WEATHER: Philadelphia, thunderstorms, high of 71; Harrisburg, rain, high of 73; Pittsburgh, a.m. rain, high of 72.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* Democratic US Senate candidate Katie McGinty has hired former Rendell strategist Jordan Marks to run her campaign, after a new poll revealed her challenge for Republican Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat was locked in a statistical dead heat, according to the Patriot News.

* Mayor Jim Kenney’s wife, from whom he has been separated for years, stepped down from a court secretary position three days after being hired. According to Kenney, “it just didn’t look right,” reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

* “Person A” in state Sen. Larry Farnese’s bribery indictment was revealed to be longtime political aide Ted Mucellin, a former staffer for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer.

* Berks County judge Tim Dougherty has been charged by the state Attorney General’s office with stealing $113,000 from his own office and a local fire company, CBS News reports.

* Lawmakers and business officials held a press conference in Harrisburg, pleading with Gov. Wolf to sign a bill ending public school teacher seniority protections. Wolf maintains that he will veto the legislation, writes the Morning Call.

* A bipartisan group of legislators has pledged to have a budget on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk by June 30 to avoid a repeat of last year’s nine-month-long budget impasse, writes the Patriot News.

* No-bid school busing contracts cost the state more than $53 million a year, according to a new report from the auditor general, the Patriot News reports.

* Congressman Bob Brady said he was struggling to find millions in funding to pay the Army Corps of Engineers to complete long-deferred dredging of the silt-filled Schuylkill River ahead of the popular Dad Vail regatta, according to the Inquirer.

* The Philadelphia Police Department is “investigating” the purpose of a mysterious, department-owned vehicle bearing a phony “Google Maps” decal that has been parked outside the city’s Convention Center for days. The conspicuous SUV, equipped with hidden cameras, had drawn the attention of onlookers, writes the PhillyVoice.

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

* Donald Trump’s former butler is being investigated by the Secret Service after it surfaced that he had called for President Barack Obama’s death, writes the Guardian.

* Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are both eyeing big wins in California to cap off a hotly contested primary season, writes Yahoo News.

* Although Trump is the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, the party’s fragmentation means its convention will still likely feature contentious votes over VP selection and policy platform items, according to the New York Times.

 

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Join City & State PA for our Launch Event on May 18 to help us celebrate a new era of political reporting in the commonwealth. Pick up a copy of our latest issue, featuring “Ten Titans: the most powerful behind-the-scenes players in Keystone State politics,” and mingle with a who’s who of PA government and politics!

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EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The corruption case of state Sen. Larry Farnese, indicted for gifting a $6,000 trip to bribe a committeewoman for her vote to make him ward leader, highlights the need for the state to reform its antiquated – circa 1978 – campaign spending law, according to a Daily News editorial.

* Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, writes an op-ed column in the Daily News that asks the very sensible questions of why aren’t long guns – which not only include traditional rifles, but military weapons like the AK-47 – subject to background checks in the state, and when will this grievous oversight finally be corrected?

* Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, laments President Obama’s reversal on expanding oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast – and the pursuant creation of jobs and energy security – in favor of the environment.

* In his Newsworks blog, Dick Polman writes that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is engaging in a lengthy Twitter war with Donald Trump for a reason: She understands that the best way to expose and battle his beliefs is on his platforms of choice.

* Solomon Jones writes about George Zimmerman’s dumbfounding attempts to auction off the handgun he used to kill Trayvon Martin, and the renewed pain it must be causing Martin’s parents, in his Newsworks blog.

* Cal Thomas writes an op-ed in today’s Intelligencer lauding North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for standing his ground on his state’s “bathroom bill” – the governor is suing the Department of Justice for trying to strike down the bill because it violates the Civil Rights Act.

* Using the example of Pocono Mountain School District, which is currently embroiled in a case before the state Supreme Court to determine which entity is responsible for paying teachers’ pension costs when a charter school goes belly-up, an Intelligencer editorial calls for charter-school reform.

* PennLive op-ed columnist John L. Micek writes that the Wolf administration and Republican leaders in Harrisburg agree on two things: a budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year will be on the governor’s desk by June 30; and that no one wants a repeat of this year’s fiasco; beyond that, though, he adds, no one knows what will happen.

* The Post-Gazette editorial board commends British Prime Minister David Cameron’s conference on global corruption this week, noting that while it is always a good thing to call it out, it is quite another to act on it.

 

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Want to subscribe to City & State PA’s new glossy magazine? Just send an email to David Alpher at publisher@cityandstatepa.com and get the details!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to PA Rep. Michael Schlossberg and PA Rep. Robert W. Godshall Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday at editor@cityandstatepa.com

 

TODAY’S SKED:

9 a.m. - Mayor Kenney will address the crowd at the start of 2016 Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate rowing regatta in the country. Schuylkill River Race Course Finish Line, Kelly Drive, Philadelphia.

10 a.m. – Philadelphia City Council Special Committee on Criminal Justice Reform will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

10 a.m. – Gov. Wolf will hold a roundtable with state and local elected officials, law enforcement, health professionals and advocates to discuss Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. Monroe County Public Safety Center, First Floor EOC, 100 Gypsum Rd., Stroudsburg.

12 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will give the opening remarks at the 2016 Business Leaders Luncheon: OPEN for Business, hosted by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce celebrating the achievements of the LGBT business community. Hotel Sofitel, Paris Ballroom, 120 S. 17th St., Philadelphia.

12:15 p.m. – Gov. Wolf will hold a roundtable with state and local elected officials, law enforcement, health professionals and advocates to discuss Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. Penn State Hazleton, Charles T. Butler Teaching and Learning Resource Center, Lower Seminar Room, 76 University Drive, Hazleton.

3 p.m. – Philadelphia City Council Committee on Public Safety will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

 

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KICKER: "We just gave [the Army Corps] $200 million to dredge the Delaware. We can find a couple bucks to come up and do the Schuylkill” – Congressman Bob Brady shakes the cup for funds to remove tons of silt gunking up Philadelphia’s famed Boathouse Row. From the Inquirer.

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