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5/27 Ups & Downs

Reps. Barletta and Marino. Banning recording devices from public meetings is not transparent. Period. A shy constituent will be just as shy in front of a TV news crew (allowed) as a citizen holding a camcorder (not allowed). Best case scenario, this is a terrible PR move. Worst case, it’s censorship. Gentlemen, you make $174,000 a year, you are public servants employed by the people of Pennsylvania, and they have a right to record what you say. Trackers and oppo researchers come with the territory.

Rick Santorum. The Senator took the next big step this week when he announced that he would officially launch his Presidential bid. Unfortunately for him, he picked just about the worst day possible. His news coverage drowned in the news that Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann will announce too, with hints that Sarah Palin may not be far behind. And despite Santorum picking up some endorsements in the Granite state, even Miley Cyrus is on his case.

Steve Santarsiero. Achieving the perfect synergy between good works and good PR, the Bucks County State Rep said this week that he would donate his automatic COLA to local DARE programs. As for the automatic COLA, it’s funny how something so unpopular among most legislators remains so popular among most legislators.

Newspapers. The patrons of the printed word caught a break this week, as the PA legislature decided to shelve a proposal to allow local municipalities to post notices online instead of paying to have them printed. It’s a big source of revenue for local papers, and some have estimated that as many as 1,000 jobs hung in the balance.

SEIU-led anti-Marcellus protesters. Maybe it’s better to leave extraction to the experts after all.  Union workers and environmental activists picketed a Marcellus drilling site…except, it turned out that no drilling was taking place anywhere near the place they set up camp (and their makeshift tollbooth).

Pat Toomey. After all the anti-GOP Medicare spin from the NY-26 special, it turns out Toomey’s decision to delay huge reforms to Medicare were pretty smart. And his budget received more votes than any other in the Senate.

Jason Altmire. It was a good week for the blue dog Democrat. He picked up a ton of good local press from his trip with Rep. Tim Holden to Rep. Gabby Giffords’ district on the Mexico border. He helped to bolster his centrist cred on energy issues with a nuclear bill he and Rep. Tim Murphy introduced this week. And Keith Rothfus, who announced this week that he’ll be seeking a rematch against the Congressman, is starting out $200,000 in debt.

Correction: An earlier version of this feature linked to a Post-Gazette article indicating that Santorum was delinquent in his property taxes. That article has been retracted.

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