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NEWS
June 12, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
A report sought by New Jersey's top elected Democrat in a campaign to change the governance of Rutgers University did not specifically support the changes he has proposed. Legislation sponsored by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) to increase the number of political appointees to Rutgers' main governing body has been scheduled for a full Senate vote Thursday. The Assembly Budget Committee will take up the corresponding bill the same day. The report was the product of a Rutgers task force appointed in August to evaluate the university's two-board governance structure and make recommendations for the future.
NEWS
June 5, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - No one quibbles about the size and cost of Pennsylvania's government. The numbers speak for themselves: With a budget of roughly $280 million and about 2,600 staffers, the state legislature is among the biggest and costliest nationwide. Proposals to shrink it bubble up every now and then, but none have gone this far before: On Tuesday, a Senate committee passed resolutions to eliminate 55 legislative seats, four judgeships - even the office of lieutenant governor. The vote was an incremental step on a path that could take years.
NEWS
May 21, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - Senate panels advanced legislation Monday that would impose a tax on electronic cigarettes and change New Jersey's criminal justice system so judges can deny bail in certain circumstances. Gov. Christie, a Republican, has expressed support for both ideas. His $34.4 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1 projects that imposing the tobacco-product wholesale tax on e-cigarettes would generate $35 million in revenue for the state. The bill that advanced Monday would impose a wholesale sales tax rate of 75 percent on e-cigarettes.
NEWS
May 20, 2014 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
A scion of a famous political family faces two challengers, one representing a rising clan making a play for power, the other with a mighty, behind-the-scenes ally. No, this isn't a plot from the HBO drama Game of Thrones. This is Pennsylvania's Second Senatorial District, where the most diverse legislative district in Philadelphia is hosting the most intriguing battle in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The three-way race has story lines as interwoven and complicated as any cable-television series, and, unsurprisingly, things have gotten nasty.
NEWS
May 14, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - The New Jersey Senate voted Monday to pass a bill that would ban high-capacity magazines, despite Republican opposition and reservations voiced by some Democrats. The bill, which would reduce maximum ammunition capacity from 15 rounds to 10, now heads to the Assembly, which passed an earlier version but now must consider amendments by the Senate. Proponents said the legislation was in response to the December 2012 massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, in which the assailant used guns equipped with high-capacity magazines to kill children and educators.
NEWS
May 10, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Facing fights in the courtroom and at the polls, State Sen. LeAnna Washington has gone underground. The Fourth District senator, who has two challengers in the May 20 Democratic primary, was in Harrisburg last week for committee meetings and floor votes. Looming is a Montgomery County Court hearing on charges that she used taxpayer-funded staff and resources to plan her annual birthday party campaign fund-raiser. Her reelection campaign, on the other hand, has flown below the radar.
NEWS
May 6, 2014
State Sen. LeAnna Washington has told voters in the state's Fourth District all they need to know to bounce her from office in the May 20 Democratic primary. The question is, were they listening? And if so, do they care? Washington has been charged with misuse of office for requiring taxpayer-funded staff to raise money for her campaigns. According to a grand jury report, when a staffer questioned the activity, she replied, "I'm the f-ing senator. I do what the f- I want. " Voters have no reason to reward such arrogance.
NEWS
April 11, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The state Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would ban lawmakers from accepting cash gifts from lobbyists or others seeking to "influence the legislative process. " "Senate approval of this legislation gives hope that an ugly problem is about to yield a responsible solution," said Sen. Lisa Baker (R., Luzerne), sponsor of the bill. "It sets basic ground rules everyone can grasp. " The 49-0 vote followed an unusually quick path for a piece of legislation, and came just weeks after The Inquirer first reported that four Philadelphia lawmakers had been caught on tape taking money from a lobbyist.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer
On the eve of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that will bring Comcast Corp. face-to-face with one of its sharpest critics, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, the cable-TV company released on Tuesday a 650-page public interest filing on the potential benefits of the $45.2 billion deal for Time Warner Cable Inc. Comcast steadfastly maintained that creating a huge company that provides cable television and Internet and phone service will not eliminate any...
NEWS
April 9, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
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.
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