9/12 Morning Buzz

PA-state-flag6New polls show Wolf with a big lead, Corbett pledges a special session on pensions if re-elected and Terry Madonna delivers his latest Politically Uncorrected column. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: Quinnipiac Poll: Wolf 59 Corbett 35: The incumbent trails by 24 points in this latest survey of likely voters.

PA-Gov: YouGov Poll: Wolf 50 Corbett 39: The online scientific survey is the latest in a series of polls concerning PA’s gubernatorial race.

PA-Gov: If Re-Elected, Corbett Says He Would Call Special Session on Pensions: The Governor goes on the attack, saying Wolf does not believe there is an ongoing pension problem in Pennsylvania.

Politically Uncorrected: A Tale of Two Years, Two Men and Two Elections: The many parallels are striking; both the men and the times they lived in.

PA-Gov: Wolf Intends to Block Controversial Abortion Bill: Wolf’s campaign announced this week that he aims to obstruct the Texas-style abortion bill introduced by Republican Rep. Bryan Cutler.

PA-1: RMC PAC Endorses Rath: The Republican Majority for Choice (RMC) formally endorsed Republican candidate Megan Rath in her race for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional district.

Statewide
PA Independent: Leaders have little enthusiasm for “lame-duck” session
State House Sound Bites: POLL: Wolf’s lead over Corbett is “prohibitive”
State House Sound Bites: Uncertain future for medical marijuana proposal
State House Sound Bites: Judge removes Penn State trustees from NCAA lawsuit
State House Sound Bites: News organizations seek info on PA’s execution drugs
State House Sound Bites: Corbett vows special session if he’s elected
State House Sound Bites: PA Education Secretary outlines common core review
State House Sound Bites: Former FBI Director to conduct NFL probe
State House Sound Bites: Heroes of Flight 93 honored with Congressional Gold Medal
Capitolwire: More bad news for Corbett

Philadelphia
The Inquirer: City Council call hearing on Phila. VA
The Inquirer: Philly supports “hitting” ISIS
The Inquirer: Wolf up 24 points in polls
Daily News: Councilmen seek more power for police watchdog agencies
The Inquirer: County prosecutor says law applied correctly in Rice case
Philly.com: Firm agrees to treat drilling waste in Western PA
WHYY Newsworks: Should lawmakers be blocked from interfering in doctor-patient relationship?
WHYY Newsworks: State-run program helps nurses detox and stay in their scrubs
WHYY Newsworks: Philly councilman wants to put “sting” in pellet gun ban
WHYY Newsworks: Propane explosion calls for Philly inspection of tanks

SEPA
Pottstown Mercury: Pundits predict GOP sweep, except for PA governor
Pottstown Mercury: Corbett, trailing, says he tackled “tough issues”
Pottstown Mercury: Liberals won’t talk about Obama’s failures
Montgomery Media: PHOTOS: Wissahickon High School hosts Sept. 11 Memorial Concert and Vigil
Delco Daily Times: Latest PA poll shows Corbett failing to make up ground
Delco Daily Times: Eddystone’s Mokshefsky takes oath as borough’s new police chief
Delco Daily Times: 9/11 memorial a reminder that the terror threat continues
Daily Local News: VIDEO: 9/11 survivor speaks at Coatesville memorial

Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh URA approves proposal to work with two partners to redevelop Strip District landmark
Post-Gazette: More bus routes added to Allegheny County’s real-time tracking system
Post-Gazette: Post-Gazette open records request denied
Tribune-Review: Financial information fair game in lawsuit tied to ‘kids for cash’ case
Tribune-Review: Pitt’s business school dean to step down
Pittsburgh Business Times: Pa. trade groups join push for LNG exports
Pittsburgh Business Times: OSHA expands employer requirements for reporting severe injuries

Southwest
Altoona Mirror: Residents blast council, proposal
Altoona Mirror: Hollidaysburg team physician: Punishment unfair
Johnstown Tribune Democrat: Pro ball may return to Point, council learns
Beaver County Times: AfterSaturday night, Ambridge board takes ‘first step toward the right thing to do’

