Friday Happy Hour- H.R. PufnStuf Edition
Friday Happy Hour: Doritos Edition

Friday Happy Hour- H.R. PufnStuf Edition

The annual CPAC conference descended on Washington D.C. this week as conservatives from across the land gathered to debate the issues of the day.  As a testament to how much the conservative movement has changed in the past few years, check out the CPAC panel on fair trade where a Breitbart News editor shared the stage with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz and they actually agreed. Hrpfnstuf 

The Tale of Two Pennsylvanias may have played out in the 2016 elections, but it is still on vivid display according to a poll released this week, where we found that President Donald Trump still has the confidence of voters in the southwestern and northeastern part of the state.  Elsewhere?  Yeah, not so much.

Trump also this week named retired General and Philly native H.R. McMaster as the new head of our country’s national security apparatus.  While the move earned plaudits from both sides of the aisle (an increasingly rare occurrence these days) we still can’t help but sing the theme song to H.R. PufnStuf every time we see his name.

Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. were also tested in the aforementioned poll, and acquitted themselves fairly well as they

head into their respective re-elections.  While their respective approval ratings ain’t exactly in the stratosphere, they are both well “above water” so to speak.  

Like swallows returning to Capistrano, lawmakers this week returned to the state capitol to begin the annual state budget hearings- a delicate dollar dance between the Governor’s team and the legislature.  At the center of the debate will once again be Pennsylvania’s budget deficit, which has become as much of a fixture in the state as the Liberty Bell.

The Mariner Two pipeline is all systems go, we learned this week.  The 350-mile natural gas pipeline will go through 17 counties and cost a cool $2.5 billion to build.  As we have written previously in this very space: it doesn’t make much sense to have all this delicious natural gas if we can’t get it to market anywhere.

The race is on for a limited supply of licenses to grow/process and distribute medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, so act now!  Space is limited and the clock is ticking!  Do not get left behind!

The calls for redistricting reform are once again echoing throughout the hallways of Harrisburg, with a bipartisan cadre of lawmakers looking to change the way legislative and Congressional seats are redrawn every ten years.  If you think Pennsylvania doesn’t have a slight Gerrymandering problem, we would invite you to check out the shape of some of our Congressional districts. 

There is an above-average chance that Pennsylvania will finally boost its minimum wage soon, at least according to some GOP lawmakers.  The fact the we mention “GOP lawmakers” is because they pretty much run the entire operation these days, and there is exactly no chance it will happen without them. 

One of Governor Wolf’s budget priorities this year is to get municipalities who do not have their own police forces to pony up twenty-five bucks per person or stop using the State Police as their own personal force.  Remarkably, the plan has already run into opposition from some who prefer that their lunches remain free.  So here is a handy calculator from Pennlive.com that you can use to see how much you pay for your local police.  Hint: IT IS MORE THAN TWENTY-FIVE MEASLY BUCKS!  We are all in this together, people.

Pennsylvania’s tourism efforts may end up getting a $6 million boost in this year’s budget, at least if the governor gets his way.  Tourism, for the uninformed, is still the state’s top industry, although don’t say that in front of a farmer or you might get whacked upside the head with a hoe.

Lawmakers spent most of the day Monday hearing about the health of the state’s two public pension systems, which are carrying a combined $60 billion in unfunded liabilities.  The topic of pension reform will no doubt re-emerge this year, although as we have learned in years past, the solutions don’t begin to address the problem.  Most “reform” plans are akin to changing the tires on your car when your microwave oven breaks.  It might make you feel good, but it is not gonna fix your microwave. 

Lawmakers this week also got to hear from the chancellor for the State System of Higher Education, and learned that his office is launching a study to find ways to keep state schools from going bankrupt or closing entirely.  Falling enrollment is apparently a very serious concern all of the sudden, and everyone wants to try to figure out why it is happening. We have a theory. Falling state support = higher tuition = declining enrollment.  Does that equation work?   

Governor Wolf this week announced that four regional airports will be getting some state cash for  much-needed infrastructure updates.  The money is coming from the Act 89 multi-modal fund, proving once again that Act 89 was a brilliant bipartisan piece of legislation. 

We would be remiss if we did not mention this week that the Special Election to fill a vacant House district in Philadelphia is coming up, and despite having an 85% to 15% registration advantage, the Democrats may just lose the seat because their candidate just got booted off the ballot.  You know the old saying: when it rains, it pours.  Molten lava.

Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to Magellan Health for being named one of Fortune Magazine’s most admired companies, landing in the top five for health care companies in the entire nation. Great work!  

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, it turns out that there are seven earth-like planets just thirty-nine light years from us, according the NASA.  So, for those who promised to leave the country if President Trump were elected, you may be able to go one step farther and leave the entire planet.  

That’s what passes for news around here on a positively resplendent Friday.  We hope you come back next week, because we can get awfully lonely.  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, issues management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

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