Friday, February 12, 2016

POSTED: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 9:07 AM

No, it's not a fix of the public pension system that's draining state resources and that's a big part of the still unresolved state budget.

But Philly Democratic Sen. Larry Farnese has a plan to fix a loophole in state law that allows child-sex offenders -- as it did for one famous one -- to get and keep getting pension payouts.

The legislation would prevent public officials and employees from collecting retirement pay if they are convicted or plead guilty to child-sex crimes that would land them on a Megan's Law list of sex offenders.

POSTED: Monday, November 30, 2015, 8:45 AM

Maybe you missed this over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but the Pennsylvania Republican Party says Donald Trump will speak at one of the key events during the upcoming Pa. Society weekend in NYC.

If you missed it maybe that's because the GOP isn't exactly touting it. The press release announcing The Donald's appearance showed up in reporters' email boxes at 4:17 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving. The most flattering thing it said about Trump is that he's "a successful and dynamic businessman."

And since the announcement there doesn't seem to be much GOP bragging about snagging the Republican presidential frontrunner. And there's nothing close to an endorsement from party bigwigs.

POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2015, 8:45 AM

A new poll of all governors released Friday shows Gov. Wolf with a 50-percent approval rating in Pennsylvania, which is better than findings in last month's Franklin & Marshall College poll but not as good as most of the governors in neighboring states.

The new rating is somewhat questionable since the poll, conducted by Morning Consult, a national technology and media company based in Washington, was taken over a period of months, from May to November. But the sample size in Pennsylvania was significant, close to 4,000 registered voters.

Also, 32 governors have higher approval ratings than Wolf, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (69 percent), West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (62 percent), Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a GOP presidential candidate, (59 percent) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (58 percent).

POSTED: Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 8:37 AM

Any casual watcher of doings in Harrisburg these days easily can be confused.

For example, I bumped into Gov. Wolf on Monday while he was (yes) driving his Jeep on the upper plaza in front of the Capitol's main entrance.

A member of his security detail was in the passenger's seat. A black SUV with more security was behind the Jeep.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2015, 8:50 AM

You know how the saying `you just can make this stuff up' keeps recurring in Pennsylvania politics.

Well, here we go again.

The office of state Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Tuesday announced a settlement with a woman who was allegedly practicing law without a law license.

POSTED: Monday, November 9, 2015, 8:48 AM
Tom Wolf and Ed Rendell campaign together on Halloween. (Andrew Thayer/Staff Photographer)

Among many twists and turns developing around the still unresolved state budget impasse is a potential political irony connected with this year's annual Pa. Society weekend in New York City next month.

Why? Well, because this year's gold medal honoree at the weekend's anchor event -- a black-tie dinner Saturday, December 12, in the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan -- is former Gov. Ed Rendell.

And as Gov. Wolf and the Republican Legislature continue to struggle to reach a budget accord on a state spending plan that was due July 1, at least one GOP leader points to what he says could be pure political irony.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 8:44 AM

Today's election of three justices to the state's seven-member Supreme Court is getting national attention on a couple of levels.

The Washington Post calls it one of eight races across the country "worth watching," noting the outcome could mean "one of the biggest court shake-ups in recent history."

Since political control of the court is at stake, The Post points out that results could decide whether the state leans Republican or Democratic for decades to come.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 8:55 AM

You may know there are only two states without a budget: Pennsylvania, of course, and Illinois, the sixth and fifth largest states, respectively.

But did you know the political problems in one are like the political problems in the other -- only in a reverse, mirrored sort of way?

Take a look at this first paragraph from a Monday New York Times article on the situation in Illinois.

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

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

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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