state legislature

Ambulance providers in Pennsylvania are enthusiastic about a bill advancing in the state legislature that would require insurance companies to reimburse EMS for calls that don’t end in a hospital trip.
VBaleha/BigStock

Ambulance providers in Pennsylvania are enthusiastic about a bill advancing in the state legislature that would require insurance companies to reimburse EMS for calls that don’t end in a hospital trip.

Currently, insurance companies aren’t required to pick up that cost.

“Even if we’re paid by the insurance companies, the insurance companies do not usually pay in full,” said Scott Rawson,  executive director of Centre LifeLink, an EMS provider in Centre County. “And their fee structure — it doesn’t cover our cost to provide the service.”

Senator Lisa Boscola asks for support for her redistricting bill before the chamber's Appropriations Committee.
Katie Meyer / WITF

After more than a year of on-and-off negotiation, the state Senate has moved a congressional redistricting overhaul to the floor of the full chamber.

However, the compromise measure is expected to undergo significant changes before it heads to the House as soon as next week.

Malcolm Kenyatta, who won the Democratic nod for the 181st district in the Pa. Legislature, cheers during the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016.
Kimberly Paynter/WHYY

The Pennsylvania Legislature is poised to soon make history as it welcomes its first openly gay lawmaker of color.

Malcolm Kenyatta won the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia’s 181st District during last week’s primary, and, given the city’s voter registration numbers, is strongly favored to assume the seat.

For the 27-year-old, who grew up in the projects, the idea of being a role model is appealing.

Students at an art class in Overbrook High School in Philadelphia in 2016. State Senator Vincent Hughes has cited Overbrook as an example of a school in need of repair.
Emily Cohen for WHYY

Pennsylvania’s system for funding school construction projects is old.

How old, you ask?

Current statute requires school districts submit their proposals in microficheformat.

“[Anything] that mentions microfiche is probably worth revisiting and looking to update,” said Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania’s secretary of education.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania hosted a public hearing in Tioga County on Thursday, hearing from providers and consumers about the lack of broadband access in rural areas.
Min Xian / WPSU

Dr. Robert Gillio is in charge of telemedicine at J.C. Blair Hospital in Huntingdon county.

But he has no internet access at home.

“I can’t get Comcast at my house, two miles from the hospital,” Gillio said. “I want to log in at home and help? I got to drive to the damn hospital to log in to help my patient with telemedicine.”

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country.
AP Photo

(Harrisburg) -- While he was working on the US Constitution, James Madison realized there was a pretty fundamental part of state governments that seemed useless to regulate.

In the Federalist Papers, he noted, “No political problem is less susceptible of a precise solution than that which relates to the number most convenient for a representative legislature; nor is there any point on which the policy of the several states is more at variance.”

photo: AP

(Harrisburg) -- Thanks to months of behind-the-scenes negotiation, a significant pension bill is on a fast track through the state legislature.
It easily passed the Senate Monday, though even its supporters acknowledge that it doesn't come close to fully fixing Pennsylvania's pension woes.
The commonwealth is carrying about $70 billion in unpaid pension debts, and the costs of paying it off have put significant strain on the state's budget, as well as school districts' spending plans.