HRCC Outraises Dems in 2013

Mike Turzai portrait lo res

Majority Leader Mike Turzai was HRCC’s biggest donor.

The committee charged with maintaining the GOP majority in the state House had a more prosperous 2013 than its Democratic counterpart, although both ended the year with similar cash on hand.

The House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) raised $1,047,814 compared to the House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC)’s $746,086. The HRCC spent more cash last year – $969,848 - than the Dems raised. The Democrats spent $532,475 in 2013.

The committees has nearly identical amounts on hand with a slight edge for the HRCC, $236,061 to $235,469.

The reports include January 1 through December 31, 2013.

The Republicans also were able to benefit from cash reserves from the previous year. Whereas the Democrats only rolled over $21,858 from their coffers, the GOP had a sizable $158,095 leftover from 2012.

HRCC

The HRCC benefited from the kindness and self-interest of its members as the party’s leadership doled out considerable sums of money.

With the Speaker on the way out, the donor race took on a whole new importance as party leaders jockeyed for influence. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, for example, gave a massive $60,127 to the party through his Leadership Fund PAC. Potential rivals to Turzai contributed smaller yet significant sums, including HRCC Chairman Dave Reed ($20,000) Appropriations Chairman Bill Adolph ($15,172), and Majority Whip Stan Saylor ($10,062).

The party also received a $10,000 check from Governor Tom Corbett.

Speaker Sam Smith did not give any money last year from his campaign account.

The GOP was the beneficiary of several political action committees, most of which were related to business or insurance. The Chamber of Commerce-backed Commonwealth Leaders Cup PAC contributed $21,800 while For a Better Pennsylvania Fund PAC gave $20,000. Comcast chipped in $10,000 and the FirstEnergy PAC $9,500. Finally, the Erie Insurance PAC gave $5,000.

The committee’s biggest expenditure in 2013 was a total of $52,449 for services from Pathfinder Communications. It also paid $29,330 to Susquehanna Polling & Research, a top GOP polling firm in Pennsylvania. Communication Concepts was also paid $7,700 for polling.

HDCC

Minority Leader Rep. Frank Dermody gave $73,750 while Minority Whip Rep. Mike Hanna contributed $63,750 through his committee as well as his leadership PAC, The H Team.

As for PACs, the Democrats received the most from unions and lawyers. The HDCC collected contributions of $12,500 from AFSCME AFL-CIO Council 113, $10,000 from the PSEA PAC, and $2,500 from the Teamsters PAC. It also received $5,000 from LAWPAC.

The Democrats also had corporate supporters; Comcast donated $3,500 and PECOPAC sent $2,000.

HDCC’s fundraising total received a boost from two special election candidates. Both Dan Miller (D-Allegheny) and Kevin Schreiber (D-York) were elected in special elections back in May 2013; each replaced a Democrat. They gave the HDCC $85,050 and $55,425 respectively. Most likely, they contributed the cost of staff salaries and direct mail so that staffers were technically on HDCC payroll (making it simpler for tax and compliance purposes) and mailer enjoyed the benefit of the party’s bulk mail permit.

Without the special elections contributions, HDCC’s total raised in 2013 was $605,611.

Meanwhile, the party spent $41,896 on consulting fees during 2013. $20,000 went to two prominent Democratic media firms Adelstein Liston ($15,000) and Devin Mulvey ($5,000). Another $10,300 went to surveying research conducted by Myers Research & Strategic Services. Finally, $18,000 was paid to Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies for polling.

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported that the HRCC raised only $616,009 in 2013. The above total includes numbers from the committee’s cycle 2 and cycle 3 reports in addition to its cycle 7 year end report.

Wolf Airs New Ad After Corbett Budget Address (With Video)

Tom Wolf may have unveiled the nicest attack ad of 2014.

The businessman and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful responded to Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address with a new television spot that bemoans funding for schools and infrastructure.

Wolf ad still“It’s unacceptable that we aren’t providing sufficient funding for our public schools,” Wolf says to the camera.

He makes a general indictment of elected officials in lieu of calling out the Governor by name.

“I find it unacceptable that people are sitting in Harrisburg thinking about only about themselves and the special interests who helped get them elected,” Wolf continued..

In the press release announcing the ad, Wolf took a direct shot at Corbett. “Today, after three years of failed leadership, Tom Corbett tried a make-over, painting a very different picture of what his priorities have been as governor,” he said.

