State Senate panel advances liquor-sale privatization bill

With the support of three key state senators, House Bill 466, a historic liquor privatization bill, was approved by the Senate Law and Justice Committee by a vote of 7 to 4 on Sunday. HB 466 would amend the state's liquor laws by divesting the state’s wholesale and retail wine and spirits system, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Dist. 25), Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Dist. 34) and Senate Law and Justice Committee Chairman Chuck McIlhinney (R-Dist. 10) said. Read More »

State Senate bill would lift ban on consumer-fireworks sales to residents

A bill allowing Pennsylvania businesses to sell “Class C” (consumer) fireworks to consumers soon will be introduced in the state Senate, the bill's three sponsors said on Friday. The legislation would lift a ban on novelty fireworks for Commonwealth consumers, permitting Pennsylvanians to purchase and use Class C fireworks and allowing businesses to sell the items without a permit. Read More »

State Senate passes bill to cap punitive damages in suits against care facilities

In a decisive 40-9 vote late last week, the state Senate approved SB 747, mandating investigation of punitive awards in lawsuits against personal-care facilities and personnel. Senate Bill 747 would require the state's insurance commissioner to scrutinize punitive damages in all cases brought within the health care industry over the past decade. Read More »

Christiana slams House Democrats after bills to fund state colleges voted down

State Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Dist. 15) expressed disappointment on Sunday at House Democrats’ collective rejection of bills that would provide appropriations to state universities, defeating chances of funding Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher learning. “A ‘no’ vote to any of these bills is a vote against the university and its student body,” Christiana, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, said. Read More »

Bill to set flat fee on 911 calls heads to Wolf's desk

Pennsylvania’s General Assembly unanimously endorsed a bill late last week that would alter the 911 surcharge on landline phones, cell phones and pre-paid devices to achieve consistency and provide statewide funding to 911 emergency communications. The bill would set a flat surcharge of $1.65 on all landline phones, cell phones and other mobile devices, replacing a landline-only fee that ranged from $1 to $1.50 from county to county. Read More »