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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.
NEWS
September 10, 2014 | By Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writer
LANCASTER - Witnesses at a state Senate committee hearing Monday called for a dramatic strengthening of DUI laws, saying current statutes are too weak to stop repeat offenders who endanger everyone. Patrick Crowley, whose 24-year-old son Liam was killed last year by a man prosecutors called the worst drunk driver in Chester County, testified that people are dying because of Pennsylvania's lax laws. "We watched our son, Liam, die," Crowley said, reading a statement written by Liam's mother.
NEWS
September 8, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
State senators plan to meet Monday to consider ways of toughening Pennsylvania's DUI laws. Changing four words could do the job. A 2009 state Supreme Court decision defanged the state's decade-old efforts to impose harsher penalties on drivers awaiting trial on a string of DUI arrests. The court ruled that the wording of the 2003 law required judges to use the date of past convictions - not the date of arrests - to determine whether someone is a second offender. Legislators could fix the wording by saying past DUI convictions can trigger more aggressive penalties "if the violation occurred" before sentencing for subsequent offenses.
NEWS
August 25, 2014 | By Tom Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer
John Kane, a plumbers' union leader and Democrat running for state Senate, was knocking on doors on both sides of Thorndale Road in Aldan, Delaware County, hustling on a hot Sunday afternoon. "How you makin' out?" he'd begin when someone answered. "Do you have a death wish?" one man joked as he took the proffered brochure, referring to the county Republican organization's century-long dominance in most local races. This year, in little places like Aldan, big things are at stake.
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