Protesters gather in Philly for 2006's "Day without an immigrant"
“Bring your flak jacket,” joked one staffer to a member of the Harrisburg press corps.
The next two days in the Capitol will be interesting, to say the least. Today and Tomorrow, Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Majority Chairman Representative Daryl Metcalfe will hold two public hearings focusing on the “National Security Begins at Home” legislative package.
Following the introduction of 16 bills in the state House and state Senate this past spring regarding illegal immigration, the coming fall will certainly see a flutter of activity and political dispute as both pro and anti-immigration groups try to push their legislation.
Metcalfe is a staunch advocate of immigration reform – he even founded a national coalition of like-minded state legislators. He has personally introduced three bills to “halt PA’s illegal alien invasion,” H.B. 738, 857 and 858 to the House. He believes that combating the estimated 140,000 illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania could potentially save tax payers up to four billion dollars. Yesterday, he called an executive order from President Barack Obama “treasonous.”
Civil rights advocates aren’t lying down.
Immediately before the hearing on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania joined state legislators and immigration activists for a press conference in the main rotunda of the state capitol in Harrisburg. The group included clergy and labor unions.
Their main argument Tuesday morning: economics. Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, cited cases in Georgia and Arizona, which he argued led to a hit to local businesses.
“Apparently, undermining the constitution and sabotaging our economy begins at the state capitol,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “These bills would be a disaster for the commonwealth.”
Two of the bills in the National Security Begins At Home package, H.B. 858 and S.B. 637, include mandates for Pennsylvania governments to use E-Verify. E-Verify is a federal database, handled by the Department of Homeland Security, which allows employers to check the legal status of potential employees.While the use of this system has been voluntary in the past, those who did use it complained of errors and massive privacy concerns. The databases include Social Security numbers, and visa and passport information which is vulnerable to hacking, Hoover said.
Metcalfe’s H.B. 738 includes a clause requiring Pennsylvania law enforcement officers to verify the citizenship status of any individual lawfully stopped for a crime who does not have a state ID or driver’s license. Other legislation cracks down on human trafficking in Pennsylvania, attacks illegal immigrants’ access to public benefits, or intends to hold cities and municipalities responsible for crimes committed by illegal immigrants in that jurisdiction.
The conservative make-up of state government makes it unlikely that pro-immigration groups will find much success. However, those seeking to crack down on immigration may have an equally tough time. Neither GOP party leaders nor Governor Tom Corbett have shown much interest in tackling controversial immigration policies.
Rick Santorum seemed at ease this morning in front of Pennsylvania reporters as his discussed his presidential campaign at Republican Party headquarters in Harrisburg.
The former Senator elaborated on the beat-the-odds narrative of his fourth-place finish at the Ames Iowa straw poll, discussed his three day swing through Pennsylvania, and gave a preview of what Texas Governor Rick Perry can expect to face when they cross paths during a debate.
Santorum detailed the outcome at Ames, contrasting his campaign’s $100,000 effort to those of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty who he said had spent over $1,000,000.
“For the press here, if you weren’t in Iowa, I’m not too sure most people realize how big of a deal that was. The three candidates that finished above me all spent in excess of a million dollars. All of them were on television – mostly in central Iowa, but some of them across the state.”
The campaign rolled through events in Northeastern PA yesterday. In addition to a fundraiser and the media availability in the Harrisburg area this afternoon, Santorum will travel to Centre County to visit the Grange Fair and participate a few other events. On Wednesday, he will take a swing down the Route 22 corridor near Altoona and Johnstown, and finish his tour with several events in Pittsburgh. Planned events in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley were cancelled due to Hurricane Irene.
He said he wanted to prove himself at Ames before making a serious push for PA support and campaign contributions.
“Now I can come back to Pennsylvania, having accomplished the credibility that I think is necessary to come back to the folks in Pennsylvania and say, this is not some piped up dream, someWalter Mitty moment for Rick Santorum. But in fact, we’ve got what it takes to put together a credible campaign, do well in Iowa and continue to move forward in the rest of the primary states,” he said.
