Pennsylvania’s primary is moved to June 2, Gov. Tom Wolf and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati are linked in a story about businesses closings during the coronavirus pandemic, plus a state representative from Philadelphia leads a virtual happy hour with former VP Joe Biden. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
Every week PoliticsPA sends an exclusive extra Up or Down to Playbook subscribers. See who gets the extra up or down next week: sign up here.
General Assembly Primary Bill. As the coronavirus pandemic started to hit Pennsylvania, it became increasingly clear that the April 28 primary date was not achievable. This week, members of the state legislature worked side by side to pass SB 422 with ease to move the state’s primary to June 2. Gov. Tom Wolf, who signed the bill on Friday morning, thanked the General Assembly for “acting quickly” on the legislation.
Tom Wolf and Joe Scarnati. Thousands of businesses across the commonwealth that were not deemed “life sustaining” were closed to help minimize the spread of the coronavirus in the state. Turns out the same rules didn’t temporarily apply for a company previously owned by Gov. Tom Wolf and the businesses currently owned by state Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson). Spotlight PA reports that after an inquiry from their outlet and PA Post that the kitchen and bath cabinet supply company in central PA had its waiver rescinded as well as Scarnati’s owned “The Dan Smith Candy Company.”
Bob Casey and Susan Wild. The Older Americans Act, which was co-sponsored in the House by Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) and co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D) in the Senate, was reauthorized by President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The Allentown Morning Call reports that the law “provides meals, health services, caregiver support and other assistance to roughly 11 million Americans 60 and older.”
Mary Gay Scanlon. The Delaware County Democrat led the charge of a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania elected officials in urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to designate former Glen Mills Schools as a Federal Medical Station during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Malcolm Kenyatta. The Philadelphia Democrat serving in the state House has been one of former Vice President Joe Biden’s most vocal supporters in the state legislature, but Kenyatta was given a special assignment for the Democratic presidential hopeful. While he’s campaigned for Biden in various states thus far, Kenyatta moderated a “virtual happy hour” with Biden this week.
Pittsburgh Journalism Landscape. The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the news industry hard and Pittsburgh is seeing it first hand. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Trib Total Media combined its two print editions, the Westmoreland edition and the Valley News Dispatch, into one edition, while the publishing company also announced staff layoffs. The Pittsburgh Catholic also announced that the 175-year-old weekly newspaper will end.
Pennsylvania Professional Sports Teams. Although we’re currently living without our professional sports teams in the keystone state, one team gave us something to root for, while another left fans furious due to their response to the coronavirus pandemic. Starting off with the bad – the Philadelphia 76ers enraged fans this week when it was announced that ownership would reduce staff pay by 20% as a result of the NBA season being postponed due to the coronavirus. After massive online pushback from fans 76ers owner Josh Harris reversed course, or as Joel Embiid said, the ownership did a “180,” and announced that team employees would be paid in full during the ongoing pandemic. Now, for the good – Pittsburgh Pirates players bought 400 pizzas and pasta for medical staff at the Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Chris Stigall. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director at the National Institute for Health, has become a household name in the United States as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While people on both sides of the aisle have lauded Fauci’s guidance through these difficult times, Chris Stigall, a Philadelphia based conservative radio talk show host for 990 AM The Answer, landed an interview with Fauci this week to talk about the developing situation.
Scranton City Council & School Board Virtual Meetings. Holding meetings has become a challenge over the past few weeks and Scranton has seen these difficulties first hand. The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that both the Scranton School Board work session and the City Council meeting were “zoombombed” with trolls temporarily taking control of the Zoom meeting screen to draw “lewd pictures” and “shouting racial slurs and obscenities.”
Charles McCullough. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the former Allegheny County Councilman had his conviction upheld on Wednesday by the state Superior Court. McCullough was found guilty of five counts of theft and five counts of misapplication of “entrusted funds” after a non-jury trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus in 2015. The Post-Gazette reports that he was accused of writing more than $40,000 in political contributions from the accounts of an elderly widow he represented, without her permission.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
FIRST OF ALL, I don’t need a “day of humiliation.” I was AT THE GAME in 2002 when the expansion-team Houston Texans beat the Steelers at home 24-6. My spirit has already been mortified, thankyouverymuch state Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-Clinton) https://t.co/7xmmZTpDfY
— Chris Potter (@CPotterPgh) March 23, 2020