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Archive: March, 2013

POSTED: Friday, March 29, 2013, 10:01 AM

A headline in the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice caught our attention the other day. "Food stamps outage sparks outrage."

The Department of Public Welfare, in an effort to make changes to the food stamp card for low income residents, announced last week it would be disabling the cards between 11 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday to switch vendors.

Only there was a glitch.

Amy Worden @ 10:01 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 11:11 AM

Let the gubernatorial election games begin.

Check out this report, from my colleague Tom Fitzgerald:

Angela Couloumbis @ 11:11 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 9:44 AM

Sen. Bob Casey is among the few remaining Democrats in the Senate who have not yet voiced support for same-sex marriage and marriage equality advocates in Pennsylvania want to change that.

With this week's Supreme Court battle drawing protests and debate on both sides, Politico looked at the nine holdouts in the Senate, among them Pennsylvania's senior Senator.

Just this week North Carolina Democrat Sen. Kay Hagen, a leading Republican target in the 2014 election, went public with her support for gay marriage (despite North Carolina voters last year overwhelmingly adopting a ban on same-sex marriage), joining Jon Tester of Montana, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Mark Warner of Virginia among the 46 Senate Democrats who support of same-sex marriage.

Amy Worden @ 9:44 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 3:05 PM

Earlier this week, former Gov. Ed Rendell wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News urging New York to get with the program and allow hydraulic fracturing - commonly known as "fracking" - within its borders.

In the piece, headlined " Why [NY Gov.] Cuomo must seize the moment on hydrofracking," Rendell listed at length the benefits of natural gas, not just for economic development but for the nation’s energy future, and maintained that Pennsylvania has struck the balance of benefiting from natural gas production while also protecting the environment.

Angela Couloumbis @ 3:05 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013, 2:20 PM

A must-read from our AP colleagues in Ohio....

CINCINNATI (AP) — Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil might want to go back into hibernation.
Authorities in still-frigid Ohio have issued an "indictment" of the furry rodent, who predicted an early spring when he didn't see his shadow after emerging from his western Pennsylvania lair on Feb. 2.
"Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early," Mike Gmoser, the prosecutor in southwestern Ohio's Butler County, wrote in an official-looking indictment.
Gmoser wrote that Punxsutawney Phil is charged with misrepresentation of spring, which constitutes a felony "against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio."
The penalty Phil faces? Gmoser says — tongue firmly in cheek — is death.
Punxsutawney Phil does not have a listed phone number.
Bill Deeley, president of the Punxsutawney club that organizes Groundhog Day, said Phil has a lawyer and would fight any extradition attempt by Ohio authorities.
Deeley defended his fur-bearing associate and said the death penalty was "very harsh" given the nature of the allegations.
"We'll have to plead our case one way or the other, but I think we can beat the rap," Deeley said.
The vitriolic backlash on social media to Phil's dead-wrong prognostication has not gone unnoticed in and around Gobbler's Knob, Deeley said, and special security precautions were in place.
"Right next to where Phil stays is the police station," he said. "They've been notified and they said they will keep watching their monitors."
Gmoser's indictment made no mention of a possible co-conspirator in the false prediction of early spring, Ohio's own forecasting groundhog, Buckeye Chuck.
Chuck also failed to see his shadow when he emerged from his burrow on Feb. 2 in Marion in north-central Ohio.

Click here for Philly.com's politics page.

Angela Couloumbis @ 2:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, March 22, 2013, 4:09 PM

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioner J. William Lincoln has resigned, citing his health and the stress of the state Attorney General's investigation into a pay-to-play scandal at the agency.

In his resignation letter, Lincoln, 72, said he could no longer perform the duties of his job “given the additional personal stress over the events of the past two weeks and my already difficult battle with maintaining my health.”

"It is on this note that I end my 40-year career in public service," wrote Lincoln, a former state senator.

Angela Couloumbis @ 4:09 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 1:33 PM

UPDATE 8:45 p.m. The bill has now passed the Pa. House.

The House of Representatives has only just now convened for what will likely be hours of debate today on a liquor privatization bill, but all signs seem to be pointing toward an historic vote by the chamber to finally approve the measure.

But before privatization supporters in the House start popping those champagne corks, they may want to consider their friends, down a Capitol hallway, in the Senate.

Angela Couloumbis @ 1:33 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 8:35 AM

Two House lawmakers have a message for embattled gun manufacturers: Pennsylvania wants your business.

State Reps. Daryl Metcalfe (R.,Butler) and Seth Grove (R.,York) said they are reaching out to fire arms manufacturers located in states that have passed or are considering tougher gun laws to urge them to relocate their plants to the Commonwealth.

Amy Worden @ 8:35 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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