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October 2016

Friday Happy Hour: Grand Finale Edition

Grand_finale1

As political candidates at every level brace for the stretch run, we learned this week that Hillary Clinton’s national lead over Donald Trump has narrowed a bit.  Clinton now leads by around four points according to the liberal, corrupt mainstream media members who are working overtime to steal the election for her.

One place Team Clinton can find solace is here in the Keystone State, her firewall against The Donald. A recent poll shows her leading by an astounding 38 points in the Philly suburbs.  Of course, drive west of Harrisburg and you will see more Trump signs along the roadways than dead deer carcasses.  

Of course, all of this could change in a heartbeat, as reports surfaced today that the FBI is re-opening its investigation into Clinton’s e-mails.  Hey everyone, it is October.  Surprise! Should Hillary be elected, we fully expect the first House impeachment vote to occur in February, 2017. 

If you have any interest at all in what else is on the electoral slate this November, Pennlive.com has a nifty, newfangled slide show designed to get you up to speed on all of it, as well as capture some click-through ad revenue.  Because we all love slide shows. 

The General Assembly this week wrapped up its business (maybe, sort of) by honoring their commitment to fight the opioid epidemic alongside Governor Tom Wolf. Tough new measures designed at stemming the availability of opioids were sent to the governor, and we applaud the bipartisan spirit on display all week.

One rascal that escaped passage was pension reform, to the shock of absolutely nobody.  Even though the Senate seemed poised to act, the House could not cobble together the votes to follow suit, so into the ether it went.  Before we all write the effort off as fruitless, we would politely remind you all of two words; sine die. In Latin, those words mean “without day.”  In Harrisburg, they mean something entirely different.  Welcome back friends to the show that never ends.

The House and Senate also overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure that would protect the identity of a police officer involved in a shooting until either thirty days have passed or an investigation is complete, whichever comes first.  In the era of cell instant communication, this does not seem like a lot to ask for the protection of our public servants. 

More news on the bipartisan front as the House and Senate finally agreed on a plan to legalize and regulate (oh, and tax) ride sharing companies. In honor of this momentous occasion, Lyft celebrated by hiring New England Patriot Tight End Rob Gronkowski. No, seriously. 

Beer drinkers, and specifically the licensed distributors who serve them, were also big winners this week and a measure allowing six pack sales at distributors was sent to the governor. In Pennsylvania, tinkering with liquor laws is a sport.

A day after the state senate was unable to cobble the votes together to fix the local share provision of the state’s casino law AND make good on the commitment to legalize Internet Gaming, along came the House on Thursday, turning the entire issue on its head by swiftly doing both.  We can’t help but hear those words again…Sine die.

There were an estimated 44,000 other big winners this week, as the House, Senate, organized labor and the business lobby all came together to expand unemployment compensation rights for those folks.  The plan also ensures the solvency of the UC Fund in PA, and to say this was the signature bipartisan moment of the year would be quite the understatement. Dog and cats, living together!

This is your weekly reminder that no, the voting machines in Pennsylvania will not be hacked.  The vote will be fine, and you can all stop hyperventilating.  Voting machines in this state are not even connected to the Internet, so the Russians would have to actually walk into your polling place and steal the machines.

If you wonder why your Turnpike tolls seem to go up every year, you may want to refer to this piece we ran across this week about Turnpike toll dodgers, a problem being addressed by the General Assembly.  One trucking company alone last year didn’t pay 467 tolls, totally over $21,000.  This is not a victim-less crime people.  Pay your tolls.

As the drama on the Hill unfolded this week, your state Department of Health keeps quietly rolling along in the implementation of the new medical marijuana law, we learned this week.  Government that works, folks!

That’s what passes for news around here as we turn our focus to November 8th.  Make sure to check back next week when we can digest all the bill signing and bill vetoing that will likely happen very soon.  Until then, 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


Friday Happy Hour: Home Stretch Edition

That massive sigh of relief you heard around 11:00 PM Wednesday was the nation, thankful that all three Presidential debates/UFC fights are now behind us.  Now we can all focus not Finish (002)destroying our television sets before November 9th.  We are Triad Strategies, and we approved this message.

If you were on Twitter during the debate, we hope you had a chance to follow The Onion (the nation’s finest news source) for their live Tweeting of the debacle, er, debate.  If you didn’t, check out the highlights here!

Both Presidential candidates did get to lay out their respective tax plans to the American people on Wednesday, and to see how either of those plans would affect you and your wallet we have a short summary courtesy of Philly.com.  Of course, please keep in mind that neither of these plans have any chance whatsoever to become law, so there’s that.

The first and only debate between Senator Pat Toomey and his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty also happened this week, albeit with a bit less fanfare. If you didn’t watch it, we have a short summary:  McGinty is a shady millionaire lobbyist and Pat Toomey is Donald Trump’s long lost twin brother.  Hey, by the way, can we all agree to stop using the word “lobbyist” like it’s the plague?   

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Happy Hour: The Ken Bone Edition

We begin our Friday wrap-up this week with a bit of sad news.  Our friend and longtime Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Tom Barnes passed away this week.  Tom was a consummate Ken-bone-sexy-halloween-costume professional, a fantastic journalist and an all-around great guy.  Our condolences go out to his family and friends.   

Now back to the roaring dumpster fire that is our nation’s Presidential campaign. The 2nd debate was held Sunday night, and it was…dreadful.  To say we have reached the lowest point possible in our national political dialogue would be a disservice to both campaigns.  We are sure they have more holes to dig. But, read about it here if you must.  Just don’t do it on an empty stomach.

You know it is a bad week when your campaign needs to stop long enough for you to threaten to sue the New York TimesDonald Trump found himself doing just that this week, and the response from the venerable Times was, in a nutshell: “Please sue us.  Please.”

