September 1, 2023

‘Scuse me, but did anyone see where the summer went? Closing the pools and opening the schools pretty much puts a wrap on the season, autumnal equinox notwithstanding. We shall hope for a merciful winter and look forward to when pitchers and catchers report for spring training once more.

Let’s begin with a shout-out to our friends in organized labor, who will observe their very own “day” on Monday. It has been a tumultuous summer, but many of us breathed a hearty sigh of relief when the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and UPS came to a contract agreement in late July. Here is a handy collection of Labor Day facts for your convenience and enjoyment.

Hurricane Idalia bullied its way through Florida and Georgia before downgrading to a tropical storm. It was the most powerful hurricane to hammer Florida’s Big Bend region in more than a century. The death toll remained surprisingly low as many residents heeded the dire meteorological warnings regarding the intensity of the storm. (See? Science is good!)

The Trump train continued rolling down the track, with his “not guilty” plea in the Georgia election interference case and a motion to sever his case from those of his fellow defendants who have asked for a speedy trial. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, a Texas man filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent Trump from appearing on the 2024 PA ballot.

The state Senate returned to Harrisburg to tend to legislation known as “code bills,” which specify how the money contained in the earlier-passed budget bill is to be distributed. House Democratic leaders said they will not agree to some provisions in the bills, even though one bill was described as containing only “the uncontroversial things we all agree on,” which turned out to be not quite as uncontroversial as advertised. Anyone who wants to get farther down in the weeds on this can find a detailed explanation in this article by Spotlight PA.

Another matter on which there is not yet agreement is a measure moving up the PA presidential primary. As it is now, the election would be on the first day of Passover. A Senate committee has advanced a measure that would move the date up from April 23 to March 19, but some lawmakers indicated they would prefer an earlier election, which would be more likely to give PA voters a say in nominations.

Just days after the Shapiro administration announced it would waive college education requirements for aspiring state troopers, state officials say they have seen a surge in applications. The State Police received 297 applications since Monday’s announcement waiving the requirements, including 137 applicants who would not have met the previous education requirement.

There was some baton-passing at the PA Public Utility Commission this week. The commission welcomed Kim Barrow, who has served as chief of staff to Commission Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille since 2013. Her confirmation as commissioner ended Ms. Dutrieuille’s tenure as chair and commission member. Replacing her as chair was former Vice Chair Stephen DeFrank. Congrats and best wishes to all.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Google recently formed a public-private partnership to make the industry-recognized Google Career Certificates available to students and the public. Governor Shapiro made the announcement and said this helps to meet his commitment to expand workforce development efforts across the Commonwealth.

The Guv had a busy week. On Thursday he launched the PA Office of Outdoor Recreation, traveling to Yough River Park in Connellsville. As you’ve probably already guessed, the office will focus on the state’s outdoor sector, which adds $14 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy and accounts for 152,000 jobs.

State Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland/York) has introduced legislation to require schools to employ armed security personnel during school hours. The measure would require school districts to employ an armed, trained and vetted school security person at every school during school hours. It also aims to enhance safety at school extracurricular activities.

To the surprise of possibly no one, a recent Gallup survey revealed that 38% of respondents fear for their child’s safety at school. While that is down slightly from last year, it is still one of the highest readings since 1977, when Gallup began asking that question.

OK, a show of hands, please: Should this week’s We Can’t Make This Up segment be about the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride (again), or the Nebraska man who was pulled over by police for having an honest-to-God bull riding shotgun with him down a ‘Husker highway. OK, we’ll go with the bull. Insert your favorite bovine pun here ___________________________. Sorry, naked bikers, but after 14 years, we’ve become desensitized.

And that’s what passes for news around here this week (along with a dollop of BS). From your friends at Team Triad, have a terrific weekend, and join us back here again next week!