In the News

Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law

By Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff | October 2, 2013

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

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Philadelphia schools latest victim of massive state cuts

, @resnikoff  | June 13, 2013

State and municipal governments across the country have been strip-mining their school districts in an attempt to defray budget deficits. In Michigan, an entire school district temporarily shut down due to lack of funds, while another fired all of its teachers. In Illinois, Chicago’s school board voted to “consolidate” its resources by permanently shuttering 50 schools. Continue Reading →

Pa. Democrats Push for Medicaid Expansion

Tony Romeo | KYW 1060 | June 11, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Democrats in the Pennsylvania legislature are pulling out all the stops in an effort to force a vote on expansion of Medicaid as part of the new federal health care law – something that Governor Corbett has so far resisted.

Democrats are vowing to take any opportunity to try to force a vote and one of those opportunities came in the state House yesterday. Democrats tried to offer a Medicaid amendment to the budget. Continue Reading →

Medicaid expansion hits stumbling block in Senate panel

John Micek | Harrisburg Patriot-News | June 11, 2013

State Senate Democrats saw their efforts to expand Pennsylvania’s Medicaid rolls stymied in committee on Monday, but senior leaders vowed to press on with their attempt to add 500,000 more people to the joint state/federal entitlement.

Democrats wanted to tack on amendment to legislation expanding a five-month-old pilot program allowing counties to use block grants to pay for social services. But majority Republicans delayed a vote on the bill during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Continue Reading →

Preliminary debate on Pa. Medicaid expansion postponed

Charles Thompson | Harrisburg Patriot-News  | June 10, 2013

An early attempt to force debate on Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania fizzled at the state Capitol today when Senate Republicans pulled a preliminary vote on the state’s Welfare Code off a committee agenda.

The move denied Senate Democrats a chance to offer an amendment that would require the Corbett Administration to expand the medical assistance program to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Continue Reading →

Pa. Democrats Strike Out in Bid to Expand Medicaid for Working Poor

Steve Esack | Allentown Morning Call  | June 10, 2013

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Democrats struck out Monday in their attempts to expand government-funded Medicaid health insurance to hundreds of thousands of working poor as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

First up was Sen. Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia, minority chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He planned to add a Medicaid expansion amendment onto a public welfare bill that dealt with turning a 20-county block grant program into a statewide initiative as part of the 2013-14 budget. Continue Reading →

First skirmishes over state budget involve block grants, Medicaid

By Brad Bumsted

HARRISBURG — The state House on Tuesday may take the first step to approve a no-tax-hike state budget and try to meet the June 30 constitutional deadline.

The House is poised to approve a $28.3 billion spending plan for 2013-14. It would increase funding for basic education by $100 million, provide money to hire 300 state troopers and boost overall spending by 2.1 percent. Continue Reading →

PA Medicaid expansion on hold as Corbett, lawmakers put off decision

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent | June 10, 2013

Republican senators dodged a potential up-or-down vote on Medicaid expansion Monday, but the delay strategy will only work for so long.

Lawmakers must approve a so-called “welfare code” by June 30 as part of the state budget that sets the rules for how billions of state and federal dollars will be used by various agencies. Legislators also must set what requirements must be met for individual eligibility for programs funded with those dollars. Continue Reading →

State drags feet on Medicaid expansion seen as key to Obamacare

June 08, 2013|By Tim Darragh, Of The Morning Call

A few men, mothers with toddlers and a woman with a hacking cough sat waiting for medical treatment last week in a stuffy room at the Neighborhood Health Center on Second Street in Allentown.

If they were like most of those who drop in on the center, which is in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, they were uninsured.

In a year when the clinic sees 10,000 patients, about 6,000 of them would not have health insurance, said Dr. Abby Letcher, the center’s medical director. Continue Reading →

Finding money for public education: Q&A with Sen. Vincent Hughes

by thenotebook on Jun 06 2013

Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate introduced their own proposed budget on Monday. Their budget would increase basic education funding statewide by $212 million, compared with the governor’s proposal of $90 million and Republican legislative proposals of $10 million more than that. Continue Reading →

Pennsylvania liquor bill not a certainty

Jun 7, 2013 by Randy LoBasso

The liquor issue in Pennsylvania looked like a shoe-in for Republicans this year.

Until it didn’t.

After years of fights in the Capitol between governmental, union, nonprofit and private groups, many believed the House passage of a GOP-favored vote to privatize the liquor industry was finally ready to sail through the full Legislature.  Continue Reading →

Could Medicaid expansion balance Pennsylvania’s budget?

By Vincent Hughes |

June 6, 2013 – The budgets released by Democratic and Republican Pennsylvania lawmakers over the last few weeks have stark differences — for example, Senate Democrats are looking to direct $212 million more to education and $125 million more to job creation than a House Republican proposal did. But perhaps even more importantly, the Democrats included Medicaid expansion in their budget. They anticipate $154 million in revenue from the expansion.  Continue Reading →

Abortion insurance ban passes PA senate

Jun 5, 2013 by Randy LoBasso

June 5, 2013 – In another expected move at the end of the legislative session, the Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 818, which limits abortion coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Pennsylvania.

Like it did in the House, the bill passed the Senate easily, 31-19. It now goes to Gov. Corbett’s desk for his signature, which is expected.   Continue Reading →

Shift priorities for Pa. budget

By Vincent Hughes |

May 27, 2013 – Tough decisions will have to be made as state lawmakers draft next year’s budget by June 30. With revenues lagging and belt-tightening a possibility, we must reset our priorities to take the commonwealth in a new direction.