Meanwhile, relentless self-promoter Julian Assange this week continued to trickle out e-mails meant to derail Hillary Clinton’s dream of occupying the Oval Office.  For a man holed up in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy to shield himself from a rape charge, he sure does get around.  The Clinton camp has been relegated to playing the role of watching shoe after shoe drop and drinking Maalox by the gallon.  

Ivanka Trump and Mike Pence continued their quest to become Pennsylvania residents this week, swinging through southeastern Pennsylvania to talk about something or another.

And Chelsea Clinton is campaigning in Pittsburgh today, talking about something or another.  There, that is all the Clinton/Trump news we can muster today.

Speaking of the Steel City, President Obama came to Carnegie Mellon University this week as part of his administration’s White House Frontiers initiative, which is promoting new technological advances in a multitude of public policy areas.  For the Wonk-in-Chief, there is no place like CMU!

And of course, no discussion of technology in Pittsburgh would be complete if we didn’t discuss the Steel City’s commitment to leading the nation in the development of autonomous vehicles.  Baby you can drive my car!

Speaking of driving, your Pennsylvania driver’s license may soon not be a valid form of ID when attempting to board an airplane.  Yeah, that won’t throw this state’s airports into utter chaos or anything.  Somebody needs to get on this problem, stat.

The state has been working on updating its rules regarding shale well drilling since 2011.  After more fits and starts than we can even recall or care to mention, those rules finally emerged from our byzantine regulatory process to take effect a few weeks ago.  And now, the drilling industry has sued to block those rules from taking effect.  Just when you thought it was safe to begin ignoring this issue…whappo! It will never, ever go away.  Gas drilling rules are the Rasputin of Pennsylvania public policy.

Speaking of public policy debates that will never end, a central PA state senate race has become contentious over the issue of property tax elimination.  Once again, we would remind readers that the chances of the state ever eliminating property taxes are roughly the same as the earth crashing into Venus.  So move along, people.  Nothing to see here. 

The state’s voter registration deadline came and went this week, and the final partisan breakdown shows the Democrats with roughly a million-vote advantage over the GOP.  This means, well, nothing in the Grand Scheme, as only about 3.5 million of the 8.4 million registered voters in this state are actually gonna show up in November, regardless of how many times Jimmy Fallon reminds them to vote.

The State House this week may take up (among 5,000 other issues) changes to the state’s law governing poll watchers.  You know, maybe four weeks before an election might not be the best time frame to begin noodling around with the system.  Just a thought.   You might want to give these changes a test drive in an off year election, when decidedly fewer of the aforementioned 8.4 million will actually go to the polls.

Small medical marijuana growers from other states are expressing concern that when Pennsylvania’s regulatory framework is finalized, they may be shut out of the game by much larger, industrial-sized growers.  We fondly recall the days before the fracking frenzy hit Pennsylvania, when every small energy company was going to make a fortune.  Then the major international energy companies swooped in and said “Yeah, go away.  We got this.”

In case you had not been formally notified, there is a race for Pennsylvania State Treasurer on the ballot in November.  State Treasurer is an important job, so we thought we would point this out now, since the Presidential noise is going to make it impossible for you to hear anything about this down-ballot race. Do some research, people.  Be informed. 

Because we spent most of this missive being relentlessly disgusted and sarcastic, we would like to close up shop by lightening the mood a bit.  Here is a video of a North Penn High School female football player absolutely leveling a much larger male opponent.  #WeAreWithHer.  

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, celebrity undecided voter Kenneth Bone has spawned a whole laundry list of Halloween costumes including, inexplicably, a “sexy undecided voter/Kenneth Bone” ensemble.  We are all doomed, folks.  See you on the other side.

That’s what passes for news around here on a crisp, cool Friday in Harrisburg.  The General Assembly returns next week to wrap up their two-year run, so stay tuned!  We will be here to cover all of it, because that is what we do around here!  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


Friday Happy Hour: Big Soda Edition

Our thoughts and prayers go out this week for the millions of Americans who find themselves in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  We would also like to take this opportunity to point Pouring-sugar-out-of-soda-canout that Matt Drudge is the Idiot of the Day after suggesting that the government is hyping the severity of the storm to gain support for climate change action.  Seriously, Matt.  You need to sit this one out.  

A trio of new polls released this week showed that Hillary Clinton seems to be tightening her grip on Pennsylvania’s twenty electoral votes, which would all but foreclose any real path to the White House for Donald Trump.  Pennsylvania is earning its nickname this cycle for sure.  Take that, Ohio.  

And speaking of polls, Katie McGinty has either established a 6-point stranglehold on the race for U.S. Senate, or Pat Toomey is blowing her out by an 8-point margin.  Those were the conclusions from two polls released within two days of each other this week.  Thus, having learned absolutely nothing, we apologize for even mentioning it.

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Brendan Schubert Joins Triad Strategies

Former Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) Manager of External Affairs Brendan Schubert has joined Triad Strategies, a Harrisburg-based lobbying and strategic Schubertcommunications firm.   He will be an associate located in Triad’s Pittsburgh office, servicing clients all across the Commonwealth. 

“Brendan brings solid relationships, a keen understanding of economic development in various levels of government, and a unique skill set combing government affairs and strategic communications,” said Triad President Roy Wells.

Brendan’s background prior to PWSA includes a position with the City of Pittsburgh’s Planning Department, working on special projects and the zoning board cases, which included intense development of the Golden Triangle, the Strip District, South Side and the North Shore. He also worked with the State House of Representatives as a legislative assistant from 2006 to 2007. His focus was primarily policy and the administration of state grants.

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