Gov. Wolf again proposes for local communities to pay for state police coverage

Megan Tomasic | Wednesday, February 13, 2019, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Hempfield could pay almost $7 million for state police coverage under Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal — yet another attempt to collect from municipalities that rely on troopers rather than their own police department.

Hempfield is one of nearly 2,500 municipalities across Pennsylvania without a local police department.

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Tom Wolf the pragmatist: Governor kicks off second term with a budget that forsakes bold policy strokes for doing things better

Charles Thompson | Tuesday, February 5,2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

You know your governor has gone all-in on political pragmatism when one of the talking points in his budget proposal is insisting that children attend first grade.

Look it up. Gov. Tom Wolf called Tuesday for lowering the age of compulsory school attendance in Pennsylvania to six.

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Gov. Wolf set to unveil budget plan with focus on severance tax for gas drillers

Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis | Monday, February 4, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG — When Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his budget address Tuesday, he is expected to call for more money for public schools, a higher minimum wage for Pennsylvania workers, and a new tax on natural gas drillers.

In doing so, the Democratic governor who is now unfettered by re-election concerns — and has been openly showcasing his progressive roots — will have to persuade a more conservative, Republican-controlled Legislature to buy into his plan.

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Gov. Wolf again pitches plan for taxing Marcellus gas drillers

Liz Navratil | Thursday, January 31, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced plans to once again seek a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, promising to use the money for disaster recovery, infrastructure and the expansion of broadband internet, among other projects.

The Democratic governor plans to approach state lawmakers with a proposal to borrow $4.5 billion over four years by selling bonds. The money would be paid back over 20 years using revenue from a severance tax, which would vary depending on the price of gas and the amount of it extracted.

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Gov. Wolf renews bid to put Pennsylvania’s minimum wage among highest

Wednesday, January 20, 2019, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf is rolling out a second-term proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage after similar first-term proposals by the Democrat fell flat in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Wolf said Wednesday he wants to raise Pennsylvania’s hourly minimum to $12 this year, making it one of the highest in the nation, with annual 50-cent increases to bring it to $15 an hour in 2025. He says it would boost pay for a million workers and provide savings in programs for the poor.

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Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf, at halftime of an 8-year tenure, says he’ll focus on achievable goals

Charles Thompson | Monday, January 14, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

If you are hoping for sweeping policy changes or some kind of political adventure as Thomas Westerman Wolf begins his second term as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor Tuesday, you may be disappointed.

Pennsylvania’s manager governor, by most accounts and his own words, isn’t consumed right now with crafting a legacy for the history books, or positioning himself on the hot list of 2020 Democratic Party VP picks.

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Pennsylvania criticized for how it handles elder abuse cases

Wednesday, January 9, 2019, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania state watchdog agency is criticizing how county-level agencies investigate thousands of complaints they receive about elder abuse and how the state ensures complaints are investigated adequately.

Among the shortcomings identified by the Office of State Inspector General were failures to properly investigate complaints under timelines required by state law. A six-page summary of the report says investigative practices aren’t standardized across counties and it criticizes training requirements for caseworkers who are fielding a fast-growing number of complaints.

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Governor sets goals for Pennsylvania to cut greenhouse gases

Marc Levy | Tuesday, January 8, 2019, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf is stepping up the fight against climate change and setting targets to slash Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades in a heavily populated and fossil fuel-rich state that has long been one of the nation’s biggest polluters.

Wolf, a Democrat, on Tuesday issued an executive order that commits his administration to meeting certain targets, putting the state in a league with what the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions says are 20 other states that already set targets.

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Federal shutdown to pinch state in about two weeks, Gov. Tom Wolf says

Ed Blazina | Monday, January 7, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania will begin to have problems as a result of the partial federal government shutdown in the next two weeks, especially in the area of human services, Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday.

Speaking after a Strip District event at Iron Workers Local Union No. 3 training center to promote workforce development, the governor said he expects employees whose salaries are paid with federal funds will be laid off if the shutdown doesn’t end soon. His office is still gathering information on how many people could be furloughed, but it likely would be several thousand.

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More Democrats, more women – but the GOP still rules in Pa. Legislature

Angela Couloumbis | January 1, 2019, The Philadelphia Inquirer

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s Legislature kicked off its two-year session Tuesday with celebratory receptions and swearing-in ceremonies, all devoid of the tension that could quickly settle over its dealings with the Wolf administration.

