President Trump spent some time in Shanksville this week, commemorating the 9/11 attacks on our country. It was a good reminder for everyone that there was a time when we all came together in the face of unspeakable horror and put aside petty, partisan differences. #NeverForget.
Hurricane Florence roared ashore in the Carolinas this morning, bringing an estimated 10 trillion gallons of rain water with it. For reference purposes, that is the amount of rain that the Carolinas normally get over an eight-month period, instead of the three days the storm is expected to linger over the region. Our thoughts are with all those affected, including the first responders who left the Keystone State to lend a hand.
President Trump took to the Twitters this week to dispute the number of lives lost in Puerto Rico during last year’s devastating hurricanes. Trump blamed the “inflated numbers” on the Democrats. Reached for comment, the Democrats said “Huh? We did what now?”
The fall session in the General Assembly will likely be dominated by the question of how to bring justice to the victims of widespread Catholic clergy abuse in Pennsylvania. Talk of opening a window of opportunity for victims to sue has caused sharp divisions between supporters of the window and those who say it is unconstitutional. A tragic situation is about to become a very heated debate, so get ready.
Another issue that may see some life this fall is a plan to open up Pennsylvania’s primary elections to the 700,000 Pennsylvanians who are registered as Independents or to other third parties. Of course, amending election laws in Pennsylvania is about as easy as driving a toaster through a car wash. Everyone has their own ideas of what “reform” really means. For comparison, see “redistricting reform.”
For his part, Governor Wolf this week announced the formation of a new task force to help with the 2020 census. Wolf wants to ensure that every Pennsylvanian is accurately counted, probably because he is sick of seeing us lose a congressional seat or two every 10 years.
Despite moves to open up more competition for booze sales in Pennsylvania, the state’s Liquor Control Board posted record sales last year. Pennsylvanians dropped a cool $2.59 billion at state stores last year (we apparently like to drink around here), so if you ever question why some lawmakers want to sell the system, there are roughly 2.59 billion answers.
A group of civic-minded souls is suing the Commonwealth over what they call unbalanced budgets, which produced a weird scenario of the governor’s office and leaders of the opposition party in the General Assembly fighting on the same side. The complainants labeled the state’s budget process a “savage mess” which, while probably accurate, isn’t illegal. If messes were illegal, our desk would be in federal prison.
Governor Wolf’s gubernatorial rival, Scott Wagner, this week said that, if elected, he would sue drug makers over the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. It is probably a good thing there aren’t caps on damages in the state, or that effort would be a long run for a pretty short slide.
Lawmakers who like to hold town hall meetings in Pennsylvania continually discover one immutable truth: it doesn’t matter what you wanna talk about, the discussion will always land on property taxes. Residents of the Keystone State have now been conditioned to believe that eliminating school property taxes is as easy as posting a rant on Facebook and snapping one’s fingers. It remains inconceivable to them that the cure might be worse than the disease.
Some rural Pennsylvania counties are starting to see the economic benefit of medicinal marijuana growing, processing and dispensing, we learned this week. Not only is the new law bringing medical relief to thousands of people, it is also bringing employment. Is there nothing medical marijuana cannot do?
Amazon will make its long-awaited announcement on where HQ2 will land before the calendar changes to 2019, we learned this week. Could it come to Pennsylvania? Make sure to check out the Triadvocate on Monday, where our own Todd Brysiak will posit some thoughts on that subject.
Milton Hershey would have turned 161 years old yesterday. In his honor, Hersheypark is reportedly considering building a 220-feet high hypercoaster, which sounds cool as hell.
Governor Wolf this week reported $414,000 in income last year, prompting his running mate, John Fetterman, to continue his relentless Twitter attack on Scott Wagner for not releasing his tax returns.
Wagner, on the other hand, is pretty miffed that Governor Wolf seems a lot less interested in debates as then-candidate Wolf was in 2014. Wolf seems content to play some old-fashioned Dean Smith-style four-corners basketball until November.
Speaking of elections, all 203 state house and 25 state senate seats are also up for grabs in November, and PennLive’s John Micek this week gave us all a nice little lay-of-the-land for all who are interested in such things (and we know you are.) Check it out here.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Pittsburgh, where a bank robber forgot the first rule of bank robbery: make sure there is gas in your getaway car. That guy is what western Pennsylvanians refer to as a real jagoff.
That’s what passes for news around here as summer winds down and we wait with bated breath for the return of the General Assembly. Come back next week, when we will be ready and waiting with a full tank! From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!