4/14 Morning Buzz

Our former Senator has taken the plunge (kinda) into the 2012 presidential field. Rick Santorum announced on Fox News last night that he’s forming an exploratory committee to allow him to raise money. However, his “testing the waters” committee doesn’t go quite so far as say, Mitt Romney, in that it isn’t filed with the FEC and is logistically easier to manage.

But it continued a good week for Santorum, including winning a South Carolina straw poll, and a survey showing him statistically tied with Barack Obama in Pennsylvania (an improvement from earlier numbers).

In official testimony, some DEP staffers have weakened arguments of drilling proponents that the Marcellus industry is sufficiently regulated. According to the regulators themselves, permits sometimes receive as little as 35 minutes of attention before being approved, and receive no additional scrutiny based on proximity of sensitive water sources.

State Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) is attracting a lot of negative attention for her comments to State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe over the Castle Doctrine. John Baer of the Daily News devoted an entire column to criticizing her rhetorical question: “If the gentleman from Butler County stood yelling, knowing that he’s a gun-toter, and I felt threatened, would I be protected under court law if I blew his brains out?”

Speaking of Metcalfe, yesterday he introduced a birther bill, one that would compel candidates for President and Vice President to prove their Constitutional eligibility in order to run in Pennsylvania. Finally!

Good morning politicos, and welcome to the buzz.

PoliticsPA Reports

Santorum Takes Small Step Toward 2012 Candidacy
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum took another step toward the 2012 presidential election Wednesday night, announcing the creation of a “testing the waters” campaign fundraising account. It will allow him to solicit contributions, but it is not as formal as an exploratory committee.

President Obama Approval Shaky in Pa.
PA’s reputation as a swing state could potentially spell out trouble for President Obama come re-election time. That is, if the GOP offers up an acceptable nominee. According to Public Policy Polling, Obama’s ‘likeability’ isn’t as strong in PA as it once was.

Final Vouchers Vote Delayed in the State Senate
Senate Bill 1 would increase the availability of vouchers over four years, eventually incorporating middle-class families into the program supported by Gov. Corbett that would increase choice rather than funds for poorly-performing public schools.

Orie Trial Update: Appeal Rejected
Today the PA Superior Court rejected Orie’s appeal against the declared mistrial by Judge Jeffrey Manning. Here’s a quick update on the latest chapter in the legal odyssey of State Senator Orie.

Metcalfe Introduces Birther Bill
In a move that should delight conservatives as well as Democrats, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) has reintroduced a bill that would require candidates to submit documentation in order to be eligible for candidacy.

Lawmaker Asks Colleague: What If I blew your brains out?
“If the gentleman from Butler County stood yelling, knowing that he’s a gun-toter, and I felt threatened, would I be protected under court law if I blew his brains out?” State Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware) asked.

Headlines
Reuters: Rick Santorum Takes Formal Step In 2012 White House Bid
Pennsylvania Ave.: Sestak to decide next step within months
Attytood: Santorum: The elephant in the 2012 room
Early Returns: Debt Limit Vote Tough For Casey
Early Returns: Rep. Critz Introduces Gun Bill
Heard in the Hall: Former Rendell Aide Named to PICA
WHYY Newsworks: Professor: Shale Drilling, extraction worse than coal in climate change
AP: Pa. Regulators Say They Spend Little Time Reviewing Marcellus Shale Permit Applications
Tribune-Review: Lawmakers Launch Whistleblower Web Site
PhillyClout: Firefighters on Milton Street: Not Perfect, Not Nutter
Inquirer: Philly blue-collar workers back Street for Mayor
PhillyClout: Could Redistricting Mean A Summer City Council Session?
Daily News: Council redistricting sure to be one big puzzle
PhillyClout: GOP City Commissioner Candidate Withdraws From the Race
Early Returns: Fitzgerald’s 2nd TV Spot
Post-Gazette: Postal Service May Move Some Wheeling, WV operations to Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette: Democratic county executive candidates vow frugality
Patriot-News: Pennsylvania Senate OKs nominees for police, transportation
Patriot-News: Online sex chats with teens were just fantasy, ex-Senate aide testifies
Centre Daily Times: Hanna balances district size, cost
Tribune Review: Controls touted under proposed drilling plan
Tribune Review: Prison recidivism found to persist
Inquirer: Corbett rallies Senate GOP on vouchers
WFMZ: Schwank appointed minority chair of Senate Agricultural committee

Opinions

Laura Vecsey, Patriot-News Commentary: GOP’s Crowded Field Presents A Problem for the President
Dave Davies, WHYY Newsworks Editorial: What’s wrong with this picture?
Times-Tribune Editorial: Target Choice to Those Most in Need
Times-Tribune Editorial: Right Track For Rail Service
Patriot-News Op-ed: School boards should have student members
Courier Express Editorial: State should end ‘deep pockets’ civil suit payer-hopping
Post Gazette Editorial: Unbalanced plan: But give Ryan credit for starting the conversation
Altoona Mirror Editorial: Tax total weighs on public
Benjamin Domenech, Tribune Review: Ryan’s choice

April 14th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Playbook | No Comments