President Barack Obama this week announced he has chosen U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Garland’s reception was less than hospitable, to put it kindly, as Senate GOP leaders vowed not only to never hold confirmation hearings, but to never speak to Garland, period. We think the latter may be a bit much, but one thing is for certain: if a Democrat wins the White House in November, we have a sneaking suspicion that Garland’s chances might vastly improve
Fresh off his victory in the Ohio G.O.P. Presidential primary, Governor John Kasich got a boost in Pennsylvania this week as surrogates for the Marco Rubio campaign dropped their court challenge to Kasich’s petitions, meaning he will be on the April 26th ballot in the Keystone State. Rubio, meanwhile, disappeared into the ether after he realized that his overwhelming victory in Puerto Rico was not really translating into support anywhere else.
Meanwhile in Trumpland, the hacking group Anonymous has declared an all-out cyber war on the billionaire GOP frontrunner. Trump responded by asserting that he has seen way better Guy Fawkes masks, adding that Anonymous once asked him for his endorsement and is, in fact, a loser. A big, fat loser.
The House and Senate this week passed a $30 billion supplemental spending plan that they hoped would finally close out the nine-month budget standoff and set the stage for the next nine-month budget standoff. The plan included no new taxes, increases in education spending, and some other sundry items, we are sure. If this all sounds familiar, congratulations on your attention span. Ours left us a long time ago.
Before the bill ever even hit his desk, Governor Wolf pledged to veto it, which should also sound awfully familiar to those of you playing along at home. However, we should note that several days have now passed sans veto, so a glimmer of hope remains that this sordid tale might come to a merciful end. There is only enough room for the basketball version of March Madness around here, we don’t need more of it from the Capitol building.
Supporters of medicinal marijuana legalization finally saw their dreams come true on Wednesday when the State House voted overwhelmingly in favor of SB 3. The bill bounces back to the Senate for concurrence before it sails off to a very eager Governor Wolf. See kids, bipartisanship still exists!
Reform continued to be the order of the day in Harrisburg this week, as Governor Wolf unveiled a plan to cap campaign spending and bring a whole new level of transparency to state government. Campaign finance reform hasn’t gotten a serious push from the legislature in decades, so we shall see if that dog will finally hunt in this era of general government disdain.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle this week unveiled their own plan for reform, this one aimed at changing the way the Congressional and legislative maps are drawn every ten years. Redistricting reform, not unlike campaign finance reform, has been a tough nut to crack in the Keystone State. This is likely because those who run the state also run the map-making process. Nobody likes to unilaterally disarm in this business.
New Jersey voters will head to the polls in November and decide whether or not to allow casinos to be built outside of Atlantic City. Apparently, the Garden State is tired of the Pennsylvania gaming industry eating its collective lunch, and wants to bring the fight for gaming dollars a little closer to our borders.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s plan to levy a sugary drink tax to pay for Pre-K and a host of other goodies stumbled out of the gate a bit this week, as the Administration scrambled to clarify how large the levy would be and to which products it would apply. We would point out to opponents that this is the first inning of a very long game, so giving up a run or two now isn’t a big deal.
SEPTA reported this week that they are in discussions with ride sharing companies about partnering to enhance transit option in southeastern Pennsylvania. So while opponents of ride sharing keep up the fantasy that they can regulate it out of existence in the Halls of Harrisburg, the market seems to be singing an entirely different tune.
Pennsylvania skies are being overrun by drones, and that has regulators panicking a bit. We at Triad, however, are preparing the Beta test our new “lobbying by drone” program. If we could only get them to open the roof on the Rotunda, it would work much better, admittedly.
Governor Wolf is now in the unusual position of having to nominate a new Supreme Court justice now that Judge Michael Eakin has resigned. Here is to hoping it all goes a little smoother than the Merrick Garland dumpster fire unfolding in Washington, D.C. http://abc27.com/2016/03/15/mechanicsburgs-eakin-retires-from-pa-supreme-court/
The state Republican Party is suing Democratic Candidate Katie McGinty, we learned this week. Apparently, the GOP is pretty sure that McGinty’s campaign is coordinating with a nonprofit, which is a campaign no-no that happens all over the country every single day.
This bump in the campaign road does not seem to have fazed U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., who this week endorsed McGinty, adding to her already-impressive endorsement list. We will be interested to see if they make a dime’s difference when all is said and done.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Pittsburgh, where a man walked into a pizza shop and began throwing objects at the employees because his pizza delivery was tardy. You know, we love pizza as much as the next guy, but throwing objects at those who are making your pizza is never a good idea, unless you ordered one with pepperoni, sausage and random saliva.
That’s what passes for news around here as the Commonwealth plays another round of “veto or no veto.” We will be back next week with that answer, plus other amazing tidbits of information you may or may not need. From 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