NEPA
Wayne Independent: Council to pay for parking work
The Times Leader: Numerous properties removed from tax auction
Standard Speaker: Hazelton mayor officiates same sex wedding
Citizens Voice: Action launched to remove board member
Citizens Voice: Official: Improvements could stress arena

South Central
The Sentinel: Four county transportation projects awarded grants
The Sentinel: Ex-Harrisburg treasure facing new theft charge
Lebanon Daily News: PA school construction reimbursement program under microscope
York Daily Record: Wolf v. Corbett: See the numbers behind dueling TV ads about education spending
The Patriot-News: Judge removes Penn State trustees from Paterno lawsuit against NCAA
The Patriot-News: Cumberland County commissioners extend deadline for proposals from consultants to help build consensus on county library system goals
The Patriot-News: Penn State adding more ADA parking near stadium — but it’s for season-ticket holders and donors only
The Patriot-News: Carlisle Borough Council could finalize borrowing $14 million for capital improvement projects
The Patriot-News: Money for next Obamacare push flows into Pennsylvania and Harrisburg

Lehigh Valley
The Morning Call: Judge: Paterno suit against Penn State sanctions can move toward trial
The Morning Call: Pollster: Gov. Tom Corbett is ‘dead man walking’
WFMZ: Pennsylvania educations secretary outlines Common Core review
The Express-Times: Three Lehigh County mosquito samples test positive for West Nile virus, DEP reports
The Express-Times: Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School wins appeal
The Express-Times: Lehigh Valley International Airport puts nearly $13 million in grants to work improving safety, officials say

North by Northwest
Erie Times-News: Hundreds attend Erie 9/11 Memorial ceremony (VIDEO)
WJET: Auditor General Critical of Erie Rise Academy

Opinion
PLSReporter: Should POTUS have asked Congress for permission to strike ISIS?
Philly.com: “Low wages; high costs”
Philly.com: Civic virtues of 9/11 then and now
Daily News: With Philly schools, it helps to get creative
Pottstown Mercury: Politically uncorrected
Post-Gazette: Good news for the Hill: Compromise plan has great potential for the area
Johnstown Tribune Democrat: Readers’ Forum | Why are taxes handled out of town?

Blogs
Keystone State Education Coalition: PA ED roundup 9/11
Keystone Politics: Wolf’s lead widens to almost 60 percent
Liberty City Press: Sudden optimism in Philadelphia sports scene

PA-1: RMC PAC Endorses Rath

Megan-RathRepublican nominee for Pennsylvania’s 1st congressional district Megan Rath won the endorsement of the Republican Majority for Choice today.

The RMC is a national organization dedicated to promoting policies that limit the scope of government in American lives. A pro-choice organization, the RMC works with legislators to further access to reproductive choices, including abstinence education, contraception, motherhood, adoption and safe legal abortions. In the organization’s mission statement it states its goal is to bring Republican candidates to Capitol Hill to vote on “commonsense solutions.”

Rath’s endorsement stems from her platform, which focuses on education, the economy and fixing what the RMC considers to be the “disastrous federal healthcare law.”

“Rath is a true fiscal conservative who understands that the government should pursue commonsense cost-effective policies while protecting the rights of individuals,” said RMC co-chair Susan Bevan. “These beliefs fortify her pro-choice position, believing individuals should enjoy the freedom to make vital family and medical decisions for themselves.  And her emphasis on conservative fiscal policy lends to her appreciation for preventative health services that reduce long-term costs to the government, and more importantly to taxpayers.”

A newcomer to the political scene, Rath is critical of Democratic incumbent Bob Brady’s approach to education, job building and the economy. Rath seeks to provide better funding to schools, lower the unemployment rate, and reduce poverty in her district.

She faces an uphill, however, as PA-1 is rated D+28.

PA-Gov: Wolf Intends to Block Controversial Abortion Bill

wolfAdd to the list of obvious differences between the heavily Republican legislature and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf the issue of abortion.

Today, Wolf made clear he would not sign a major abortion bill being pushed by the legislature.

