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Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

Governor Signs Historic Pension Overhaul

Governor Tom Wolf has signed into law Senate Bill 1 (pension reform). The measure would only apply to state and school district employees hired after January 2019. Current retirees and workers in the pension system would not be affected. Those hired after 2019 would basically have three retirement options. The first two are hybrid plans; that is, half defined benefit and half defined contribution. The third option would be all defined contribution, or a 401(k)-style plan. All three options are intended to reduce the future burden on future taxpayers. Pennsylvania State Police and other law enforcement, including Capitol police, would be exempt from the new plan and would be placed in the current retirement system. Future lawmakers would be required to join the new plan, but current lawmakers would be able to choose whether to stay in their current plans or enroll in the new one. The state Senate approved Senate Bill 1 by a vote of 40-9. Gubernatorial candidate state Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) was the lone GOP “no”...

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Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

PA Senate Passes Pension Reform; House up Next

The state Senate passed Senate Bill 1 by a vote of 40-9. The measure would only apply to state and school district employees hired after January 2019. Current retirees and workers in the pension system would not be affected. Those hired after 2019 would basically have three retirement options. The first two are hybrid plans; that is, half defined benefit and half defined contribution. The third option would be all defined contribution, or a 401(k)-style plan. All three options are intended to reduce the future burden on future taxpayers. Pennsylvania State Police and other law enforcement, including Capitol police, would be exempt from the new plan and would be placed in the current retirement system. Future lawmakers would be required to join the new plan, but current lawmakers would be able to choose whether to stay in their current plans or enroll in the new one. Gubernatorial candidate state Senator Scott Wagner (R-York) was the lone GOP “no” vote. He says SB 1 doesn’t fix the current problem or...

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Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

Speaker Turzai Joining Governor Race?

Republican state House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) made his pitch for support from the Republican Party to challenge Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2018. Two GOP candidates are already in the mix for the Republican Party’s nomination. They include state Sen. Scott Wagner of York County and political newcomer Paul Mango, a longtime former health care systems consultant from Pittsburgh. This should make for an interesting dynamic as lawmakers and the governor work toward another state budget. All 203 state House members and half of the state Senate (25 seats) will be on the ballot in...

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Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

March on Harrisburg

Over two dozen people were arrested inside the Pennsylvania Capitol during two days of demonstrations for a ban on gifts to state lawmakers. The “March on Harrisburg” demonstrators say they want a gift-ban bill (HB 39) that’s been sitting in the State Government Committee since January to move forward. Group members say Republican Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) refuses to meet. As it stands, Pennsylvania’s law places no limit on the size or number of gifts. Elected officials need only disclose gifts worth $250 or more, and transportation and hospitality worth $650 or more. Such bills have been introduced before and seen no action. On Inauguration Day, Governor Wolf issued an Executive Order banning his administration from accepting...

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Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Legislative News | 0 comments

Liquor Reform Round II

The state House approved another piece of legislation that would change the way alcoholic beverages are sold in the state. House Bill 1033 would create enhanced permits for beer distributors to sell unlimited quantities of wine and liquor. Its sponsor, Rep. Brian Ellis (R-Butler) says his measure would provide one-stop shopping for Pennsylvanians by providing places to buy unlimited quantities of beer, wine, and spirits. Earlier this year the House passed several other alcohol-related bills that are still awaiting consideration in the Senate. House Bill 438 would allow restaurant and hotel licensees to sell takeout liquor, and House Bill 975 would allow all grocery stores to obtain permits to sell wine. Another proposal would allow the state to lease and eventually sell off its wholesale system for wine and spirits. House Republican leaders say liquor privatization is key to raising new dollars for the cash-strapped state, and they are bound to push for some form of the bills in upcoming budget...

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