March 22, 2024

Congress is moments away from passing a $1.2 trillion spending plan that would keep the government open until September, or two months before the elections (what could possibly go wrong?) House Speaker Mike Johnson did yeoman’s work in hammering out an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck “I hate Bibi” Schumer, and for his troubles, a member of Johnson’s own party just filed a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. No good deed, Mikey.

Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his March Madness bracket and summarily watched it get blown to smithereens when his pick for the Natty, Kentucky, was taken down in the first round. This was a tough loss for the governor and for Kentucky coach and consummate yinzer, John Calipari, who consoled himself after the loss with a chip-chopped ham sandwich and a cold pop.

Shapiro watched as the state House put his mass transit funding plan into high gear, punting it over to the Senate. The $283 million plan faces some stiff headwinds in the Senate, as transit aficionados have expected all along. If this plan stalls on the tracks, good luck cobbling together an actual statewide infrastructure plan anytime soon. This is the small stuff.

House Democrats unveiled the enabling legislation for Shapiro’s long-awaited energy plan, which, if enacted, would finally throw RGGI into the fires of Mordor. Opponents of the plan immediately labeled the cap-and-trade portion of the plan a tax on electricity, while largely saying nothing about the renewable energy incentives. Pennsylvania’s energy future will be a debate for the ages this year.

Penn State students descended upon the State Capitol, lobbying lawmakers to boost state funding for our land grant university, which also happens to be a valued partner and SHAMELESS CLIENT PLUG ALERT! We are!!

Against the backdrop of blue-clad students, lawmakers are starting to kick the tires on performance-based funding for higher education, a key Shapiro initiative. For all y’all who want the government to “act like a business,” this should be your brand of whiskey. You succeed, you get paid. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. No more picking a random higher education funding number out of a hat and throwing it into the jaws of the General Assembly.

As House and Senate leaders cogitate over whether to regulate and tax so-called skill games, Philadelphia City Council has raised the ante by banning such games outside of certain bars and restaurants. The new Philly ordinance comes amid more and more instances of crime in and around skill games establishments. Philly has pushed its chips in. Who’s next?

The state House also swore in Democratic Bucks County Rep. Jim Prokopiak, restoring that party’s majority in the lower chamber. As we often say after these elections: congratulations, Jim! Now get to work.

If you’ve spent any time on the shores of Presque Isle, you are aware that there is no shortage of wind whipping across Lake Erie on any given day. The House this week advanced a framework for wind development on the lake, something renewable energy developers have been calling for. Because, despite what you may have heard in some circles, windmills do not, in fact, cause cancer. They cause electricity. Big difference.

Do you live in an area of the state where there is a closed or almost-closed mall? Yes, Pennsylvania has a super amplitude of such malls, and lawmakers are starting to figure out that those things ain’t gonna just disappear like all the stores inside of them have. Anyone remember Spencer’s Gifts? Yeah, that was the stuff right there. An Orange Julius, a trip to Tower Records, maybe try on some Levis at the Gap?  Anyway, we digress. Kudos to the House for acting, we are tired of watching our childhood crumble and decay before our very eyes.

Governor Shapiro wants Pennsylvania to join a growing number of states that are coming to the stark realization that there is a serious shortage of housing, and specifically affordable housing, in this country.  Here in the Keystone State, Shapiro is looking for $80 million to start attacking the problem. If we are being honest, that’s about 10% of what is necessary, but you know the old adage: how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

A Lancaster County Republican announced she plans to make sure that the hundreds of outdoor restaurant dining permits issued during COVID do not vanish in the coming months. Now THIS is the type of bipartisan stuff we love to see. Fresh air, good food, a cold sarsaparilla… can’t beat it as summertime looms.

Speaking of summertime, a grand time was had by all at Tuesdays with Triad, our rooftop happy hour that is open to all of yous and yinz on the third Tuesday of every month. Follow us on LinkedIn if you are the forgetful type. We will remind you.

Speaking AGAIN of summertime, baseball season is upon us. Take us out to the ballgame, please.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Nebraska, where a woman was arrested after she found a gas pump glitch that enabled her to steal more than 7,000 gallons of gas over a six-month period. It was kinda like the time we discovered a glitch in the Star Wars pinball game at the bowling alley and won, like, 50 free games until we got kicked out. Anyway, the woman was charged with one, yes one, count of unlawful taking. We may be naïve, but ain’t no way she pumped 7,000 gallons in one shot, unless she drives a tanker truck. Those cornhuskers sure are soft on crime.

That’s what passes for news round here, as spring has indeed sprung, even though it is 45 degrees outside, and our daffodils are confused. Come back next week, or we will be really upset and probably not come back to work ever again. Until then, from all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!