“Tom Wolf would not sign this bill,” spokeswoman Beth Melena declared. This is just an attempt to make it more difficult for women to access reproductive health care.”

Incumbent Tom Corbett is widely expected to support the bill.

The bill, which was introduced last February by Republican Rep. Bryan Cutler, requires a conjunction between doctors and hospitals offering obstetrical or gynecological care less than 30 miles away from the clinic. Abortion rights advocates are up in arms, citing the statistic that only 0.3% of abortions lead to major complications, thus asserting that the real goal of the legislation is to limit access.

This legislation is primarily viewed by opponents as a creative way to obstruct and restrict a woman’s access to abortions since not all doctors work within 30 miles of a hospital and many hospitals will reject reproductive care based on religious affiliation.

“They did this before with one of those ultrasound bills and that died and ugly death too,” PennLive editor John Micek told Mother Jones. “As conservative as this legislature can be, it seems to me to be seized by fits of common sense.”

So far the hot-button issue of abortion has been on the campaign back-burner and it’s unclear whether this will force it into the debate over the next few months.

PA-Gov: YouGov Poll: Wolf 50 Corbett 39

Tom-WolfAnother poll shows Democratic nominee Tom Wolf with the lead in the gubernatorial race, although his advantage is smaller than in other polls.

YouGov found 46% of respondents favor Wolf while 35% support Governor Corbett. When those who are leaning towards one candidate or the other are included, though, the margin becomes Wolf 50%-Corbett 39%.

There is little difference between these results and the ones YouGov produced in July.

The gender gap is rather large with Wolf holding a 51-26 advantage among women and Corbett edging out his opponent 43-41 among men.

In the partisan breakdown, Wolf leads Democrats (84% to 4%) and Corbett leads Republicans (69% to 12%) although the former does much better with members of the opposite party. Independents favor the Governor by a narrow 39% to 36% margin.

Liberals (88-3) and moderates (56-20) overwhelmingly favor Wolf while conservatives (69-13) greatly favor Corbett.

Wolf leads nearly all age groups with Gov. Corbett holding onto just a 44% to 42% lead among voters sixty-five and older. The Democrat’s biggest strength is young voters between the ages of 18 and 29, where he holds the 60% to 23% lead.

Finally, Wolf holds a small edge with white voters (43-38) and a large edge with black voters (68-9).

YouGov surveys are a bit difficult to get a handle on. They conduct their surveys online as part of a nationwide effort. They also don’t specify whether they target registered or likely voters. Polls among likely voters are generally more accurate. Yet YouGov’s polls were judged the second most accurate in 2012.

Altogether, in the last few weeks all matter of polls have pegged Wolf’s support at between 49% and 59% while Corbett stands somewhere between 25% and 41%.

If you combine the results of the latest Quinnipiac, RMU, Harper, F&M and YouGov polls Wolf’s average is 53.1% while Corbett averages 32.5%.

This YouGov survey took place from August 18 to September 2 and included 3,560 interviews.

PA-Gov: If Re-Elected, Corbett Says He Would Call Special Session on Pensions

GovernorCorbettIf Corbett can win reelection in November, one of his first orders of business would be to call a special session in the legislature to handle the pension crisis in the state he revealed today.

Corbett cites pensions as a major issue because some cities, including Scranton, are distressed due to their unaffordable pension obligations. In addition, he says a number of school districts in Pennsylvania could come “close to bankruptcy” if no solution is found.

“If I don’t get re-elected for four more years, there will be nothing done about this, because Mr. [Tom] Wolf says there is not a pension problem,” Corbett said.

While Tom Wolf did not respond to Corbett’s comments, his spokesman, Jeffrey Sheridan said Corbett’s pension plan does not solve the pension problem and it is only “kicking the can down the road.”

According to the governor, his poll numbers are low because he is taking on the issues “no one else will touch”, including pensions, ending the state-controlled liquor stores, and privatizing the state lottery.

“If I had been looking toward reelection, do you think I would have taken on pensions, when all it does is get everyone upset?”, Corbett said.

