Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Two stories, two questions

Two stories that raise questions caught my eye today. Here they are.

Two stories, two questions

Two stories, one invovling wine, one likely to draw some whines, raise questions about how Pennsylvania operates.

The first is a philly.com story about a Chester County lawyer busted for selling wine, good wine, wine that (of course) you can't get in the state stores.

Really?

The state ran a nine-month sting operation costing who knows what to catch somebody providing a service the state doesn't provide because it's one of only two states (Utah) controlling the sale of booze at all levels and therefore deciding for all us exactly which wines we can drink.

I say give the guy an entrepreneur-of-the-year award and toast his commitment to oenophilia.

The second story is about a state Senator who just resigned his Senate seat to accept an appointment by Gov. Corbett to head the Farm Show.

York County Republican Sen. Mike Waugh certainly looks the part, and is no doubt delighted to get the new gig. He's a life-long farmer. And it pays $104,294.

But, as the Associated Press reports, there's this little thing called the Pennsylvania Constitution that says a lawmaker cannot be appointed to "any civil office under this commonwealth" during "the time for which he was elected."

Waugh's senate term expires at the end of this year.

There was a similar case back in 2004 when another lawmaker was appointed to the gaming commission before his term was up. Commonwealth Court at that time ruled he couldn't take the job.

But Corbett's office now says the Farm Show gig is not a "civil office," is not a regulatory office and therefore does not come under the constitutional ban.

I don't know. Given partisanship, the Corbett administration's ongoing habit of ending up in court and our general addiiction to litigation, I expect some whining, maybe a lawsuit and, at least, questions raised.

After all, that's how Pennsylvania operates. Constant whining over public policy. No wining for private citizens.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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