Renew fight on tobacco use

For all the legitimate concern about contagious diseases ranging from the flu to Ebola, tobacco use remains the nation’s principal public health tragedy. Despite substantial progress, smoking still causes 443,000 premature deaths every year, adding to the

Preventable measles cases

There is no mystery to the cause of the ongoing measles outbreak that has been traced to Disneyland in Southern California. It is the result of a wrongheaded campaign by some misguided people to not only deny their own children the immense benefits of chi

Change in posture on gas oversight

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration soon may encounter its first ideological roadblock. Within days of Mr. Wolf’s inauguration last week, some Republican senators voiced reservations about the Democratic governor’s selection of John Quigley as secretary of the

Don’t weaken Shield Law

Regardless of whether Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman accepts a grand jury’s recommendation to bring criminal charges against state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, the state Legislature should reject another of the panel’s recomme

City council should not ratify deal

Labor contracts between Scranton’s government and its two public safety unions are, for the most part, 50-year accumulations of giveaways by mayors, councils and arbitrators that, collectively, have put the unions in charge of the city government. There a

Recalling transparency

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf got off to a rocky start with the Legislature’s Republican majorities last week when he voided former Gov. Tom Corbett’s last-minute appointments of several judges, members of state and university boards and state commissions. In

Don’t worsen cities’ plight

Struggling city, county and school district governments statewide took heart in 2012, when the state Supreme Court appeared to tighten the criteria for nonprofit entities seeking local tax exemptions. The court found that a religiously affiliated camp in

Patriots games

Given the thrashing that the New England Patriots gave the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game, it probably didn’t make any difference whether the Patriots’ footballs were underinflated or made of Flubber — the “flying rubber” that enabled ath

Toxics studymerits action

For all the debate about whether Pennsylvania adequately has regulated the natural gas industry, the truth is that there is no way to know for sure. The industry still is young in Pennsylvania, and while there are documented cases of drilling mishaps, sur

Boehner goes very far afield

From the beginning of the Republic, foreign policy primarily has been the province of the executive branch. But in their deep animosity toward President Barack Obama, congressional Republicans seem to have lost sight that, even among disagreements between

Here’s check, Your Honor

From: Attorney John Doe, candidate for a state Superior Court seat. To: Attorney Joe Blow. Dear Joe: I am seeking a seat on our state Superior Court. To wit: I need your help. This promises to be an expensive race and, because the job is apolitical by con

Putting ‘civil’ in forfeiture

Civil forfeiture, which began as a means to thwart drug-dealing by allowing police to confiscate the fruits of the enterprise, has been subject to grotesque abuses of power. Federal authorities have used the process to expand their power in other areas, a

Confirm Murphy, Osborne for cabinet posts

Lackawanna County should be well-represented in Gov. Tom Wolf’s cabinet. Last week, Mr. Wolf nominated Teresa Osborne as state secretary of the Department of Aging and Karen Murphy, Ph.D., as secretary of the Department of Health. Ms. Osborne, executive d

Tax proposal frames race

Democrats and Republicans recognize that the federal tax system needs a sweeping overhaul, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for stepping toward compromise. President Obama’s tax proposal in Tuesday’s State of the Union address has approximately zero chance

State in need of better governance

Tom Wolf will become the governor today of a state badly in need of better governance. Exhibit A is the first crisis that awaits him — covering an unnecessary budget deficit that he now estimates at $2.33 billion, even though state revenue is ahead of pro

New lows in pandering

Ask any conservative state lawmaker to identify Public Enemy No. 1 and their answer is likely to be, “trial lawyers.” Many of those legislators strive mightily to diminish the ability of consumers to gain access to the courts. And they often note ruefully

Forum points to city change

A series of events has increased racial tensions in advance of this Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Deaths of unarmed black residents after confrontations with police in Ferguson, Missouri; Staten Island and Cleveland, and reactions to them across the country

Boost access to broadband

High-speed Internet access in the 21st century is not just a matter of convenience. It’s equivalent to having railroad access during the Industrial Revolution. It is a primary conduit of economic growth. Yet the United States lags other modern economic po

Casey raises valid issue

Scranton School Director Robert Casey has discovered that politics are involved in the board’s search for a superintendent to replace the departing Bill King, whose resignation was prompted by, well, politics. Mr. Casey was prompted last week to propose a

Vive la France?

Remember “freedom fries”? In 2003, when France sensibly declined to participate in the misguided invasion of Iraq, some outraged politicians wanted the House cafeteria to offer freedom fries rather than french fries. Never mind that their origin actually

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