It was a big week – huge! – for President Trump, who delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress. Even the Washington Post had to acknowledge that he did well, and Republican leaders in Congress probably breathed a sigh of relief. The Fact Police, however, were not entirely kind.
Then there was that Russian thing, sticking to the administration like fly paper as it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions conversed with the Russian ambassador during the presidential campaign. Democrats, predictably, went bat-poop crazy, reminding us once again that we are eons away from any type of kumbaya moment in the nation’s capital.
Or anywhere else, apparently: despite a dearth of any evidence, the assertion that a bazillion folks voted illegally last year seems to have what Stephen Colbert used to call an element of “truthiness” to it. In other words, it may not be true, but it COULD be. Maybe. Because it sounds plausible. Under some circumstances. So, as the Pew Charitable Trust reports, bills to make voters jump through more hoops have been introduced in at least 20 states.
Back in Pennsylvania, two online gaming industry organizations released a report on how much revenue the Commonwealth could expect from, well, legalizing online gaming. And guess what? In addition to $126 million in upfront licensing fees, PA could get $46 million a year in taxes and a total of $426 million in the first five years. Just imagine the property tax relief we’d all get from that kind of moola!
State Rep. Rick Saccone of Allegheny County, a conservative Republican, became the first to launch a challenge to Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who has held the seat since 2006 and is seeking his third six-year term. Hard to believe the election is a mere 20 months away.
Ah, but before the week was out, Andrew Shecktor, a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention, unofficially said he would make an official announcement soon. At this rate, the sandbox could get a bit crowded.
At the moment, there are 14 universities in the PA State System of Higher Education. Several are experiencing lean times, and this week the Morning Call took a shot at explaining why some of them could wind up consolidating or closing.
Could Philly become the City of Businessly Love? Hmmmm. City Council President Darrell Clark introduced a measure that would create a Special Committee on Regulatory Review and Reform to streamline business regulations and make the city a friendlier venue for the business community. Greater Philly Chamber of Commerce President Rob Wonderling said he thinks that’s a pretty good idea.
Ever one to be prepared, Councilman Clarke called for hearings on how Philly might gird itself for the loss of federal funds and other punitive measures from a decidedly conservative administration that doesn’t have an affinity for things like “sanctuary cities.”
While we’re riffing on Philly, Pepsi announced that between 80 and 100 of its 423 employees in the region would be laid off, thanks to a 40 percent drop in sales, which the company attributes to the sweetened beverage tax. City officials accused the company of gamesmanship aimed at heading off enactment of similar taxes elsewhere.
Gov. Tom Wolf floated the idea of encouraging some state employees to take early retirement, which he said could save the state between $15 million and $16 million per year in payroll costs. The offer would be made only to workers who receive their pensions through the State Employee Retirement System, which would exclude teachers and police officers.
At a National Governors Association meeting last weekend, the Guv participated on a panel with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, where he encouraged President Trump to follow through with his focus on infrastructure to enable the nation to catch up.
Triad’s own Tony May weighed in on President Trump’s use of fear in establishing his administration’s brand. We could be wrong, but we’re under the impression that Tony isn’t all that impressed with the president’s approach.
PA Turnpike Commission Chair Sean Logan resigned that post to join the PA Gaming Control Board. His compensation will rise to $145,000 annually, a skosh more than the $28,500 he was making at the Turnpike.
As people way smarter than us try to figure out how to handle Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, one expert believes medical marijuana will help do just that. Dr. Bruce Nicholson, a pain management physician and member of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, said medical use of that drug provides 20 times the pain relief of aspirin, without the addictive properties.
Is it just us, or does the map of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana regions look like the last few Doritos in the bottom of the bowl???
And the Oscar goes to… Now, what else were we gonna pick for this week’s We Can’t Make This Up? “La La Land,” as it turns out, was not Best Picture, but rather where the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants were when they handed the envelopes to the award presenters. How do you think host Jimmy Kimmel saw it go down? Now you know.
And that’s what passes for news around here this week! From your pals at Triad, have a great weekend, and we’ll do it all again next week!
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