Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welfare - adultBasic - Tobacco Settlement Agreement - Pa. Constitution, etc.

Sears. v. Corbett - Cmwlth. Court - June 27, 2012 (en banc 5-2)

Suit to compel state to allocate monies, as per Tobacco Settlement Agreement, that would maintain adultBasic program.

On defendants' preliminary objections, the court held that

* sovereign immunity - Suits which seek to restrain state officials from performing affirmative acts are not within the rule of immunity - POs overruled

* unlawful redirection of Master Settlement Agreement funds - "If these monies had not been redirected, it appears that there would have been sufficient funding for adultBasic in 2011. Thus, Respondents’ preliminary objection in this regard must be overruled.

* Pa. Constitution, Article I, sec. 3 - single subject rule - The statute deals with "multiple diverse subjects" - possible violation of single subject rule - POs overruled

* legislative power vested in General Assembly - petitioners' claim under this section held to be justiciable

* standing - Preliminary objection that, to the extent that their second amended petition for review challenges any provisions of the Fiscal Code amendments unrelated to adultBasic, Petitioners lack standing upheld by court

* class action - court cannot rule on propriety of a class action until the close of the pleadings