April 19, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Polls, politics, and partisanship were not the only things Tom Corbett left behind when he vacated the governor's mansion early this year. He also left Britta, one of his pooches. For the last six months of Corbett's term, the German shepherd had been the lesser-known stepsister in the governor's mansion. Harry and Penny, two Airedale terriers the first couple had adopted as pups, were raised nearly to the status of First Children - paraded for the cameras and showcased on the Corbetts' holiday cards.
March 15, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf turned to a new, if not totally secret, weapon Friday in the high-volume campaign for his education and tax reform package - a soft-spoken York County artist who is also the new first lady of Pennsylvania. Frances Wolf, 62, took the case for the Democratic governor's roughly $1 billion proposed hike in school funding to Paul Fly Elementary School in Norristown, where she hosted a roundtable and listened to teachers and administrators, many of whom complained about budget cuts under GOP predecessor Tom Corbett.
February 7, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf said Thursday he was forming a new state office aimed at identifying hundreds of millions in savings as a way to trim a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. "This is not about cutting," the new governor said, "it's about doing what we do more efficiently. " Wolf, in his first formal Capitol news conference since being sworn in last month, said he expects to introduce details of the office in the coming weeks. The executive order he signed Thursday creating the Office of Transformation, Innovation, Modernization, and Efficiency came with a directive to state agencies to immediately identify a total of $150 million in potential savings.
February 6, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - The fate of the state's former open records officer will remain unresolved for at least another month. After a hearing in Commonwealth Court, lawyers for Gov. Wolf and Erik Arneson, the newly appointed open records officer he fired last month, reached an agreement Wednesday to withdraw a request that Arneson be reinstated. But their dispute over Wolf's authority to fire Arneson lingers. The full Commonwealth Court will hear the case March 11. Matthew Haverstick, an attorney for Senate Republicans, said he was pleased with the temporary solution and looked forward to airing their side before the seven-member bench.
January 31, 2015 |
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Wolf on Thursday reinstated a moratorium on natural gas drilling on state parklands. It came less than a year after his predecessor lifted the ban. The executive order protects about a million acres - or 60 percent - of Pennsylvania state parks and forests that sit atop the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. Fracking companies that already have leases on public lands can continue to operate. And new leases may be signed to drill under land for which the state lacks "subsurface" rights.
November 26, 2014
EACH YEAR Pennsylvania hands out $5.5 billion in subsidies for basic education that follows a formula which is outdated and ignores the realities of local school districts. To use just one example: districts that have lost students in recent years get the same amount of state subsidy, even though they are educating fewer children. And don't even talk about making allowances for such factors as poverty. In fact, in 2007, a "costing-out" study commissioned by the legislature concluded that the state's public schools were underfunded by $4.38 billion.
November 16, 2014 |
The wave was even bigger than it looked on the networks' election-night maps. Republicans picked up so many seats in state legislatures that the party will control 68 of the nation's 98 partisan chambers come January - the most since 1920, a time of flappers, bathtub gin, and the Model T. They'll have legislative control in 30 states, to 11 for the Democrats. Counting Republican governors, the GOP will dominate the governments of 24 states (to six for Democrats). By one calculation, that means about 48 percent of the U.S. population will live in states where Republicans can drive their agenda without significant Democratic opposition.
November 8, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Joe Paterno "probably" should not have been fired, Gov. Corbett said Thursday. In his most expansive comments since the child-sex-abuse scandal erupted at Pennsylvania State University three years ago, the governor said that Paterno "technically complied with the law" in dealing with pedophile Jerry Sandusky and that university trustees should have let the iconic coach end his career when the season did. "They probably shouldn't have...
November 6, 2014
NO ONE can call this week's election a mandate for "same old, same old," at least not in Pennsylvania, where Tom Wolf made history by breaking the two-term governor charm that's been in effect for nearly 70 years. The problem, of course, is that he will preside over a Legislature that doesn't exactly embrace the new - one that provided obstacle after obstacle to a governor who shared its majority political party. How it will react to Wolf, who is a Democrat with an ambitious agenda, much of which runs counter to their agenda, is of course the question of the hour.
November 5, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - Call it the Paterno factor. Throughout the day, members of a group called Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship donned PSU gear and went to the polls to vote against Gov. Corbett. They did this not because they necessarily liked Tom Wolf any better - but out of protest. Protest over Corbett's handling, as attorney general, of the investigation into serial child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky. Protest over how he dealt with Pennsylvania State University, and its legendary football coach, Joe Paterno, after he became governor and state prosecutors brought charges in the case.