“An ad cut to respond to the budget speech before it was even given so he could oppose more funding for education and job training?” Corbett spokesman Billy Pitman asked. “Not surprising from a candidate whose claim to fame is as a member of an administration that failed to get comprehensive transportation funding, raided the education budget and used one-time stimulus funds to cover it up.  Interesting he calls for a fresh start when he already had his chance and left a $4.2 billion budget deficit, more taxes and high unemployment for Governor Corbett to clean up.  Pennsylvanians won’t be falling again for more that failed big government agenda.”

Overall funding for Pa. schools fell under Corbett due in large part to expiring federal stimulus funds. The Governor proposed boosting education funding during his speech Tuesday.

Wolf became the first candidate to go on broadcast television across the state last week when he kick off a $370,000 per week ad buy.

WaPo: Corbett Still Most Vulnerable Guv

Tom CorbettFor the seventh month in a row, Pennsylvania sits atop the Washington Post’s list of states most likely to see a party change in the Governor’s mansion.

The D.C. paper of record cites recent polling which continues to show Tom Corbett in negative territory.

Here are the top 5 states.

1. Pennsylvania (R)
2. Maine (R)
3. Florida (R)
4. Arkansas (D)
5. Illinois (D)

Here is the full writeup:

1. Pennsylvania (R): Gov. Tom Corbett (R) is still the most vulnerable governor in America. A Franklin and Marshall College poll out this week showed only 23 percent of voters said Corbett has performed well enough to deserve a second term. But the most interesting developments in this race have been on the Democratic side, where Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) cut ties with moderate groups in an apparent effort to protect her left flank, well-funded former state revenue secretary Tom Wolf and former Rendell administration official Katie McGinty hit the airwaves (McGinty’s buy was small), and Treasurer Rob McCord landed a union endorsement. A costly and competitive Democratic race no doubt helps Corbett, but it probably would not be enough on its own to save him. (Previous ranking: 1)

Pawlowski to Drop Guv Bid, Endorse McCord

Ed Pawlowski

Ed Pawlowski

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski will end his bid for Governor, numerous Democratic sources tell PoliticsPA. He will endorse Treasurer Rob McCord on Monday.

Pawlowski campaign manager Mike Fleck declined to confirm or deny the move.

“I have no information on that now. But there will be an announcement on Monday,” Fleck told PoliticsPA.

Several Democrats who had announced their support for Pawlowski said that the Mayor had informed them of the decision.

PoliticsPA was unable to reach McCord’s campaign for comment.

Pawlowski faced a number of challenges in his longshot bid. His Lehigh Valley base doesn’t comprise an overwhelming percentage of Pa. Democrats. He got a late start, officially declaring his bid in September. And he did not deliver a standout performance during a handful of debates and forums thus far.

But perhaps most compelling was fundraising. Although Pawlowsi’s campaign finance report has not yet posted, several Democrats said the Mayor had raised only around half a million dollars in 2013. The fundraising leader in the primary, Tom Wolf, brought in over $13 million.

Earlier Friday, Pawlowski’s campaign did not respond to a request for his fundraising report.

Dems Face Tough Questions in Pittsburgh Debate

Schwartz speakingPittsburgh – The 8 Democrats running for Governor faced the most daunting round of questions in the campaign so far on a snowy afternoon at Carnegie Mellon University.

The hosts, including the 14th Ward Democratic Club and the CMU College Dems, asked each candidate about a specific liability in his or her background, eliciting a plethora of telling responses.

The stakes were high: some of western Pennsylvania’s top Democratic brass had a front row seat to see the candidates on defense. Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa have not announced plans to endorse in the primary.

Allyson Schwartz gave perhaps her best debate performance to date. She faced a question about her work founding and managing a women’s health clinic that performed abortions. It’s been called a general election risk by conservative Democrats, but the Congresswoman shone in her defense of her record.

“I helped start a women’s health center that was an important resource for the women in the Philadelphia area,” Schwartz said. “We provided a full range of services: gynecological care, parenting planning, first trimester abortions and prenatal care. There are women today who are grateful for the dignity and fine health service they received from the Blackwell Health Center.”

Former Pa. Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf frequently boasts about his construction supply business, which pays employees a living wage and includes profit-sharing. But he seemed caught off guard by a question about his company: why are there no women on his board of directors?

He emphasized that while his family business is owned by men, women play a significant role in its leadership.He added that his company’s management committee was more telling than the board.