“And so we’re coming back to talk to our friends and supporters here, and raise a little bit of money.”
However he downplayed his expectations for the trip, characterizing most of the events as “meet and greets,” and emphasizing that they were organized only a week ago.
Pivoting to Perry
Asked what the next campaign benchmark would be, Santorum cited three upcoming Presidential debates as his opportunity to distinguish himself from the field. He stands ready to challenge Governor Perry, who has recently surged to the top of national polls, at the next opportunity.
“We’ll see how conservative Rick Perry really is. He hasn’t been in a debate yet. There are alot of things about his record that will give conservative pause.”
Santorum gave a laundry list of criticism about Perry’s record in Texas,staring with the Governor’s support of the pro-immigrant DREAM Act. Santorum also blasted Perry for supporting Al Gore for President in 1988 (“I can’t imagine any point in time in my life that I would think of supporting Al Gore for anything”), and Rudy Giuliani early in the 2008 primary (“He was supporting a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-bigger government Mayor of New York”).
He saved his strongest language for Perry’s controversial 2007 executive order mandate that Texas girls receive a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease HPV.
“To require it, and have parents have to be aware of it and have to opt out, that is the heavy hand of government,” Santorum thundered. “That is something I’d expect from Barack Obama, not someone who says they’re a conservative.”
Perry sincebacked away from the policy – which was overturned by the Texas legislature – after it emerged that one of his campaign contributors had lobbied in favor of the rule. It was an issue in Perry’s 2010 primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
Santorum he dismissed the notion that Perry would keep other conservative candidates from gaining traction.
“They said the same thing about Michele Bachmann a few weeks ago,” he said, arguing it indicated that Republicans were unhappy with the field. “Candidates have gone from zero to 30 points, and then back down to two. It happened to Herman Cain, now Michele Bachmann is drifting down.”
Odds and ends:
He complained thatrecent “gay Jihad” comments had been cherry-picked by the media, as opposed to his evidently extensive remarks about manufacturing policy.
Santorum confirmed that his family made its Virginia residency official about a year ago.
Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that Perry supported Gore in 2000. Actually, as a Democrat Perry was Gore’s 1988 Texas campaign chairman.
Perzel’s intention to plead guilty is contained in an order issued by Dauphin County Court Judge Richard Lewis, the trial judge in the case.
Prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s Office had alleged that Perzel and the other defendants, including another former lawmaker, Brett Feese of Lycoming County, used as much as $10 million in taxpayer money to fund campaign activities.
Among the charges: using the House Republican information-services office to develop computer software programs that targeted political opponents, including Republican lawmakers who had not voted as Perzel directed, according to the grand jury report.
Perzel’s plea signals the end of an era, and the culmination of years of the Bonusgate investigation.
Rafferty for Attorney General: John Rafferty will throw his hat in the ring for PA Attorney General, the Montgomery County State Senator confirmed to PoliticsPA yesterday afternoon.
New Orie Charges: State Sen. Jane Orie will face new charges in Allegheny County, including forgery and tampering with evidence.
Metcalfe Slams Obama: State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is throwing some fire at Barack Obama this week, criticizing the President’s recent executive order calling for a review of deportation orders. He called the President’s action “treasonous.”
Philly Mag Montco GOP: Philadelphia Magazine has an in-depth look at the factionalism over the past decade that has plagued the Montgomery County Republican Committee, which once upon a time was singled out for praise by Ronald Reagan.
