Ah, the summer months. Sitting back in the hot sun with a cold beverage and food on the grill. Nothing happening in Harrisburg … what could be better?
Uh, if this were accurate. Here are our Ups and Downs from the week that was.
Guy Reschenthaler, John Joyce, Scott Perry and Dan Meuser. The quarter of Republican congressmen have promised to support term limits for members of Congress if a proposed constitutional amendment comes to a vote. Term Limits (USTL) is calling on all 112 signers of the U.S. Term Limits pledge in the House of Representatives to keep the promise they made to constituents, in light of reports that Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Jim Jordan have been asking them to break their word.
Glenn Thompson. The first chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee from Pennsylvania in nearly 170 years is closing in on his goal to release the Farm Bill to the entire chamber in mid-September. “The programs we have are not handouts. The modern Farm Bill is based on public-private partnerships,” he said.
Environmental Protection Agency. A settlement agreement has been finalized in a lawsuit that alleged federal officials weren’t doing enough to stop Chesapeake Bay pollution originating in Pennsylvania. The suits accused EPA of failing to enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act by not requiring Pennsylvania to develop a plan to fully meet pollution reduction goals for the Bay set several years earlier in a multi-state compact with the federal government. Under the settlement, EPA will prioritize efforts in Pennsylvania on the counties that contribute the most pollution to, or have the largest impact on, local rivers and streams: Lancaster, York, Bedford, Cumberland, Centre, Franklin, and Lebanon.
Parents. While state leaders continue to haggle over school vouchers, those who are saving money for their children’s education are getting a break. Fees on 529 plans – which are tax-advantaged accounts for families to save money for their children’s education – will now range from 0.1925% to 0.2925% annually, depending on the investment chosen, according to PA Treasurer Stacy Garrity’s office.
Clarice Schillinger. The Executive Director of “Back to School PA” and a former Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, was fined $250 after a State Ethics Commission investigation after she “failed to file a complete and accurate Statement of Financial Interests for calendar year 2021.” A report released by the commission says Schillinger “failed to provide full financial disclosure as required by the Ethics Act.”
Bucks County Libertarians. After posting a gif, or online image, from the movie ‘Home Alone’ of a child with a shotgun along with a tweet saying “Ban Democrats,” the third party’s Bucks County account was suspended Tuesday from Twitter. The Libertarian Party of Bucks County Facebook account said the tweet was referring to the Democratic Party’s advocacy to ban assault weapons, which offends a key political value for the Libertarian Party. According to Twitter’s violent speech safety rules, accounts can be suspended if they “threaten, incite, glorify or express desire for violence or harm.”
Matt Fogal. Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal announced he will not seek a fourth term as Franklin County’s top prosecutor after all. An independent since leaving the Republican party in late 2020 following months of disagreements with conservatives, Fogal said he determined he had no real path to re-election in very red Franklin County.
Ian Brink. Brink, currently a public defender, was the chief deputy district attorney under Fogal. With no challenger, and pending a successful write-in campaign, he has effectively won the election for district attorney in Franklin County.
Tim Wagner. The former Political Director for Florida Senate Victory, was named to head the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee (SDCC). He has also served as Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund Action Votes PAC, Florida Deputy Director for Bloomberg 2020, as well as managed successful campaigns for Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and state senate and congressional seats across Florida, Virginia, and Indiana.
Josh Shapiro. The governor continues to take heat from conservatives and school choice advocates after what they perceived to be his betrayal on school vouchers. The current budget standoff shows the reality of politically divided Pennsylvania — and marks the end of the honeymoon phase between Harrisburg Republicans and Shapiro.
Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln. After repeated legislative failures, Pennsylvania state House members have left Harrisburg indefinitely without passing funding for the commonwealth’s state-related universities. Appropriations must pass the legislature by a two-thirds majority, a high bar in the state House, which Democrats control by a single vote. State House Democratic leaders ended last Friday’s session with no resolution and blamed Republicans for the deadlock.
Amaya Capellán. A vice president at Comcast, where she oversaw the launch of the cable and internet provider’s Xfinity app, Capellán was appointed as the Commonwealth’s Chief Information Officer, leading Pennsylvania’s Office of Information Technology.
Brian Gundersen. The government is seeking a nearly four-year prison sentence for a Pennsylvania man found guilty on charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol in Washington. The U.S. attorney’s office recommends Brian Gundersen, 28, of Lock Haven, serve 46 months in jail followed by three years of supervised release and be required to pay restitution of $2,000.