Victims Rights Rally Held

Victims Rights Rally Held

A rally to support the rights of crime victims was held in the Capitol Rotunda Monday morning.

At the rally, the Commonwealth Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm called for more crime victims, saying more options allow for more balance for crime victims. She also encouraged a grassroots approach to victim rights and encouraged attendees to take one goal back to their community that they can work on in the coming year.

Governor Tom Corbett and Cumberland County District Attorney Dave Free also spoke in favor of increased victims rights with Gov. Corbett noting his proposed budget includes additional funding for domestic violence and rape crisis centers.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central

CeaseFire PA Unveils 2014 Voters Guide on Gun Violence Prevention Issues

CeaseFire PA unveiled its Voter Guide for the 2014 race for Pennsylvania governor during a press conference at the Capitol on Monday.

The organization analyzed candidate positions on a variety of gun safety proposals, including improvements to Pa.’s background check system, a ban on assault weapon and high capacity magazines, and mandatory lost and stolen reporting. Each gubernatorial hopeful was assessed on his or her answers to CeaseFire PA’s questionnaire. Katie McGinty and Allyson Schwartz scored a 100%, Rob McCord scored a 84% and Tom Wolf scored a 79% while Tom Corbett and Bob Guzzardi did not respond to the questionnaire.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central

Pennsylvania Health Access Network Rallies at Capitol

The Pennsylvania Health Access Network held a rally in the East Wing of the Capitol Building today to call on Gov. Tom Corbett to accept Medicaid expansion.

 Health advocates, physicians and consumers gathered to express their concerns of the governor's Healthy PA proposal, contending that it cuts benefits for current Medicaid enrollees. PHAN also contended that seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant women will lose important services under Healthy PA.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: Event Central
Child Advocacy Center Funding, Abuse Report Database Bills Become Law While More Work Remains on Child Protection Recommendations

Child Advocacy Center Funding, Abuse Report Database Bills Become Law While More Work Remains on Child Protection Recommendations

Three bills stemming from the report of the Task Force on Child Protection were signed into law this morning by Gov. Tom Corbett.

House Bill 89 and House Bill 316 would create a funding stream for Child Advocacy Centers. Senate Bill 24 would create a statewide database for the collection of reports of suspected child abuse from mandated reporters.

“Today we send a strong message to all, that children in Pennsylvania will be protected, and that protection is everyone's responsibility,” said Bev Mackereth, Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare and member or the Task Force on Child Protection.

“We clearly need to punish those who victimize our children,” said Gov. Corbett. “But we also need to heal the children and to break that cycle of victimization.”

Gov. Corbett detailed how the needs and methods of protecting children have changed since his career began.

“A child advocacy center back then would have been a great help. We all know that. But, thankfully, they will be a great help in the days ahead for a new generation of young people,” Gov. Corbett said. “These centers make prosecution possible, but just as importantly, they recognize that treatment and healing are equally important.”

Despite the signing of these three bills, two more bills encompassing recommendations from the task force remain on the legislative schedule and are anticipated to be voted on this week.

Monday, April 7, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views

Act 47 Reform Legislation to Get House and Senate Action

Two bills reforming Act 47 will be subject of House and Senate action the second week of April.

Both House Bill 1773 by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) and Senate Bill 1157 by Sen. John Eichelberger (R-Blair) were introduced following a Local Government Commission Task Force report detailing needed changes to the current law.

The bills were identical as introduced, but Rep. Ross’s bill has been amended as it moves through the legislative process.

Rep. Ross’s bill is ready for third consideration in the House as soon as Monday. Sen. Eichelberger’s bill will be the subject of a Senate Local Government Committee hearing on Thursday.

Rep. Ross noted the impetus behind the changes made in the bills is the fact that under Act 47 municipalities are not making the recommended difficult choices needed to get out of distressed status.

“They’re fiscally unstable, they continue to have problems with deterioration, the citizens really find they’re having trouble getting access to good services, and it really hampers economic growth,” Rep. Ross said. “It causes a series of problems.”

According to both Rep. Ross and Sen. Eichelberger, the biggest change both bills make is putting a five-year time limit on how long municipalities may stay under Act 47 distressed status. The status can be extended once for three years if certain criteria are met.

“This is going to force municipalities to make very difficult decisions up front,” Sen. Eichelberger said. “They’re going to have to come up with a plan and then execute it very quickly,” he explained of the effect of the changes.

Read more.

Friday, April 4, 2014/Author: The PLS Reporter
Categories: News and Views