May 31st Ups & Downs
Momentum builds among PA Dems to impeach Trump, a pair of veteran newsmen call it quits after storied careers, and a county may be on the hook to pay nearly $70 million for a federal class action lawsuit. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Dem Impeachment Momentum. At the beginning of the month it was just something that Democrats were mulling and very few were willing to sign onto. Now, 4 Pennsylvania Democrats have endorsed proceeding with articles of impeachment for President Donald Trump. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), who has called for impeachment hearings since 2017, was joined by Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia), Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery), and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware). Dean and Scanlon, both members of the House Judiciary Committee, have distinguished themselves as faces of the growing movement within the party. Scanlon even led a public reading of the Mueller report which lasted almost 12 hours and made an appearance on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show this week hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s public address.
Smucker Support for Trump. Not that his support has waned much, but the Lancaster County Republican went of the offensive this week at a colleague on this side of the aisle stepping out of the party line. At a town hall, Smucker took a shot at Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) who is the lone wolf in the GOP calling for Trump’s impeachment. Smucker said someone sort of turned his colleague “upside down and dropped him on his head” saying his call doesn’t make sense.
Bucks County. Barring a successful appeal, the county may be on the hook for paying $68 million in damages for a federal class action lawsuit. A federal jury in Philly this week ruled that Bucks County and its corrections system violated the privacy rights of nearly 67,000 people incarcerated at the county jail between 1938-2013, when they posted protected criminal information on a publicly accessible website. If the ruling stands, they will have to pay $1,000 in punitive damages for each violation. Bucks County Commissioners Chairman Robert Loughery said that “disappointed isn’t a strong enough word,” for the ruling and believes the county has a strong case for an appeal. The Bucks County Courier Times reports that the county’s insurance company won’t cover the payout, if the ruling stands.
Suicide Awareness. Pennsylvania’s increase in suicides outpaced the national average from 1999-2016, but the state is attempting to combat it now. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration announced that it is creating a suicide prevention task force, citing statistics over the last 20 years, deeming it an “epidemic.”
Burnett and Davies. This week we thank a pair of influential journalists on their retirements over 3 decade long careers. KDKA’s Jon Burnett and WHYY’s Dave Davies are both completing their final day of full employment with their respective outlets today and tomorrow. Burnett signs off from the Pittsburgh television station he’s been with for the past 36 years, tomorrow. Today is Davies last full day of employment after 37 years in the field with the Philadelphia public radio station. In a tweeted statement today, Davies did add that he is “not disappearing” and will continue working periodically with Fresh Air and will consider freelance opportunities in the future.
Philly Mayoral Debates. Although Kenney’s victory in the Democratic primary all but notches his victory towards a second term in office, he does have a GOP challenger to face in the fall in South Philly defense attorney Billy Ciancaglini. Kenney engaged in one debate with Democratic challengers former City Controller Alan Butkovitz and state Sen. Anthony Williams, but it looks like there will not be a single showdown between Kenney and Ciancaglini before November’s election. Kenney told WHYY last week that he would “probably not” debate Ciancaglini, citing a story from Unicorn Riot that had unnamed members of a white supremacist group claim they met with Ciancaglini. The GOP candidate has denied these claims. Philly Clout this week tried to ask Kenney more about the upcoming campaign, but the Mayor balked at the questions and referred the reporters to his campaign, who is also refusing to answer questions about ignoring his GOP opponent.
Max Steele. Another PA alum onto the 2020 campaign trail. Steele, who most recently led Sen. Bob Casey’s communications team during his 2018 reelection bid, joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 presidential campaign as director of rapid response.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
— J.J. Abbott (@jjabbott) May 30, 2019