More on Tom Wolf’s charter school proposals

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf’s “Fresh Start” plan cites a state auditor general’s report that estimated that taxpayers could save $365 million per year by changing the funding formula for brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools.

The 2012 report, done under former Auditor General Jack Wagner, found that Pennsylvania cyber charter school’s average cost of $10,145 per student was higher than the national average of $6,500. The brick-and-mortar costs were higher than the national average, too, the report said.

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Republicans ‘misleading’ on EPA, says York County Democrats

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, both Republicans, will be hosting a press conference Tuesday on what they see as environmental regulatory overreach. On Monday, the Democratic Party of York County said the Republicans are being “misleading” on the issue.

Perry is co-sponsor for the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, a bill that responds to changes in the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent changes to their regulatory authority.

In a statement released last week, Toomey described the act as one that “prevents the EPA from finalizing this ill-conceived proposed rule and directs them to consult with state and local officials to develop a reasonable approach that respects the federal-state partnership called for in the Clean Water Act.”

One major problem Toomey and Perry found in the new EPA regulations was an expansion from overseeing just “navigable waters” to overseeing many other bodies of water including “man-made ditches, farm ponds, irrigation streams and even areas that collect water for a few days a year.”

This isn’t exactly right, according to the Democratic Party of York County.

In a statement released Monday, Chairman Bob Kefauver wrote:

  • “[T]he EPA rule specifically exempts farmlands from regulation.”
  • “[T]he proposed regulation specifically stated it does not cover ‘puddles.'”
  • In response to a June release from Toomey’s office: “The charge that the rule change is a ‘power grab or overreach’ is false. This new regulation applies only to bodies of water that have been already covered under the (Clean Water Act) in the past, merely providing clarification [...] for which particular wetlands, streams and lakes that were already covered, are to remain covered.”

The news conference will be held in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex’s Maclay Street Lobby at the intersection of Maclay and North Cameron Street in Harrisburg at 2:10 p.m.

Read the releases

Democratic Party of York County news release from Oct. 13 (PDF)

Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Scott Perry’s news release on press conference. (PDF)

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Pa. governor’s race: More from supporters and outside experts on Gov. Tom Corbett

I’ve got a story that will  be post soon, looking at Gov. Tom Corbett’s time in office so far, his poll numbers and his strategy ahead of the Nov. 4 election against Democrat Tom Wolf. I talked to several supporters and outside experts.

Here’s more of what they had to say.

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Republican York County Commissioner Steve Chronister plans to vote for Democrat Tom Wolf



We’ve written before about York County Republicans who are fans of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf. You can add one more to the list:

Steve Chronister, a Republican and president of York County’s Board of Commissioners,  said he plans to vote for Wolf.

“I love Tom Wolf. I think he’s a great person,” Chronister said in an interview this summer, adding that he doesn’t agree with “a lot of his philosophies, but I do think that he’s a man of integrity and will do the right thing for not just York County, but Pennsylvania.”

Chronister said regardless of your political affiliation, “how could you not want a governor … to come from York County?”

He said he didn’t plan to campaign for Wolf.

Chronister repeated his support for Wolf in recent interviews. Chronister said Wolf hasn’t contributed to any of his campaigns.

Chronister has criticized Republican Gov. Tom Corbett over the years over funding for counties.

(Earlier today, Chronister sent out an open letter to Corbett and Wolf, asking to meet with them to discuss an education plan for the York City School District.)

Chronister said in recent interviews that he reached out to Corbett over the years to discuss general services, education and human services but didn’t hear anything. He said the governor didn’t reach out to him for any events until it was time for campaign events in the past few months.

He also said there’s too much patronage to people who gave Corbett’s campaign money. Chronister said county commissioners who gave to Corbett’s campaign were put on his transition team after the 2010 election.

Here’s the response from Corbett campaign communications director Chris Pack:

“Governor Tom Corbett is honored to have the support of many local leaders from York County, including Congressman Scott Perry, Senator Scott Wagner and respected businessman Tighe King, who are embracing the Governor’s ‘More Jobs, Less Taxes’ agenda over Tom Wolf’s agenda that includes income tax increases on middle class families and businesses.

“Governor Tom Corbett has delivered for York County.  Under Governor Tom Corbett’s leadership in establishing a local impact fee, York County has received over $1.2 million dollars to be used for projects such sewage systems, public safety, parks, tax reductions and regional planning.  He has also provided tens of millions of dollars directly to York County for child services, behavioral health services, drug and alcohol services and homeless assistance.”