“The management committee, if I was to look at it, has women in spades,” he said.

“The people who run the company, however, are women and men,” said Wolf. “My success is based on the fact that women have participated equally in the leadership of this company and have done great things to make my company successful.”

Katie McGinty, the former Department of Environmental Protection, gave a vague answer in response to a question about conflicts of interest with her work for Weston Solutions and the fact that it received state grants to redevelop industrial brownfields.

McGinty faced similar questions in 2007 when the DEP awarded $2.6 million in grants to groups that employed her husband. She was not accused of wrongdoing, but the State Ethics Committee later changed the rules governing cabinet secretaries and grant awards.

In this debate, she was adamant about eliminating any semblance of conflicting interests in government.

“The public rightly has lost confidence in leaders in government, in business and across the board,” McGinty said. “We have to have absolute prohibition on any conflict of interests — period.”

Keeping the rhythm

McCord debateState Treasurer Rob McCord won the day with another strong performance. And in case the benefits of his experience on the campaign trail weren’t self evident, he made the point directly.

“Experience running and winning statewide in a competitive primary matters for those of you who aren’t just daydreaming but are truly committed to defeating and evicting Tom Corbett,” said McCord, with a quick glance in McGinty’s direction.

He loudly defended labor unions and public education against what he called attacks by Gov. Tom Corbett.

“For me, Pennsylvania public school literally rescued me,” he said. “We have to recognize how flawed Governor Corbett has been. If he wants to improve public education his first job is to retire.”

McGinty also discussed her belief in strengthening unions. “We need to stop with the illegality in terms of interfering constitutional right to organize and collectively bargain.”

Despite rough roads and below freezing temperatures, hundreds of people crowded the auditorium to get a look at the candidates. Unlike previous years, no western Pa. Democrat has stepped forward to seek the nomination. All of the candidates hail from the Susquehanna River valley or further east.

John Hanger was at home with the progressive East End crowd. The former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary has made marijuana legalization the centerpiece of his campaign and he received loud applause from the audience when he put it in social justice terms.

“I believe in some simple common sense and I live in the real world,” Hanger said. “Marijuana arrests are half of all drug arrests, and we are arresting African Americans at five times the rate of whites. This is wrong and it must stop.”

He also noted that his campaign would report having raised over $1 million in 2013.

Memorably, Hanger struck the most emotional note of the afternoon when he talked about his son’s suicide at age 23 and his subsequent dedication to improve mental health services.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski competed with Wolf for the title of wonkiest candidate.

“I am the only one in this race that is a mayor, I am the only one that has run government, and I am the only one that has fixed pension system,” he said. “I am the only one that has brought economic development back to any part of this Commonwealth.”

Max Myers of Cumberland County faced a question about his stance on gay marriage. His background as an evangelical minister sets him apart from many of the contenders and he sought to avoid a categorical answer on the issue.

When asked if he would support same-sex marriage legislation, Myers said that he was in the middle. “I’m not answering,” he said. But he said that he was “uncomfortable with how the LGBT and women’s rights communities were treated” by the Republican party, which was why he became a Democrat.

Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz had the rockiest performance. She deferred a question about marijuana saying that the “FCC” was in charge of drug policy. Her conservative positions on social issues put her at odds with most of the field, but a softball question proved her biggest stumble. Asked to name her favorite place in Pittsburgh she said Presque Isle State Park, which is located in Erie.

Lightning round

Candidates had to give a yes or no answer to questions about the following issues.

Gay marriage. Every candidate said he or she supports gay marriage, aside from Myers and Litz who each took a pass.

Pro-life or pro-choice. Hanger, McCord, McGinty, Schwartz and Wolf all said they were pro-choice. Myers and Pawlowski each said they were in the middle. Litz said, “pass.”

Pawlowski later clarified his position when asked about it directly.

“My mother was counseled to abort me at a late stage,” he said. But while he is personally pro-life, he said he would support expanding access to women’s reproductive care.

Marijuana. Aside Litz, all the candidates said they supported decriminalizing marijuana possession and legalizing it for medical use. McCord said he was watching states that recently legalized post and that he expected the entire country would follow.

Marcellus moratorium. The candidates were, by and large, tepid. Their tone seemed apologetic to many in the debate audience – and demonstrators on the hallway outside – who made clear their support for a ban on hydrofracturing for Marcellus shale gas. Only Myers said he supports a moratorium. The rest said they back a ban on fracking in state forests and would improve drilling by taxing and regulating it.

