February 24, 2023

We open this week by sending our prayers out to the family of slain Temple Police Officer Chris Fitzgerald. Condolences to his beautiful family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.

President Joe Biden spent part of the week visiting Ukraine for the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. Of course, he was immediately criticized for going there and, we presume, interrupting Russia’s relentless carpet-bombing campaign.

Meanwhile, elected officials and at least one former elected official who would once again like to be an elected one descended upon East Palestine, Ohio, this week to blame everyone under the sun for a very nasty train derailment disaster. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro has referred Norfolk Southern to the PA Attorney General’s office for possible criminal prosecution, which immediately made Shapiro the most admired politician in Ohio.

The state House reconvened this week and spent a day arguing over a set of operating rules that will be obsolete 10 minutes from now. So, there was that.

House Speaker Mark Rozzi then weighed in with a new set of House rules that will govern the next 22 months, and if you think Monday was a three-ring circus, we invite you to tune in next week when the House will add about five more rings to that performance.

Today, the House put the finishing touches on expanding the much-debated window for survivors of sexual assault to file civil lawsuits. The measures now head over to the state Senate, whose GOP leaders once again reminded us that they already passed that measure in January, albeit with a few other riders of note. On a side note, upon opening the House chamber today, Speaker Rozzi banged the gavel so hard that it broke. As we said last week, Rozzi bangs that gavel like it stole his wallet.

Several House Democrats have proposed a set of new rules to govern elections and early voting in Pennsylvania. Well done. Now maybe let independent voters vote in primary elections? Seems like a relatively simple thing to do.

Enhanced SNAP benefits were one of the last remaining COVID relief programs on the books, and they are set to expire next week, leaving millions of Americans with less money for food. As we mentioned a few weeks back, maybe it is a good time to hit up our own Olivia Rindfuss and ask her about your local food bank donation options. She’s the expert around these parts.

We also found out this week that while some school districts used their COVID funding for online tools and new training, poor schools had to use it to keep the buildings from falling down. This is what they mean by equity in funding. Everything seems equal until you realize some people start at the goal line and some start at midfield.

GOP lawmakers have once again introduced legislation that would end Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, known in some circles as RGGI and in others as THE THING THAT CANNOT BE KILLED! All eyes are on Governor Shapiro, who has already publicly stated he isn’t sure RGGI is his particular brand of whiskey.

Out in Allegheny County, the newest round of property tax reassessments is yielding a playing field that is heavily tilted to the benefit of homeowners (for a change), and not the county. Eventually, we assume millage rates will have to rise, meaning we will once again hear cries for property tax reform/elimination/assassination in the coming months. You heard it here first!

As school districts struggle to find and keep new teachers, we learned of the important role that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are playing to fill that gap. This is going to be an all-hands-on-deck type of effort because teaching is not quite as an attractive career path as it once was. Teaching, as you recall, was one of the few vocations where you could be relatively sure you would not be killed at work. Not so anymore.

Philadelphia City Council president and longtime friend of Triad, Darrell Clarke, announced he will not seek re-election, marking the beginning of the end of a storied career as one of the most effective council heads Philly has ever seen. When you look up the definition of “doing the work,” it also says, “see: Darrell Clarke.”

Next year there will be an election for state attorney general that is gonna be quite an affair here in Pennsylvania, attracting marquee names on both sides of the aisle. Top Cop, as most are keenly aware, can be the springboard to the governor’s office (see also: Corbett, Shapiro).

Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to the venerable Philadelphia Tribune, which hosted the annual Christopher J. Perry/Carter G. Woodson Black History Awards. Well done, friends!

Over on the Triad Socials, our own Brandi Hunter-Davenport shares how those same folks at the Philly Trib have carved out a voice for African American history for a century.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to jolly old England, where a candy thief jacked a truck with $38,000 worth of Cadbury Crème Eggs in it. Also, Cadbury Crème Eggs are in the top five worst possible Easter treats. So naturally, the police really aren’t looking for them all that hard.

That’s what passes for news around here on Whiplash Friday in Harrisburg, where the temperatures have dropped 40 degrees in 12 hours, and the winds are literally causing white caps on the Susquehanna River. No lie, we can see them out the windows of our palatial offices. Until next time, Team Triad hopes you have a great weekend!