Archive: June, 2013
Pennsylvania's Legislature is one of only four full-time legislature's in America and -- as perhaps you've noted, since I mention it nearly daily -- the LARGEST full-time legislature in America.
And yet this year like almost every year we again are witnessing the stumbling, bumbling struggle to meet the June 30 deadline to pass a new budget by the July 1 start of the new fisal year.
Meeting this deadline and passing a new budget is literally the ONLY thing our Legislature is required to do.
Of the issues hanging fire in the PA Legislature as its leaders rush to meet a Sunday budget deadline, the one with real bipartisan support is a long-term, big-spending measure to repair state roads and bridges and better fund mass transit.
It's a bill everyone agrees needs to pass. It enhances public safety, creates new construction jobs and improves the state's transportation systems in ways that help attract new business.
So, naturally, there's no agreement on its specifics.
Kathleen Kane surprised attendees at the monthly PA Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg on Monday when she began her remarks with a stand-up routine.
The state's attorney general used jokes and props to poke fun at five high-profile issues.
For example, as legal proceedings got under way at Dauphin County courthouse in the PA Turnpike pay-to-play scandal (in which Kane charged eight people), she said she tried to use her turnpike E-ZPass but it was rejected and a photo of her popped up "with a red line through it."
Of all the oft-confusing, sometimes-conflicting numbers used to measure the state and national economy, the most reliable seems to be the monthly unemployment rate.
It's up, it's down and for states it's more or less than the national rate, pretty simple and straightforward.
Ah, but then the political parties weigh in with efforts to weigh the numbers in whatever context best helps their argument that an incumbent, any incumbent, is winning or losing the fight to drive his or her state's economy.
In what can fairly be called auto tips for the profoundly stupid, your state government is offering advice on what to do if you're in a car accident.
As the summer vacation season gets underway, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department has issued a press release, "Tips on What to Do After an Automobile Crash," that seems to suggest anyone in an motoring mishap immediately loses all sense and reason.
The "tips" include such post-accident advice as moving your vehicle "if possible" off the roadway and staying in a "safe location" until police arrive.
The case of Kermit Gosnell, the convicted baby-killer who ran a Philly abortion clinic, is seen as the spur for a U.S. House vote Tuesday that resulted in passage of the most restrictive abortion legislation in a decade.
It would ban abortion beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy, tightening the established legal limit under Roe v. Wade which is set at 24 weeks.
The bill has no chance in the Senate. But Democrats jumped on its passage to make political points and to raise money.
(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE)
BE: Hey, JB, I see your favorite court tossed that case allowing judges 70 and older to stay on the bench.
JB: Proving even our Supreme Court, a veritable nest of suspicion, intrigue and in-fighting, can sometimes do something right.
One of the reasons I suggest in a Monday column that the fiscal puzzle to funding Philly schools isn't as unsolvable as it might seem is played out in Monday's New York Times.
The national newspaper brings national attention to the "doomsday budget" approved by the School Reform Commission that lays off thousands of employees, shuts down programs and athletics and threatens to leave the district a virtual hull of education come September.
I believe the more attention the issue gets from the media the more likely the issue gets attention from the governor and the Legislature.