UPMC vs. Highmark. All 8 candidates agreed that the contract dispute between the region’s leading healthcare provider and leading health insurer required state intervention to resolved. Embracing the messaging of advocates like SEIU Healthcare, the top tier candidates specifically singled out UPMC.

“It’s remarkable that UPMC has made an insurer look as good as it does!” Schwartz quipped.

Finally, asked their favorite place in Pittsburgh, McCord, McGinty and Wolf struck a chord.

McCord named the lobby of the the Omni William Penn hotel downtown, which he noted is good place to see the city’s political and business leaders.

“As an entrepreneurial type I never like to pay for office space,” he joked.

McGinty named Bakery Square, a formerly rundown area that has seen a resurgence in recent years and now hosts Google’s Pittsburgh operations.

“My favorite photograph of myself is one my wife took standing across the river from PNC Park,” said Wolf. He went on describe Pittsburgh as “one of the most formidable cities in the country. I love this place” – drawing a few “aws” from the audience.

GOP response

In addition to a dozen anti-fracking demonstrators, a few bold College Republicans stood outside the auditorium criticizing Democrats and supporting Corbett.

Corbett’s campaign blasted the candidates in a statement.

“With President Obama, their mentor, set to visit Pittsburgh this week, it was no surprise to see the candidates engaged in a sprint to the extreme left to win over his support for who can tax and spend more of Pennsylvanians hard-earned money.”

The statement made clear who Corbett sees as the front runner.

“Congresswoman Schwartz and all of the Democratic candidates continue to prove they are too extreme, fighting for their party’s liberal special interests over the people of Pennsylvania.

2013 Ups & Downs

Happy New Year, politicos! Here’s a look back at who made the best of the year 2013, and who would like a do-over.

Down ArrowTom Corbett. The Governor’s path to a second term has looked narrower and narrower with every poll that comes out. Pollsters will tell you that 50 is the magic number. If an incumbent’s job approval is at 50%, he or she has a decent path to re-election. For most of 2013, Corbett has been in the 30s. What’s worse, he hasn’t shown the ability to proactively improve his numbers. Just the opposite, he has the ability to turn a casual interview into a PR headache.

Up ArrowDown ArrowKathleen Kane. There’s no doubt about it: Pennsylvania’s Attorney General is a Democratic party star. Party leaders, columnists, political scientists and rank and file Democrats think Kane is going places. And she agrees. She’s flirted with bids for Governor and recently U.S. Senate. The down side? Each time she stakes out a partisan or activist position comes at the expense of the outsider appeal that got her elected: her promise to be “a prosecutor, not a politician.”

Up ArrowGOP Majorities. Republicans hold majorities in the state House, state Senate and congressional delegation. None of those appear to be in danger in 2014. In fact, the GOP may even improve its margins in the state legislature thanks in part to the fact that the Pa. Supreme Court upheld GOP-friendly state legislative redistricting maps in May. Anti-Corbett sentiment, which may otherwise wash down the ballot, will be held in check by anti-Obama sentiment on the other side. Democrats are only seriously contesting one congressional seat. But Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a talented campaigner, starts the race as a big favorite.

Up ArrowDown ArrowAllyson Schwartz. The Congresswoman started the year as the marginal frontrunner of the Democratic gubernatorial field, and that’s how she will end it. A variety of factors prevented Schwartz from moving decisively into the drivers seat. Some were out of her control (conservative Democrats don’t like her background, it wasn’t initially clear what former Congressman Joe Sestak would do, etc). But some were. Her top-heavy campaign staff structure brought too many cooks into the kitchen. There was significant turnover. And evidently fundraising – historically a Schwartz strong suit – wasn’t up to snuff.

Up ArrowPittsburgh Progressives. New York City has Bill de Blasio, Pittsburgh has Bill Peduto. Each rode a newly energized wave of the Democratic party and improbably overcame incumbent establishments for a primary win. In Pittsburgh, Peduto’s allies won every contested City Council race. They have promised to govern as progressive technocrats.

PA-8: Merck Union Leader Endorses Strouse

Kevin Strouse lores

Kevin Strouse

Strouse’s campaign for the PA-8 nomination received the endorsement of Merck Union President, Dottie Miller.

The local union represents 287 members in Southeast Pennsylvania and is a recent member of the Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU). Strouse did not receive the endorsement of the entire organization, just its president.