Three issues loom: revenue is projected to be off by about $500 million; school districts, which have lost about $1 billion in funding from Harrisburg, are hurting badly; and job creation is at a standstill. Continue Reading →

Roxborough community rallies against proposed school cuts

Matthew Grady | NewsWorks

Standing before hundreds of parents and students gathered in the Roxborough High School auditorium, Timothy Boyle, a math teacher at AMY Northwest, asked the audience about the basic tasks of school personnel.

“Who is going to meet with students to review their high school options for next year?” he asked. Continue Reading →

Hughes pushing for Pa. Medicaid expansion with state Senate maneuver

By Mary Wilson |

May 16, 2013 – State Senate Democrats are trying to compel Pennsylvania to participate in a Medicaid expansion by using what’s called a discharge resolution. Senate staffers are at a loss to remember the last time this kind of maneuver was successful — it’s still easy enough for the majority party to avoid taking a vote on the measure in question. Continue Reading →

Sen. Hughes Wants a Vote on Medicaid—and the Public is With Him’

By Randy Lobasso | Philadelphia Weekly

May 15, 2013 – Since Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett openly rejected adding 500,000 Pennsylvanians without health insurance to the state’s Medicaid rolls during his 2013 budget address, state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) has made reversing that decision a front-and-center issue. And yesterday, he issued what’s called a discharge petition to get his bill regarding the health law to a vote. Continue Reading →

Dems try to advance Medicaid expansion, study finds uncompensated care
tops $1 billion

By Amy Worden |

May 15, 2013 – Democratic lawmakers are ratcheting up the pressure on the Corbett administration and Republican leadership in the General Assembly to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) announced he has filed discharge resolution – a rarely-used parliamentary tactic – to force a vote on his bill to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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Democrats pushing Gov. Corbett on Medicaid expansion

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, May 15, 2013 – Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say Gov. Tom Corbett has delayed long enough on a decision about expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania. And if the governor won’t make a decision, they are ready to force his hand. Continue Reading →

Senate Democrats seek to force Medicaid expansion vote

By Ben Locke |

HARRISBURG, May 15, 2013 – Democratic leaders in the General Assembly say Gov. Tom Corbett has delayed long enough on a decision about expanding Medicaid in Pennsylvania. And if the governor won’t make a decision, they are ready to force his hand. Continue Reading →

Democrats try to force Pa. Medicaid expansion vote

By Marc Levy | Associated Press

May 14, 2013 – HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania are trying to force the Republican-controlled Senate to vote on legislation to compel Gov. Tom Corbett to expand Medicaid eligibility under the 2010 federal health care law.

A discharge petition was filed Tuesday in the Senate by Democrat Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia. Continue Reading →

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane Implements Gun Safety Reform: Closes Gun Loophole with Florida

PHILADELPHIA AND HARRISBURG, PA, February 8. 2013 – Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today closed the “Florida Gun Loophole” that previously gave Pennsylvanians – who were not also Florida residents and who were either denied, found ineligible or had gun permits revoked – the ability to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit from the state of Florida. Kane’s action closes the Commonwealth’s 12-year-old “Florida Gun Loophole” by requiring Concealed Carry Permit holders to be a resident of Florida [see addendum for new agreement]. Continue Reading →

Senate committee passes Pennsylvania voter ID bill to floor

By Charles Thompson | The Patriot-News March 12, 2012 – The Pennsylvania state Senate Appropriations Committee voted 15-11 last week to send a bill requiring voters to produce a photo identification card at their polling place to the full Senate. The bill, House Bill 934, is expected to receive final consideration there on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Lowe’s Presents $15K to Blankenburg E.S.

The Philly Tribune – January 2012 Written by  Trenae V. McDuffie As part of its Holiday Caravan Charity Campaign, Lowe’s Home Improvement Company presented Rudolph Blankenburg Elementary School with a $15,000 gift card. Store Manager Joe Crescenzo, from Lowe’s Store 2378 located on 1500 North 50th St. in Philadelphia, presented the gift to the school. Continue Reading →

Annual Conference Gives Free Financial Advice

The Philly Tribune – November 17, 2011 Written by  Residents of the Delware Valley are seeking ways to maintain, manage and maximize their financial well-being during tough economic times. State Senator Vincent Hughes, D-Phila./Montgomery, has teamed up with a host of local experts to provide a wide array of resources to assist participants in every area of their personal finances and family affairs for this weekend’s annual “Show Me All the Money – Personal Finance Conference.” Continue Reading →

PA Senate panel approves gas drilling bill

The Associated Press – November 15, 2011 By PETER JACKSON A broad-ranging bill to regulate natural gas drilling in the state and impose a fee on drillers won a key state Senate committee’s support Monday but not the bipartisan backing the high-ranking Republican sponsor had hoped for. Only one Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee crossed party lines to join Republicans in endorsing the proposal from Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, of Jefferson. The full Senate is expected to debate the bill as early as Tuesday. Continue Reading →

Students, leaders panel talk investment successes

By adelrossi on November 10, 2011 The Snapper: Millersville University

BY: Michael Blackson Over the past decade, higher education has been dramatically increasing in demand. It comes as no surprise that every company is requiring its employees to have a college degree under their belt. But knowledge is not cheap and as more and more students are looking into expanding their education, so has the demand for funding universities and colleges. Yet exiting the year 2011, the economy is in the midst of financial woes and the PASSHE universities are in a similar budget crisis. Continue Reading →

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