Author

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.

Opioid use is ‘waning’ in Pa. hotspots as other drugs rise in popularity, Drug and Alcohol secretary says

By: - March 4, 2019

One of Pennsylvania’s top drug watchdogs said Monday opioid use is showing signs of decline as other drugs appear more popular in hotspots across the state. “The notion of the opioid crisis is starting to wane,” Jennifer Smith, secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, told the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We have seen an uptick […]

Fate of former Corbett official’s charter school lies with ex-colleagues

By: - March 4, 2019

During her year-and-a-half stint as Pennsylvania’s top education executive, Carolyn Dumaresq oversaw hundreds of charter schools across the state. Last month, though, she hit a stumbling block in her quest to open one of her own. Dumaresq’s application to open a charter school in the Harrisburg City School District was rejected by the local school board […]

State Sen. Mike Regan wants tough mandatory sentences for fentanyl dealers. Opponents say it’s a ‘step back’ in the failed ‘War on Drugs’

By: - March 3, 2019

It’s been four years since the state Supreme Court invalidated the state’s mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, wiping them all from state statues in a 3-2 ruling. The decision conformed with broader criminal justice reforms sweeping the nation, which sought to remedy the harsh sentencing laws and high incarceration rates that proliferated during the […]

An aging prison population is straining Pa.’s Corrections budget. Could medical parole be the answer?

By: - February 28, 2019

Pennsylvania’s prison population may be shrinking, but its costs aren’t. One reason, according to Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, is a growing number of elderly inmates. In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, Wetzel said the state’s aging prison population “100 percent has to do” with his department’s rising medical costs. He said Pennsylvania […]

Department of Health seeks $1.4 million to study chemical contaminants in water

By: - February 27, 2019

If you’re a toxicologist, chemist or epidemiologist looking for a job, Pennsylvania wants to hear from you. The state Department of Health plans to hire a team of 10 research scientists this year to study the effects of toxic PFAS chemicals that contaminate soil and drinking water, its secretary said in a Senate Appropriations Committee […]

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Penn State president says sexual assaults, alcohol offenses down after Greek life reforms

By: - February 26, 2019

This article was edited on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. to include new comments from a Penn State spokesman about sexual assault. Anti-hazing reforms at Pennsylvania State University have contributed to a drop in sexual assaults and alcohol-related offenses in the first year since they took effect, the university’s president said Tuesday. In 2017-18, […]

Wolf “welcomes discussion” with Legislature on his minimum wage hike

By: - February 26, 2019

The state's minimum, which is the same as the federal minimum, has not been raised since 2009.

Winter weather swings could make potholes worse than usual, PennDOT says

By: - February 25, 2019

If you thought Pennsylvania’s roads couldn’t get any worse, the state’s top transportation expert has bad news for you. Pennsylvania transportation Secretary Leslie Richards told the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday that her office is expecting a worse-than-usual season for potholes this spring due to extreme temperature fluctuations over the winter. Potholes form when asphalt expands […]

A $15 minimum wage in Pennsylvania? That’s a non-starter, says top Pa. Senate Republican

By: - February 25, 2019

A proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage may be getting more traction this year, but a top Republican state senator said Monday it will suffer a predictable fate if Gov. Tom Wolf doesn’t accept a lower number. Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, roundly praised Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal at a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon […]

Morning Call newsroom employees unionize

By: - February 25, 2019

Following a nationwide newsroom trend, staff of the Allentown, Pa. newspaper The Morning Call announced on Monday their intent to form a union. Reporters, photographers and editors on the Morning Call’s award winning staff have asked the Chicago-based executives at the Tribune Publishing Co., which owns their paper, to voluntarily recognize their effort. Tribune Co. […]

A view of the Old Eighth Ward looking west from the State Street Bridge. The buildings to the right were razed to make room for the Capitol Park. Source: Dauphin County Historical Society, reprinted with permission.

A monument at the Capitol will honor Harrisburg’s long-gone immigrant and African American neighborhood

By: - February 25, 2019

The journalist J. Howard Wert journeyed to the underworld in 1912 — and he lived to tell the tale. “These shacks have been speakeasies, gambling halls, and foul dens of prostitution,” Wert wrote in a Harrisburg Patriot-News column, describing alleys just a stone’s throw from Pennsylvania’s state Capitol. “Around some linger legends of deeds of beastiality […]

‘In the same place that we were last year’: Senator calls on State Police to get creative with fee-based funding approach

By: - February 21, 2019

Officials from the Pennsylvania State Police say their personnel and equipment budgets will be in jeopardy if the municipalities they police full-time don’t help them foot the bill. They’re asking lawmakers to let them impose a new fee on boroughs and townships that don’t maintain their own police forces. But a top Republican senator says […]