Still split on flood bill
House Republican leaders are sticking with a no-borrow approach to pay for the state's share of recovery aid to deal with damages from the widespread flooding a year ago in the Susquehanna River Basin.
The House Rules Committee voted last week to approve a recovery bill stripped of a Senate-added provision to authorize $150 million in borrowing for those purposes. The leaders used a procedural move to take out the borrowing provision.
This was done by "reverting to the prior printer number," legalese for going back to the bill the way it was written when the House approved it last spring. Therefore, the bill now awaiting a House floor vote would draw mainly on millions of dollars of interest earnings held by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, an economic development program, to pay for mitigation projects.
The two chambers will have one last session week - the third week of October - to resolve differences on this issue before voting is scheduled to end for this session.
A new state website to help job-seekers and young people research career choices was unveiled last week. The Pa Career Coach website, www.pacareercoach.org, provides local job-market information about available jobs, the job outlook for specific occupations and education and training programs that prepare someone for an occupation.
Individuals can search the site by entering their name and zip code. The Department of Labor and Industry has released reports of projected growth and declines in occupations for years, but this is the first time that localized information will be available online.
Gov. Tom Corbett said one goal is to help individuals acquire the skills needed to land jobs that are available and going unfilled because employers can't find trained workers. At the same time, a website search can help people steer clear of an occupation field where there are more job-seekers than openings.
Key hearing slated
The Senate Local Government Committee has scheduled an Oct. 18 hearing on a bill to overhaul the collective bargaining process for paid police and firefighters in cites. This is one of the most hotly contested issues in the debate over bringing fiscally distressed cities like Scranton back to solvency.
The measure to link arbitration awards to a municipality's ability to pay for them is sponsored by retiring Sen. Jane Earll, R-49, Erie. Other provisions would start the collective bargaining process earlier in the year and require the cost of arbitration be split equally between municipalities and public employee unions.
(Robert Swift is Harrisburg bureau chief for Times-Shamrock Communications newspapers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)