Department of Labor and Industry Unveils New Job Matching Site
In July 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry announced its JobGateway initiative, a user-friendly, premiere job-matching system created to help bridge the gap between job-seekers and employers. Everyday, some 3,500 new job openings are expected to be posted to add to the approximately 200,000 presently available employment opportunities. Jobseekers can create and upload a resume that, in turn, is available to the thousands of employers searching the site, utilizing its sorting and filtering capabilities to locate the right employee for the job.
FY 2013-2014 Budget Signed into Law
On June 30, 2013, Governor Corbett signed House Bill 1437 containing the 2013-2014 proposed state budget into law as Act 1A of 2013. The measure sets general fund spending at $28.375 billion – a figure that represents a $645 million (2.3 percent) increase in spending over the 2012-2013 Budget. A companion measure amends the Fiscal Code to provide for budget implementation language. For a comparison of the new spending plan and last year’s budget prepared by the Senate Appropriations Committee, click here.
Task Force on Child Protection Release Report
On November 27, 2012, the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection released its final report with recommendations to improve the state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse. The 11-member panel held 11 public meetings throughout 2012 to gather testimony from more than 60 individuals with expertise in protecting children. The task force was created by the passage of Senate Resolution 250 in December 2011. Among other recommendations, the panel recommends expanding the list of mandatory reporters and increasing the penalties for willfully failing to report child abuse. Additional information about the Task Force on Child Protection can be found here.
Governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education Issues Final Recommendations
On November 14, 2012, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Post Secondary Education issued its final report with 19 key recommendations for improving educational and training opportunities available to Pennsylvania’s citizens. Created by Governor Corbett in February 2012 to enhance the affordability and accessibility of postsecondary educational opportunities, the Commission held several public meetings across the state to encourage input from the public on these issues and suggestions for improvement. For additional information about the Advisory Commission on Post Secondary Education, click here.
Health Care Organizations Establish Quality Measurement Website
The Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance has established a website to provide free, detailed reports of hospital performance based on widely-recognized and established quality measures designed to be accessible to everyone. Users can find data on up to 39 different health care quality and experience measures, as reported by general acute care hospitals throughout Pennsylvania, and determine how hospitals compare with another and against state and national averages. The Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance is a voluntary group of health care organizations with the goal of developing a state-wide approach to hospital quality measurement supported by quality-of-care data from a variety of public sources.
Latest Statistics Show Stable Decline in Medical Malpractice Cases and Verdicts
On April 19, 2010, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released state court system data on medical malpractice case filings and verdicts for 2009 that show the declines of previous years in the number of lawsuits filed statewide are stable. In 2009, there were 1,533 filings, representing a 43.9 percent decline from the “base years” 2000-2002. In Philadelphia, the decline was nearly 60 percent during the same period. The base years are the period just prior to two significant rule changes made by the Supreme Court. The first change required attorneys to obtain from a medical professional a certificate of merit that establishes that the medical procedures in a case fell below applicable standards of care. A second change required medical malpractice actions to be brought only in the county where the cause of action took place in an attempt to eliminate so-called “venue shopping.” In addition to the press release and the 2009 data, data for prior years can be found here.
Latest LB&FC Assessment Finds that Lottery Sales and Net Revenues are Remaining Stable Despite Competition from Slots
In its latest annual report on the impact of slots on Pennsylvania Lottery sales, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee found that the operation of slots facilities does not appear to have negatively impacted, at least in any significant manner, Pennsylvania Lottery sales or net revenues. In its more-detailed 2009 assessment, the LB&FC arrived at a similar conclusion. The annual assessment of the impact of slots on the Lottery is required by Act 71 of 2004, the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act.
Citizens Advisory Council to DEP Releases its 2009 Annual Report
The Citizens Advisory Council to the Department of Environmental Protection recently published its 2009 Annual Report detailing its activities during the past year. The Citizens Advisory Council was legislatively created in 1971 to review the environmental laws of the Commonwealth, to monitor and make recommendations for the improvement of the Department of Environmental Protection and to report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly.
Report Provides Information on Pennsylvanians Earning the Minimum Wage
The Analysis of the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage in 2008 report recently released by the Minimum Wage Advisory Board provides statistical information on Pennsylvanians who earn at or below the minimum wage; analyzes the demographic characteristics of these hourly workers; and, details the industry characteristics of those making at or near the minimum wage. Act 112 of 2006, which provided two incremental increases in the state’s minimum wage in 2007, also mandated that the Department of Labor and Industry prepare this report by March 1st of each year to provide date on the previous calendar year’s demographics and any other relevant factors of those workers who are paid the minimum wage or below.
School Choice Yearbook: 2009-10 Released
The School Choice Yearbook: 2009-10 prepared by the Alliance for School Choice provides up-to-date information on school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs across the country. During 2009, Indiana became the newest state to create a school choice program. In addition, student enrollment continued its steady growth—to 179,721, a nearly 5 percent increase over 2008–09 and an 86 percent increase over five years ago (2004-05). There are now 18 publicly funded private school choice programs operating in 11 states and the District of Columbia. These programs are evenly divided between school voucher programs (9) and scholarship tax credit programs (9). Of the 18 programs in existence, five are specifically designed to assist children with special needs. In 2009, Florida eclipsed Pennsylvania to become the state with the most students enrolled in school choice programs. Arizona and Ohio are now tied (with three programs each) as the states with the highest number of school choice programs.
Two State Agencies Release Information on Healthcare-Associated Infections
In June 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released its report on Healthcare-Associated Infections for 2009. The report shows that, from 2008 to 2009, there was a 12.5 percent decrease in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), which are infections that patients acquired while in a healthcare setting and were not present when they were admitted for care. A total of 25,914 HAIs was reported by the 250 hospitals that were in continuous operation during 2009. This translates to an overall statewide rate of 2.37 HAIs per 1,000 patient days of hospitalization. The report includes HAIs for each hospital, with an emphasis on two specific infection types: urinary tract infections associated with the use of a catheter and bloodstream infections associated with the use of a central line. The report shows that 16 hospitals, or 6 percent of all hospitals in Pennsylvania, had better-than-expected performance measures in both of the infection categories highlighted in the report. In April 2010, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority released its 2009 Annual Report which provides similar information, including data on HAI’s in long-term care facilities.
The Governor’s Report on State Performance
Intended to increase state government’s accountability to those who live and work in the Commonwealth, the Governor’s Report on State Performance provides the citizens of Pennsylvania information on the objectives, strategies and accomplishments of 31 state agencies from July 2008 through June 2009.
The National Report Card on
Measuring Up 2008: The National Report Card on Higher
Education is the fifth in a series of biennial report
cards prepared by the National Center for Public Policy
and Higher Education that provide the general public and
policymakers with information they can use to assess and
improve postsecondary education in each state. The
findings this year reveal that the nation and most of the
50 states are making some advances in preparing students
for college and providing them with access to higher
education. However, other nations are advancing more
quickly than the United States. The report can be accessed
on line at
or access Pennsylvania’s State Report Card directly here
- Senate Appropriations Committee Newsletters/Budget Information
- Senate Republican News Brief