Last week of budget hearings begins

  • Emily Previti

From The Context, PA Post’s weekday email newsletter:

We are launching a series in collaboration with PennLive to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island — beginning with this Smart Talk segment.  -Emily Previti, Newsletter Producer/Reporter

Budget bulletin

PennLive file photo

  • Budget hearings today will include the state Department of Education, which Avi Wolfman-Arent will cover for Keystone Crossroads. Expect discussion about whether districts can spend school safety funding on armed security guards who aren’t police.

  • Transforming Health’s Brett Sholtis is on department of Drug and Alcohol Programs today. Brett also covered the debate over work requirements for food stamps and health officials wanting more than a million dollars to hire a team of scientists to study chemicals contaminating water supplies near airports and military bases. Both topics were at focus during hearings last week.

  • Gov. Tom Wolf wants to shuffle money originally meant for environmental endeavors — municipal recycling, community revitalization, etc. — to make up revenue shortfalls anticipated in the general fund next year. Wolf has shot down similar GOP proposals in the past, and his is particularly complex and would entail diverting tens of millions of dollars, Capitol Bureau Chief Katie Meyer notes in this story out of a recent DEP budget hearing.

Best of the rest

Matt Rourke / The Associated Press

Barbed wire on top of a wall at the deactivated House of Correction in Philadelphia. City officials say they’re closing the facility by 2020 amid a decline in the jail population for the city.

  • More than 200 Pa. county jail inmates attempted suicide last year — a marked increase over recent annual totals. That was but one of Ed Mahon’s findings in this close look at jail deaths for PA Post.

  • US Steel is fighting an order to cut its sulfur emissions. The Allegheny County Health Department demanded the pollution reduction at all three of the company’s Western Pa. plants after a fire at the Clairton location caused air quality nearby to degrade so dramatically that asthmatic children were getting really sick, among other impacts. There’s more to the story, though, including the company’s contention that complying with the order as written could risk worsening pollution, reports Reid Frazier in his latest article about the issue for StateImpact Pennsylvania.

  • State Rep. Fred Keller, R-Union, will run for former U.S. Rep. Tom Marino’s seat representing Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district. The state GOP picked Keller from a group of 14 candidates over the weekend. WPSU’s Anne Danahy has more here.

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