Harrisburg

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

A state agency has said it’s willing to let Pennsylvania’s capitol keep its uncommonly high taxes through 2020—the latest development in a battle between the city and state over how it’ll pay its bills after losing its “distressed municipality” status.

The city, however, is hoping it gets to keep its special taxing authority permanently.

The new tax option comes in the latest version of Harrisburg’s Act 47 exit plan, delivered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Earlier this week, Peoples Natural Gas announced that it would partner with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to provide clean water to Pittsburgh, and unveiled a model for a state-of-the-art water treatment facility to be situated on riverfront property in O'Hara Township.

Matt Rourke / AP

After a final Monday session to tie up loose ends, the state House of Representatives has recessed for the summer until further notice, leaving some high-profile bills still-unfinished.

One of the measures in question would make it harder for domestic abusers to possess weapons. Another that would overhaul the commonwealth’s redistricting process.

The domestic violence bill has bipartisan support, and would require people under protection from abuse orders turn over their weapons more quickly, plus make those weapons harder to reclaim.

Courtesy of Chelsa Wagner and Lisa Bennington

Across the U.S. and in western Pennsylvania, women appear poised to post major victories in the 2018 elections. But two local women who once served in the state legislature said winning the election is often the easy part.

Matt Rourke / AP

A bill that would end elections for Pennsylvania’s three statewide courts is making its way through the state House. HB 111 would establish a “merit selection” process, where a bipartisan commission would choose judges and justices to serve on the state Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts.

 

Firms Sued Over Incinerator Deal That Left Harrisburg Broke

May 23, 2018
Carolyn Kaster / AP

A lawsuit filed Monday blames lawyers, engineers and financial experts for a Harrisburg trash incinerator project that nearly bankrupted the city, calling it "the worst municipal financial disaster" in Pennsylvania history.

The state and the city on Monday sued four law firms, two financial entities and an engineering company for their roles in the project that drove the city into state receivership and triggered a budget crisis that is still playing out.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the state House and Senate both back in Harrisburg, lawmakers are turning their attention to a number of gun control and school safety bills.

The effort comes in the wake of a Texas school shooting that killed ten last week—the nation’s largest since the Florida shooting that killed seventeen in February.

When House lawmakers finish up a series of public hearings on gun control, House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said a number of stalled bills will start moving—likely in the “first week or two in June.”

AP

State House Republicans are increasing Representative Nick Miccarelli's punishment after deciding his actions constitute retaliation against two women who accused him of physical and sexual abuse--fellow GOP representative Tarah Toohil and another woman who has remained anonymous.

However, they're not moving to expel Miccarelli.

And meanwhile, in a memo detailing the latest sanctions, House GOP leaders included a pointed message to the Democrats in the chamber.

Primary Will Help Set Stage For Next Crop Of State Lawmakers

May 14, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

This year's legislative races in Pennsylvania have drawn extremely high levels of interest, with reports of activists swamping normally quiet organizational meetings and an unusually large number of candidates making it onto the ballot.

Gun Advocates Say 2nd Amendment ‘Under Attack’ At PA Capitol Rally

Apr 30, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Gun owners focused on their Second Amendment firearms rights brought their cause to Pennsylvania state lawmakers Monday in what has become an annual event.

Matt Rourke / AP

Graduate students at Penn State University have voted against union representation, ending a four-year battle against the school administration.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board hand-tallied paper votes for hours in Harrisburg on Tuesday. Of the 3,800 graduate students eligible to vote, 950 voted for unionization and 1,438 voted against, according to a press release. 

Jockeying Begins As House Openings Fuel Leadership Shuffle

Apr 16, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Changes are coming to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, due in large part to the pending departure of one of the most powerful elected officials in Harrisburg.

The decision by House Republican Leader Dave Reed to not seek re-election after a brief flirtation with running for Congress sets the stage for a fight over leadership later this year.

"The day that a leader announces that they're not going to be the leader anymore, a certain amount of 'Game of Thrones' begins," said rank-and-file Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state legislature has moved two bills that would create work requirements and otherwise tighten regulations for Pennsylvanians getting state benefits.

As committee debate on the measures stretched more than two hours, protesters in wheelchairs crowded the hearing room.

They were from the Philadelphia chapter of ADAPT, a national disability rights organization. And though the protesters in wheelchairs wouldn’t likely be the ones losing benefits under the proposed restrictions, organizer Nancy Salandra said she’s concerned nonetheless.

Screengrab via video posted on Twitter / Rob Tornoe/Philly.com

Representatives from four Pennsylvania stations owned by media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group are declining to comment on a controversial promo issued by the company's television news stations across the country, including three in the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As an elementary school choir sang inside the Capitol rotunda on Friday, a group of men and women clad in military fatigues, carrying walkie talkies and AR-15s, gathered just outside.

