7/14 Morning Buzz

Good morning politicos, and welcome to the buzz. Lots of political news yesterday and more on the way today.

In today’s Chief of Staff Spotlight, we introduce you to David Lucas in Rep. Mike Doyle’s office. When it comes to politics he’s an old hand, but he’s a brand new dad as of March 21st this year.

PPP released a poll showing Bob Casey leading all opponents, both declared and hypothetical. It’s more good news for the Senator, who continues to look strong enough to scare off most challengers. On the other hand, his approval is positive 40 to 32 percent – but not stellar.

Rep. Turzai introduced his latest effort to sell off PA’s liquor stores yesterday afternoon to a story-starved post-budget press corps in the Capitol, saying that would be the fight this fall. His conservative supporters are already lining up for battle, including a new advocacy group to help coordinate (and fund) the effort.

Yesterday, PoliticsPA published the first in our series of Races to Watch in 2011 – Montgomery County Commissioners. Please check out our preview of the race, as well as interviews with Republicans Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown, and Democrats Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards.

PoliticsPA Reports

PoliticsPA’s Chief of Staff Spotlight: David Lucas
At PoliticsPA, we love staffers as much as elected officials. In this week’s feature, we present David Lucas, Chief of Staff for Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny).

Poll: Casey Leads Opponents by 18-20 Points
The good news keeps rolling for Bob Casey. Though his approval rating isn’t overwhelming, the latest survey from Public Policy Polling shows the Senator easily ahead of all prospective opponents.

Conservatives Line Up for Liquor Privatization Fight
Rep. Mike Turzai today unveiled his latest effort to privatize PA’s liquor stores, and conservatives wasted no time preparing for an all-out battle in the fall.

RNC Remains Bullish on PA in 2012
The RNC launched a new web video and continued its show of strength in preparation of the 2012 campaign in PA.

FEC Slapped Murphy with $12K Fine
Former Representative Patrick Murphy was fined $12,000 by the Federal Elections Committee for failing to file a finance form within thirty days after the November election.

Burn Talks 2012 With DC Reporters
Daniel Malloy at the PG’s Early Returns has a nice wrap on Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn’s visit to DC today to talk strategy with the PA delegation, including some tidbits about 2012′s congressional races.

PoliticsPA Looks at Montco 2011

Races to Watch: Montgomery County Commissioner
It seems no race has the attention of PA’s politicos this year more than the Montgomery County Commissioner race. Read about the candidates, the campaigns and the messaging that define one of PA’s biggest 2011 shows.

Meet Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown
Bruce Castor doesn’t mince words. The Commissioner and former DA tells it like he sees it. He and Lower Merion Commissioner Jenny Brown say they’re the team to keep Montco Republican, but out of the red.

Meet Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards
In a county where courthouse politics is defined by strong and sometimes clashing personalities, Josh Shaprio and Leslie Richards are keeping it cool. In a recent interview, the Montgomery County Commissioner candidates emphasized their drama-free approach to county government.

National
Morning Call: Toomey eeks out 14-13 win in softball game v. Casey
The Hill (Rep. Allyson Schwartz): Key Democrat testifies against healthcare reform bill’s Medicare cost-control panel
Politico (Rep. Bill Shuster): Quick action not seen for Exxon Spill
Post-Gazette: U.S. Rep. Kelly Sells Off Interests In Gas And Oil Firms
Politico: GOP govs. to cultivate top donors in Aspen next week
Politico: Pa. Dem chair: Senate race is over
Politico: RNC up in four 2012 battlegrounds
Roll Call: Redistricting Success Often a Moving Target
Roll Call: Friends Remember Frank Mascara’s Humility, Drive
Tribune Review: Obama won’t hold PA, GOP says
The Washington Post: UMW: Alpha Natural Resources adds 2 Pa. mines to national collective bargaining agreement
AP via Businessweek: Economic development cut deeply in new Pa. Budget
The Hill (Rep. Chaka Fattah): Guns-rights issue inflames House Appropriations meeting
Government Video (Rep. Charlie Dent): GAO Criticizes TSA over baggage screening
Morning Call: Republicans target Obama in Pennsylvania