“There is a stark contrast between Kevin’s focus on solving problems and Congressman Fitzpatrick’s reckless votes for the shutdown and sequester that cost our region jobs and took a toll on the local economy in Bucks and Montgomery counties,” MIller said.

Miller also stated that Strouse’s status as an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran were influential in her decision.

Strouse has been doing well with endorsements in the PA-8 race. He’s been endorsed by the American Postal Workers Union Local 7048, the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 5, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 3, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Practitioners and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776.

“The hard-working men and women of OPEIU Local 1937 help drive economic and technological progress in Southeast Pennsylvania,” Strouse said.

In the Democratic primary, he will face chemist Shaughnessy Naughton. Their clash is one of DC powerhouses, as Strouse is the pick of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Naughton is being promoted by EMILY’s List.

NorthCo DA Morganelli Says No to Lt. Guv Run

John Morganelli lores

John Morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced over the weekend that he would not be seeking the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

“The demands of my job in 2014 makes mounting another statewide campaign difficult. I am scheduled to personally prosecute a capital murder case and I will personally be involved inside the grand jury with two major investigations,” Morganelli said.

“I look forward to my responsibilities here in Northampton County and I intend to complete the 2 years left on my current term as District Attorney.”

Morganelli was the Democratic nominee for Attorney General in 2008 against Tom Corbett.

He has served as Northampton County District Attorney since he won election in 1991 with nearly 60% of the vote. Morganelli is also a part time Instructor of Criminal Law Evidence and Constitutional Law at Moravian College where he went to college.

Even with this drop-out, the field for the LG nomination is dense. Former Congressman Mark Critz, State Senator Mike Stack, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski and Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith are also in the race. State Reps. John Galloway, Brandon Neuman and Margo Davidson are also considering making a run.

Toomey Formally Endorses Corbett

Official PortraitApparently Senator Pat Toomey isn’t considering that run for governor after all.*

*That link was an April Fools joke from PoliticsPA. Although in all seriousness, several Republican insiders tested Toomey’s interest in a 2014 bid in the hope that Governor Tom Corbett would not seek re-election.

On Friday the Republican Senator offered his endorsement to Governor Corbett and running mate Jim Cawley.

“Under the leadership of the Corbett-Cawley team, fiscal discipline has returned to Harrisburg,” Toomey said. “Whether it was eliminating a $4.2 billion deficit without raising taxes, or enabling the private sector to create 141,000 jobs, Governor Corbett has consistently championed policies to protect the tax dollars of hard-working Pennsylvanians. That is an impressive achievement few governors can claim.”

The endorsement is not a surprise, and follows similar words from former Sen. Rick Santorum who also endorsed Corbett this week.

Asked a few weeks ago about rumors that he may launch a bid, Toomey insisted he supported the incumbent.

Corbett spoke of the connection the two politicians have formed.

“The relationship Senator Toomey and I have developed has been critical in preventing the one-size-fits-all mandates of Washington, D.C., from threatening Pennsylvania’s economic recovery,” Corbett added. “I look forward to a continued partnership with Senator Toomey as we strive to bring more jobs and less taxes to Pennsylvania.”

12/20 Morning Buzz

PA state flagThe PA Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Marcellus law and a new poll shows Obama’s shrinking PA approval along with a Clinton-v-Christie matchup. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz.

Editor’s note: the Morning Buzz will return after the holidays. PoliticsPA will be on hand to cover any major news events next week.

Don’t forget to check back later for the Ups & Downs!

PA Supreme Court Strikes Key Part of Marcellus Law: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed a victory to local governments Thursday, ruling that state law could not preempt gas drilling ordinances.

Q Poll: Obama PA Approval Lowest Ever: The president’s approval fell to new lows in the Commonwealth, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

Q Poll: Clinton 44, Christie 43: Former Secretary of State Clinton barely edges New Jersey Governor Christie in a head to head matchup. She leads all other Republicans comfortably.

PA Wins Race to the Top Grant for Early Learning: Four years after President Barack Obama announced the Race to the Top initiative, Pennsylvania is one of six states receiving one of its top grants.

PA Gov: Teamsters Back Schwartz: The governor candidate from Eastern PA nabbed two Western PA labor endorsements.

Casey and Toomey Split on Budget Deal: Senator Casey voted with most his colleagues to pass the 2 year plan, while Sen. Toomey became the only Pa. member of Congress to oppose it.