“We live in a society where we give lazy kids who come in eighth place trophies,” shouted one man, who left before giving his name. “Alright? It’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental problem.”

Christian Yingling wore a patch on his camouflage jacket declaring him part of the Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia.

He’s from Westmoreland County, and on most days, works as a machinist.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has moved to change the commonwealth’s constitution and drastically reduce the size of the legislature.

However, there’s no guarantee voters will see the amendment on their ballots come election day.

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country—and for years, lawmakers have sought to change that.

Supporters of the proposal say cutting the number of representatives would make government more efficient—and probably save money.

And, bill sponsor Jerry Knowles noted, the ultimate decision will be up to voters. 

Tom Wolf / Flickr

Three weeks after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 dead, there seems to be some momentum for action on gun reform bills in Congress and in the legislatures of states, including Florida and Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives / legis.state.pa.gov

Two women recently accused state Representative Nick Miccarelli of repeated domestic violence.

In one incident, he allegedly brandished a gun while driving with one of the women, and threatened to kill them both.

US Marshals Service / via AP

Authorities say a deputy U.S. marshal shot and killed while serving a warrant in Pennsylvania was struck by a bullet fired through a wall by a fellow officer and not by a gunman who opened fire on police.

Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said Thursday that conclusion was made after laboratory tests were performed on material related to the Jan. 18 death of Deputy Marshal Christopher Hill.

Chardo says 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis fired the first shot and that police were justified in shooting him to death outside the home in Harrisburg.

Officials Piece Together Chaotic Events After Officer Killed In Harrisburg

Jan 19, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Investigators are working to piece together the chaotic sequence of events that led to a deputy U.S. marshal being shot to death while serving an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania's capital city, while colleagues are remembering him as the "cream of the crop."

US Marshal Killed While Serving Warrant, Suspect Also Killed

Jan 18, 2018
Brett Sholtis / WITF

The name of the Deputy U.S. Marshal killed in the line of duty this morning in Harrisburg has been released.

Matt Slocum / AP

Snow and bitter cold are sweeping across parts of Pennsylvania, making travel difficult.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has lowered speed limits in the southeast to 45 mph from the Morgantown Exit 298 east to the New Jersey line and on the Northeast Extension up to the Lansdale exit.

A winter storm warning rremains until 7 p.m. Thursday for Delaware, Philadelphia, eastern Montgomery and lower Bucks counties.

State Agencies Fielded Hundreds Of Sex Misconduct Complaints

Jan 3, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania state government agencies fielded 339 reports of alleged sexual harassment over a recent five-year period, according to data released Tuesday.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lawmakers won’t truly start their 2018 session until late this month. But they’re already laying out legislative agendas for the new year.

Many of the top priorities aren’t much different from last year’s.

Democrats and Republicans all named job creation among their primary goals.

House Democratic Spokesman Bill Patton also said his caucus is particularly focused on raising the minimum wage.

“Pennsylvania is an outlier,” he said. “Certainly, in the northeastern part of the country, we are the only state that has not raised a minimum wage.”

Prosecutor Says Terror Links Not Found In Immigrant Shooting

Dec 28, 2017
Paul Vathis / AP

An Egyptian immigrant who wounded a Pennsylvania state trooper and fired at other police officers before being killed has not been connected with any organized terror group or terrorist activity, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Tim Lambert / WITF

A prosecutor says authorities are still investigating the motives of an Egyptian man who shot at police in several locations in Pennsylvania's state capital, wounding one of them, before dying in a shootout.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico gave no new information Tuesday about Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty's motives. The 51-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen fired at a police officer Friday afternoon in front of the state Capitol and later at a state trooper, wounding her.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

 On the heels of recent Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette stories on alleged sexual harassment by state lawmakers, a number of officials are calling for a change.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Teachers in Pennsylvania's capital city are asking for support after a series of violent altercations with students has led to multiple resignations.

The Harrisburg Education Association says at least 45 teachers have resigned since July and October. Association President Jody Barksdale says more have resigned since then.

Speaking at a school board meeting Monday evening, first-grade teacher Amanda Sheaffer says she has been hit and kicked by her students.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

In the wake of sexual harassment and assault claims against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others,  dozens of female legislators, lobbyists, consultants, and reporters have come forward in the last few weeks to talk about sexism and harassment they've dealt with in their respective statehouses.

Alex Brandon / AP

President Donald Trump took to the midstate Wednesday to pitch his tax plan to a cheering crowd of blue-collar workers and conservative Pennsylvania politicians.

He’s selling the proposal as one that would boost the middle class and small businesses—though many opponents say it would be a better deal for the rich. 

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