The “new” Legislature will include more women and more Democrats. But Republicans will still hold firm majorities in both chambers — and their ranks will be more conservative, as the “blue wave” in this past November’s election wiped out many of the more moderate GOP lawmakers from the Philadelphia suburbs.

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Wanting to get things done, Gov. Tom Wolf prepares for a 2nd term

Monday, December 31, 2018, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf, who introduced himself at his first inauguration as an unconventional governor and then unveiled an ambitious blueprint to transform Pennsylvania’s tax structure, is returning for a second term with big plans, although with perhaps a more sober view of what is possible.

Wolf, a Democrat, faced huge Republican legislative majorities throughout his first term, and will again face substantial Republican majorities as he hopes to nail down second-term achievements, including on stalled first-term priorities.

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10 reasons why marijuana could be legal in Pennsylvania (eventually)

Ron Southwick | Thursday, December 27, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

When Gov. Tom Wolf said last week it’s time to explore the possibility of legalizing pot in Pennsylvania, he brought a fresh wave of attention to the controversial issue.

After addressing the topic in a question-and-answer session on Twitter, Wolf said he wasn’t immediately throwing support behind any legislation. But citing other states that have allowed the sale of marijuana, Wolf said it’s worth examining their experiences and assessing whether or not Pennsylvania should follow suit.

To be clear, recreational marijuana isn’t coming any time soon.

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Gov. Wolf reshuffles cabinet ahead of second term

Wednesday, December 26, 2018, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf is reshuffling his cabinet as he prepares for a second term.

Wolf said Wednesday that he is replacing the people atop his departments of state and aging, the latest changes the Pennsylvania Democrat has announced ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 15.

Wolf’s office said the move will take effect Jan. 7.

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Pa. government’s finances present good-news, bad-news picture at year’s halfway point

Charles Thompson | Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

A heaping helping of expanded gambling, closing loopholes for collection of sales taxes from online purchases and a healthy economy will, all combined, help Pennsylvania’s state government keep its budget in balance for 2018-19.

But you can get an argument – and we all probably will as early as Gov. Tom Wolf’s February budget address for 2019-20 – about how solid this newfound fiscal stability is.

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Pa. throws out all 8 marijuana research applications, so what’s next?

Sam Wood | Thursday, December 6, 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Pennsylvania’s ambitious plan to become the national center for medical marijuana research just can’t get off the ground.

In the latest setback for the program, the state Department of Health on Wednesday rejected the applications of all eight marijuana growers who had planned to partner with the state’s medical schools. Regulators said the applications were riddled with mistakes and missing information.

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Gov. Tom Wolf: Rising cost of turnpike tolls ‘driving business away’ from Pa.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The rising cost of tolls on the turnpike is “driving business away” from Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday morning.

“People using the turnpike are paying too much,” Wolf said during an appearance on KDKA Radio . “The turnpike really is driving business away.”

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has raised tolls 11 consecutive years . Motorists will pay about 6 percent more to drive the turnpike next year, whether they pay cash or use the E-ZPass system.

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Pa. Senate approves anti-hazing bill named after Timothy Piazza

Angela Couloumbis | Monday, October 15, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania soon will have one of the strictest anti-hazing laws in the nation.

Gov. Tom Wolf said he will sign a bill that would toughen penalties for hazing and force any fraternity or other organization that promotes or condones it to pay steep fines and even forfeit property.

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Shift in Pa. water rules could put coal mines’ treatment burden on drinking water suppliers

Laura Legere | Monday, September 10, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania public water suppliers could face tens of millions of dollars in plant upgrades and treatment costs because of an obscure water quality rule change that was tucked into a state budget bill at the request of coal companies last year.

The switch will save mine operators and nonprofits that treat drainage from abandoned mines “several millions of dollars,” the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance said.

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Governor doles out goodies for Allegheny County projects

Mark Belko | Thursday, September 6, 2018, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A number of high-profile projects, from an ice skating complex in Shadyside to a Downtown movie theater, will get a boost as part of more than $30 million in state redevelopment capital assistance grants awarded in Allegheny County.

In all, the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, who is running for re-election, awarded grants for more than 30 projects in the county in the latest round of redevelopment capital assistance funding released Wednesday.

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Pa. legislative leaders release more details on new school safety programs

Charles Thompson | Thursday, June 21, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders put more definition Thursday on the new, $60 million school safety fund that’s being established in conjunction with the new 2018-19 state budget.

The language set out Thursday night lays out 22 specific uses for the funds by individual school districts, and the emphasis is squarely on local control.

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