Meet Team Triad: Yvonne Roberts
Advice to Sandusky's Lawyer: Again, Shut the Hell Up

Happy Hour Turkey Day Edition

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The Super Congress Debt Killing Super Committee fell flat on its legislative rump this week, to the shock of two people living in Dubai.  Absent legislative action, the federal budget is now staring down the barrel of significant automatic cuts in both domestic and military spending.  Cue the hand-wringing. 

Governor Tom Corbett this week defended the House-passed version of the Marcellus Shale impact fee legislation, and in doing so, did what his critics never believed possible: he stared down Washington D.C anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.  Norquist says the bill is a tax increase.  Corbett says he is not really too concerned what Norquist thinks.   

The Delaware River Basin Commission this week postponed a vote on its shale drilling regulations amid speculation that some members of the panel were poised to vote “no.”  This makes the commission the regulatory equivalent of the Super Congress Debt Killing Super Committee.  Rumors are that the DRBC has called in Tim Tebow to see if he can get the package across the goal line with moments to spare. 

In a somewhat surprising development, the lawmakers in the House this week made a move to include charter and cyber charter school teachers in proposed new teacher evaluation standards.  The reaction from the charter community was, as expected, less than enthusiastic.  Yeah, it is not like those institutions have teachers who are paid with tax dollars, and therefore should…oh, wait.  Yeah, we guess they do.  Sorry, scratch that.  Moving right along…

In other education news, Pennsylvania is poised to jump into the next round of the Race to the Top competition for $200 million in loot.  As astute readers may recall, Pennsylvania entered the same contest last year, and walked away with no loot, but instead received a lovely set of used Rosetta Stone language learning CDs. We’ll be tracking the developments this year to see if we can successfully avoid being voted off the education island again.

If there is ever any chance that the state will divest itself of the booze business, it was always clear that cracking the opposition by social conservatives would be key to winning the day.  That reality may have moved a bit closer this week as we learned that Lancaster County ACTION — Americans for Christian Traditions in Our Nation — has endorsed HB11, the House liquor privatization bill.  Now this obviously doesn’t mean that Pat Robertson is on his way to the State Capitol to endorse the plan, but this is a significant crack in the dike. 

A Senate GOP plan to change the way Pennsylvania awards its Presidential Electoral Votes to a Congressional district allocation system has, at least for now, gone off the rails in the General Assembly.  Thus far, it looks like the plan has fallen victim to a packed legislative calendar that has limited space left for controversial big-ticket items like this one.  Or a comprehensive transportation funding solution, for that matter, which would seem to be slightly more urgent.   

Governor Corbett this week fired a shot across the bows of the U.S.S. UPMC and the U.S.S. Highmark, making it very clear that he is willing to become much more engaged in their very nasty, very public divorce out in western Pennsylvania.  Here is a free word of caution to the two health care giants: probably the very last thing you want at this point is the General Assembly and the Governor to pop your hoods and start tinkering around.  You may wanna put away the long knives and come to some amicable agreement before you are forced to do it at the barrel of a legislative gun.  Or, don’t.  Your call.

Former State Rep. Sam Rohrer this week became the 38thRepublican to formally announce a challenge to U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr.  This is shaping up to be a very interesting GOP Primary, as the ballot itself might end up being three pages long, with the ultimate winner toting around 12% of the total vote.   

And finally in our truncated Thanksgiving week version of the weekly wrap, Triad Client Direct Energy, (fresh off saving the Harrisburg Holiday parade) this week announced a new initiative to provide low-cost electricity to the families of Pittsburgh Public School children and their employees. Direct Energy is partnering with Pittsburgh Promise, a long-time favorite of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.  Check out the details here!  

We’re off to watch President Obama officially pardon this year’s Thanksgiving turkey, which seems rather hollow at this point since Texas Governor Rick Perry has announced he will respond by cooking two birds himself.  In the meantime, please jump on Twitter and follow the Triadvocate, as well as Triad’s mothership social media channels.  And while you are on Twitter, be a sport and help out #freesipp.  She needs a hand!

From all of us at Triad, have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

 

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