This week was dominated by a national discussion on gun control and gun safety in the wake of the horrific slaughter of students and faculty in Parkland, Florida. While barbs flew on both sides of the issue, our own Pat Toomey once again emerged with his plan to expand background checks for gun purchases. The eyes of the nation will be watching to see if Toomey’s plan has picked up the necessary support this time around.
President Trump also weighed in on the gun debate this week, throwing his support behind a plan to have more armed teachers and armed guards in schools, ban so-called bump stocks, and toughen background checks as well. In a country as harshly divided on this topic as the United States is, the fact that both Toomey and Trump are moving in the same direction is nothing short of stunning.
If you happen to be Pennsylvania political aficionado, this week was a big smorgasbord of intrigue centered on the rawest of political topics: gerrymandering. The state’s highest court dropped the new congressional maps on Harrisburg on Monday, and boy did the sparks and lawsuits fly. On one side, almost the entire PA congressional delegation joined the General Assembly’s top Republicans in suing in the U. S. Supreme Court to stop the maps from being implemented. Paul Ryan, Pat Toomey, and President Trump also weighed in on their behalf. On the other side, former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder will be fighting for the implementation. So, if you think map-making isn’t inherently political, check those names again and get back to us.
Despite everyone under the sun screaming “constitutional crisis!” the always-serene Gov. Tom Wolf went about his merry way and ordered the Department of State to begin implementing said maps, as the primary elections loom ever larger on the horizon. In short, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just put the entire redistricting process into a blender and hit the frappe button.
Counties across Pennsylvania are preparing to buy new voting machines with the specter of potential hacking all over the news. In Pennsylvania, the push is on to require that machines have paper backups to guard against shenanigans. Because only a system that uses reams of paper can truly protect us from shenanigans, we have learned.
Medical marijuana sales have been going on for an entire week in Pennsylvania, and here is a handy guide to tell you all you need to know about the big rollout. As an aside, the most frequently asked question of our firm in the past week has been “when is recreational legalization happening?” With all due respect to the PA Auditor General, not soon, folks. Slow your roll.
People’s Natural Gas has apparently pitched the City of Pittsburgh an offer to take over the troubled Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for a cool $1 billion. Apparently, somebody believes you can buy a public authority like one would buy a used car. Hey, nice looking authority you have there. Throw in some floor mats and we will take it.
The PA Gaming Control Board this week continued the auction for mini-casino licenses by awarding one to Mercer County, only to realize later that the site is too close to a recently-awarded mini-casino, and instead awarded one to Cumberland County. Got that? Mercer got left at the altar, so to speak.
We will take “Constitutional Crisis” for $500, Alex. If you plan to attend this year’s Chamber of Business and Industry dinner, you will be treated to a gubernatorial debate moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. It will be truly amazing to watch politicians answer in the form of a question.
Coal production, while still trending downward nationwide, ticked up in Pennsylvania last week, with output jumping by 36,000 tons. For those keeping score, that total is exactly 10,000 tons more than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed when it sank to the bottom of Lake Superior. Many thanks to Gordon Lightfoot for this segment.
If you have been wondering how the upcoming U.S. Senate battle between Bob Casey, Jr. and Lou Barletta will ultimately turn out, you can check out this piece by the always-informative Terry Madonna. Spoiler alert: Barletta has a pretty steep hill in front of him.
Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to Magellan Health and its handy new website for its Pennsylvania customers. For the uninformed, Magellan has been chosen as the behavioral health provider in Cambria County as it marches westward!
Also on the SCP list are our friends at Independence Blue Cross, who this week announced they are removing the co-pays on Narcan and naloxone in an effort to help combat addiction and overdoses. Great people doing great work!
In our We Can’t Make This Up section, we take you to Philly, where a man mounted a giant pig on his roof to annoy his neighbor. The ongoing dispute and resulting pig display made us think about a roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s.
That’s what passes for news around here as our schizophrenic weather takes a turn for the soggy and cold just two days after it we enjoyed a 77-degree day in Somerset, of all places. If the world does not end, we will see you all back here next week! 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