Welcome to the final weekly wrap-up of 2016, which has been an especially brutal year if you happen to be famous. The final week of 2016 saw the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, which marked the official end of our childhood. However, we’ve read all the Tweets and Facebook posts from the last few days and we have some bad news: celebrities will also die in 2017. Death does not recognize the Gregorian Calendar.
President-Elect Donald Trump this week announced that Sprint will be returning five thousand jobs to the good old United States next year. We don’t remember why those jobs left in the first place, but hey, great news!
One of Trump’s transition team members took to Fox News this week to assure organized labor that he will not be launching a war on unions. Our good friend Bud Jackson was – ahem – rather circumspect about that claim. Check it out here.
2016 will end on a happy note for the faculty at the State System of Higher Education, who this week inked a contract after a year of acrimony and a brief walkout. Happy New Year to all of them!
It was a decidedly unhappy 2016 for five hundred state employees who man the Unemployment Compensation call centers, as they lost their jobs over a General Assembly/Wolf Administration squabble over funding. If your 2017 resolution includes being more charitable, you might want to keep these five hundred families in mind.
Pundits are already floating the idea that 2017 will be much more difficult for Governor Wolf to achieve his goals as he faces a General Assembly that has a lot more Republican members. We are not sure how much more difficult things can get, it is not like there were thousands of Kumbaya moments in the past two years.
2017 will see the end of the state’s popular Keystone Opportunity Zone program, as the state’s chronic budget deficits have sapped the resources necessary for the program to continue. This is not terribly good news for towns seeking the tax-free KOZ designation so that they may revitalize their business districts. Budget deficits have consequences, it would appear. Who knew?
It was a banner year for our friends at the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, as they quietly and effectively backed all the right horses in the elections. Not too many groups endorsed Donald Trump for President while also picking Josh Shapiro for Attorney General. Check out their year in review here.
If you want to know which central Pennsylvania counties will host medical marijuana dispensaries when the law is fully enacted next year, we have them right here. The real race, of course, will be for the grower/processor licenses, and expect that competition to be pretty fierce. Everyone who has ever grown pot in their dorm closet seems to think they are qualified to have a license.
A report this week showed that when it comes to electoral competitiveness, Pennsylvania ranks right near the bottom of the pack. Our creatively drawn Congressional seats (we are being kind over here) are the driving force behind our poor showing. It has been quite a while since we had a bunch of competitive elections for Congress in this Commonwealth, that is for sure. Usually we get one good one and a bunch of snooze-fests.
We ran across a story this week highlighting the five new laws passed in 2016 that could “change your life” in 2017 (their words, not ours.) If buying six-packs at a beer distributor qualifies as a life-changing event, maybe we should all reconsider our priorities. Yeah, it will be nice and all, but it won’t make us a more enlightened species.
Pennsylvania is laying claim to $23 million from the feds designed to help companies build out broadband in rural areas. Apparently, Verizon doesn’t really want the money, but more specifically, doesn’t want that string attached. If you take the cash, you might actually have to build it.
Starting a year from now, your Pennsylvania driver’s license may no longer be a valid form of identification for federal facilities and air travel. Pennsylvania is one of the states that declined to comply with the federal REAL ID law, and therefore, the feds are going to make life miserable for all of us because of it. Let’s hope 2017 is chock full of sanity and this thing gets fixed.
Because we are endlessly fascinated by driverless vehicles, we bring you this report from Scotland, where the government is forecasting a future with zero auto emissions as well as the end of parking spaces. Scottish city planners are positively salivating at the possibilities.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to a Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, where unsuspecting worshippers opened their hymnals not to the traditional “Hail Mary”, but instead to deceased rapper Tupac Shakur version of “Hail Mary”. For those unfamiliar with Shakur’s version, we assure you it is not fit for a Christmas Mass. Or any Mass, really.
That is what passes for news around here on this final week of 2016. We will be back next week with all the comings, goings, myths, rumors and innuendo we can find. From all of us at Triad Strategies, have a great weekend and a safe New Year’s Eve!
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