National The Hill: Corruption In Afghan Government Has Potential To Compromise U.S. Military Mission, Says Sen. Casey Roll Call: Sen. Toomey Among Supercommittee Members Likely To Be Sympathetic To Desires of Republican Study Committee Washington Post: Democrats Gain Partial Victory In August Town Halls Los Angeles Times: Hurricane Irene; Broadway: Storm’s Economic Damage Less Than Feared Philadelphia Inquirer: Republican Field Still Wide Open To Challenge Casey Philadelphia Inquirer: Politics- and Evolution- Are Oh So Personal AP, York Daily Record: Critics: Obama slow to fill disaster aid coffers
Philly Suburbs Philly Magazine What Would Reagan Say About Montco Dems? Action News: Philly and PA Counties Watch For River Flooding Philly Burbs: Cawley comes home to survey damage Philly Burbs: Bensalem Mayor: Cleanup Will Be “Incredible Expense’ Philly Burbs: Montco Dem candidates excel at ribbon cuttings Daily Times: Pa. Lieutenant Governor to Visit Darby Borough AP, Daily Times: Bottom Line on Irene: Wet, Deadly, Expensive, But No Monster Montgomery Media: Zoning Board Dismisses Challenge to Abington’s Transit District Montgomery Media: Hatfield Township Looks to Preserve 10 Acres Montgomery Media: Study Shows Questions Remain About Economic Benefits of Marcellus Stale Bucks Local News: Bucks County Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick Urges Federal Disaster Declaration Fox Philly: 11 Pa. Counties Targeted For Disaster Aid
South Central Patriot News: U.S. State Department looking at foreign workers’ host agency in Hershey-area labor dispute Patriot News: Harrisburg faces critical vote on fiscal recovery plan
John Rafferty will throw his hat in the ring for PA Attorney General, the Montgomery County State Senator confirmed to PoliticsPA this afternoon.
“I most definitely will, yes,” he said.
Rafferty’s name has been in the discussion for several months, and he recently sent a letter to Republican State Committee members indicating his interest in running.
He won’t face a question of experience: Rafferty served as Deputy Attorney General from 1988 to 1991. In the PA Senate, he has built a reputation as a good legislator respected on both sides of the aisle. He chairs the Transportation Committee and serves on Appropriations, Judiciary, Law & Justice, Banking and Insurance and Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.
He isn’t a hard-liner (his campaign website boasts of his success in, “bringing millions of dollars of funding to his district for economic development”), but he has been reaching out to PA conservatives.
“I think John will do a great job as Attorney General, said Folmer. “He’s personable, he’s honest, and he has a good grasp of the Constitution. It fits him very well.”
Folmer noted that while he and his colleague sometimes disagree on policy, Rafferty is “pro-life, pro-gun, and a strict constructionist.”
Update: Senator Eichelbeger echoed Folmer’s praise.
“He would bring a real sense of integrity and hard work to the office,” he said. “He’s respected enough on both sides of the aisle that people trust him, and know his word is good.”
He has also been making the rounds at other statewide events. Hehosted a reception at GOP state committee this summer, and will attend the upcoming meeting in September.
Elected to the Senate in 2002, Rafferty’s 44th district comprises parts of Montgomery and Chester counties, and even a pair of municipalities in Berks. He won election by 18.4 points in 2002, 12.4 points in 2006, and 25.6 points last year.
He has about $100,000 in cash on hand, according to his most recent campaign finance report, which was filed late last year.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is throwing some fire at Barack Obama today, criticizing the President’s recent executive order calling for a review of deportation orders.
“This deplorable act of treasonous deceit circumvents the balance of power established by our Founding Fathers in Article 4, Section 4 of the United States Constitution, established to protect all 50 states against invasion,” said Metcalfe. “Halting the deportation process to individually review each and every deportation case is a premeditated executive action to obstruct all deportations in favor of blanket amnesty.”
The executive order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to individually review more than 300,000 illegal alien deportation cases with the aim of shifting agency resources from “low-priority” illegal aliens to those of higher risk. These low priority aliens include individuals who have been in the country since childhood, pregnant or nursing women, minors and elderly adults. The initiative also encourages leniency on illegal immigrants pursuing an education.
Metcalfe’s comments come on behalf of his conservative organization the State Legislators for Legal Immigration. Legislators from 41 states are members of this group created to demand full cooperation among governments to eliminate all economic attractions and incentives that entice illegal aliens to enter America.
