October 24, 2017 •

Pennsylvania Governor Announces Special Election for Congressional Seat

Gov. Tom Wolf announced a special election for the 18th U.S. House District will be held on March 13, 2018, in order to fill the remainder of Rep. Tim Murphy’s term. There is no special primary election, so each party […]

Gov. Tom Wolf announced a special election for the 18th U.S. House District will be held on March 13, 2018, in order to fill the remainder of Rep. Tim Murphy’s term.

There is no special primary election, so each party will select a candidate to run in the special election.

Rep. Murphy resigned last week after it was revealed he had an affair with a married woman and urged her to get an abortion.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 19, 2017 •

Special Election Announced for Open Pennsylvania House Seat

House Speaker Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held for House District 133 on December 5, 2017. Rep. Dan McNeill, who was in his third term, passed away on September 8, creating the vacancy. Each political party will […]

House Speaker Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held for House District 133 on December 5, 2017.

Rep. Dan McNeill, who was in his third term, passed away on September 8, creating the vacancy.

Each political party will designate their respective candidate to appear on the ballot.

District 133 includes parts of Allentown and Bethlehem, as well as several townships.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 11, 2017 •

Pennsylvania House Committee Approves Stiffer Penalties for Lobbying Violations

A measure to increase penalties for violations of Pennsylvania lobbying laws made it out of committee this week. House Bill 1175 increases the amount a lobbyist may be fined from $2,000 to $4,000, and establishes a graduating scale of daily […]

A measure to increase penalties for violations of Pennsylvania lobbying laws made it out of committee this week.

House Bill 1175 increases the amount a lobbyist may be fined from $2,000 to $4,000, and establishes a graduating scale of daily fines for failure to register or report.

If passed, the per day fine will be $50 for the first 10 days, $100 for days 11 through 20, and $200 for each day thereafter.

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 27, 2017 •

New Pennsylvania Treasurer Bans the Use of Placement Agents for Public Contracts

The Commonwealth’s new treasurer, Joseph Torsella, banned the use middlemen to assist in connecting investment houses with public agencies. Torsella, in his first act after being sworn in, issued a policy directive banning the continued or future use of placement […]

joe-torsellaThe Commonwealth’s new treasurer, Joseph Torsella, banned the use middlemen to assist in connecting investment houses with public agencies.

Torsella, in his first act after being sworn in, issued a policy directive banning the continued or future use of placement agent agreements for contractors entrusted with the investment of public funds.

These placement agents are typically paid a finder’s fee for obtaining business for the investment house. Placement agents are also used to circumvent a federal pay-to-play law prohibiting investment houses from giving campaign donations.

Last year, former treasurer Pat McCord was embroiled in a bribery scandal with one such placement agent. Richard Ireland, a wealthy Chester County resident, is accused of offering McCord $500,000 in campaign donations in exchange for using his clients for investing.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

January 24, 2017 •

Special Election Announced for Pennsylvania House District

Speaker of the House Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held March 21, 2017, to fill a vacancy in House District 197. The vacancy was created on January 3 when Rep. Leslie Acosta resigned after pleading guilty to […]

AcostaSpeaker of the House Mike Turzai announced a special election will be held March 21, 2017, to fill a vacancy in House District 197.

The vacancy was created on January 3 when Rep. Leslie Acosta resigned after pleading guilty to federal money laundering charges. Party nominees to run in the special election will be selected according to each party’s respective process.

District 197 consists of part of North Philadelphia.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

November 28, 2016 •

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Complete Work Prior to Scheduled Adjournment

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives cancelled a non-voting session day scheduled for Nov. 22, 2016, effectively ending the 2015-2016 legislative session. Adjournment sine die does not technically take place until Nov. 30; however, both chambers have completed their work. Lawmakers […]

pennsylvaniaThe Pennsylvania House of Representatives cancelled a non-voting session day scheduled for Nov. 22, 2016, effectively ending the 2015-2016 legislative session.

Adjournment sine die does not technically take place until Nov. 30; however, both chambers have completed their work. Lawmakers will reconvene for the next legislative session on Jan. 3, 2017.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 28, 2016 •

Philadelphia, PA Mayor Signs Executive Order Amending Ban on Gifts

Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order this week making changes to the city’s ban on gifts to executive branch employees. Executive Order 10-16 specifically mentions lobbyists as a prohibited source of gifts, whereas the previous administration’s order only mentions […]

james_f-_kenney_2009Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order this week making changes to the city’s ban on gifts to executive branch employees.

Executive Order 10-16 specifically mentions lobbyists as a prohibited source of gifts, whereas the previous administration’s order only mentions persons seeking business with the city or those seeking legislative or administrative action. Furthermore, gifts are now prohibited for a 12-month period from anyone seeking official action to the specific officer or employee from whom action was sought.

The new order does, however, carve out several exceptions to the prohibition, including the acceptance of food, beverage, and entertainment at a reception open to the public. These changes are effective immediately.

