Let’s face it, we could give you the best weekly wrap of all time this week, but the only thing that matters to folks in the eastern part of the Commonwealth is what happens in Minneapolis this Sunday. To wit, we give you this video of Philadelphia City Council having an Eagles pep rally, lovingly filmed by our own Roy Wells.
Governor Tom Wolf will be in the Twin Cities rooting on the Eagles this week, but before y’all jump on your “wasteful spending” soapboxes, he is personally picking up the tab for the whole thing. So calm down, people.
Tuesday was President Trump’s first State of the Union address, and it clocked in at just under “incredibly lengthy.” When you are giving speeches that start to rival Bill Clinton’s in length, that may be an issue. Brevity is the soul of wit, so try to be a bit wittier, Mr. President.
If you are a Democrat and your name isn’t Joe Manchin, you probably ranked the speech somewhere below hot garbage. If you are a Republican not named Jeff Flake, you extolled the virtues of his soaring, pitch-perfect rhetoric. If you are the rest of us, you were probably somewhere in the middle. Here are the responses from the Incredible Shrinking PA Congressional Delegation, should you require proof.
One part of the speech that made our ears perk up was when Trump broadly outlined a $1.5 TRILLION (caps lock on for effect) infrastructure plan. That is, until we found out that of that $1.5 trillion, only about $200 billion will be federal dollars. The rest will be a mix of local and private investment, bitcoins, and wampum, for all we know. Details are emerging.
Congressman Devin Nunes is becoming a household name this week as he commandeered his House Intelligence Committee into voting to release his own memo about FBI misdeeds, dropping it into the eager lap of the president. The FBI and Justice Department are less than pleased, as they don’t really like to see classified information thrown around like candy at a parade.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is teaming up with some Pittsburgh techies to use the Darknet to track down drug traffickers, we learned this week. We don’t know what the Darknet is, but it sounds pretty awesome, and apparently Pittsburgh’s denizens are experts in the field, proving once again that Pittsburgh is awesome.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey joined his colleague Pat Toomey by voting in favor of Congress’ latest 20-week abortion ban bill, infuriating the six Democrats left in the state who don’t yet know Casey’s position on abortion. C’mon people, he’s been pro-life for just shy of six decades now. These must be the same people who were shocked that Toomey voted for tax cuts.
Don’t look now, but the number of retiring state and federal GOP officeholders in the southeastern part of the state is starting to look eerily like some sort of trend. There must be a reason, we just can’t think of one. DM us if you have any thoughts.
State lawmakers have until Feb. 9 to draw up some new congressional boundaries, or the State Supreme Court is gonna do…something. Governor Wolf is out on the hustings (we love that word) gathering input from regular citizens while the process moves forward, but we gotta tell ya: Feb. 9 is right around the corner, folks. Legislative bodies simply don’t move with that level of alacrity. And if you are playing at home, briefs on the entire issue are due in the other Supreme Court (the one in Washington, D.C.) today at 4 p.m.
Further complicating the matter at hand is the announcement this week that, in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling, at least one legislative leader will not be handing over any map-making data at all, thank you very much. Senate President Joe Scarnati would like to have an actual court opinion in his hands before doing so, which doesn’t seem all that outrageous of a demand. There are two branches of government that appear to be on quite the collision course.
The natural gas drilling impact fee is still showering money on local governments, we found out this week. The fee brought in an eye-popping $219 million last year, a $46 million jump from 2016. But remember, the fee is not a tax. It just plays one on TV.
Changes to the federal tax laws may have a hidden benefit for impoverished areas of Pennsylvania. Much like the state’s Keystone Opportunity Zones, the feds are offering tax breaks for business who locate in economically-challenged areas. So if you live in one of those areas, call us and we will be happy to help you.
A group of lawmakers this week announced a plan to provide free college tuition at State System of Higher Education schools. The plan is modeled after similar efforts in a handful of other states, and clocks in at a cool $1 billion. Legislative leaders are currently looking under the couch cushions to see if they can cobble that loot together.
The state is now looking at the implementation of a portion of last year’s gaming expansion that will allow video gaming terminals at truck stops. Given that there isn’t a whole lot to do at truck stops other than shower and eat bad meatloaf, maybe this could work.
In Our We Can’t Make This Up section this week, we deviate a bit from the norm by giving you this public service announcement. It seems that some Eagles fans are already getting Super Bowl tattoos. Do not jump the gun here, people. We know plenty of Pittsburghers who have seven Super Bowl trophies inked upon themselves, while the trophy case at Heinz Field only has six.
That’s what passes for news around here from frigid Harrisburg. Be sure to tune in next week when we shower you with information from Governor Wolf’s budget address. Follow our Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute tidbits of governmental goodness! From all of you friends at Triad, have a great weekend, and fly, Eagles, fly!
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