October 25, 2014 |
Looking to better manage health-care costs, the Nutter administration is taking two big swings at tobacco. Come Jan. 1, Philadelphia will add a $500 annual premium to benefits costs for nonunion employees who use tobacco products, and a $15 surcharge for prescriptions filled at pharmacies that sell tobacco products. The charge on prescription co-pays is part of a plan being launched by the city in partnership with CVS Caremark, a pharmacy benefits provider owned by the parent company of CVS drug stores.
October 20, 2014 |
The signs went up a bit over a week ago on the little stretch that is the Monmouth Street Business District in proudly blue-collar Gloucester City. They took most folks by surprise: The no-smoking symbol and the "100% Smoke Free Public Property" sign. By late last week, the police had yet to issue a ticket, but on sidewalks known for a fair yield of butts, the stubs were few and far between. But if the smokes have been extinguished at least on those few blocks, the furor smolders on. Mayor William James says the ban is part of an effort to clean up and revitalize the three-block commercial strip - an endeavor that has included acquiring three properties with about $540,000 in state and federal funds.
October 17, 2014 |
THE KEYSTONED State struck close to home for Gov. Corbett. In fact, it was the Governor's Residence, the Harrisburg mansion in which he has lived since 2011. Corbett, speaking yesterday to the PennLive editorial board in Harrisburg, repeated his oft-maligned claim that Pennsylvania companies can't fill jobs because they can't find applicants willing or able to pass drug tests. One big problem: The business group Corbett cites when making that claim released an employer survey this summer that raised serious questions about his facts.
October 3, 2014
ISSUE | SCHOOLS Shoulder to shoulder but learning well The article on Philadelphia school crowding might have mentioned that in 1840, when America and Scotland were the two most literate nations on earth, the average one-room schoolhouse consisted of 250 kids headed up by one teacher and two assistants, who taught the oldest, who taught the younger, and so on down the line ("Rotating teachers and oversize classes," Sept. 26). But then we decided to prepare scared, passive, and obedient children to man the assembly lines of the industrial revolution.
September 15, 2014 |
The seven patients all had had successful surgery to prop open a blocked coronary artery with a stent. Yet more than five years later, all seven developed dangerous blood clots and came to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with heart attacks. The common thread? All of them either had stopped taking aspirin, were actively smoking, or both, according to a new report by Jefferson physicians. Not a good idea, the doctors wrote in September's Journal of Invasive Cardiology.
September 12, 2014 |
Gov. Christie vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have restricted smoking in public parks and beaches, saying he opposes a "one-size-fits-all" approach to such regulation. Christie acted on several other bills Wednesday evening, signing one measure that requires more police officers to wear video cameras or mount them on their vehicles, and another that changes the state's alimony law. The Republican governor had until Thursday to act on the bills. The bill he vetoed would have completely banned smoking in state, county, and municipal parks, and restricted it to designated areas on public beaches.
July 11, 2014 |
THE MARLBORO Man and Joe Camel helped push into legislative limbo a new $2-per-pack tobacco tax in Philly that would help to fund the city's public schools. Harrisburg lobbyists for the nation's largest cigarette company, the Altria Group - maker of the Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims brands - initially had opposed the tax altogether. A lobbyist for the nation's second-largest cigarette company, R.J. Reynolds - maker of Camel, Pall Mall and Kool brands - also was involved in the effort.
July 8, 2014
AFTER THE Legislature passed a bill last week giving Philadelphia the right to impose a $2-a-pack cigarette tax to raise money for the city's schools, Gov. Corbett took a moment to congratulate himself. "We have worked for over a year, above the partisan politics, to put the students of Philadelphia first," Corbett told reporters. We don't know whether to laugh or to cry. In fairness, we don't know exactly what the governor means by putting the students of Philadelphia first.
June 28, 2014 |
TRENTON - In addition to passing a budget Thursday, New Jersey lawmakers voted on dozens of bills, ranging from bans on public smoking to barring employers from asking about job applicants' criminal histories during the initial phase of the hiring process. Legislation that would ban smoking in public parks and beaches passed both houses Thursday and heads to Gov. Christie. It would impose a complete ban in state, county, and municipal parks but allow for designated smoking areas in up to 15 percent of the area of a public beach.
June 19, 2014 |
HIS LIVING ROOM was a bit disheveled, the victim of last-minute haste. An enormous stack of silver and red sat in the corner. At the top was the square, metallic-blue helmet of Optimus Prime, overlooking the house with its antennae-like ears pointed upward. It was just four days until Wizard World Philadelphia and Eric "The Smoke" Moran was making the final alterations to his new lineup of costumes with the same fervor and excitement of a believer on Christmas Eve. In the basement of his Chestnut Hill townhouse, all four walls are covered with film posters, drawings and action figures - most still in their original packing.