Corbett briefly refused to sign the budget in July 2014, citing the lack of pension reform in the budget as the main reason.

Politically Uncorrected: A Tale of Two Years, Two Men and Two Elections

tom wolfHe had never held an elective office; yet, he won the Democratic primary against formidable opposition, even though he was not endorsed by his own political party.

A successful millionaire businessman, he pumped millions into his own campaign–a campaign noteworthy for its extraordinarily skilled and effective use of television. His platform, albeit broad in scope, concentrated heavily on raising revenues for a state facing chronic fiscal deficits.  Most controversial was his proposal for a progressive state income tax, a proposal that lacked specificity.

We could be describing Pennsylvania’s 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf. We could be. But we aren’t.

Instead, we are describing another candidate who ran for governor of Pennsylvania almost a half century ago; we are describing the 1970 Democratic gubernatorial nominee (and successful general election victor) Milton J. Shapp.

Indeed, the many parallels between Shapp and Wolf are striking–both the men and the times they lived in:

  • In 1970, as in 2014, the Democrat challenger was a successful businessman who had not sought elected office before — while his Republican opponent was an incumbent public official striving to retain office.
  • In 1970, as in 2014, the Pennsylvania economy was struggling while state government wrestled with its perennial problem–state budget deficits aggravated by slow economic growth and too high unemployment.
  • In 1970, as in 2014, the incumbent governor was unpopular. Unable constitutionally to seek re-election his incumbent lieutenant governor became the Republican nominee.
  • In 1970, as in 2014, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate proposed a progressive income tax to solve the state’s revenue problems –while his Republican opponent opposed raising taxes and favored cutting (wasteful) spending.
  • Finally, the national political zeitgeist offers additional parallels between 2014 and 1970.  In 2014, state Republicans expect to benefit electorally from President Obama’s abysmally low approval ratings. The 1970 campaign produced similar dynamics with state Republicans probably benefiting from newly elected Richard Nixon’s still high approval ratings (57 percent approval).

Notwithstanding these remarkable similarities, Tom Wolf in 2014 is no mere carbon copy of Milton Shapp in 1970.  In truth, there are many differences between the two.

In 1970 Shapp, unlike Wolf, was not quite the political tyro. Shapp was making his second effort as Democratic nominee, having previously also won his party’s nomination in 1966 only to lose to Republican Ray Shafer in the general election.

Equally important, Shapp was vague, if not obscure, in his income tax advocacy while blurring many of his positions on social issues.  Wolf, on the other hand, albeit short on detail, has consistently called for a progressive tax to solve the state’s fiscal problems, while more clearly articulating his generally liberal social policy positions.

However, the most important difference between the two may be what happens or doesn’t happen after the election. When Shapp was elected in 1970 the enactment of a new state income tax became the focus of his first budget proposal to the legislature. Consequently, Shapp was able to get the Democratic-controlled legislature to adopt a graduated income tax in March, 1971. It was in quick fashion struck down three months later by the state Supreme Court–ruling it violated the uniformity clause of the 1873 state constitution. Eventually by summer’s end, a new 2.5 percent flat tax was enacted, resolving the state’s acute fiscal crisis.

Wolf’s experience will be different. If he is elected, his ability to enact his agenda is highly unlikely to match that of Shapp in 1970, whose margin of victory that year (some 200, 000 votes) was accompanied by a Democratic sweep of both houses of the General Assembly, the first for the Democrats in 30 years. Wolf may be on his way to an impressive November victory, but not even the most optimistic Democratic analyst expects his party to prevail in the General Assembly elections. Very likely both houses of the legislatures will remain under Republican control.

Inauspicious as that may be for Wolf’s tax plans, it actually gets worse. The progressive income tax that Wolf has proposed almost certainly would face overwhelming opposition in a Republican-dominated legislature. Even if that obstacle could be overcome, any progressive tax would presumably be blocked by the uniformity clause of the state constitution, which states in part “all taxes shall be uniform on the same class of subjects.”

