Capitol roundup 3/11

Castle is back- Legislation to expand the so-called "Castle Doctrine" has been moving through the House and the Senate with lightning speed. The bills - one has passed the Senate another will be considered the House in early April - would give individuals the right to protect themselves "anywhere they have the right to be," which includes their cars and the street. Castle Doctrine legislation was vetoed last year by Gov. Rendell who sided with district attorneys in opposing the bill, saying it would give license to criminals to claim self defense after shooting someone. This time around the district attorneys are dropping their opposition, saying they are satisfied wie substantive changes written into both bills. 

At a press conference Thursday Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, said he approves of the changes that were made including that the individual firing the weapon must be carrying a legal weapon and be engaged in a lawful activity. In addition, a defendant may not use the Castle Doctrine defense in the shooting of a law enforcement officer.

Messrs. Boyle go to Washington - The White House goes green next Wednesday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In attendance will be the only elected brothers in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Kevin and Brendan Boyle, They received an invitation to join President Barack Obama for St. Patrick’s Day dinner at the White House. The White House's St. Patrick's Day dinner is held annually to recognize the bond between Ireland and the United States. "As a first generation Irish American, I am extremely proud of this honor. Our father left Ireland 40 years ago for a better life in America," said Kevin Boyle, (D.,Phila) "Although we grew up in the United States, our parents instilled in both of us a deep respect and knowledge of our Irish heritage."

A challenger for a leader's seat? - Former State Rep. Tom Houghton, says he intends to challenge Sen. Majority leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware)  for the 9th District senate seat in 2012.  Houghton, an attorney and one-term Democratic representative, says he wants to reduce property taxes, attract jobs and manage growth. Houghton, of West Grove, says he is the best candidate to represent the district because he has lived on both the Delaware and Chester county sides of the district and understands the issues of most importance to residence.

Is the sun really shining in PA? A group called "The Sunshine Review" has bestowed awards for government transparency on the state of Pennsylvania, the city of Philadelphia and New Hope-Solebury School District. The state gets a "B" for its website for ease of navigation and accessibililty of budget and audit data. But it got demerits for not providing information on lstate and agency obbying contracts. Philadelphia gets a "A-" for making available the budget, contracts and contract information. But it got points knocked off for not listing lobbyists.New Hope Solebury School District took home an "A-" for providing board member contact information, complete meeting minutes, budgets, taxes and audits. But it lost points for not providing lobbying or contract information.



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