June 18, 2021
The team at Triad Strategies continues to pray for the speedy and full recovery of former Gov. Tom Ridge, who was hospitalized this week after having a stroke. Please keep him in yours as well.
We also took a moment this week to mourn the passing of Philadelphia City Council’s first and only woman president, Anna Verna. Verna was the quiet voice that roared during her tenure. Condolences go out to her family and friends.
President Joe Biden yesterday affixed his signature to a bill that finally made Juneteenth a national holiday. Considering the fact that Black churches have celebrated it since 1866, we can confirm that the wheels of justice do indeed turn excruciatingly slowly.
To honor the first national Juneteenth holiday, we bring you this Triad Strategies exclusive clip with Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus chair, Rep. Donna Bullock. Few folks in Harrisburg elevate the voices of people of color like Donna!
President Biden did a little globetrotting this week, meeting with (among others) Russian President Vladimir Putin. The press was quick to note that Biden did not invite Putin to the White House, which was a huge disappointment to Major Biden, who really wanted to bite that guy in the worst way.
West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin failed to convince his GOP counterparts to compromise on a voting rights bill, keeping his streak of zero compromises alive and well. Manchin is making the Pirates look like the ’27 Yankees.
Speaking of voting rights, the state House GOP began moving its state election overhaul legislation, and it seems that Governor Wolf is less than enthusiastic about the plan. On a related note, can we retire the whole “Big Lie” thing? It is starting to lose all meaning since both sides deploy it constantly. We think we should all start using “the gargantuan falsehood.”
With the demise of the statewide disaster declaration at hand, pandemic-era waivers on to-go cocktails and outdoor dining are about to disappear into the ether unless the General Assembly acts in the next week. Early efforts to rescue those two items are poised to be vetoed by Governor Wolf because a third item, canned cocktail sales at beer distributors, tried to sneak into the lifeboat. If you follow Twitter, this means that the very fate of the Republic hangs in the balance next week.
As budget talks kick into high gear, a key GOP senator has been stumping for his new transportation funding plan, one which would supplant PennDOT’s bridge-tolling idea. This plan will likely be a starting point for a long-term solution as long as there is a short-term budget fix for the cliff that is approaching. A bridge for our bridges, if you will.
Charter school reform in Pennsylvania (with “reform” being in the eye of the beholder) seems to be losing steam in the Hallowed Halls, although as budget negotiations proceed, keep an eye out on that all-important School Code. You never know which sneaky little bugger will find his or her way into that one.
Falling natural gas prices (yes, some gas prices are actually falling) will mean around a $46 million drop in impact fee loot for our municipalities. If there was ever a time for it to happen, this year is as good as it gets, since about a gazillion dollars in federal recovery money is going to counties and municipalities across the state.
The General Assembly this week advanced a bill that would ban so-called vaccine passports, which Governor Wolf has said he does not support in the first place. So we will just call it the “Don’t Get Any Bright Ideas, Pal Act of 2021.”
Medical marijuana sales in Pennsylvania hit the $900 million mark over the past year and are rising at a rate that would make Jeff Bezos’ rocket makers envious. Imagine now, if you will, a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana and what that might generate. If you cannot imagine it, take a look at Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s Twitter page, and he will imagine it for you.
Delaware lawmakers this week passed a bill that will raise that state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, making it the latest in a long line of states that will immediately degenerate into an uninhabitable hellscape. Except Dewey and Rehoboth beaches, of course. Those places will be fine.
This week SHOULD mark the peak of Brood X cicada season here in Pennsylvania, which is great news for anyone who has tried to sit outside and have coffee in the morning. Last week we bought a new jackhammer to try and drown out the sound. We failed.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Ohio, where a nurse tried to convince lawmakers that the COVID-19 vaccine makes people magnetic. After several failed attempts to prove her theory by getting a key to stick to her neck, she gave up. Despite the fact that she should probably not do any nurse-type things ever again or be within a thousand feet of a patient, we couldn’t help but think to ourselves: what would be so bad about being magnetic, anyway? You’d never lose your car keys, your can of beer would never slip out of your hand… the possibilities are endless!
That’s what passes for news around here as the General Assembly gets ready to roar down the stretch and hit the finish line in the coming fortnight. For all your friends here at Team Triad, there will be no sleep, lotsa caffeine, a thousand e-mails, a million texts and probably an expletive or three. And we will bring all the news to you as it happens, minus the expletives unless you subscribe to our new Triad Max channel. Until next time, have a great weekend!