Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.

The world is getting warmer. What can Pennsylvania do about it?

By: and - March 3, 2020

Warming temperatures are wreaking havoc on civilizations across the globe. And it will get worse as human-caused climate change intensifies floods, acidifies oceans, and renders coastal areas uninhabitable due to rising sea levels. Pennsylvania will feel these effects, but it will also be part of any solution, thanks to its status as a fossil fuel […]

Two visions of school safety dominate House and Senate hearings

By: - March 2, 2020

The stance could be a rare spot of consensus in the state’s months-long budget negotiations -- if it not for a persistent, partisan disagreement over what threats demand attention and money from the General Assembly.

Pat Albright repurposes a sign to protest the elimination of General Assistance. (Photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Pa.’s cash assistance program’s former beneficiaries say they’ve been forgotten by Harrisburg

By: - February 27, 2020

The fight to protect a cash assistance program for impoverished adults spurred a spate of fervent activism across Pennsylvania last June, including a shouting match on the state Senate floor and a protest outside Gov. Tom Wolf’s private home in York.

Facing skeptical lawmakers, Human Services official makes $3M pitch for funding for Planned Parenthood

By: - February 26, 2020

In a Wednesday appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa D. Miller assured lawmakers that the healthcare provider would have to undergo independent audits, and sign a contract to ensure that the public funds are not used for abortions.

Saved by the bell? Phone call confusion scuttles state board’s vote on Reading charter school

By: - February 25, 2020

An arts-based charter school that’s fought a years-long battle to open its doors in Reading may live to see another day, despite vocal concerns from Pennsylvania’s top education official that it can’t ensure transparent contracts or complete “the most rudimentary” components of a charter application.    The Berks Charter High School for Performing & Visual Arts, […]

Erie lawmaker tells liquor regulators they need to spruce up rundown states stores in poor Pa. cities

By: - February 25, 2020

The state board that controls alcohol sales in Pennsylvania touted its plans to renovate more liquor stores this year, leading one state lawmaker on Tuesday to decry what he saw as a disparity between state-run stores in poor urban areas and affluent suburbs. 

Strong economy fuels drop in college students seeking grants, PHEAA reports

By: - February 20, 2020

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which administers state-supported scholarship programs, expects to distribute grants from its flagship scholarship fund to 136,000 students this year -- a three percent decline from last year, when it gave out 140,000 awards, budget documents show.

Saddled with vacancies, parole board says it’s struggling to keep up with growing backlog

By: - February 20, 2020

The nine-member board, which grants prisoners early release from state correctional facilities, is currently operating with three vacancies, its chairman, Ted Johnson, told the Senate Appropriations Committee during the agency’s annual budget hearing.

Failed Philly cyber charter application highlights weaknesses in state law, observer says

By: - February 19, 2020

The Virtual Preparatory Academy of Philadelphia Cyber Charter School fell short on every standard Pennsylvania uses to evaluate cyber charter schools, including support among parents and students, long-term financial planning, and proof that its students would meet state educational standards, according to a Jan. 27 memo from the state Department of Education.

On a busy petition filing day, Leach, other Pa. senators face multiple challengers

By: - February 19, 2020

Unofficial candidate listings from the Department of State show that Parthenia Izzard, of Haverford Township, and Amanda Cappelletti, of East Norriton Township, both filed petitions to get on the ballot in the April 28 primary.  

‘Anytime Joe would speak, members listened.’ After two decades in Harrisburg, Scarnati leaves a complicated legacy

By: - February 13, 2020

Scarnati, whose Jefferson County-based district covers wide swaths of northern Pennsylvania, announced Wednesday night that he would retire at the end of the year to spend more time with his family.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces statewide office to review old cases

By: - February 12, 2020

The new Conviction Integrity Unit will work with local law enforcement officials and prosecutors -- especially in small counties -- to reevaluate cases that ended with dubious convictions.