Photo of Mayor Jim Kenney by Jeff Meade on Wikimedia Commons.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

October 28, 2016 •

Philadelphia, PA Board of Ethics Proposes Changes to Lobbying Regulation

The Philadelphia Board of Ethics has voted to approve, for public comment, proposed amendments to the city’s lobbying regulation. The proposed changes to Regulation 9 include a substantial reorganization as well as more substantive changes such as increasing the lobbyist […]

Seal of PhiladelphiaThe Philadelphia Board of Ethics has voted to approve, for public comment, proposed amendments to the city’s lobbying regulation.

The proposed changes to Regulation 9 include a substantial reorganization as well as more substantive changes such as increasing the lobbyist registration fee from $100 to $200 and clarification on what must be disclosed on quarterly reports.

A public hearing for the proposed amendments is set for November 16, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at the Board of Ethics.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 22, 2016 •

Pennsylvania Governor Sets Tentative Date for Joint Legislative Session

A joint legislative session is tentatively scheduled to begin September 28, 2016. During the session, lawmakers will focus on legislation to assist with the opioid crisis affecting the state. Gov. Tom Wolf initially contemplated a special session earlier in the […]

pennsylvaniaA joint legislative session is tentatively scheduled to begin September 28, 2016. During the session, lawmakers will focus on legislation to assist with the opioid crisis affecting the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf initially contemplated a special session earlier in the summer, but opted for the joint session instead in hopes getting legislation to his desk before the November election.

While there are several bills in the pipeline already, new legislation could be introduced as well.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

August 16, 2016 •

Special Election Set to Fill Pennsylvania’s Second Congressional District Seat

A special election has been set for November 8, 2016, to temporarily fill the seat of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah. The 2nd Congressional District seat was vacated when Fattah resigned after being convicted in federal court on 22 counts, including […]

pennsylvaniaA special election has been set for November 8, 2016, to temporarily fill the seat of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah.

The 2nd Congressional District seat was vacated when Fattah resigned after being convicted in federal court on 22 counts, including money laundering, bribery, and fraud.

The winner of the special election, held on the same day as the general election, will hold the seat for exactly eight weeks before the 115th Congress is sworn in on January 3.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

August 8, 2016 •

Pennsylvania Governor, Lawmakers Agree to Hold a Special Session

Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers have agreed a special session is necessary to confront the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and illegal opioids. Last year, 3,300 people died in Pennsylvania, and this year the number is expected to grow. […]

Pennsylvania State CapitolGov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers have agreed a special session is necessary to confront the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and illegal opioids.

Last year, 3,300 people died in Pennsylvania, and this year the number is expected to grow.

The session will focus on creating a comprehensive approach to treating those with substance abuse disorders, including alternatives to prison. No date has been set for the special session, but it is expected to be this fall.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 19, 2016 •

Special Election Called to Fill Pennsylvania House Seat

A special election has been called to fill a vacancy in the District 168 seat of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The election is scheduled for July 12, 2016. Republican Thomas Killion formerly held the seat, but was elected to […]

Pennsylvania State SealA special election has been called to fill a vacancy in the District 168 seat of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

The election is scheduled for July 12, 2016. Republican Thomas Killion formerly held the seat, but was elected to the state Senate at a special election in April.

Party leaders have until May 23 to choose a nominee and file papers with the state.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

May 2, 2016 •

Pennsylvania Company Charged with Making Straw Donations

David Stewart, the head of a Pennsylvania construction business, pleaded guilty last week, on behalf of one of his businesses, for making illegal campaign contributions. The scheme involved executives at The Stewart Companies being reimbursed by the business for making […]

pennsylvaniaDavid Stewart, the head of a Pennsylvania construction business, pleaded guilty last week, on behalf of one of his businesses, for making illegal campaign contributions. The scheme involved executives at The Stewart Companies being reimbursed by the business for making contributions.

Direct corporate contributions are illegal in Pennsylvania, as are so-called straw donations.

Stewart’s company has been ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution, and Stewart has entered a first-time-offender deferral program but has not admitted any wrongdoing. Among the recipients of these contributions is U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, who is facing a very close race for re-election this fall.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

March 22, 2016 •

Pennsylvania Governor Advocates for Gift Ban for Legislators

Gov. Tom Wolf is pushing to extend the range of the gift ban he imposed on executive branch employees after taking office. His plan is to make his executive order a permanent, statutory prohibition and create a similar restriction on […]

Pennsylvania State SealGov. Tom Wolf is pushing to extend the range of the gift ban he imposed on executive branch employees after taking office. His plan is to make his executive order a permanent, statutory prohibition and create a similar restriction on gifts to legislators.

While the reception he has received from Democratic lawmakers has been positive, Republicans, who control both houses of the General Assembly, are less eager to make a change. Gov. Wolf has stated he would prefer a complete ban, but is willing to work with legislators on a compromise. With ongoing budget issues, however, ethics reform appears to be taking a back seat for the time being.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close