The F.B.I. is going toe-to-toe with Apple, demanding that the company build backdoor software to allow access to any locked iPhone. For its part, Apple’s response was “Yeah, we’ll get right on that someday. Or probably never. ” Hand the feds a master key that can hack a gazillion iPhones? What could possibly go wrong there?
The Presidential campaign has now degenerated into a bad Ultimate Fighting Championship match, but lest you were wondering what may happen months from now in the Keystone State, our friends at PoliticsPA have a nice little graphic showing that Pennsylvania is Trump country, at least when viewed through Facebook metrics. We assume this means Pennsylvanians are not fond of the Pope, either.
In a true commentary of how toxic Washington politics has gotten, the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia this week was not enough to cause elected officials to put away the long knives, even temporarily. Minutes after his death, a war erupted between the Senate GOP leadership and the Obama Administration over the potential replacement for a man who was not even cold yet. Try some decaf down there, boys and girls. Seriously.
Triad Strategies would like to send a hearty best wishes to departing Wolf staffer John Hanger, who ran the Office of Policy and Planning for the governor. Best of luck in your future endeavors, John!
The slumping price of coal, the glut of natural gas, and the fact that the Obama EPA has continually kicked the coal industry in the nether regions have combined to put a serious damper on rail traffic in southwest Pennsylvania, causing one carrier’s revenues to drop by a whopping 22%. This is one of those cases when people mention “ancillary jobs” and it actually has meaning.
Two state lawmakers this week took a brave stand for larger government when they sued the Wolf Administration for closing the Public Employee Retirement Commission offices. The response from the Wolf Administration was “Did Not!” Ah, state government, you are an endless source of entertainment.
Following their House counterparts by a week, members of the Senate Transportation Committee began to look into the diversion of bridge and highway money for State Police operations. PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards told committee members that Pennsylvania has a tough time keeping up with highway maintenance needs with $755 million this year and $814 million next year leaking out of the Motor License Fund, which is supposed to be a constitutionally-protected haven for fuel tax revenue and license and registration fees. She said she and State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker will work together on a solution. Pray for them.
Meanwhile, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association released its annual report on how states are stacking up in terms of structurally deficient bridges. Since 2013, when Pennsylvania was first in the nation in the number AND percentage of structurally deficient bridges, we have now fallen clear down to – TA-DA – second in both categories. PROGRESS!
Governor Wolf this week welcomed SeaLand Atlantico to the friendly confines of the Packer Avenue shipping terminal in Philly, which will open up a new trade route from the northeastern U.S. into Mexico, and vise-versa. Donald Trump immediate announced he is building a massive wall at the Packer Avenue terminal.
If the governor has his way, the state’s casinos will be coughing up an estimated $50 million more a year in tax revenue for the state. Promotional money that casinos dole out to attract gamblers could be subject to a new tax Wolf proposed in him latest budget. To recap, an industry that produces $3 billion a year in direct state revenue and is taxed at 46% will now be paying even more. Maybe Sands Bethlehem should change its name to the Marcellus Shale Casino.
Speaking of the shale industry, the impact fee levied on drillers is yielding about 17% fewer dollars than last year, we learned this week. Fewer new well heads and historically cheap natural gas are putting a real crimp in the amount of gas money municipalities will get this year, which isn’t good news for local elected officials who have trouble balancing their budgets in the first place.
Pennsylvania is 5th in the nation in the existence of hate groups, according to a new report. Get your act together, Pennsylvania. Sometimes it is good to rank 50th in something other than job creation.
If one spends any time reading the comment section of PennLive.com, you would think that every single legislator is in peril of being tossed out by the voters this year for a whole host of transgressions, real or imagined. But as the state’s election filing deadline whooshed past, it became clear that over 100 State Representatives and Senators will have no campaign opposition, which blows that theory to smithereens.
As a testament to the power of the state’s Film Tax Credit, check out this handy list of the best movies made in Pittsburgh. In fairness, we will note that the best movie ever filmed in the city was done pre-FTC, the timeless “Fish that Saved Pittsburgh.” Doctor J in the old Civic Arena? Priceless!
Shameless Client Alert! Say hello to Philadelphia City Council’s new CFO, Matt Stitt. At the ripe old age of 28, Matt will be running the fiscal ship of council. Best of luck Matt!
Shameless Client Plug number 2! Check out this video of NASCAR’s Danica Patrick going undercover as a Lyft driver! You can see Danica in person on June 5th at Pocono Raceway! Wait, Pocono and Lyft in the same sentence? Two, two, TWO client plugs at once!
In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we are truly thrilled to bring you the heartwarming tale of a man arrested in Wal-Mart (seriously, where else?) for urinating on the floor while simultaneously shoving a dead trout down his pants. Is that a fish in your pants, or are you just happy to see us?
That’s what passes for news around here on this pre-Daytona 500 Friday! Make sure to check back with us next week as the House and Senate begin holding budget hearings on a budget that was introduced before the last budget was completed! What?? Those whacky kids! From all of us at Triad, have a great weekend! Go fast, turn left!
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh