President Barack Obama has spent almost his entire eight years in the White House without ever tasting the bitter tea that is a veto override. This week, that all came crashing down when Congress overwhelmingly dispatched his veto on a bill that will allow victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue foreign governments. Perhaps lost in all the hubbub is that the law also allows foreign government to sue us in return. If there is one thing we can all agree upon it is that this country does not have enough lawsuits. Thank you, Congress.
Michelle Obama appeared in Pittsburgh this week to rally millennial voters to the Clinton Camp. Because the event was not broadcast on Snapchat, no millennial actually heard or saw the speech. If a rally falls in the forest…
Mike Pence appeared in York this week to stump for the Trump ticket at a waste disposal and recycling warehouse. We are sure the press pool was thrilled with the choice of location. This may be the single toughest election cycle ever for journalists.
And along comes Luzerne County, the latest in a long line of counties that are being pointed to by the media as the “true bellwether” of how the Presidential election will go. Apparently, Luzerne has correctly backed every winning candidate since 1932. You know the old saying: As the Wyoming Valley goes, so goes the nation.
But as usual and with all apologies to Wilkes-Barre, all eyes will be on the turnout numbers in the City of Philadelphia in November, as they will likely dictate whether or not Donald Trump has a prayer of carrying the Keystone State. While he may carry Potter County by a 10-1 margin, a 400,000 vote Clinton plurality in the City of Brotherly Love will likely send him back to Trump Tower with a few nice parting gifts.
Governor Wolf this week addressed the General Assembly in joint session for the first time since his rather – ahem – direct talk about the last state budget debacle. This time around, Wolf spoke of the burgeoning heroin and opioid abuse problem gripping the Commonwealth. Lawmakers were, shall we say, much more receptive to the governor’s message.
But the big news this week came out of the Supreme Court, who threw the general Assembly’s fall schedule into chaos when it struck down two major laws. First came the decision to invalidate much of Act 13, the law that among other things established the impact fee on the natural gas drilling industry. The courts ruled several sections of the law unconstitutional, including zoning provisions. You will want to tune in next year when the General Assembly takes another crack at fixing (what’s left of) Act 13. It will be a hoot.
Then the courts ruled that the local share section of the state’s casino law was also unconstitutional, throwing host counties and municipalities into a state of apoplexy. Nothing gets the attention of local government officials like giant hole in their checkbooks. Unlike Act 13, this fix for this one may have to come sometime in October, and will be competing for legislative attention with a thousand other issues. Never put off until the fall what you could have done in July. You never know when the high court might come in and rain on you.
One of the aforementioned “thousand other things” the General Assembly intends to put to bed during its truncated October schedule is the final legalization of ride sharing in Pennsylvania. This cake has been baking a long time (to be extremely charitable) and October 17th looks like the day the House will finally get in the kitchen.
On a related note, here is a video of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz going undercover as a Lyft driver (shameless client plug alert!) Big Papi definitely has an acting career ahead after he hangs up his cleats.
PennDOT this week announced it has some major plans afoot to alleviate traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway. Unfortunately, none of those plans include adding four more lanes. Well, we will take what we can get at this point.
Monday will also mark a big day for transportation in the southeast, as the SEPTA regional rail schedule will finally return to normal. Expect the sales of Advil to drop dramatically in Philly and the surrounding counties.
Nine states this fall will allow their voters to decide on the further decriminalization of marijuana. While Pennsylvania policy makers are rightly thrilled about the recent passage of medical marijuana legalization, nine states may be about to whiz past them in their side view mirrors.
Governor Wolf this week joined an effort by the White House to expand paid sick leave across the country. We wonder if we may hear more about this idea next year, when Year Three of the Wolf Administration dawns?
Finally this week, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for President. Johnson said he was gratified by the endorsement before asking “Where is Chicago?”
Our friends at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine are poised to become stars of the small screen, we learned this week (another shameless client plug!) Check your local listings for “Life at Vet U” only on the Animal Planet Network.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Hollywood (big shock there, we know) where current and former stars of the Star Trek franchise have lined up against Donald Trump. The “Trek Against Trump” has their tasers set on…yeah, whatever. We are over this whole thing. If you lose Zoe Saldana, you’ve pretty much lost the election.
That’s what passes for news around here from the chilly banks of the mighty Susquehanna for this week. Make sure to join us next week to find out which law the Supreme Court may strike down next. Until then, for all your friends at triad, have a great weekend!
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