DePasquale report half of answer

Failing municipal pension plans across Pennsylvania are akin to a fever — a symptom caused by an underlying disease. The hundreds of underfunded plans in Pennsylvania are a symptom of underlying poor municipal governance, which itself drives from antiquat

Limit vaccine exemptions

California lawmakers have taken the appropriate, science-based lesson from a measles outbreak last year that originated at Disneyland. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law Tuesday that ends all exemptions from childhood vaccinations, other than for demonstrated

GOP budget posturing

Apparently, legislative Republicans didn’t get the word that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf walloped Republican former Gov. Tom Corbett last November. And that race, unlike most of their races, was not in a safe, gerrymandered district. Voters made clear that M

Shift in power

Pennsylvania occupies a unique nexus in the nation’s ongoing transition from dirty to cleaner power generation. Market forces created by the massive Marcellus Shale gas field are driving a shift from coal-powered to gas-powered electricity generation. The

Ruling good for governance

The Supreme Court of the United States put an exclamation point on its productive and historic session Monday when it killed a key excuse used by lawmakers, including in Pennsylvania, for self-serving, ineffective governance. In a case from Arizona, the c

Maintain transparency

The state Legislature exempts itself from many of the disclosure requirements covering the rest of government in Pennsylvania. Now, it’s flirting with letting that shadow spread across 500 school districts. A bill that has cleared the House Education Comm

Reason for mall optimism

Tumbleweeds have been the only thing missing from the desolate landscape of the Mall at Steamtown over the last several years. In a vicious cycle, stores have left, customers have followed, causing more stores to leave. Ultimately, the partnership that ow

Equal justice

There was deep irony in some of the dissent to the historic Supreme Court opinion holding that all Americans have the right to marry whom they choose. It was the first major court ruling on marriage since the 1967 landmark Loving v. Virginia, which found

Enabler seeks swift change

Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright is in his 11th year as an elected city official, a tenure in which he has built his political base as a supporter of the unionized city employees he now purports to manage. He became a councilman in 2004 and then served as t

Help cities with pensions

Scranton’s public pension plans aren’t the only failing plans in the state; they’re just the worst. Because of archaic local governance, Pennsylvania has more municipal pension plans than any other state — more than 1,500, 25 percent of the national total

Gun rider poorly aimed

Only in Pennsylvania could special-interest lawmakers convert a bill meant to deter the theft of copper wiring into a cynical giveaway to the National Rifle Association that worked directly against the cause of public safety while robbing municipal govern

Fair housing, on purpose

Overt discrimination against minority members mostly has yielded to the law and public custom. Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States slammed shut the back door for indirect discriminatory practices. For about 40 years, federal agencies have att

Obamacare here to stay; maximize it

More than 6 million Americans — low-income workers and their families — woke up today with the assurance that they will continue to have access to health care coverage. About 348,000 of those people are Pennsylvanians who receive financial help to pay for

Update court disclosures

After the Supreme Court term ends Monday, the justices will head off for the summer and won’t assemble as a court until Sept. 28. Before they leave town, they should attend to a piece of important and inexcusably unattended business. The justices filed th

Declining cash no bluff

Gambling revenue has declined almost everywhere in the East for the obvious reason — saturation. Even though gambling is a major industry, generating more than $3 billion a year in Pennsylvania alone, there are only so many gamblers and they only have so

NHTSA needs budget air bag

Driving appears to be a bipartisan motivator. Senators from both parties took turns Tuesday blasting executives from air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. and regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing for more than a decad

Put school cash where needed most

Like students, school districts change over time. Districts try to accommodate changing student needs with new approaches, new technology and new and upgraded facilities. But in Pennsylvania, the state government does not accommodate the changing funding

Fold rebel flag

Members of the South Carolina Legislature have agreed to debate the removal from statehouse grounds of a defiant symbol of racism. When they’re finished, they should apologize for waiting so long and ultimately having to be motivated by the murders of nin

Second go at victimhood

Like many powerful legislators, Mike Veon came to believe not only that he could use that public power for private political gain, but do so with impunity. As an orchestrator of the “Bonusgate” scandal, the former state House Democratic whip was involved

Women on $20

For the first time since Martha Washington’s portrait appeared on $1 silver certificates in 1886 and 1891, a portrait of a woman will appear on paper currency. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that the portrait will appear on $10 bills in 2020, t

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