Friday Happy Hour: Less Than Zero Edition
Friday Happy Hour- H.R. PufnStuf Edition

Friday Happy Hour- Feel Like Dancing Edition

He was pilloried again on Saturday Night Live, his national security adviser resigned, his labor secretary nominee withdrew, new allegations arose about his coziness with the Russians, Russia and North Korea launched missiles, the White House leaks like a proverbial sieve, and now Republicans in Congress are beginning to grumble. DiscoballThe week culminated with a news conference at which President Trump asserted that his administration was “running like a fine-tuned machine.” We’ll dance around that and call it “a less-than-stellar week” for the president.

On the brighter side, his administration’s proposed rules regarding the Affordable Care Act drew a positive reaction in some quarters. Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel Hilferty said the rules designed to stabilize the individual health care market are a good start. IBC was the only company to offer ACA plans in southeastern Pennsylvania this year.

Despite reports that he had been killed in Vietnam by his own troops, Douglas C. Niedermeyer resurfaced under the nom de plume of Stephen Miller, senior

Trump policy adviser. Miller made the rounds on the Sunday morning public affairs programs to reprise his boss’s voter fraud claims.

Closer to home, the PA Department of Environmental Protection approved permits that would allow Sunoco Logistics to proceed with building its 300-mile Mariner East pipeline that is to traverse southern Pennsylvania from the Ohio border all the way to Marcus Hook. Environmental groups immediately appealed because, you know, shipping petroleum via rail car is WAY better.

A Gettysburg man was charged with multiple counts for allegedly vandalizing parts of the Capitol building with a fire extinguisher early Sunday after a night of partying and fighting with his girlfriend in The ‘Burg. The damage resulted in the Senate being closed on Monday.

Philadelphia’s attempt to get an expedited state Supreme Court review of the city’s sweetened beverage tax was denied, not surprisingly to many. The city had hoped a quick decision would allow it to proceed more quickly with the programs the tax was enacted to fund, including prekindergarten expansion and a renovation of many of the city's parks and recreation centers. The case remains in Commonwealth Court for now.

Governor Wolf pitched his proposal to increase early childhood education funding by $75 million, allowing more than 8,400 three and four-year-olds to enroll in high quality programs that are subsidized for low-income families.

At the other end of the educational spectrum The Guv wants to trim a state grant program for private colleges and universities by half. Such hard decisions are why he makes the big bucks. Oh wait, he’s not taking a salary for this gig…

The issue of how municipalities pay for police coverage seems to have gained considerable traction. PennLive told the tale of Pennsylvania’s two largest municipalities that do not have local police coverage, despite having median incomes above the state average.

In a related story, the Associated Press reported that Governor Wolf’s proposal to charge $25 per person per year in municipalities that rely on State Police coverage instead of local police coverage is about one-tenth of the average actual cost of police coverage across the state.

Beaver County Democratic Rep. Rob Matzie introduced legislation this week that would pave the way for sports betting in Pennsylvania. The measure would allow betting in all licensed casinos across the state.

Northampton County is proceeding with a bridge-bundling approach to replacing 33 county-owned spans in the next three years. It is believed to be the first county-level public-private partnership project in the country.

Our We Can’t Make This Up feature this week swoops in from Atlanta, where the city’s zoo named a cockroach after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the result of losing a bet with a Rhode Island zoo. Wait a minute, who exactly lost this bet???

Finally, a shout out to the students of Pennsylvania State University as they coalesce this weekend around THON, a 46-hour dance extravaganza that raises a boatload of dinero for the Four Diamonds Fund, which provides financial and medical assistance to children with pediatric cancer and their families. PSU students learn earlier than most about the importance of making our world a better place.

And that’s what passes for news around here this week. Have a relaxing Presidents’ Day weekend, and we’ll be back next week with a whole new song and dance!

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

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