Saturday, August 1, 2015

Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Monday, July 15, 2013, 8:39 AM

With yet another trial underway on Pennsylvania's voter ID law, we offer a few fun facts.

For those you might still believe the whole voter ID issue is non-partistan, data from the National Conference of State Legislatures on states that currently have photo ID requirements, and states such as Pennsylvania where the issue is pending, suggests otherwise.

There are, according to the NCSL, 11 states requiring photo IDs: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Dakota.

POSTED: Friday, July 12, 2013, 9:04 AM
Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania Attorney General, May 1, 2013.. ( MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ).

In a state where change or progressive politics is as rare as a woman in high public office, Democratic Atty. Gen. Kathleen Kane is certainly making a mark.

Her announcement Thursday that she won't defend state law banning gay marriage is yet another in a series of decisions bucking the status quo.

She formerly challenged the Jerry Sandusky case by her predecessor Gov. Corbett (an invesitgation continues), closed the so-called Florida gun loophole allowing state residents to get concealed weapons permits if denied them here and rejected Cobett's controversial proposed privatization of parts of the state lottery.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 8:32 AM

Okay, you all know there are plenty examples of how your 253 state lawmakers serve themselves a lot better than they serve you.

You know the list: good pay, better benefits, great pensions, per diems, mileage, gerrymandered job security all provided by taxpayers for whom lawmakers are supposed to work but somehow manage to do nothing about -- for example -- pension reform, liqour reform, transportation funding, Philly schools and then leave town leaving part of their "on time" budget undone.

Now come details on how even FORMER state lawmakers continue to dip into the public till in ways that are, well, just not right.

POSTED: Monday, July 8, 2013, 8:49 AM

Okay, if you guessed Gov. Corbett, well, you just haven't been paying attention.

I mean, come on, you know organized education awards are given for those willing to spend more money on education. And you know the only people willing to spend more money on education are Democrats and unions.

So when the National Education Association, the union representing 3 million teachers and school staff members, named it's new "Education Governor of the Year," you just knew it would name some lefty big-spender in a Democratic state.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 8:25 AM

Despite the fact the state Supreme Court recently and unanimously rejected litigation to change the state's constitutionally-mandated retirement of judges at age 70, the issue lives on in two ways.

First, a federal lawsuit that essentially mirrors the arguments rejected by the state's high court, is now re-animated.

U.S. Middle District Judge John Jones lifted a stay on the suit that he imposed awating the Supreme Court decision. That means action resumes.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 8:56 AM

Gov. Corbett isn't alone in not getting what he wants from his own party.

While Corbett flopped in efforts to convince fellow Republicans who run the Legislature to pass liquor privatization, transportation funding and pension reform along with a new state budget he signed Sunday night, the governor of Illinois suffered a similar fate.

Democrat Pat Quinn failed to get a Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature to pass his priorities -- legalizing same-sex marriage and (tada!) public pension reform.

POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013, 8:35 AM
File photo: Following a closed-door party caucus, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by fellow GOP leaders, met with reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In yet another example of how politicians and governments tend to exaggerate their own importance and impact comes a fascinating report in The Washington Post about the impact to date of the much-touted, greatly-feared federal sequester that was to bring the country to its knees.

The Post tracked 48 predictions in 14 federal agencies and found exactly half came true.

This seems about right to me. Fifty-percent of what we're told is basically b.s.

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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