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.

One-third of Pennsylvania counties taking action to replace voting systems by 2020

By: - March 27, 2019

Counties across Pennsylvania are on track to replace their voting machines ahead of the 2020 primary elections, but some local officials still have concerns about how they’ll pay for them. Acting Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told a Senate committee Tuesday that a third of Pennsylvania’s counties have taken action to upgrade their voting systems […]

‘There should definitely be censure’: Pa. freshman rep. calls for action after ‘Islamophobia’ in House prayer

By: , and - March 26, 2019

'We need to be promoting inclusion, not division,' Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell told reporters Tuesday.

Bipartisan lawmakers say it’s time to raise Pennsylvania teacher base pay to $45,000

By: - March 26, 2019

It’s been 30 years since Pennsylvania last raised its starting salary for teachers, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers say it’s time for another update. A bill in the Senate would codify the proposal, first raised in Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget, to pay all teachers across the commonwealth a $45,000 starting salary — more […]

Pa. Legislature’s first Muslim woman calls prayer delivered by fellow House member blatant ‘Islamophobia’

By: and - March 25, 2019

A first-year member of the Pennsylvania House on Monday offered a prayer laden with political and Christian imagery shortly before the swearing in of the chamber's first Muslim woman.

Veterans could use military experience to get professional licenses under this Senate proposal

By: - March 25, 2019

Citing concerns about homelessness and unemployment among veterans, a state Senate panel Monday considered a bill that would let job seekers use military experience to obtain professional licenses. During a meeting of the senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-, Washington, said that military veterans have valuable skills that aren’t always recognized in the […]


Three things to know about Pa.’s latest legal cannabis proposal

By: - March 24, 2019

Pennsylvanians over the age of 21 would be able to legally use recreational cannabis under a bill expected to be introduced soon in the Pennsylvania state Senate. But the bill has a long way to go — and a lot of Republican opposition to overcome — before it can land on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. […]

Should student poverty affect teacher evaluations? One senator used to say ‘no’ — but now he’s changed his mind

By: - March 22, 2019

During a budget hearing last month, state Sen. Ryan Aument did something you don’t often see a politician do in public: He admitted that a law he wrote wasn’t working.

How Pennsylvania is trying to keep younger workers in the state

By: , and - March 21, 2019

Pennsylvania is getting grayer by the day. This week on the Capital-Star, we’re exploring why young people are staying and leaving the commonwealth — and what the state can do to keep them. Have a story to tell? Email us. Pennsylvania is getting older. Between 2017 and 2025, the number of working-age Pennsylvanians (those between 20 […]

Should Pennsylvania invest money in organic agriculture? Some lawmakers aren’t so sure

By: - March 20, 2019

A proposal to spend $1.6 million to help conventional farms convert to organic production methods drew criticism Wednesday from state lawmakers, who said it could pit the commonwealth’s farmers against one another.

Anti-poverty advocates call for a “New Moral Agenda” for Pennsylvania

By: - March 19, 2019

In a single sentence, Xavier Thomas, a youth climate activist from Philadelphia, summarized the philosophy of anti-poverty advocates who rallied at Pennsylvania’s state Capitol today. “We shouldn’t be living in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world.” Thomas appeared alongside dozens of other activists in the Capitol rotunda, where they called for […]

Pennsylvania’s new Pipeline Caucus wants stronger regulation of Mariner East II

By: - March 19, 2019

Dozens of people rallied in the state Capitol rotunda Tuesday for stronger regulation of the Mariner East II pipeline, which transports natural gas across 17 counties in southern Pennsylvania. The event also served as the debut for the General Assembly’s Pipeline Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to advance a package of bills that […]

Embattled state Sen. Leach absent from scheduled Rotunda appearance on day he rolls out legal cannabis bill

By: - March 18, 2019

(*This article was updated with additional details from Leach’s office about the event cancellation. The headline to this story has been updated to reflect that.) Two days after fellow Democrats called on him to resign, and on the same day he unveiled a bold policy proposal, state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, was absent from a scheduled appearance […]