Statewide
AP: Gov. Corbett Blames Teacher Layoffs On School Districts’ Bad Budgeting
Philadelphia Inquirer: Corbett stands by health secretary after flaps
ABC Philadelphia: Pa. looking into possible cheating on state tests
CBS Philadelphia: Pa. Lawmaker Proposes Auction For Privatized Liquor Store Licenses
PA Independent:Turzai unveils plan to privatize state liquor stores
State Impact: Scarnati aide: “No Conversation” Between Corbett’s Commission and Senate R Leaders”
Early Returns: Turzai: privatization top fall priority
State Impact: Krancer: DRBC Rules “Duplicative and Unnecessary”
Forbes: House GOP leader outlines PA liquor store bill
American Independent: Education budget tinkering in Pennsylvania took more dollars from poor communities, expert says
Capitol Ideas: House Privatization Bill Would Double State’s Retail Liquor Outlets
Capitol Ideas: Wednesday Morning Coffee: The Wednesday Five
Morning Call: Can Pennsylvania give up booze?

Philly
AP: Curly light bulb survives GOP bill
AP: Tax Credits Lure Cigna Out of Pa.
CBS Philadelphia: CBS 3 Anchor Chris May To Interview President Obama
WHYY Newsworks: Philly offers incentives for hotel development

Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette: Onorato has plan to fill $15 million budget gap
Post-Gazette: Allegheny County Shorted $15M By State
Post-Gazette: Council OKs Bill To Cut Diesel Vehicle Emissions

Southwest
Daily American: Local Bill Seeks to Correct Inheritance Law Deficiency
Indiana Gazette: MDS Reapplies for Well-Drilling Permit Near Yellow Creek
Indiana Gazette: CLYMER BOROUGH: Recycling Drop-Off Box Considered
Times News: Gas Drilling Accelerates Concerns
AP: Pa. ‘Castle Doctrine’ Shooting Was A Love Triangle

Lehigh Valley
Reading Eagle: $33 million Exeter elementary school nearly done
Reading Eagle: $1 million state loan to help finish GoggleWorks Shops
Lehigh Valley Live: Independence Township Committee member resigns; his missing vote dooms bond measure
Lehigh Valley Live: Warren County freeholders lambast proposed Assembly bill concerning contract estimates

South Central
AP via York Dispatch: Pa. government won’t say how liquor stores should be sold
Patriot-News: Majority of Harrisburg City Council Members ‘Comfortable’ With Act 47 Plan
AP via The Republic: Corbett says health secretary is doing a great job, despite a personality that some don’t like
York Daily Record: Corbett blames teacher layoffs on school districts

NEPA
The Times Leader: Corbett blames teacher layoffs on school districts
The Times Leader: Five positions cut at Luzerne County Community College
Wayne Independent: No immediate plans for former Lincoln Elementary School site
Wayne Independent: Still no relief for flooded White Mills trailer owners
Standard Speaker: Hazleton Area test results probed
Standard Speaker: City officials defend hiring
Standard Speaker: State education secretary lauds district’s energy plans
Daily Review: Bradford and Tioga county conservation districts to get funding
Go Lackawanna: Pa. won’t follow N.Y.’s lead, lawmakers say

Opinions
Indiana Gazette: Local readers mixed on gay marriage
Cindy Ekas, Tribune-Review: Shale drilling concerns aired in Fayette
Philadelphia Daily News: DN Editorial: Harrisburg: small on sacrifice
Philadelphia Weekly: School District’s Autism-Support Program Is Flawed, But So Is the Lawsuit Against It
Philadelphia Inquirer: Inquirer Editorial: State should probe
Beaver County Times Editorial: Tinkering with the tax system
Chambersburg Public Opinion Editorial: Constables Need Checks From Higher Authority
York Dispatch Editorial: How Can Downtown York Be Revitalized?

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