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 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    August 26, 2021

State To Text Residents Who Missed Second COVID-19 Shot

In an effort to boost the statewide COVID-19 vaccination rate, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said residents who missed their second dose will soon receive text message reminders to complete the immunization series. Acting Secretary of Health...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    August 5, 2021

Smaller Toll Increases Planned on Pa. Turnpike Through 2050

Drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike can except toll increases through 2050, officials said Wednesday, July 28, albeit at a slower rate than experienced over the past 15 years. The announcement comes as the PA Turnpike Commission makes the last $450...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    August 5, 2021

'Record Breaking' Lottery to Benefit Seniors

Pennsylvania lottery profits exceeded a “record-breaking” $1.3 billion, state officials said Monday, Aug. 2. Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko said it’s the 10th consecutive year that the agency’s revenue hit $1 billion,...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    July 29, 2021

Pennsylvania Announces New Nursing Home Regulations

Pennsylvania’s 72,000 nursing home residents could soon receive at least four hours of care, the Department of Health said Wednesday. The proposed regulation comes more than 20 years after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...

 
 By Christen Smith    News    July 22, 2021

Pa. Double Counted 500,000 Vaccine Doses

Pennsylvania’s number of vaccinated residents shrank by more than 500,000 last week after the state revealed it counted some doses twice. The discovery came July 9 when the Department of Health said more than 11.3 million doses of the COVID-19...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    May 20, 2021

PennDOT Says Proposed Interstate Bridge Tolls 'Not Permanent'

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said that proposed tolls for nine interstate bridges won’t be permanent. PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian told the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, April 29, that the tolls will remain in...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    May 6, 2021

Vaccine Hesitancy Among Longterm Care Workers A Complex Issue, Pennsylvania Providers Group Says

Vaccine hesitancy among long-term care staff remains a complex issue that goes beyond “selfishness,” the Pennsylvania Health Care Association said Thursday. “Two weeks ago, there were headlines that painted a picture of selfish, uninformed work...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 22, 2021

White House Report Grades Pa. Infrastructure C-

A White House report rates Pennsylvania's infrastructure at a C-minus after decades of "systemic" underfunding. The analysis concludes that "historic" levels of investment via the American Jobs Plan...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 8, 2021

In Pa. Visit, Biden Proposes $16 Billion For Plugging Abandoned Oil And Gas Wells

President Joe Biden's infrastructure spending plan earmarks $16 billion to plug abandoned oil and gas wells across the country. It's a potential solution for an expensive and overwhelming problem for...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 8, 2021

Minimum Wage Debate Taking Shape In Senate

Pa. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Pittsburgh, said March 2 that his caucus can’t accept a Republican proposal to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. “We don’t believe it’s the right number, and we believe it needs to be...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 1, 2021

Emergency Constitutional Amendment For Sexual Abuse Survivors Blocked In Pennsylvania

The effort to extend the litigation window for survivors of child sexual abuse suffered a blow this week after lawmakers blocked an emergency constitutional amendment necessary to get the measure on the ballot in May. Senate Majority Leader Kim...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 1, 2021

Pa. Restaurants to See Reprieve From Restrictions Soon

Bars and restaurants across Pennsylvania will soon see a reprieve from pandemic operating limitations. Gov. Tom Wolf made the announcement March 15 that state-certified establishments may raise their occupancy to 75 percent and resume bar service...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 25, 2021

Constitutional Amendment Proposes End to Pennsylvania Property Taxes

A bicameral pair of lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment on Thursday ending the collection of school property taxes. Sen. John DiSanto, R-New Bloomfield, and Rep. Perry Stambaugh, R-New Bloomfield, said Senate Bill 424 and House Bill 927...

 
 By Christen Smith    News    March 25, 2021

Pa. Senate Urges 'Smart Use' Of School Stimulus Money

The American Rescue Plan delivered more than $5 billion in stimulus to Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, but senators last week urged caution when spending the “windfall.” Pa. Acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega told the Pa. Senate...

