Saturday, May 25, 2013
PennDOT's new YouTube channel features safety information and a video of a recent highway tanker fire.
less than an hour ago
PennDOT has a new YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/PennsylvaniaDOT, to expand its public outreach on safety and education initiatives, as well as department operations. “Our YouTube channel is our next step in communicating with our customers in more personal, interactive ways,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. So far, the new PennDOT YouTube channel includes: In the future, the department plans to add videos featuring department maintenance operations as well as highway safety efforts. The channel complements PennDOT’s social media outreach on Facebook and Twitter. Since the department launched its official Twitter account – PennDOTNews – in 2010, more than 11,000 followers have signed on. The PennDOT Facebook page, which was …
Friday, May 24, 2013
Some want to know if other groups are also operating outside Pennsylvania’s nonprofit campaign finance rules.
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG – Nonprofit groups exploiting a loophole in Pennsylvania’s campaign finance laws will be subject to legislative scrutiny. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, chairman of the House State Government Committee, said Thursday he would hold a hearing to determine whether some politically active nonprofit organizations are overstepping state law and whether the state’s enforcement of campaign finance laws is lacking. One such group last fall targeted three members of the committee with advertisements, but it did not disclose financial information to the state because it’s a “social welfare nonprofit.” Metcalfe said the hearing, scheduled here June 5, would focus on how Pennsylvania’s campaign finance …
Drivers can expect roving patrols, safety checkpoints and special attention to seat belt compliance over Memorial Day Weekend.
PennDOT will partner with more than 600 law enforcement agencies and the Pennsylvania State Police to participate in a national “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement effort through June 9. The effort will focus largely on nighttime enforcement, using traffic safety checkpoints and roving patrols. Police will also use Traffic Enforcement Zones, which combine roving patrol and checkpoint tactics on roadways with high numbers of unbuckled crashes. According to PennDOT data, 503 people died last year in unbelted crashes, a decrease from 509 such fatalities in 2011. The total number of crashes in which people were not wearing seat belts also decreased to 15,528, compared with 16,298 in 2011. The majority of enforcement will occur at night…
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The liquor privatization debate has brought out a new special interest—the property owners who rent space to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — Inside Pennsylvania’s liquor privatization debate, everyone wants a taste. A new special interest is asking for a seat at the table after the state legislature’s actions threaten the finances of its members. The Liquor Store Real Estate Owners Association is the latest opponent to liquor privatization. The group is comprised of property owners who have lease agreements with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Among their ranks is David Neal, a Philadelphia real estate owner who owns the property for the state-owned wine and spirits shop on South Street. His lease, like all others in the state store system, has a termination clause, one without any penalties if the agreement ends. This …
As much as $515 million in costs and savings of Medicaid expansion were mis-estimated by the IFO, according to the Corbett Administration.
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent HARRISBURG — The administration of Gov. Tom Corbett says a report on Medicaid expansion by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office improperly claims as much as $515 million as savings, revenue or underestimated costs to the state. The IFO report, published in April and updated last week to reflect new information, showed expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania would produce $180 million in savings for the next during the next budget year – mostly due to shifting state-level costs to the federally funded Medicaid program. The expansion of Medicaid is a part of the federal health-care reform law, but states must voluntarily opt-in to the program, something Corbett has so far been unwilling to do. In a letter sent to …
Wednesday's Senate hearings on the IRS 'Tea Party' scandal included Pennsylvania's Sen. Pat Toomey and Sen. Bob Casey, who both released statements after the event.
Pennsylvania's Sen. Bob Casey (D) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R) both participated in Wednesday's hearings about IRS scrutinty of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Both men released statements regarding the event. Witnesses before the Senate Finance Committee were: Casey, chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, said: “Pennsylvanians and Americans across the country deserve to know that the IRS and all government agencies do their jobs without prejudice or political agenda. I intend to hold accountable those responsible for any breach of the taxpayer’s trust. Today, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I directly questioned top IRS officials about what took place, who was …
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Daniel McPhillips, incumbent for the Republicans, and Frank Feinberg, incumbent supervisor for the Democrats, both face challengers heading into the November general election.
No contested primary nominations for the two Warminster supervisor seats up for election meant little suspense for Tuesday's primary. As expected, the Republican ticket will include incumbent Daniel McPhillips and Jason Croley, faced up against the Democratic incumbent Frank Feinberg and Brian Munroe. Appointed to the board of supervisors last year after Ellen Jarvis resigned, McPhillips is in the midst of his first actual election campaign. He says he has encountered a lot of positive feedback from his first year in office. "I've been knocking on doors in our neighborhoods and getting a great response," said McPhillips. "I appreciate the support I have received, and I look forward to November's election." After falling short in his 2012 …
Turnout was low, but there was still some drama in the school board primary election. Two challengers will take on incumbent directors.
Two candiates will get a chance to challenge Centennial school board incumbents in the November 5 general election. With vote totals that barely broke 500 ballots, turnout for Tuesday's school board primary election was typically low for a year without any major national races. In Region 2, which covers Ivyland and Warminster east of York Road, Mark Greiner outpaced Betty Huf in Democratic votes, 181-161. Huf crossfiled the race and gained the Republican nomination to keep her school board seat. Michael Hartline and Jane Schrader Lynch also crossfiled in Region 3, which includes the areas of Warminster west of York Road. Lynch earned enough votes to appear on both the Republican and Democratic party tickets, but Hartline fell behind …
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille is running for retention this fall, after serving two terms on the court.
Tuesday, May 21
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — Judges in Pennsylvania typically have no problems securing their offices in retention races. In 45 years, only Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro lost his seat in 2005, after an infamous pay raise lawmakers gave themselves in the middle of the night inflamed state voters. Eric Epstein with the government reform group Rock the Capital thinks the ease with which judges are retained should give voters pause as Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille campaigns for 10 more years this fall. “Why should people automatically vote yes?” he asked. “And what does it takes before somebody calls into question the ability of someone to serve on the bench?” A new Rock the Capital voter guide urges …
Monday, May 20, 2013
The Office of Administration says server outages may be a thing of the past once its new contract for web services with NIC is up and running.
Monday, May 20
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent HARRISBURG — A state lawmaker continues to raise red flags about a website redesign and management contract. Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, said this week he’s concerned the administration of Gov. Tom Corbett knew it would pay millions to NIC USA, a government website design and management firm, even though the contract was entered as a “self-funded” agreement. NIC provides “eGovernment” services in 28 other states, all of which operate on a self-funded model, relying on fees added to transactions business and individuals may make online. Pennsylvania is the only state to authorize a sole-source contract. Matzie said three work orders totaling about $2.6 million are proof the administration knew this …