May 26, 2023

Reports from the Federal City this morning seem to indicate President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are close to doing a two-year deal on the debt ceiling. This deal will happen because both sides finally knew their nonsensical positions had to moderate (no, the Ds were never gonna agree to defund Obamacare, and the GOP was never going to give Grandpa Joe a blank checkbook and a bottle of wine.)

Meanwhile, in potentially very consequential 2024 electoral news, state Sen. Doug Mastriano announced Thursday he will not seek the GOP nomination to run against Bob Casey Jr. for U.S. Senate. We would caution readers who believe this clears the field for Dave McCormick – you may be out over your skis on that prediction. There may be a certain politico who already got elected statewide whose eyes are already fixed upon that prize.

Florida governor and part-time mouse fighter Ron DeSantis announced his long-awaited bid for president this week. While very online progressives mocked and made memes out of his rather rocky launch, he quietly raised $9 million, and off he went into a campaign where not one human will remember his launch. Reminder: Twitter is not real life. Ask any number of very online Helen-Gym-for- mayor supporters.

We pause our electoral politics coverage for this plea from young, college-aged voters. They are, you see, the fastest growing segment of voters in the country, and they would VERY much like PA lawmakers to fix the archaic and downright unfair system that locks them out of voting in the primary because some people believe that party affiliation is somehow a prerequisite for the right to vote. And do it now, please.

The PA Supreme Court will finally kick the tires on the Wolf-era entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which GOP and energy-sector opponents said was illegal because the General Assembly did not authorize it. We get a sneaking suspicion that the new Shapiro regime isn’t exactly gonna fight tooth and nail to protect our status as the only fossil fuel state in RGGI. Just a hunch.

Meanwhile, some of Shapiro’s key proposals have been quietly moving forward in the lower chamber.  First up was a bipartisan measure to invest $100 million in mental health treatment funding in the state, a gargantuan commitment that some advocates are calling a game-changer.

Lawmakers also gave a unanimous nod to a plan that will help fight blight, a key piece of Shapiro’s economic development strategy. Blight has been the bane of small-town mayors for years, so this is good news across the state. Not every tool in the toolbox needs to be a huge, transformative initiative.  Sometimes ya just need a good, solid wrench and some elbow grease.

Weirdly, the House chamber devolved into an “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I?” spat over a bill to crack down on – wait for it – littering. We are gonna go ahead and chalk that up to it being Wednesday, people were cranky and looking forward to a long holiday weekend. But still, it’s only May, people. Save the high heat for June when it matters.

The state of juvenile justice in Philadelphia is gonna be a continuing headache for the incoming mayor as well as state leaders. Because the city has done a good job diverting non-violent youth offenders out of custody and into other treatment options, the state assumed it would help the city save money. The problem is the offenders who remain are much more costly to house and treat. And if you think there are options to move these children from Philly, look around the state and get back to us.

Attorney General Michelle Henry has picked her first target to put the boots to, and that target would be aggressive telemarketers who ignore the state’s Do Not Call list. We have mixed feelings here. While no one likes to be bothered by people they don’t know, we fear that we may never find out that our car warranty has expired.

As Allegheny County’s progressive shift continues to shock people who haven’t really paid attention to voting trends for the last five years, it is still a bit astounding why people cannot wrap their heads around the fact that the west MIGHT be more progressive than Philly. This is proving to be QUITE an affront to Philly progressives, but an endless source of amusement for we natives who realize Pittsburgh changed two decades ago.

However, the progressive front will have a real test on its hands, as current district attorney and moderate Democrat Stephen Zappala, who was defeated by Matt Dugan in the primary, got the GOP write-in nod and will square off against Dugan again. As odd as it might sound, lots of folks around the country will be watching this one, folks.

Huge congratulations to Air Force General CQ Brown Jr., who this week was nominated as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Biden. We might have an Air Force veteran at Team Triad who is smiling today.

Over on the Triad socials, we were thrilled to host the formal launch of the PA Future Caucus, a group of bipartisan young guns determined to tackle the big issues in a truly cooperative fashion. We could not have been prouder to be a part of it. Check out our pictures and some words about the initiative from our own Roy Wells.

Also, come over and meet Ayden and Ruthanna, two of our future rock stars interning at Triad this summer. Look for them in a state capital near you!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to New Jersey, where a family recently discovered that a small meteorite had crashed through their roof and onto a bedroom floor. This is an obvious sign the fabled Twitter star Sweet Meteor O’Death has now started its final assault on all of us. It has been a good run, people!

That’s what passes for news around here on this gorgeous Memorial Day kickoff Friday. While you stuff your yap with hot dogs and cheeseburgers this weekend, we also ask that you take a moment or three to remember why we honor this day. We leave you with the words of Abraham Lincoln, spoken just to the south of Triad Headquarters: “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” From all of us at Team Triad, have a wonderful weekend.