 
 By Christen Smith    News    March 25, 2021

Pandemic Highlights Shortcomings of Pa.'s Open Records Law

News outlets said in March that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health “hides behind other state statutes” to block the release of COVID-19 data – but it’s far from the only agency or organization to do so. During a hearing with the House...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 18, 2021

Pa. Dept. of Human Services: Stimulus Package 'Going to be Huge' For Entitlement Programs

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) said March 10 that the latest federal stimulus package will help it "prepare for life beyond the pandemic" in the face of rising costs. "This is...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 18, 2021

Pa Schools Offered Free Water Testing

Pennsylvania launched a statewide program March 15 that will offer free water tests at schools and day cares concerned about lead contamination. Gov. Tom Wolf said the $1.74 million federal grant program is a piece of his “Lead Free...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 18, 2021

Pa. Dept. of Human Services: Stimulus Package 'Going to be Huge' For Entitlement Programs

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) said March 10 that the latest federal stimulus package will help it "prepare for life beyond the pandemic" in the face of rising costs. "This is...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 11, 2021

Pa. Begins Vaccination Plan Focused on Teachers

Starting March 10, about 200,000 educators and support staff will receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Pennsylvania's newest mass immunization plan. Gov. Tom Wolf and the state's vaccine task...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 4, 2021

Pa. Ag Officials Talk About Enforcing Pandemic Health Orders

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said Feb. 24 that it has been “deputized” to enforce public health orders stemming from the pandemic as restaurants and other establishments flout operating restrictions. As such, Agriculture Secretary...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 4, 2021

Bipartisan Cannabis Legalization Bill Emerges From Pa. Senate

A bipartisan duo of senators introduced a measure on Feb. 24 to legalize adult use cannabis in Pennsylvania. It's the first time a Republican member of the chamber has cosponsored the proposal – typ...

 

Pa. Public Officials Worry 2020 Deadliest Year On Record For Fatal Drug Overdoses

Drug overdose deaths in 2020 may eclipse Pennsylvania’s peak recorded just three years prior, public officials said. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith made the statement during a meeting with the Center for Rural...

 

Pa.'s School Choice Debate More Fraught Than Ever Amid Pandemic

With the pandemic affecting how students attend public schools, the ongoing debate about whether lawmakers should prioritize traditional districts or ease limitations on their public and private...

 

Pa. State Senate OKs Bill Authorizing Pandemic Relief For Hospitality Industry

The Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill Jan. 27 that aims to provide $145 million in state aid to bars and restaurants crushed under ongoing pandemic restrictions. Senate Bill 109 would amend the...

 

Pa. Voters To Decide Extent Of Governor's Emergency Powers

Voters in Pennsylvania will soon decide the extent of the governor’s emergency powers. A constitutional amendment requiring the governor to seek legislative approval before extending disaster declarations beyond 21 days cleared the last hurdle...

 

Pa. Governor Says Stifling Minimum Wage 'Bad For Business'

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Jan. 28 that stifling employee earnings to increase profits “is simply not good business.” Wolf’s comments came during a 40-minute news conference previewing his budget priorities. The governor said he wanted...

 

Pandemic may cause some permanent job loss

Fiscal analysts projected Jan. 21 that Pennsylvania’s economic damage from the pandemic will last years, and some jobs may never return. The Independent Fiscal Office released its five-year outlook that concluded lost economic growth in 2020 will...

 

Pennsylvania health officials launch provider map for expanded immunization plan

Residents now included in Pennsylvania's expanded first phase of its COVID-19 immunization plan can find available providers through an interactive map on the Department of Health website. A vaccine...

 

Pa. Turnpike Tolls Rise, Again, Amid Bleak Revenue Projections

Another year, another toll increase on the Pennsylvania Turnpike – a trend drivers will likely withstand for another three decades amid bleak traffic and revenue projections, according to a new...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    January 7, 2021

A Review of the Laws Pennsylvania Enacted In 2020

Despite a series of vetoes from Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf this year in his tug-of-war with Republicans to control pandemic mitigation efforts, the General Assembly managed to pass some laws, too. A review of the laws passed in Pa. in 2020 follows. Takeout...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    January 7, 2021

Pa. looks to accelerate vaccination plan in 2021

Officials in Pennsylvania said Jan. 4 approximately 135,000 residents have been vaccinated since mid-December, falling far short of expectations set by the federal government. Nationally, about 2 million doses have been administered out of more than...

