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NEWS
January 14, 2016 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, STAFF WRITERS
Former Gov. Ed Rendell on Tuesday urged a Senate panel to abandon any effort to remove Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane from office, at least until the state Supreme Court decides whether to reinstate her law license, as she has requested. The panel is considering a recommendation that the full Senate oust Kane as the state's top law enforcement official because she does not have an active law license. Rendell the state would face a "chaotic" situation if the Senate were to remove Kane and the Supreme Court later reinstated her license.
NEWS
January 13, 2016 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, STAFF WRITERS
When a Senate committee meets Tuesday to decide whether Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane should be removed from office, it will be dusting off an obscure provision in the state constitution that has not been used in more than a century. The seven-member bipartisan committee has asked Kane to defend her position that she can function as the state's top prosecutor even though her law license has been suspended because she is facing criminal charges. The hearing could be critical to her political future.
NEWS
January 13, 2016 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - New Jersey Democrats inched closer Monday to constitutionally requiring the state to make its contributions to the underfunded pension system for public employees, despite warnings from business groups and Republicans that the move could have dangerous financial consequences. In party-line votes, the Senate passed the measure by 23-16, and the Assembly by 43-27. To get the proposed amendment on November's ballot, the Legislature would again have to pass it with a simple majority during the new legislative session that begins Tuesday.
NEWS
January 13, 2016 | By Jonathan Tamari, WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Philadelphia Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to a federal appeals court seat Monday, ending a 14-month delay that had become a flash point in a national fight over the judiciary. Restrepo, an Eastern District of Pennsylvania judge who will fill an emergency vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, was easily approved; the vote was 82-6. But the year-plus wait for confirmation by the Republican-controlled Senate transformed his nomination into a larger political issue.
NEWS
January 12, 2016 | By Jonathan Tamari, WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - As global conflict dominated headlines, national security grabbed the spotlight last week in the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania, offering a glimpse of a debate that could prove critical in this fall's election. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican seeking a second term, sought to flex his foreign-policy muscles, blasting President Obama - and his Democratic challengers - over the international nuclear deal with Iran and that country's recent ballistic missile tests. "It's extremely dangerous if the administration goes ahead and rewards the Iranians' egregiously bad behavior," Toomey told reporters in a conference call Tuesday, the same day he used an op-ed piece published in The Inquirer to urge the president not to lift sanctions.
NEWS
January 10, 2016 | By Jonathan Tamari, WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - The new year has brought a fresh wave of activity in the widely watched U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania - and a surprising assessment from the state's Democratic Party leader. In an interview Thursday, Chairman Marcel Groen said that Braddock Mayor John Fetterman - the least-known, least-funded, and last Democrat to join the race - could represent the party's best chance to win. Fetterman would "be the toughest candidate" in a general election matchup against Sen. Pat Toomey, Groen told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
NEWS
January 4, 2016
ISSUE | ENERGY N.J.'s green goals The New Jersey Senate passed a bill last month that establishes renewable-energy portfolio standards and requires a percentage of our electricity to come from Class I renewable energy. This percentage would increase every five years to 2050, with a goal of reaching 80 percent renewable. The bill, which was referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, needs to be posted by Jan. 11 to pass the Assembly. Solar, wind, and geothermal power, microgrids, and wave technologies can be used to reach these goals.
NEWS
December 22, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - Legislative leaders huddled behind closed doors Sunday to determine how to resolve the state's budget crisis after a so-called framework agreement seemed to implode a day earlier. But after hours of negotiating, it seemed another contentious battle could emerge before Christmas: While House leaders said they might soon propose a temporary spending plan to free up money for schools and nonprofits, Senate Republicans and Gov. Wolf said they wanted to work instead toward enacting a full-year budget.
NEWS
December 20, 2015
WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Friday confirmed former Bucks County Congressman Patrick Murphy to become undersecretary of the Army, the branch's second-ranking civilian post. Murphy, an Iraq war veteran, represented Pennsylvania's eighth district from 2007 to 2011. He was confirmed by a voice vote. As undersecretary, Murphy will handle much of the business side of the Army, including areas like staffing, purchasing equipment and training. Murphy, 42, spent seven months in Iraq, starting in 2003, where he served as a convoy commander and lawyer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
NEWS
December 16, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
TRENTON - A Republican state senator unveiled a plan Monday to replenish New Jersey's near-depleted transportation fund without raising the tax on gasoline. Sen. Jennifer Beck (R., Monmouth) said a combination of economic growth based on conservative revenue projections, scaling back public employees' health benefits as Gov. Christie has called for, and increasing fines on motor vehicle violations such as texting while driving would help provide $1.6 billion annually for seven years to the Transportation Trust Fund.
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