Friday Happy Hour: Mayochup Edition
Is state tax reform finally beginning to take shape?

Friday Happy Hour: 4/20 Edition

The nation and the world this week mourned the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who lived a life of class and service to her nation that we would all be well to try and Marijuana micereplicate.  Godspeed, Mrs. Bush

In a break with tradition, we begin this week’s screed with a Shameless Client Plug for our friends at Lyft, as they help the country celebrate 4/20 by offering free and reduced-cost rides to marijuana enthusiasts in states that have legalized the bud.  Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.  

Former F.B.I. director James Comey went on book tour of the nation’s news stations this week, blathering on about higher loyalty and God and country while concurrently trashing President Trump like Regina from Mean Girls.  The Tweeter-in-Chief was not amused. 

With their feet planted firmly in 1972, the Democratic National Committee this morning sued the Trump campaign and Wikileaks for conspiring with the Russkies to interfere in the 2016 elections.  Good thing the President is adding Rudy Giuliani to his defense team, those suits are starting to pile up.

Apparently tiring of the Ringling-like atmosphere in our nation’s capital, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent decided this week that he won’t even wait until November to vacate his office.  And more sanity walks out the front door. 

The State House this week passed a bill that would impose work requirements on so-called “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients in order to receive health insurance.  Governor Wolf vetoed a similar bill just last year, so we can only assume that the State House spoke to the governor beforehand and he told them he changed his mind.   

The Lower Chamber also advanced legislation to jump-start the installation of high speed Internet service to rural Pennsylvania, something that the large carriers have been promising since Al Gore invented the damned thing in the first place. 

The state this week mandated that all counties replace their voting machines with paper backup models by 2020.  The feds also decided to throw Pennsylvania $13.5 million to cover that effort, which is roughly enough cash to replace one in every five machines statewide. Maybe if Pennsylvania tells the feds that we are building a really big wall we can get some more loot.

While Pennsylvania (and pretty much every other state) strives to collect sales tax on online purchases, the U.S. Supreme Court this week heard a case that could make those efforts damned near impossible.  Because we all know that its perfectly normal to buy a chair at Target and pay 6% sales tax while buying the same chair on Wayfair.com and paying nothing.  By the way, have we mentioned that rural Pennsylvanians without access to high speed Internet service are more likely to be the ones who pay the 6%?   

A plan is being hatched in Philadelphia that would help fund indigent defense by bankrupting the Jenkins Law Library, which serves thousands of lawyers in the city and beyond.  Peter just can’t keep his hands out of Paul’s wallet, it would seem.

It looks as though Philadelphia may be poised to take another crack at instituting new campaign finance rules, we learned this week.  Taking their cue from Philly, the State House and Senate are also crafting new campaign finance…nah.  We’re kidding.  They are not doing anything of the sort. 

Without fanfare, the owners of Three Mile Island this week told a legislative panel that they have not ordered anymore fuel for the plant and have begun the process of putting it down for the big dirt nap. For those unfamiliar with electric power generation, this is gonna leave a mark, folks.  It is not like our current electric grid has scads of excess capacity.  

While health groups continue to sing the praises of the Philadelphia soda tax, we found out this week that there are some groups who are downright unhappy with it: the people of Philadelphia.  Outside of Center City, the tax remains wildly unpopular, with three out of every four northeast Philly residents opposed.  Not often you get that many Philly folks to agree on anything other than the fact that the Eagles are World Champions.   

In campaign news, a poll was released this week showing Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr. with fairly comfy leads over their presumptive GOP rivals.  While it is still fairly early (did we mention is was snowing in Pittsburgh yesterday?), both Wolf and Casey have to like where they are right now.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Pilar, Argentina, where a few police officers are in hot water after 1,000 pounds of marijuana took a walk from an evidence room.  The officers blamed the disappearance on rodents, saying they believed that mice ate the pot (which would have, assuredly, killed the mice.)  An Argentinian judge did not buy the story. It probably didn’t help the officers’ case that they showed up to court stoned with potato chip crumbs all over their uniforms. 

That’s what passes for news around here as the General Assembly takes a brief smoke break next week and we continue to search for spring.  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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