikely to reconsider. Hours after Wolf tried to withdraw the nomination, the chamber ignored his request and voted, 26-22, against the permanent appointment of acting Commissioner Marcus Brown. Observers said it was the first time they could recall the full Senate shooting down a governor's cabinet pick.
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