In effect, Pennsylvania cannot enact any progressive income tax without amending the constitution, a time consuming, laborious, and politically perilous undertaking that among other things would require the concurrence of a super majority of both legislative chambers.

That’s not going to happen anytime soon. Nor will a Wolf electoral victory produce in state government a consensus similar to the one achieved by Shapp in 1970 or for that matter any consensus at all.

Clearly, crisis will confront whoever wins Pennsylvania’s 2014 gubernatorial. That may not be all bad.

Crisis often brings solutions to governmental problems otherwise seen as insoluble. Indeed, today it sometimes seems only crisis induces government to act. That is really what happened in 1970.

Fifty years from now will history record that it’s also what happened in 2014?

PA-Gov: Quinnipiac Poll: Wolf 59 Corbett 35

Wolf CorbettAnother poll, another piece of bad news for Governor Corbett.

This, however, might be the worst piece of polling news yet.

Quinnipiac, the only out-of-state nonpartisan polling institution that has done surveys of this race, released their latest results this morning. 59% of likely voters support Democratic nominee Tom Wolf while just 35% support Republican Governor Tom Corbett.

The challenger is leading the incumbent by 24 points. This advantage is actually an increase from the twenty point lead Wolf held in Quinnipiac’s June poll.

Even worse, this poll is among likely voters as surveys of likely voters tend to favor Republicans while surveys of registered voters tend to favor Democrats.

Breakdown

Breaking the poll down by groups and issues provides little solace to the Corbett campaign.

Wolf leads 53% to 39% among independents while capturing 91% of Democrats and a surprising 28% of Republicans.

Nor can the Corbett-Cawley team console themselves with the fact that over fifty days remain until the election. 84% of voters say their mind is already made up compared to just 15% who might change their mind.

In terms of issues the voters found to be the most important, they broke down this way: 32% said economy/jobs, 25% responded education, 17% cited government spending and 15% listed taxes.

Wolf leads all these categories: 58-34 on the economy and jobs, 61-29 on education, 54-38 on government spending, even 50-41 on taxes.

Views on the Candidates

The Democrat also leads Corbett on all questions of character traits.

By a 54% to 21% margin, voters think Wolf is honest and trustworthy. For Corbett, it is an even 43% to 43% split.

58% believe Wolf cares about their needs and problems compared to just 27% who say he doesn’t. Only 35% of voters think that Corbett cares while a distressing 56% believe he doesn’t.

Lastly, 61% say Wolf has strong leadership qualities while only 18% counter that he does not. Corbett’s 50% to 42% margin is much smaller.

Perhaps most worrying for the Governor’s campaign, though, are the following numbers.

51% of Wolf backers say their support is primarily a vote against the Governor. Furthermore, 50% of respondents view the Democratic nominee favorably while just 22% view him unfavorably.

Governor Corbett, however, is viewed favorably by just 33% of respondents while 55% have an unfavorable view of him.

“A stunningly bad showing for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett who is clobbered across the board on issues, leadership and other character traits by a candidate who was unknown to most voters earlier this year,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“What’s Tom Corbett’s biggest problem?,” Malloy asks and answers. “Tom Corbett.”

This Quinnipiac Poll surveyed 1,161 likely voters from September 3rd to 8th and involved live interviews via landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9%.

9/11 Morning Buzz

Flight-93-memorial-NPSWolf hits back at Corbett’s education commercial with his own ad, Fitzpatrick introduces a bill aimed at ISIS and the PA-Gov race shifts from Lean to Likely Democratic. Good morning politicos, here’s the Buzz!

PA-Gov: Wolf Hits Back at Corbett’s Education Claims in New Ad (VIDEO): The thirty-second spot is a direct response to the commercial released by the Governor yesterday.

PA-8: Fitzpatrick Introduces Legislation Aimed at Financially Crippling ISIS: The Congressman’s bill would impose sanctions on financial institutions and individuals who do business with ISIS.

PA-Gov: Governing Magazine Shifts Race from Lean to Likely Democratic: The author believes it will take a “near-miracle” for Gov. Corbett to win re-election.