According toa recent Rasmussen poll, 31% of Americans favor some sort of amnesty policy for immigrants that are already in the country. Metcalfe obviously finds himself in the other 61% who view stricter border security as the priority.
“A generation ago, Ronald Reagan decreed Montgomery County one of the three best-run Republican strongholds in the entire country. Now, with the party decimated by a half-dozen years of feuding among GOP heavyweights, a very rich, mysterious newcomer has entered the void to take Montco politics to an even darker place.”
As Democrats have flooded into Montco from Philly, the county’s demographics have changed. Add that to infighting that has severely affected the party’s operations, and a county that has been Republican since Civil War days may soon have a majority Democratic board of Commissioners.
The article delves into the back story behind the infamous power-sharing deal between Republican Commissioner Jim Matthews and Democrat Joe Hoeffel, the Bob Asher v. Bruce Castor grudge, and the rise of prolific money man Vahan H. Gureghian.
This writer can vouch for at least some of the party infighting in Montco.
At a recent meeting of the PAGOP, as state committee members met up before dinner, the Montgomery County delegation happened to congregate near where this writer was sitting. For about half an hour, I was treated to a nonstop series of details about the factionalism and infighting in the county party.
It was impossible not to empathize with Montco GOP Chairman Bob Kerns as he urged party member after party member to bury the hatchet over some past slight or another. At the same time, it was impossible not to imagine the glee of Montco Dem committee members had they sat where I did.
Certainly every party organization has its share of clashing personalities, and the social media world has been abuzz with Montco Republicans criticizing or dismissing this article. It looks like the county election results this year will have to tell the final story.
The winds have died down, and hopefully your power is (back) on.
Hurricane Irene: When it comes to disaster recovery, Democrats and Republicans agree that government spending is a good thing. In Hurricane Irene’s wake, Governor Corbett, several members of PA’s congressional delegation and local officials are requesting that President Obama declare a disaster in eastern PA.
Casey in Pakistan: Bob Casey is out of town, but certainly not out of dodge. Senator Casey is on his third trip to Pakistan, aiming to stop the transportation of substances used to make IEDs, the number one killer of U.S troops, from that country into neighboring Afghanistan.
Santorum in PA: Former Senator and current GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum knows that if he wants to be a contender he needs to raise more money. Starting today, he’s taking a swing through Pennsylvania to get by with a little help from his friends. Click for details of his trip.
Clinton County consolations: The men who represent Clinton County in Harrisburg, State Senator John N. Wozniak and State Representative Mike Hanna, congratulated and thanked the players, coaches, fans, parents, and volunteers with Keystone Little League for a remarkable post-season performance which caught the attention of sports fans nationwide.
Team Scaringi grows: GOP Senate hopeful Marc Scaringi added a new member to his campaign team last week. Veteran operative Jason Fitzgerald, who last year co-managed Rep. Tom Marino’s win in PA-10, will consult for the Harrisburg-area attorney.
Conservative scorecard: Senator Toomey received the highest grade (87 percent) and surpassed all Pennsylvania members of Congress on a vote scorecard created by Heritage Action. Rep. Joe Pitts took a close second with 83 percent.
Israel/Palestine in PA: J Street, a political group for “pro-Israeli and pro-peace Americans,” delivered about a thousand signed postcards this week to Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey as part of their effort to lobby elected officials to support a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Shrinking the Legislature: It’s a long shot, so the real question is how the proposal plays politically. It might help insulate GOP leadership against Tea Party angst, and then again it might not.
Tackling brain injury: Rep. Pat Meehan held an event last week to push the PABI Plan Act, which would fund a seven-year initiative to implement a standardized, evidence-based system of care for the millions of families who have a child or young adult suffering from brain injury.
And finally, sad news for politicos in DuBois. Lester Smiley, a firecracker of a retired union rep and a fiercely patriotic Democrat, passed away this week at 77. If you’ve ever driven through downtown DuBois, you’ve seen his hand-crafted signs adorning numerous local businesses. Lester was one of the hardest-working, most interesting and most sincere campaigners in the state. He will be missed.
