It was a big week in the Keystone State, as the Villanova Wildcats captured the NCAA Men’s basketball championship in heart-stopping fashion. A big shout-out to our good friends at Versant Strategies on winning the Triad basketball pool (which was, you know, solely for entertainment purposes.)
The other big Pennsylvania winner was Carlisle Borough, which captured the crown in the America’s Strongest Town competition by defeating Hoboken, New Jersey in the title match. That’s right, Jersey, we are still better than you in every conceivable way. Congratulations to Mayor Tim Scott and Borough Councilman Sean Crampsie (husband to Triad’s own Brittany Crampsie) for leading Carlisle to the Promised Land. One shining moment, indeed!
Presidential hopefuls continued to pour into the Keystone State this week, and the annual AFL-CIO conference in Philadelphia was ground zero, with both Hillary and Bernie addressing the throngs of labor faithful. Enjoy all this attention while you can, friends, because these people will be outta here like Vladimir on April 26th, and you may not see them again. Yes, we can tell you are heartbroken.
And if you are indeed planning to hit the polls in two weeks, you may want to check out this handy primer on what your vote will mean if you are on the GOP side of the field. In a nutshell? Your vote probably doesn’t mean what you think it means. Take heart, Democrats; your delegate-awarding system is just as screwed up, just ask the nearest Sanders supporter.
And in the weeks leading up to the Primary Election, prepare to be bombarded with polls telling you everything you never wanted to know about every candidate who will appear on the ballot. Quinnipiac weighed in this week with a poll showing that Pennsylvania voters pretty much don’t like anyone, which is no shock given the national mood.
House and Senate GOP leaders this week threatened to sue Governor Tom Wolf over the manner in which he has decided to disburse school funding under the recently-enacted state budget. So in case you were functioning under the delusion that the budget enactment would calm everything down around here, snap out of it, Sally. This is Harrisburg.
If you have a hankering to find out if your school got more cash or the smelly end of the plunger, Pennlive.com has a nice rundown for you. Bonus: it’s not even one of those annoying click-through slide shows!
Governor Wolf, apparently tired of waiting for LGBT anti-discrimination legislation to find its way to his desk, has signed an Executive Order enacting these protections at the Executive level and for any private entity doing business with state government. Perhaps when everyone sees that the world will not end next week, the actual bipartisan legislation can start to move through the process.
One issue that does seem to be moving with some level of – ahem – speed is a bill that would ban certain abortion procedures and criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. It is certainly heartening to see that the General Assembly has taken a break from all the partisan fighting to take up a bill that is not controversial at all. A vote on the final passage of the measure is expected next week, so you may wanna steer clear of the House side of the building Monday.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dealt a whack to the noggin’ of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, telling that body that is doesn’t, in fact, have the broad range of powers (think Batman AND Superman, combined) that it apparently believes it does. To say the ruling is a serious setback to the SRC is like saying the Sixers had a below-average year.
If the big shots at UPMC thought their recent announcement about boosting wages to $15.00/hr would squelch talk of workers organizing, they may have miscalculated, we learned this week. Given the fact that those wage increases were driven by relentless work from the same people who want to unionize UPMC’s work force, wages are just the start, you can be sure.
The House and Senate this week passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, would subject all potential state and local collective bargaining agreements to an analysis by the state’s Independent Fiscal Office. Given the sheer volume of contracts they will have to analyze, the IFO will need to increase its own budget by about 4,000%.
The House and Senate are also trying to put the brakes on their own plan to send a ballot question to the voters in two weeks, one that would potentially change the mandatory retirement age for judges from the current 70 years old to 75 years old. Apparently, no one can agree on the wording of the ballot question, so everyone now wants to put it off until the November elections. Words do matter, apparently.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Rhode Island, where the state’s tourism chief had to resign after her department’s rollout of a new Rhode Island promotional video that featured skateboarding scenes shot in Reykjavik, Iceland. Besides the fact that Reykjavik is decidedly NOT Providence, they may also wanna rethink their new slogan: Cooler and Warmer. Y’all paid real money for that, huh?
That’s what passes for news around here on this snowy (!!!!!) Friday morning in April. We will be back next week, largely because we are contractually obligated to be back 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