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Archive: December, 2011

POSTED: Thursday, December 29, 2011, 5:00 AM

Pennsylvania is among the states considering requiring government-issued photo identification for anyone who wants to vote, but the Justice Department now says such laws are unconstitutional. What do you think?

Cast your vote now.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 9:06 AM

A bill under consideration in Harrisburg would give more of the state’s ex-offenders a clean slate and a needed second chance to become productive citizens.

Expected to be brought to a vote early next year, the bill would allow records of convictions for low-level offenses — such as shoplifting, check fraud, drug possession, and other nonviolent misdemeanors — to be expunged.

The measure would allow a judge to expunge records of third-degree convictions for those who have gone arrest-free for at least seven years. Second-degree offenses committed by those under 25 could be expunged after 10 years without an arrest. While some advocates want lawmakers to go further by removing that age restriction — a potential weakness in the bill — it would still be a welcome and significant step in the right direction.

Inquirer editorial board @ 9:06 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 9:04 AM

In the case of the decades-old child-sex-abuse claims being made against former Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin, public exposure is the only route to healing for the alleged victims.

But it is to be hoped that one day soon, that will change.

Since the allegations — that Conlin, 77, assaulted six girls and a boy in the 1960s and ’70s — date well beyond the existing criminal and civil statutes of limitations in New Jersey, Conlin apparently cannot be hauled into court on the charges.

Inquirer editorial board @ 9:04 AM  Permalink |
POSTED: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 5:00 AM

Talk in Harrisburg about expanding rules on expunging criminal records for low-level nonviolent crimes as a way to help people get back on their feet and find jobs when they finish their sentences. What do you think?

Cast your vote now.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 5:00 AM

Fix a ticket? Never! Or ... why not?

Cast your vote now.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 4:00 AM
Ronald D. Castille, Pa. chief justice, has appointed a new administrator of Traffic Court, a welcome move.

In an announcement about as shocking as the proverbial revelation that there’s “gambling in River City,” Philadelphia Traffic Court has been unmasked as a place where — gasp — the well-connected may well be able to get their tickets fixed.

As described by the state’s chief justice, Ronald D. Castille, there’s an “ingrained culture of adjusting these tickets and not giving the city or citizens a fair shake.”

Finding out just how ingrained that culture may be falls to Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer, whom Castille installed last week as the new Traffic Court administrator as part of a welcome shake-up.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 4:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, December 26, 2011, 5:00 AM

Should businesses be doing more to help workers?

Cast your vote now.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 5:00 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, December 26, 2011, 4:45 AM
Day-care teacher Shennon Williams joins Percy Custus and his grandson Jasin in the play area of the Custus Childcare Academy. (PETER TOBIA / Staff Photographer)

As federal and state governments pull back on child-care aid and struggle to find affordable ways to help families with problems of elder care, family advocates are looking to the private sector for more help. They’re urging employers to let caregivers have more flexible schedules to ease the burden of looking after young children and frail parents.

Doing so can actually pay off for both the worker and the employer, as suggested by researchers writing for the Future of Children’s Work and Family project, a collaboration between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution.

Flexible schedules can allow caregivers to work around their family obligations, which cuts down on unexpected absenteeism and the firings that can result. It would lead to higher productivity and a healthier workplace environment.

Inquirer Editorial Board @ 4:45 AM  Permalink | 0
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