Statewide
PA Independent: Property rights, Pennsylvania budget needs could collide
PA Independent: Pennsylvania gets high marks for tax policy reforms, but rates remain high
WITF: PSP releases comprehensive school safety report
StateImpactPA: DEP relied on gas driller for Franklin Forks investigation, candidate claims
StateImpactPA: First criminal case against Marcellus driller gets underway

Philadelphia
Inquirer: Nutter pledges $2.5M for union health fund
WHYY Newsworks: Pa.’s highest court strikes down Act 13, cites right to clean air, pure water
WHYY Newsworks: $52 million grant goes to Pa. for early education programs
WHYY Newsworks: Nutter, union president save Philly workers from tripled health care costs
KYW Newsradio: Pa. gets $51M federal grant for early education programs
KYW Newsradio: Poll: Pa. voters say ‘no’ to online gambling

SEPA
Montgomery News: State money to fund Pennridge area transportation projects
Daily Times: Meehan opposes Abu Dhabi Customs facility
Bucks Local News: Local legislators seek to clarify how ‘Obamacare’ would affect volunteer fire companies
Bucks Local News: SEPTA unveils capital improvement plan, state transportation funding bill will allow authority to address pressing needs
Bucks Local News: Marcellus shale Act 13 gets a drilling by state Supreme Court; State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, shale coalition react to decision
LevittownNow: County Approves 2014 Budget with No Tax Increase
Intelligencer: Clock ticking toward end of long-term unemployment compensation
Intelligencer: Commissioners OK $375.7 million spending plan for 2014
Intelligencer: High court strikes down Pa. zoning limits on drilling
Courier Times: New law will protect against carbon monoxide dangers

Pittsburgh
Tribune Review: State Supreme Court rules municipalities can limit what gas drillers can do
Tribune Review: Pension reform would save Allegheny County more than $1.1B
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh Parking Authority chairwoman Linda Judson resigns
Early Returns: Clinton, Christie close in Pa.

Southwest
Beaver County Times: Pension fund reaches passes $286M
Observer-Reporter: Washington County budget contains no tax increase
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Portage tops area schools in new state rankings

NEPA
The Times Leader: Hanger wants new probe in Franklin Forks
The Times Leader: Pa. gets high marks for taxation plan

South Central
Carlisle Sentinel: Auditor general questions pension contributions to former superintendent
Harrisburg Patriot News: Corbett: What Pa. will do with $51.7 million early learning grant ‘nothing short of amazing’
Harrisburg Patriot News: Dauphin County further clears the way for deal on Harrisburg debt

Lehigh Valley
Morning Call: Local zoning victory: State Supreme Court strikes down major parts of oil and gas drilling law
Morning Call: Pennsylvania secures $51.7 million for early childhood education
Morning Call: Growing demand makes building pitched for Colonial site taller, pricier
Express-Times: Bethlehem Area School District gifted $30,000 to boost science curriculum
Express-Times: Saucon Valley teacher contract negotiations start back up
Express-Times: Upper Nazareth Township police ask residents to check their guns and magazines

North by Northwest
Sun-Gazette: AT A LOSS
Sun-Gazette: UGI, city discuss paving, communication
Sun-Gazette: Judge reviews evidence on alleged pollution by gas driller; no decision made
Daily Times: Rockview superintendent removed in wake of investigation into alleged sexual assault of female staffer by inmate
Daily Times: Bellefonte Borough Council appoints new member, to see changes in January

Opinion
Intelligencer: Cutting Harrisburg down to size
Daily Local News: Yes, Mr. Coyote … the lawmakers are after you and your lot
Tribune Review: Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
Post-Gazette: Half a good move: Corbett demonstrates some fairness on gays

Blogs
Commonwealth Foundation: PODCAST: StudentsFirst & Performance Profiles
Commonwealth Foundation: Philadelphia’s Education Crisis Worsens
Keystone Politics: Local Governments Get Their Zoning Powers From the State
Keystone Politics: What Will Dropping Homicides Do to Philly Real Estate?
Keystone Politics: Daylin Leach’s Re-Gerrymandered Congressional Map Elects 13 Democrats, 5 Republicans
Keystone Politics: #PAGov Song: Adam Brodsky’s “Talkin’ Tom Corbett Blues”
Above Average Jane: The Non-Profit Football League
Lehigh Valley Ramblings: Zoners Say No to Boarding House on Itaska St