PA-Gov: Pennsylvania Working Families Endorses Tom Wolf: The group says Wolf is the right choice for governor this November.

Statewide
State House Sound Bites: Would full Medicaid expansion cause glitches?
State House Sound Bites: Former state Sen. Vince Fumo pursues consulting post-prison
State House Sound Bites: Critics say politics fuels PA state school standards
PA Independent: ‘Torture porn’ actor in Wolf’s ad fitting of nasty race for governor
PA Independent: Parents sue over state of Philadelphia schools
StateImpactPA: Corbett “public misunderstands gas tax”

Philadelphia
Daily News: City Council heads back to work with full plate
The Inquirer: Veterans, relatives rip VA at Philly town hall
The Inquirer: Corbett vows special session on “Pac-Man” pensions
The Inquirer: Few fireworks in City Council fall session
Daily News: Domestic abuse difficult to prosecute in police families
Daily news: Justice Dept. settles dispute with Philly school district
Daily News: Wednesday’s DN: Race for governor turns “racy” with porn
CapitolInq: Flight ’93 passengers and crew to receive Congress’ highest honor
WHYY Newsworks: Voting machine challenge goes before PA. Supreme Court
Phillynow.com: Toomey one of 18 senators voting to overturn Citizens United
Philadelphia Weekly: What to follow right now in PA politics

SEPA
Pottstown Mercury: 13 years after 9/11, no end in sight for Middle East conflict
Pottstown Mercury: Pottsgrove school district to reimburse taxpayers $350K
Bucks Local News: Sen. Bob Casey to honor fallen at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
Daily Local News: West Chester County to pass new graduation requirements

Pittsburgh
KDKA: Mike Stack: “I’m Uniquely Qualified To Help Wolf Carry Out Agenda”
KDKA: One-Of-A-Kind Creative Studios Being Built On Old Braddock Hospital Site
Pittsburgh Business Times: SBA administrator faces a tough crowd at House Small Business Committee
Pittsburgh Business Times: UPMC, Pitt researchers develop new test for concussion evaluation
Post-Gazette: Transportation grant for Hill District redevelopment much less than expected
Post-Gazette: Yale study cites health risks for those living near shale gas wells
Tribune Review: 2 Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers dispute Corbett’s education review
Tribune Review: Bill would prevent felons from lobbying Pa. lawmakers

Southwest
Observer-Reporter: Consol to discuss plans for breastworks repair in North Franklin
Johnstown Tribune Democrat: Committee hearing: JWF’s Polacek urges lawmakers to ‘focus’ on job training, education
Johnstown Tribune Democrat: Somerset breaks ground for Trinity Park
Beaver County Times: County commissioners set to vote on tobacco-free policy
Beaver County Times: Judge asked to fill vacant Aliquippa council seat

NEPA
News Item: Kulpmont hears plea for more police; part-time hours added
Citizens Voice: Projects across county net $12.4M in slots revenue
The Times Leader: Lake-Lehman board approves UCBH mental health care agreement
The Times Leader: Balavage to step down as Kingston Twp. police chief
Pocono Record: Carlton House demolition in Stroudsburg slated for end of September

South Central
Lancaster Online: Along with increased child-abuse reports, costs expected to rise
Lancaster Online: $59 million soybean plan in Lancaster County drags through two years
Lancaster Online: With budgets tight, schools turn to corporate sponsorships
York Daily Record: Dems to host rally for Tom Wolf, other candidates Sunday at York College
York Daily Record: York County home prices keep rising
The Patriot-News: U.S. Sen. Bob Casey: More than $114K grant coming to HIA
The Patriot-News: Capital Region splits vote to split costs of sinkhole study with Harrisburg
The Patriot-News: Dauphin County police regionalization study to produce at least eight models, including county department
The Patriot-News: Legislation would give states control of relocation process of unaccompanied immigrant children
The Patriot-News: Pennsylvania ranks among the worst states to have a baby