 

Pandemic Lockdown Closed 30 Percent of Pennsylvania Businesses, Second Most In Nation

Federal data shows pandemic restrictions forced three in 10 businesses statewide to close, at least temporarily, ranking Pennsylvania second only to Michigan in terms of economic lockdown impacts. Sti...

 

Restaurants In Pa. Find Creative Ways To Survive Amid Pandemic Restrictions

It’s been two weeks since Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf banned indoor dining and alcohol sales at restaurants statewide amid an alarming spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations. And for many owners, abiding by the rules – devastating as they may be – remains a...

 

Pennsylvania's Population Stagnates As Reapportionment Nears

Pennsylvania netted just 83,000 more residents over the last decade as growth in the state stagnates compared to the southern and western regions of the country. Only 500,000 more Americans live in...

 

Republican Senators Denounce 'False Hope' of Pa. Legislative Election Reversal

Two Lancaster County Republican senators said Dec. 4 that a campaign from fellow GOP colleagues to change the state’s electors in support of the president gives “false hope” that the Legislature can overturn the results. State Sens. Ryan...

 

Pa. GOP Won't Overrule Popular Vote for Joe Biden, If Certified

Republican leaders in the General Assembly confirmed Friday, Nov. 6, that a certified popular vote victory for former Vice President Joe Biden for the presidency will stand, despite rumors to the contrary still circulating on social media. Pa....

 

Pennsylvania Elected Officials Agree To Yearlong Pay Freeze Amid Pandemic

Pennsylvania state government officials delayed their annual pay raise last week in the face of a pandemic-induced revenue shortfall. Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf signed House Bill 2487 on Friday that freezes pay for himself, cabinet officials, legislators and...

 

Proposed Laws Regarding Solar Power Could Help Dairy Farmers

Proposed legislation enabling electricity credits for community solar panels may just benefit Pennsylvania’s struggling farmers the most. At least, so say the clean energy groups testifying in favor of Pa. House Bill 531 the first week of...

 

Pa. Supreme Court Bars Trump Campaign From Election Lawsuit

The state’s highest court said neither the president’s reelection campaign – nor the national Republican National Committee – can intervene in a state lawsuit brought against election officials. The split decision comes six weeks after Pa. Se...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    May 21, 2020

Governor Signals Hope for June NASCAR Race at Pocono

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf said a NASCAR event planned for the Pocono Raceway next month can proceed if the county progresses to the yellow stage of his phased economic reopening plan. “If Monroe County goes to yellow before that race happens and NASCAR,...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 16, 2020

Pennsylvania's Top Health Official Warns Against GOP Push to Reopen Businesses

Pennsylvania’s top health official warned lawmakers against legislation that would reopen some of the state’s businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine wrote a letter to the General Assembly discouraging...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    April 2, 2020

Pennsylvania food secure, still panic buying persists

As Pennsylvania braces for another month of social distancing, state officials pleaded with residents to stop panic buying and supply hoarding. There’s more than enough for everyone, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding says, and there will... Full story

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 26, 2020

Pa. Delays Primary Election Until June 2

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously agreed Tuesday, March 24, on a plan delaying the state’s primary election until June 2 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Bill 422 heads back to the upper chamber for a concurrence vote... Full story

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 26, 2020

Pa. Reconsiders Closing Liquor Stores

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Sunday night, March 22, that he’s reconsidering his order to shutter liquor stores as part of the state’s coronavirus mitigation effort. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board closed 600 wine and spirits stores... Full story

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 12, 2020

State Officials Aim To Quell Election Day Concerns Ahead Of Pa. Primary

Pennsylvania State Department officials assured lawmakers that errors and delays will not plague the upcoming April 28 primary, despite the ongoing implementation of sweeping voting reforms enacted last year. “We will be ready,” Secretary of Stat...

 
 By CHRISTEN SMITH    News    March 5, 2020

Pa.'s Medical Marijuana Program Shortages To Subside

Pennsylvania’s two-year-old medical marijuana program serves 160,000 active patients and, sometimes, keeping products in stock proves challenging. Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says, however, this problem will soon resolve itself. “I...

 

Lawmakers Grill Pa. State Police Over Municipality Service Fee

House lawmakers grilled the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) on Feb. 20 over the governor’s proposal to raise $136 million for the agency via municipality service fees that some see as akin to a tax increase. “We were told this is a...

 

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