July 1, 2022
Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court this week, becoming the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court. Other than that, SCOTUS was fairly quiet in the past few weeks, not really doing anything of note that we were able to find.
President Joe Biden this week signed the first bipartisan gun safety law in decades, a signature achievement which was definitely not completely knocked off the front pages by something the Supreme Court did the exact same day. This guy cannot buy, rent, or borrow a break.
An Obama-era rule that allowed the EPA to limit carbon emissions was scrapped by the Supreme Court, throwing the power to regulate such emissions back to Congress.
America’s mayor, Rudy Giuliani, found himself in the crosshairs of the current New York City mayor this week, who wants to charge him with making false statements to police. A day after Giuliani said he was attacked in public, a video surfaced of the encounter. We are sure that, being of Italian descent, Giuliani’s cheeks, arms and back have suffered far worse damage from a traditional Italian greeting. “Hey! Come here, you!”
Despite a slight cooling of inflation and a very slight downtick in gas prices, Americans are just… pissed. Six in ten of us believe the nation is on the wrong track, which most certainly imperils the Democrats’ control of Congress. That light at the end of the tunnel seems to have a train attached to it for the Democrats.
The General Assembly and the Wolf administration are slogging toward a roughly $42 billion budget deal that will begin to put the cap on the governor’s last term in office. We will be writing scads and scads about the budget and related bills in the coming days, so if you are lucky enough to be in our contact list, you should be fine. If not, you may wanna hit up firstname.lastname@example.org or risk being dangerously uninformed at your July 4th picnic.
The horse trading necessary to get a budget deal done is quite a bit of work. Expect to see big jumps in education funding, a cut in state business taxes, a ton more money into the “rainy-day” fund and other assorted bric-a-brac come to light in those inscrutable little buggers known as the code bills.
Before getting around to putting pen to paper on a budget deal, there were more than a few bills sent to Wolf that will see the business end of the veto pen. Among them are bills that would allow for poll watchers to cross county lines to watch elections and one that would restrict sexually suggestive materials from being taught in schools. Nothing like some partisan fireworks before the actual fireworks begin on the 4th.
The House GOP this week began the process of investigating violent crime in Philadelphia by raking that city’s current district attorney over hot coals all summer. For his part, he and his allies responded this week with a “you and what Army?” And it’s very much on like Donkey Kong, folks.
Sheetz is slashing the price of gas this holiday weekend in a very nice gesture to Pennsylvania motorists who will, not coincidentally, fill up their tanks and then head into their stores to stock up on food, ice, soda, beer, beef jerky, and some fine, fine chili dogs. Your move, Wawa.
The state’s Game Commission will release 30,000 special deer-hunting permits for use in our state parks and forests. According to those fine folks, the move is necessary to help control the deer population and do a little harvesting. For the city folks and the otherwise unfamiliar, “harvesting” in this context has a very different meaning than you might think.
Commonwealth Court put what could be the final nail in the Wolf administration’s plan to toll bridges to free up money to fix those bridges. This will serve as the official notice to both Team Shapiro and Team Mastriano that one of y’all is gonna have to come up with an alternative. Happy hunting!
Despite the congressional kumbaya on gun control displayed this week, not much is poised to happen on that front back here in Pennsylvania. Legislative Democrats took three swings at special motions to call up gun bills, only to come up empty, which means they could start and bat cleanup for the Pirates.
Congress is set to extend a COVID rule that provided free food for the wee ones in school, albeit in a slightly more means-tested way. When it all comes down to it, shouldn’t we always try to make sure poor kids get food in school? It really shouldn’t take a literal act of Congress to do that.
Team Triad sends prayers and condolences to the friends and family of retired Judge Johnny J. Butler, who also served as secretary of Labor and Industry under Gov. Tom Ridge. Butler was a beloved figure in state government and is gone way too soon.
If you missed our own Todd Brysiak wax poetic about the state budget on PCN this week, shame on you for six weeks. Do better.
We also shout out a big congrats to our friend, PUC Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, who has been elected president of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to the Philippines, where “mermaiding” has become a thing. Yes, adults are eschewing their own perfectly functioning legs for a scaly flipper and calling themselves mermaids. It has been a particularly trying year across the globe, and at some point, you have to look at stuff like this and say, “we probably deserve what we get.”
That’s what passes for news around here, as we wait with bated breath for the final budget to hit Governor Wolf’s desk! We will bring you all the gory details as soon as they become available. Until then, have a safe and happy 4th of July from your friends at Team Triad!