Lehigh Valley
The Morning Call: Arena opens, symbol of hope for a better Allentown
The Morning Call: Tom Ridge likes Obama’s handling of Islamic State threat so far
WFMZ: Anti-bullying program launched in Montgomery County
Reading Eagle: Pa. county council rejects ‘In God We Trust’ motto
The Express-Times: PennDOT adds streaming highway traffic video to 511pa.com
The Express-Times: Easton pastor call for workplace diversity at city hall

North by Northwest
Centre Daily Times: Sen. Jake Corman talks politics, pragmatism and his future
WICU: Erie Leaders Gather To Support CRIZ Bill
WJET: Casey Calls on Postmaster General to Keep Erie Post Office Open
WJET: Right to Know Law Costing Millcreek Taxpayers Thousands of Dollars

Opinion
The Express-Times: EDITORIAL: Downtown Allentown, reborn
The Sentinel: Our View: Slow police response concerning
Pottstown Mercury: Caution advised when dealing with ISIS
Bucks County Courier Times: Follow Philly’s lead on pot
Daily Local News: State. Sen Dinniman touts local train project
Daily News: Pennsylvania, “breeding farm” for the bizarre
Tribune Review: Those Penn State sanctions: Rescinding them is premature
Tribune Review: Patriot day 2014: Never forget

Blogs
Keystone State Education Coalition: PA State Ed roundup
Pennsylvania Progressive: Humane Society PAC targets pigeon shoots

PA-8: Fitzpatrick Introduces Legislation Aimed at Financially Crippling ISIS

Rep. FitzpatrickIn a conference call today with members of the press, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), announced his upcoming legislation to fight the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) threat. The Isolate ISIS Act will seek to cut off income to the terrorist organization, crippling it where it is most powerful.

“ISIS is unlike other terrorist organizations because it has the means to raise money,” Fitzpatrick said in the conference call. “By attacking their funding we can slow their growth and limit their resources to push back against their twisted world view.”

The Act will impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that do business with ISIS or individuals operating on their behalf. It will also impose harsh penalties on U.S corporations or individuals that do commerce with ISIS, including black market petroleum sales from ISIS.

“[This bill] is one piece of a larger response to the threats posed directly by ISIS,” Fitzpatrick said. “Our nation needs a plan, a strategy for foreign policy in the 21st century world.”

This legislation was announced just hours before President Obama is scheduled to address the nation on ISIS. The Obama Administration has previously stated that it will continue without Congressional approval on a broader military and political attack on ISIS that hinges on political and military commitments from European allies. Whether he will consult Congress remains to be seen.

“The President does have the ability, and should as Commander in Chief, to lead and to take aggressive actions to protect our national security. He is currently using this authority” Fitzpatrick said. “I, and members throughout Pennsylvania, are waiting to hear the President’s strategy this evening.”

Fitzpatrick believes that the best way to eliminate the threat posed by ISIS is through “diplomatic action of diplomacy and sanctions.” He holds that it is important to work and listen to other nations, but that the U.S. cannot let our friends or enemies dictate our foreign policy.

PA-Gov: Pennsylvania Working Families Endorses Tom Wolf

Tom-WolfTom Wolf has secured another endorsement in his bid for governor, this time from the new progressive political group, Pennsylvania Working Families.

Even though Working Families believes Wolf is considered “a lock to win” on Election Day, the group nonetheless is still advocating for Wolf as the right man to get their agenda passed.

“We are going door to door in swing senate districts building support for the minimum wage increase”, says Kati Sipp, Director of PA Working Families. “That means that regardless of who controls the Senate, we’ll be able to show that support for minimum wage cuts across party ines, so that our next governor Tom Wolf can be sure of getting a vote on it and other key issues for working Pennsylvanians.”

Tom Wolf, on receiving the endorsement, said, “I am running to strengthen our economy, education system, and infrastructure while loosening the hold of special interests. The endorsement of PA Working Families will help me with those fights by helping me build grassroots support.”

The goal of PA Working Families and its sister organizations is to win back rights for workers in a number of states. Fighting for higher minimum wage is one of the top goals.

Since the early days of his campaign, Wolf has called for a higher minimum wage, voicing his support of raising it to $10.10 an hour.

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