UPDATE: Cigarette tax passes the Senate 38-12. Fiscal code bill clears Senate 26-24.
With the June 30 deadline behind them and no signed budget, lawmakers returned to work Tuesday with several heavy lift items on the agenda.
Gov. Corbett late Monday said he would not sign the $29.1 billion budget without "meaningful" pension reform.
As they scramble to cobble together a budget before tonight's fiscal-year deadline, Republican legislative leaders are inserting some last-minute - and controversial - language into one of the budget bills that has environmental groups up in arms.
The language essentially would require state regulators to treat two types of drilling differently: deep, modern gas wells (i.e, Marcellus Shale drilling) and traditional shallow wells. There are currently bills in both the House and the Senate to do just that, but they have not been debated on the floor.
On Monday, Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she would "love to sit all day" and answer questions about her office's review of why her predecessors took so long to bring charges against serial child abuser Jerry Sandusky.
That was before her office acknowledged that she had made an error on a key and emotionally-charged question: whether any children had been abused by Sandusky while the 33-month long state investigation was ongoing.
On Friday, Kane refused to answer questions about the issue, or clarify any of her comments. At a press conference on an unrelated matter, Kane said that she would only discuss the matter at hand. Asked whether she would speak after the event, Kane referred reporters to her press office.
Gov. Corbett on Thursday called on the legislature to show its hand and vote on a bill that seeks to rein in the rapidly rising cost of public employee pensions.
“The people need to know who is willing to work on behalf of the taxpayer,” said Corbett, who in an unusual move, walked up to the Capitol newsroom to speak with reporters.
A House panel on Tuesday advanced a $29.1 billion spending plan, sending the bill to the House floor six days before the deadline.
The House Appropriations Committee voted 21-14 along party lines to support the budget proposal, which uses one-time transfers to close a deficit.
Amy Worden is live tweeting this morning's news conference by Kathleen Kane about the Jerry Sandusky probe. Follow along by clicking into the Cover It Live window, below:
Maybe the second time will be the charm.
Gov. Corbett has yet again appointed his onetime chief of staff to an Allegheny County judgeship.