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NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
As the manhunt for Eric Frein drags into a second month, a state senator from northeastern Pennsylvania wants lawmakers to review the response and impact on the area. In a letter released Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Baker (R., Luzerne) said her goal in calling for a hearing "is not to find fault" with the search efforts, but to assess and, if possible, improve the state's response to such incidents. Her request came on the same day that State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Lt. Col. George Bivens privately briefed Baker and other lawmakers in Harrisburg about the ongoing search for Frein in the woods of Pike and Monroe Counties.
NEWS
October 12, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In a move that underscores an apparent growing divide between the Southeast and the rest of the state, two members of the Senate GOP caucus have withdrawn their support for the majority leader. Sen. Donald White of Armstrong County said Friday that he would not vote for Dominic Pileggi of Delaware County should he seek a fifth term as Republican leader next month. White accused Pileggi of refusing to advance legislation on liquor privatization and pensions, and pandering to environmentalists and gun-control advocates.
NEWS
October 10, 2014 | By Dylan Purcell and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - In the first overhaul of Pennsylvania's drunken-driving laws in a decade, the state Senate unanimously approved a measure Wednesday to require first-time offenders to use "interlock" devices before they can drive. The legislation - approved 50-0 and expected to pass the House - stipulates that interlock devices must be installed for first-time DUI offenders with higher levels of alcohol. The measure says anyone convicted of driving with an alcohol blood level of 0.10 percent or more must have their cars equipped with the devices that prevent operation when drivers have been drinking.
NEWS
September 27, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
Breaking from the antiamnesty, secure-the-border hawkishness coursing through the national Republican Party, New Jersey's GOP nominee for a U.S. Senate seat says he would fight for "comprehensive immigration reform" in Washington. And like many Republicans, Jeff Bell is claiming the mantle of Ronald Reagan. "Ronald Reagan once said, 'Latinos are Republicans - they just don't know it yet.' Maybe that's politically incorrect to repeat in 2014," Bell wrote in an e-mail to supporters Wednesday.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. But the legislation, approved by a vote of 43-7, faces an uncertain fate. GOP leaders in the House, where the bill heads next, say the federal government ought to take the lead on drug policy. And Gov. Corbett has said he is opposed to legalizing marijuana in any form. The legislation mirrors medical marijuana laws in 23 states that require patients seeking access to medical cannabis to have a doctor's authorization.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | By Amy Worden and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The measure was approved by 43-7, the first time such a proposal has passed either chamber of the legislature. But its fate was uncertain at best. GOP leaders in the House, where the bill heads next for consideration, have said the federal government, not state government, ought to take the lead on drug policy. And Gov. Corbett has said he is opposed to legalizing marijuana in any form.
NEWS
September 25, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
PHILADELPHIA School District officials breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as a local cigarette tax - $2 per pack to provide key funding for schools - cleared the final hurdle in Harrisburg after months of suspense. The state Senate approved the bill, 39-11, one day after lawmakers in the House passed it. It heads to Gov. Corbett, who is expected to sign it publicly today. The tax is expected to generate at least $49 million this school year for the embattled district, erasing a sizable deficit and averting massive layoffs.
NEWS
September 25, 2014 | By Amy Worden and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - The state Senate late Tuesday approved a bill authorizing the City of Philadelphia to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes, ending months of wrangling over revenue to plug a deepening hole in the School District budget. Gov. Corbett said he would sign the bill Wednesday. The price hike could take affect in a week or so. "I am pleased that both chambers have taken action on this legislation so that the Philadelphia School District and, more importantly, the students of Philadelphia can benefit from it," he said in a statement.
NEWS
September 24, 2014 | By Amy Worden and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
After a months-long delay, the Pennsylvania House approved a bill Monday authorizing Philadelphia to impose a tax of $2 per pack on cigarettes to fund schools. The bill - which passed without debate largely along party lines, 114-84 - next goes to the Senate, which could take a final vote as early as Wednesday. Philadelphia lawmakers applauded the bill's passage as a way to generate funds to address an $80 million school budget shortfall. School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. had said that without it he would be forced to close schools and lay off teachers and staff.
BUSINESS
September 17, 2014 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Bogle , founder of Vanguard Group , the $3 trillion-asset, Malvern-based leader of the mutual fund industry, is due in Washington on Tuesday to lecture the Senate Finance Committee on what ought to be done to prevent retired Americans from ending up in their kids' closets and garages or public shelters, now that most big companies no longer offer guaranteed pensions. Some of Bogle's suggestions: Save Social Security by delaying retirement until age 69; boost benefits based on inflation, not wage increases; impose the Social Security tax to higher wages; and limit payouts to rich retirees.
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