On the income tax issue, Wolf’s campaign has said his progressive income proposal would give tax relief to middle class families, although he hasn’t provided specifics on where the plan would draw the line.

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Do it yourself data: How to compare education employment statistics

In case, you haven’t heard, my job title has  changed a little bit at the YDR. I’m now the gubernatorial campaign/data reporter, and Flint McColgan has taken over covering county government and a bunch of local political stuff.

I’ve been trying to bring a data focus to the campaign, and once the campaign ends, the data job will continue. So I plan on creating more of these “how to” style posts in the future. We want to explain to people how they can find data themselves.

For this one, Mark Price, labor economist with the Keystone Research Center, describes how he determined that about 27,600 education jobs have been lost since the 2010-11 school year. (We’ll be having a story about the issue later. So stay tuned.)

Continue reading “Do it yourself data: How to compare education employment statistics” »

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State Rep. Seth Grove’s DUI provision officially put into impaired driving bill

Should State Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, and the Pa. House Transportation Committee have their way, a Pennsylvania driver arrested twice in one night driving under the influence will no longer be charged two first-offenses.

Under current language in the Commonwealth’s Vehicle Code, a defendant is charged with a first offense if no prior convictions occur. That means that multiple DUIs prior to a conviction for any of them will each be charged as a first offense.

Senate Bill 1239 was created to “correct” language in the Vehicle Code that was found to be legally ineffective by a 2013 Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision that sided with a Philadelphia-area appellant who argued that he shouldn’t have received a harsher sentence for one DUI-related conviction since he had no prior convictions, despite two DUI arrests that same night.

“This person faced less serious charges because state law says a person must be convicted first before becoming a repeat offender,” Grove wrote in a prepared statement. “This bill corrects that loophole for DUI sentencing, making sure offenders are held accountable for their actions.”

The bill has passed the Transportation Committee and will now face consideration by the Senate.

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Linda Small to be honored as Democratic ‘Woman of the Year’

The York County Federation of Democratic Women will honor Linda Small as their “Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Woman of the Year” during their September luncheon.

Small, a Democrat from New Freedom, is challenging State Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, for his 28th Pennsylvania State Senatorial District.

The luncheon will take place Saturday at noon at the Box Hill Mansion in Regent’s Glen. Admiral Joe Sestak will be the special guest speaker at the event.

Small will be the seventh recipient of the award since it began, according to a news release from the Federation.

Democrat elected officials from York County will be present at the luncheon including Bob Kefauver, the county party chairman; State Rep. Kevin Schrieber, D-York; County Commissioner Doug Hoke; and York Mayor Kim C. Bracey.

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The docs: What the state counts for its public school funding chart.

You may have seen this chart from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. I asked department spokesman Tim Eller for the line items that account for it. Here’s what he provided.

2008 09 to 2014 15 State Support of Public Schools (to Upload on Aug 26) (Text)

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Wolf v. Corbett: News, fact-checks, polls and more on the Pennsylvania governor’s race

As York County native Tom Wolf tries to unseat Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett this summer and fall, we’ve debuted a new page at devoted entirely to the gubernatorial race.

Right now on the site:

Keep checking back for the latest news and more.

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Folmer: Medical marijuana ‘good for humanity’

Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, who will be the state senator for parts of northern York County after redistricting lines take effect later this year, spoke with the York Daily Record’s Editorial Board Tuesday afternoon on why he hopes to see medical marijuana legal in the commonwealth.

Folmer is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 1182, known as “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” which was sent back to the senate Appropriations Committee at the beginning of July. He believes that if it comes out of committee for a vote, he has gathered “a solid 45, maybe 48” senators who will vote yes.

“As a Bible-believing Presbyterian, I believe this is good for humanity,” Folmer said about legalizing the cannabis.

He wears jelly bracelets that remind him of why he is pushing for legalization. One is for defeating Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a disease Folmer has beat into remission. Another reminds him of the epilepsy that affects some children in his district who he believes could be helped if they were able to use legalized cannabis for medical purposes.

He said that, like opponents to his bill or to legalization in general, he was uneducated on the topic until he heard the stories of “the momma bears out fighting for their children.”

He has replaced his “misconceptions” about cannabis to become what he calls “knowledgeable enough to be dangerous” and now sees the cannabis plant as one that has “very high” value for humanity and industry both.

While he would like to see more hearings and information before throwing his support upon fully legalized marijuana for recreational use, he said that he is generally opposed to prohibition.

“How has the war on drugs been working?” he asked rhetorically during the interview.

–FLINT MCCOLGAN, Daily Record/Sunday News

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