Archive: January, 2012
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's stunning decision to toss the newly-drawn legislative district maps has prompted a law suit by a top GOP leader.
House Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) filed a federal lawsuit to halt the use of the 2001 legislative district maps in this year's special elections, calling them unconstitutional.
Smith in a suit against Carol Aichele, the secretary of the commonwealth, claims the old boundaries would "violate the voting rights of Pennsylvania citizens" because they are based on the 2000 census and districts have shifted since then.
With laptops and IPhones at their fingertips, reporters in a Harrisburg courtroom awaited the start of opening arguments Monday in the much-anticipated trial of former House Speaker Bill DeWeese.
Then Dauphin County President Judge Todd Hoover entered and told them there would be no tweeting in his courtroom.
It was the same courthouse where only weeks earlier dozens of journalists had tweeted without incident during the preliminary hearing for two Penn State administrators - Tim Curley and Gary Schultz - charged with perjury in the sex abuse scandal involving former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.
One day after causing a mini-dust up in the Pennsylvania state Capitol, former Gov. Ed Rendell took on the national GOP candidates likening them to clowns in a "clown car" at the circus.
Politico reports Rendell "gleefully taunted the GOP as a "clown show" with frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney making "one mistake after another."
It’s “where the clowns arrive in the car and they keep getting out of the car and then there’s one clown after another,” Rendell told reporters at a Democratic retreat on Maryland's Eastern Shore. “We’ve seen clowns run for president totally unqualified who have no idea what’s going on in the world, who have no idea about how the government works, no idea about foreign affairs, have one bizarre idea after another.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dropped a bombshell on the state political landscape on Wednesday.
Then, like the actors in part one of a two-part Hallmark channel drama, they left town - at least some did - while leaving the population hanging and the maps in limbo.
In their split decision late Wednesday, the seven-member court tossed the newly-drafted state legislative distict maps and sent it back to the commission that made them.
It's the state House over the U.S. House for Mike Turzai.
The House Majority Leader from Allegheny County said today he decided not to run for U.S. Congress after all.
"I've made a decision after talking to my family and colleagues to stay here as majority leader," said Turzai, a Republican. "It's exciting to be leader of the House.
In what may qualify as the ultimate Quixotic exercise, lawyers representing parties challenging the state’s new legislative boundary maps made their case - as they do every decade - before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The big difference on Monday was that the public was able to listen in for the first time thanks to the court’s decision to allow the Pennsylvania Cable Network to broadcast the oral arguments live.
And they got treated to plenty of lively banter over the maps particularly from Democrats on the court: Justice Max Baer questioning the “iron cross”-shaped Senate district that courses through three counties in the mid-state. Justice Seamus McCaffery wondered how another Senate district that snakes from South Philly to Roxborough could be considered “compact” under the law.
Questions about the impact of natural gas drilling on the environment echo from one side of Pennsylvania to the other and beyond.
But Gov. Corbett's administration quietly cut funding by 70 percent for scientific research that might answer those questions, according to a new report by StateImpact Pennsylvania, a project funded by NPR and local radio affiliates.
Funding for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wildlife research program, which looks gas drilling's effects on wildlife and climate, was reduced (from $780,000 to $251,683) as a result of declining revenues, the administration said in the report, which was written by public radio reporter Scott Detrow.
Lawmakers left their parties on the sidelines to send a message to Gov. Corbett that they want the Chester-Upland school funding crisis fixed.
Nine lawmakers in all from Delaware County, from Senate Majority leader Dominic Pileggi (once the Chester mayor) to freshman Rep. Joseph Hackett signed a joint letter asking Corbett for an emergency meeting on Tuesday.
A Corbett endorsement has felled another Republican primary candidate, this time in the auditor general's race.
Chester County Treasurer Ann Duke said today she is ending her campaign for the Republican nomination for auditor general "in light of the support Representative John Maher has received from Governor Corbett."
"As I have traveled the state for the past eight months, it has been wonderful to meet dedicated Republican supporters who are committed to winning this office in November," she said in a statement. "I want to first thank all of the volunteers, Republican state committee members, and donors that have supported my campaign. I also want to offer my support to Rep. John Maher. I am confident his experience and strong financial background will make him a great Auditor General."
Democrat Kathryn Boockvar lost the November race for Commonwealth Court judge to fellow Bucks County resident Ann Covey.
Now she's back on the campaign trail again.
Boockvar, a Doylestown attorney, said today she is running for the 8th District U.S. House seat held by Republican Mike Fitzpatrick in what is likely to be one of the few competitive congressional races in Pennsylvania.