North By Northwest Erie Times: A New Trend: Green Cleaning Our Schools is Gaining Momemtum Erie Times: Proposed Bill on Tax-Exempt Properties Would Aide Erie, Other Cities McClean Publishing Co.: Airport Projects in DuBois, Bradford Moving Forward Centre Daily Times: Corbett, Santorum to Makes Grange Fair Appearances Sun Gazette: DA Files Motion to Have Public Official Removed StateCollege: Gov. Corbett Deploys 1,500 National Guard Troops in Eastern PA
When it comes to disaster recovery, Democrats and Republicans agree that government spending is a good thing.
Governor Corbett this afternoon officially requested that President Obama declare a disaster in the parts of Pennsylvania affected by Hurricane Irene. He was joined by several members of PA’s congressional delegation and local officials.
According to FEMA, such a declaration would put into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are matched by state programs, and designed to help disaster victims, businesses and public entities.
Southeastern PA, including Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, have experienced widespread wind damage and flooding this weekend. The Delaware River isabove flood stage, and expected to crest at its highest level for over a century.
Bucks County is affected by the river more than anywhere in the state. Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick today wrote to President Obama supporting Governor Tom Corbett’s request for a major disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stemming from damages suffered in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Fitzpatrick’s statement included a similar urging from Bucks County Commissioner Charley Martin.
“I join with Congressman Fitzpatrick in urging the President to take immediate action on Governor Corbett’s request so that Bucks County and our entire region can clean up and rebuild,” he said. “We stand ready to work with our state and federal partners for an efficient and swift effort.”
“I want to extend my condolences to the families of those who were killed here in Northeastern Pennsylvania during this storm. They and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers.”
Barletta also supports Gov. Corbett’s request and said he would send a letter to the President immediately.
PA is lending a hand to our friends across the Delaware. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tweeted earlier, “PA has sent ambulances to New Jersey. Thank you to Gov. Corbett.”
Two days ago, Gov. Tom Corbett declared a statewide disaster emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene. The proclamation authorized state agencies to use all available resources and personnel as necessary to cope with the emergency situation.
In a week of exciting games before record-setting crowds,Keystone Little League advanced further in the Little League World Series than any Pennsylvania team in more than 20 years.
They held their own against national competition despite having the disadvantage of coming from a cold weather state where they can’t play ball year round. However, the Keystone kids’ hopes of a World Championship were dashed Friday night when they lost to a seasoned team from Huntington Beach, California. The California team had only given up one run in the entire series prior to Thursday night’s game, and won its first two games with a combined 21-0 score.
Despite narrowly missing advancement to the World Series, Keystone Little League certainly made their home state proud. On Saturday, State Senator John N. Wozniak and State Representative Mike Hanna thanked the fans, parents, players and volunteers with Keystone Little League for a remarkable post-season performance which caught the attention of Little League fans nationwide.
“Our hearts are filled with pride in Clinton County as we welcome home the Keystone Little League team, coaches and parents following their historic run in the Little League World Series,” said Hanna, a Clinton County native. “These extraordinary young men have truly demonstrated the best of what our region, and Pennsylvania as a whole, has to offer.”
“It was a testament to the character of the kids and the quality of the coaching that not a single person in that stadium, including the California fans, thought that game was lost until the last strike was recorded. They made people believe that character could overcome anything and hopefully that lesson will stick.”
Senator Wozniak, whose district stretches to Clinton County from his base in Johnstown, said he was especially pleased to see a PA team shining on the national stage. By the conclusion of the game, more than 160,000 fans had witnessed the games, more than 30,000 were following on Facebook and fans as far west as California and as far north as Maine were sending their congratulations.
“It was thrilling to see this team put Clinton County on a national stage,” Wozniak said. “But it was even more gratifying to see that when the region was in the spotlight, it shone with grace, sportsmanship and spirit.”