April 9, 2014 |
HARRISBURG A Senate committee on Monday unanimously approved a bill to ban cash gifts to lawmakers, the latest reform measure to emerge since the disclosure that four Philadelphia legislators were caught on tape taking money from a lobbyist. "This is a very important first step, a fundamental principal that I think should be in law," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Lisa Baker (R., Luzerne). The bill, which could be voted on by the full Senate as early as Wednesday, would institute an "absolute ban on legislators accepting cash gifts from lobbyists, principals, consultants, and others who seek to influence the legislative process.
April 7, 2014 |
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first public hearing on Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45.2 billion deal for Time Warner Cable Inc. on Wednesday, amid regulatory and financial concerns about merging the No. 1 and No. 2 cable-TV companies. The hearing likely will be a forum for a word most people - cable customers or not - will find unfamiliar: monopsony . It is a market condition in which there is only one big buyer for services or goods. In the context of a combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable, it describes how the giant cable-TV company would be the major purchaser of Hollywood entertainment because of its tens of millions of cable-TV subscribers, and thus could dictate economic terms to the programmers.
March 16, 2014 |
To Lucress Irizarry, the July 2012 birthday party for State Sen. LeAnna Washington was like any other laid-back summer gathering. About 100 casually dressed guests milled beneath a tent on the lawn of Fairmount Park's Belmont Mansion, some holding plates of quiche and chicken from the buffet. As the afternoon sun fell, guests sat at round tables or danced to music from a DJ. "It was really nice," said Irizarry, who co-owns a photography company that Washington hired to shoot the event.
March 8, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - State Sen. Mike Stack of Philadelphia on Thursday became the first in a crowded field vying for the Democratic nomination in the governor's or the lieutenant governor's race to file nominating petitions. Stack, who is among seven announced candidates running to be the state's second-in-command, collected 4,028 signatures - more than the 1,000 required - to earn a spot on the May primary ballot. The Philadelphia senator, who started the year with roughly $400,000 in his campaign coffers, said he planned to deliver an additional 4,000 signatures by Tuesday's deadline to file nominating petitions.
March 7, 2014 |
DISTRICT Attorney Seth Williams, typically an ardent supporter of President Obama, joined with congressional Republicans yesterday in opposing the nomination of Debo Adegbile to a top Justice Department post. Williams said in a news conference that Adegbile's role in defending convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal is the crux of why he, too, objects to the nomination. Adegbile was Obama's top pick to head the Justice Department's civil-rights division. He was head of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund at the time it was fighting against the death penalty for Abu-Jamal.
March 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Mumia Abu-Jamal, a name that for more than three decades has stirred emotional divisions in Philadelphia and across oceans, was at the center of a stunning defeat for President Obama on Wednesday as the Senate blocked a presidential nominee who had worked on the convicted cop killer's death penalty appeal. By a 52-47 vote, Republicans and eight Democrats blocked a key procedural step in the nomination of Debo Adegbile, a former NAACP lawyer whom Obama had tapped to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
February 19, 2014 |
Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle began his candidacy for state Senate on Monday with a promise to focus on bringing more jobs to the region. "I'm running because I want to work for job creation like I did in Delaware County," McGarrigle said after announcing his campaign at the auto center he owns in Springfield Township. McGarrigle, a Republican who also lives in Springfield, is running for the 26th District seat left open by Republican Sen. Edwin "Ted" Erickson.
February 18, 2014 |
Maria Quiñones Sánchez has never been beloved by Philadelphia's political power structure - she has twice won her seat on City Council despite opposition from the Democratic Party and with some of the biggest donors supporting her opponent. She's unlikely to gain much popularity with her latest move - backing a slate of four upstart candidates in races for the state House and Senate seats that overlap her Council district. She has strong ties to the candidates. One is her husband, Tomas, and the others have been aides in her Council office.
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.