Friday Happy Hour: Vodka Road Edition
Weekly Wrap Up- Christmas Rage Edition

Friday Happy Hour: Nativity Cow Edition

The nation’s eyes were fixed squarely on Alabama this week as Democrat Doug Jones shocked the political world by dumping Republican Roy Moore in a U.S. Senate special election.  F-cowwander-a-20171216 The fact that Jones was able to win a seat (albeit against a pretty flawed candidate, to be kind) in a state that President Trump carried by 28 points just a year ago gives a ray of hope to Democrats everywhere.  They got a name for the winners in the world…I want a name when I lose…  

Speaking of which, the next high profile special election will be for a Congressional seat in the Pittsburgh suburbs next year.  Welcome to the 18th, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. 

Meanwhile, the long-awaited tax cut/reform bill is limping toward the finish line in Washington, as GOP Congressional leaders this week announced they had struck a deal on language that no one has seen yet.  Enter Marco Rubio, who signaled he will be a NO vote if changes are not made.  Will December be the premier of The Revenge of Little Marco?  

It is pretty safe to bet that our own Bob Casey will not be voting in the affirmative on said tax bill, but he made other headlines this week when he called upon President Trump to resign, which will happen right about the time the earth crashes into the sun.

The FCC this week also made some serious waves when it reversed Obama-era regulations on the Internet, known as net neutrality.  If you want to know if you’ll be paying more (probably) and experiencing changes in download speeds (probably), check out this wrap up on the issue. 

As an aside, it is pretty astounding that the FCC would make a move that is opposed by 83% of the public, including three in four registered Republicans. 

Back here in frosty Pennsylvania (who stole the sun, anyway?) the second day of testimony was held in the gerrymandering lawsuit, a case that could have massive implications on how Congressional maps are drawn.  What is clear is that unlike decades ago where a handful of people in the entire state had any idea how to draw a map, any shmoe with a laptop can now make a pretty credible version.  

As is often the case in these parts, the final week of legislative Session had a flurry of action on lots of bills that had been dormant all year, only to lurch back to life in the final hours.  The Chief Lurcher this week was the hotly-debated 20-week abortion ban in Pennsylvania. The House overwhelmingly passed the bill, which will soon be overwhelmingly vetoed by Governor Wolf.

The House this week also took up the so-called Paycheck Protection bill, which would prohibit the government from deducting political cash from workers paychecks.  And by “took up” we mean “dumped it in the river” as the bill failed 90-102.  Seeing a bill fail on the House Floor is about as common as seeing the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs. 

Governor Wolf this week signed the state reauthorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while Congress continues to ignore the fact that the federal version expired months ago, threatening health care coverage for 9 million children.  But, you know, MASSIVE TAX CUTS!   

The State House this week also narrowly defeated a maneuver to call up a vote on the severance tax bill, failing by a single vote.  Getting a vote on that bugger is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.   

The House also passed a six-bill package on Monday that would reform the way the state does its annual budget fandango, because really, who can argue that the process MIGHT just not be working the way it was intended? Whether or not these bills are the right tonic for the disease remains to be seen.

Pennsylvania is on track to end the fiscal year with a modest (and we mean MODEST) budget surplus for the first time since The Reconstruction. Officials are estimating that we will have as much as $80 million in the piggy bank, which should ensure that next year’s budget doesn’t again stretch into October.  Bwaaaaaahahahahaha!  We can’t believe we actually typed that sentence. 

Philadelphia City Council this week was quite the busy place, as members began the process of setting the table for the new School Board, which will replace the School Reform Commission. Then comes the fun part: actually putting a board in place. 

Also in council, what should have been the fairly easy task of passing regulations governing stop-and-go liquor establishments in the city became a wild west show, as tempers flared over whether or not to allow such places to have bulletproof glass.  It is kind of amazing we even have to have that particular discussion, but as a wise man once said, “We are where we are.”

In our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we drive back down to Philly where a cow was spotted wandering around I-95.  You read that correctly.  Stormy the Nativity Cow apparently decided to leave the scene and do some sightseeing, almost causing an udder catastrophe. 

That’s what passes for news around here as we prepare to put a bow on 2017.  Next week will be our last weekly wrap until 2018, so we will try to make it a good one!  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

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