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October 4th Ups & Downs

Gov. Tom Wolf signs an executive order dealing with carbon emissions, a bill that would raise the tobacco buying age in the state from 18 to 21 passes the state Senate, and a new poll shows President Trump trailing in a key county. 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.

Cap and Trade Supporters. Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a collaboration among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change while generating economic growth.” In a statement from Wolf, he said that climate change is “the most critical environmental threat confronting the world” and said that joining RGGI will give the state “that opportunity to better protect the health and safety of our citizens.” The move is receiving pushback from Republicans in Harrisburg. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, House Republican leaders have vowed to use “the fullest extent of our legislative power” to show that Wolf doesn’t have the power to enlist the state in a multi-state agreement without the General Assembly’s support.

Mario Scavello. The Monroe County Republican’s bill that would raise Pennsylvania’s tobacco-buying age from 18 to 21 passed the state Senate with overwhelming support. The bill passed 43-6 with five Republicans and one Democrat voting against it. According to WITF, “there’s evidence it’ll get a warm reception in the House, too.”

Immigrant Rights Groups. Immigrant groups called for Gov. Tom Wolf to veto the Construction Industry Employee Verification Act, which would prohibit unauthorized workers from being employed in the construction trades, but it will become law. During the latest edition of the Keystone Crossroads show “Ask Governor Wolf,” he said that he wouldn’t sign the bill or veto it, meaning it will allow the bill to become law. He called the decision a “tough one.” Opponents of the bill believe it undermines workplace rights for undocumented workers, while supporters of the bill say it prevents an “unlevel playing field” for employers. 

Larry Krasner. The progressive Philadelphia District Attorney can chalk up one court ruling this week as a victory and the other as a loss. The one ruling that didn’t go his way was the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejecting petitions by two death row inmates to find the state’s death penalty as unconstitutional. Krasner, who is a staunch opponent of the death penalty, said in a statement that he was “disappointed” with the ruling describing it as “literally a matter of life and death” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The victory for Krasner was delivered when a federal judge ruled that the nonprofit group Safehouse’s proposed safe injection site did not violate federal law. Krasner said in a tweet that the ruling was a “legal & moral victory.” 

Mark A. Ciavarella. The former Luzerne County Judge, who is serving a 28 year federal prison sentence in a public corruption case, that was the subject of the 2014 documentary “Kids for Cash”, was also disbarred this week. Last month, he voluntarily agreed to resign from the state bar, which let the state’s highest court disbar him on consent, according to The Times Leader

Bob Bolus. It’s going to be a crowded field in Scranton’s next mayoral race with seven candidates that will appear on the ballot, but Lackawanna County judges did determine that one candidate will not be an option on Nov. 5. Bob Bolus, a Scranton businessman, was taken off of the ballot due to convictions he faced in the 1990s. FOX56 reports that he served one month in jail after judges say he received stolen property and tampered with evidence and solicitation within his trucking company and is considered a felon. Court documents show that Bolus is arguing that despite being ineligible to hold the office, he believes he should still be able to run for office. 

Donald Trump. President Trump has trailed in a number of Pennsylvania centric polls in 2018, but a new Mercyhurst poll specifically surveying voters in Erie County may be the most alarming poll to date for him. The poll released on Wednesday shows Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren in a hypothetical head to head matchup. Trump is also neck and neck with seven other Democratic presidential hopefuls in that same poll. In 2016, Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to capture Erie County since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Erie was one of three counties that voted for President Barack Obama twice and flipped to Trump in 2016. 

John McCarthy. Rep. Brendan Boyle’s chief of staff is moving on to work for the man he endorsed for president. McCarthy joined the former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign as Deputy Political Director. 


The Tweet of the Week comes from Sen. Tim Kearney

9 Responses

  1. Interesting that an executive order can change environmental regulations and increase costs to business and consumers without Legislative action. Why have a Legislature when we can have a king?

    1. If you knew how any of this worked, you would recognize how silly your comment is.

      Take five minutes and look up what regulations and executive orders are.

      Then take another five minutes to go sit quietly and think about how you should at least make some modicum of effort to know what you are talking about before you comment again in the future so you don’t look so foolish.

      1. Miss Carson – Very disappointed that rather than using reason and fact to push against Dan’s comments you take the opportunity to disparage Dan. Perhaps your points would be more effective if you made an effort to have a dialogue rather than rude comments.

        Unfortunately for you, Dan is correct and the Governor’s executive action will hold no weight in court. Have a nice day!

        1. Mr. Dog – All regulations are based on laws passed by the legislature – that is fundamentally how regulations work – and executive orders don’t change regulations. Unfortunately for you both, Dan is wrong on both of these very basic points.

          The Governor is fully within his constitutional authority to use an executive order to direct an agency under his jurisdiction to adopt regulations based on their existing authority under existing laws of this state.

          Had you read it, you would know that the Executive Order is based on the state’s Air Pollution Control Act, which gives the state the authority to regulate air pollution (as the name of the law helpfully points out). Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are legally considered air pollution, which the executive order alludes to. If you were unsure of this, you could have found this out quickly by, for instance, googling “is carbon dioxide pollution.”

          It’s rude to suggest an elected governor is acting like a tyrant because someone is too lazy and arrogant to bother knowing what they are talking about before opining. What is disappointing is that you and Dan couldn’t be bothered to take the five minutes to actually read this short Executive Order or to try to understand what a regulation is.

          The comment box is an option to contribute something of value, Mr. Dog, not a requirement to offer the first thought that pops into your head. I hope you don’t accept money to give legal advice because that would be malpractice.

          Hope you have a nice day too!

  2. Down arrow for known Cuck Steve Miskin got pounded on the tweet machine today. Have fun at TJs tonight!

  3. Laughing that only now is PA Supreme Court disbarring Cash for Kids judge doing 28 years for his despicable corruption, and only after he resigned from the Bar. I wonder if the vote was unanimous.

    1. I saw that Ciavarella article and only thought of how sad it all had been. To have been given such success in life and tossed it all away is hard to see. I know that a recent book by a legal professional on the Ciavarella case calls into question aspects of this matter entitled “Presumption of Guilt” but it’s still tough to see opportunities in life messed up.

      1. The whole truth never came out and never will unless Chiv rats on his Zappala handlers…not likely. Cash for kids was followed by a grand whitewash and the Zappala owned PA Childcare jails are still “caring” for little kids.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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