Home » Pennsylvania Constitution in the News – 2004

Pennsylvania Constitution in the News – 2004

A Much-Needed Change in Pa. Constitution, Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer J./Sunday News, 2004 WL 61529216, November 3, 2004, Russell E. Eshleman: editorial proposes constitutional amendment to clarify succession if Pennsylvania governor leaves office in light of the Jubelier litigation.

Legislators Eye Gas Tax Boost to Save Mass Transit, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Local News, October 6, 2004, Bill Toland: story describes negotiations in the General Assembly to use gasoline taxes to fund mass transit in the context of the Article VIII, section 11 restriction on the use of gasoline taxes–“used solely for construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of and safety on public highways….”–contained in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Gaming Board Appointee; As It’s Written, Go by the Book, Philadelphia Inquirer, A10, October 4, 2004: this editorial calls upon the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reconsider the Commonwealth Court’s determination of Representative Coy’s appointment to the gaming board, urging a plain-language interpretation of Article II, section 6.

Another Loser Gaming Shouldn’t Trump the State Constitution, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, A16, September 28, 2004: editorial cites Article II, section 6 in discussing Representative Coy’s appointment to the gaming board, finding fault with the Commonwealth Court’s determination that the appointment does not violate the constitutional provision. Editorial complained that the court’s interpretation “found lawyerly complexity in commonsensical clarity”.

Attention Shoppers: Politicking in Aisle One, The Legal Intelligencer, 8, September 27, 2004, Alan Nochumson: article discusses the rights of malls under different state constitutions to restrict or prohibit political solicitation inside the mall. The author concludes that Pennsylvania allows a mall to limit or prohibit entirely any political activity in some circumstances, but not if there is a symbiotic relationship or sufficient nexus between the mall and the government.

Keystone Opportunity Zones: From Boon to Boondoggle in Three Easy Steps, 9/13/2004 Pa.L.Wkly. S4, Stuart F. Ebby: the author criticizes as possibly unconstitutional the expansion oftax-free development zones from impoverished areas to prime Philadelphia real estate.

Pittsburgh High Court Gets Case of City’s Last X-Rated Theater, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Local News, September 23, 2004, Associated Press: reports on the oral argument in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concerning Pittsburgh’s efforts to condemn the Garden Theater–the city’s only X-rated movie theater. The theater is arguing that the closure violates Article I, section 7 and the First Amendment.

Attorney General Sues to Block Gaming Board Pick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 7, 2004, Bill Toland: reports on lawsuit by Attorney General Jerry Pappert to block appointment of state Representative Jeffrey Coy to the new gaming control board that will oversee installation of slot machines at 14 sites in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Pappert maintains that the appointment contravenes Article I, section 6 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides in part

Frightening Forecast of Powerlessness, Patriot-News, July 21, 2004 (2004 WL 57764604): criticizing allegedly unconstitutional procedures through which legislation authorizing legalized gambling passed in the General Assembly.

Backers of Medical Malpractice Reform Lose Round One But They’re Not Out Yet; Legislators Vowed to Introduce a Bill that Paves the Way for Caps in All Civil Actions, 27 PLW 825 (2004): story describes plans of proponents of caps on non-economic tort damages to proceed with constitutional amendment language in the next session of the General Assembly.

Twisted Path: Lack of Hearings on Slots Bill Meant that Flaws were Ignored, Patriot-News (2004 WL 57763596): editorial criticizes procedures through which recent slot machine legislation was passed.

Terminal Politics Legislative Committees Kill Malpractice Reform, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 5, 2004 (2004 WL 84793332): editorial criticizes the Pennsylvania Legislature for failing to pass legislation proposing a Pennsylvania constitutional amendment allowing caps on non-economic damage in medical malpractice cases. Because proposed constitutional amendments must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions, and must be advertised halfway through the process, the failure to act ends the current effort to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Pennsylvania: Multiple Taxes: Three-Fifths Majority Requirement for Tax Increases Proposed, 6/22/04 STATETAXREV 25 (2004 WL 67017248): reports that a proposed state constitutional amendment has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would require a 3/5’s majority of both houses of the General Assembly to pass any tax or license fee increase.

Child Testimony Rules Hit Snag in House, 6/21/2004 PLW 9, Mark Scolforo: legislation to implement Pennsylvania constitutional amendment allowing child witnesses in certain criminal cases to testify by videotape or closed circuit television, has stalled in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Suit Fights Extra Fees on Tax Liens, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 2004, at B-13, Steve Levin: reports on recently filed lawsuit in Allegheny County challenging as unconstitutional Act 20, which allows local governments and school districts to “charge attorney fees during the process of collecting delinquent taxes.”

Hog Swill Over a Veto, Patriot News, May 19, 2004 (2004 WL 57757929): editorial criticizes Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and House Speaker John M. Perzel for suing Governor Ed Rendell over veto of hog regulation bill.

Lawyers Don’t Have the Same Rules as Schnooks, The Allentown Morning Call, April 9, 2004, at B1 (2004 WL 74200616): Paul Carpenter: editorial column criticizing authority of Pennsylvania Supreme Court over lawyer and judge discipline, arguing for more stringent regulation.

Rooney Says His Gun Control Bill Is “Reasonable”, The Allentown Morning Call, March 30, 2004, at B1 (2004 WL 74199382): Paul Carpenter: editorial column criticizing proposed state legislative ban on “assault weapons” as a violation of the people’s Pennsylvania constitutional right “to bear arms in defense of themselves”.

Pennsylvania’s Income Tax: A Different Kind of Animal, Lancaster New Era/Intelligence J./Sunday News, March 29, 2004 (2004 WL 61499711): Patti S. Spencer, explains the constitutional basis for the current form of the Pennsylvania Income Tax.

Caps on Damages in Med Mal Suits Passed, State Senate Placing Limits on Pain and Suffering Awards, The Legal Intelligencer, March 11, 2004, Levy Marc: this is just one of the many articles that have been recently written discussing the fact that the Senate passed legislation amending the Pennsylvania Constitution, now to go to the House of Representatives, to allow limits on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice suits

Pennsylvanians Won’t Feel Pinch from Court Ruling, The Allentown Morning Call, February 26, 2004, Christina Gostomski: story states that Pennsylvania will not be affected by a recent United States Supreme Court opinion allowing states to deny public money to students studying theology. See Locke v. Davey, 124 S.Ct. 1307 (2004).

Ferret Out Felons Before Elections, Pa.’s Process is Too Arbitrary and Needs Fixing, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 5, 2004, Bob Martin: reports on the effort of Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr., to remove Conshohocken Borough Councilman Pete Cianci from office for a past felony conviction pursuant to Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Senate Seeks to Ease Insurance Burdens, 26 PLW 1413: reports that the House has passed a resolution to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution that would eventually enable lawmakers to impose a cap on medical malpractice damages, but must be passed by the full Legislature in two consecutive two-year sessions and approved by voters in a statewide referendum that could be held no earlier than 2005.