Pa. lawmakers are among the highest paid in U.S., but they’re doing less and less actual lawmaking

Liz Navratil & Jonathan Lai| Friday, September 13, 2019, Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the nation and its lawmakers are among the highest-paid in the country, yet, increasingly, they’re doing less and less actual lawmaking.

The number of bills introduced in the legislature has fallen by more than 20% from its peak in the early 1990s, and the number of bills actually passed into law has fallen even more dramatically in the years since, according to an analysis of four decades of legislative data by The Inquirer and Spotlight PA.

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Pa. lawmakers report $83K in travel on annual ethics disclosures

Monday, May 27, 2019, Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania state lawmakers’ newly filed ethics forms show they accepted more than $83,000 in free trips last year and collected a variety of gifts, booze and free meals.

That’s just the value that lawmakers reported, and they are not required to disclose everything they accept in a state that does not limit gifts to public officials.

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Pa. lawmakers cling to pensions after pushing new state workers to adopt 401(k)-style plans

Jan Murphy | Monday, May 6, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pa. lawmakers cling to pensions after pushing new state workers to adopt 401(k)-style plans

For years, Pennsylvania lawmakers wanted state government and school employees’ pension plans to look more like the 401(k)-style plans in the private sector.

But it’s pretty clear most didn’t want that kind of retirement plan for themselves.

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Pa. House votes for tougher public pension forfeiture rules

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania state lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to make it harder for officials and government employees convicted of crimes related to their jobs to retain their public pensions.

The state House voted 194 to 1 to approve legislation that applies the pension forfeiture law to state and federal felonies and other crimes that could result in at least five years behind bars.

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Pa. Lawmakers report $43 million increase in unspent cash reserves

Mark Scolforo | Thursday, December 27, 2018, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania legislative branch saw its budget reserve jump by nearly $43 million last year, with most of the additional surplus attributed to House and Senate accounts.

The Legislative Audit Advisory Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve the annual financial report for the legislative branch.

The commission said the legislative surplus was $138 million when the year ended in June. A year ago, the commission pegged the surplus at $95 million.

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Pa. lawmakers getting pay raise, base salary will rise to $88,610

Jan Murphy | Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

Starting on Dec. 1, Pennsylvania lawmakers – the second-highest paid in the nation – will see their paychecks grow with a raise of 1.6 percent, boosting the base salary that most legislators get paid to $88,610.

It means rank-and-file lawmakers will get an annual raise of $1,430. Currently, the base pay for lawmakers is $87,180.

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Pa. lawmakers pass bill increasing penalties for repeat DUI offenders

Charles Thompson | Thursday, October 18, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

The Pennsylvania legislature passed legislation Wednesday to lengthen mandatory minimum prison terms for persons convicted of vehicular homicide while under the influence who have prior DUI convictions.

The bill now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for signing.

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Pressure mounting on lawmakers to identify a long-term unemployment compensation funding solution

Jan Murphy | Monday, October 2, 2017, Harrisburg Patriot News

The clock is ticking on state lawmakers to put in place a long-term funding fix to help make Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation system fully functional again before the next big wave of jobless claims hits.

The $15 million bridge funding approved in April enabled the system to hire back nearly 200 of the 521 state Department of Labor & Industry workers who were laid off last December when state funding to help underwrite the system dried up.

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