CITY & STATE PA
FIRST READ

 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2016

WEATHER: Philadelphia, cloudy, high of 64; Harrisburg, rain, high of 64; Pittsburgh, rain, high of 65.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* The second day of the Chaka Fattah trial saw retired Sallie Mae exec Al Lord take the stand, where he described his first conversations with Fattah about money problems that preceded the congressman’s alleged crimes, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer.

* Meanwhile, the judge in Kathleen Kane’s perjury trial effectively threw out the crux of her legal defense strategy: that she was the victim of selective prosecution, the Morning Call reports.

* GOP leaders in Harrisburg warned Gov. Tom Wolf that if he followed through with a veto of a bill curtailing public school teacher seniority protections that they would drag the issue into the impending budget battle, writes the Patriot News.

* A state house committee advanced a bill that would shift state workers off traditional pensions and onto 401(k) type retirement plans that could potentially save $10 billion, the Associated Press reports.

* Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto warned the Penguins to move on a $45 million mixed-use arena project, more than six months behind schedule, or forfeit the 28-acre site. Owners say they’re stuck on a financing gap related to a requirement that a portion of residential units be earmarked as affordable housing, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

* A plan to test passenger train service from New York to Allentown has been derailed by freight carriers’ refusal to clear tracks for the trip, according to the Morning Call.

* Harrisburg’s treasurer abruptly resigned, the third elected official in two years to abandon a post in the state’s impoverished capital city, the Patriot News reports.

* Federal authorities downgraded Philadelphia’s health and human services contract to “provisional” status following a string of code violations at the city’s largest social service agency, Newsworks reports.

* In two separate bills, capital lawmakers voted to introduce anti-hazing laws for public schools and to ban public disclosure of 911 caller names, the AP reports.

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

* Hillary Clinton picked up Kentucky’s Democratic primary, as Sanders swept to another late-stage victory in Oregon, BBC News reports.

* Denied a permit to demonstrate by the city, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign has pledged it will stage an anti-poverty protest during the DNC, writes Newsworks.

* After a Nevada Democratic convention turned heated, worries have grown around the party’s ability to unite after a long, acrimonious primary, writes Politico.

 

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EDITORIAL PAGES:

* A Daily News editorial opines that if state legislators want to improve PA election laws, they should look at Philadelphia’s legislation on the issue – really.

* Kim Stolfer, president of Firearms Owners Against Crime, writing in the Inquirer in response to last week’s call for mandatory background checks on rifle and shotgun purchases, comes armed with plenty of pro-gun rights arguments, including statistics that show crimes committed with long guns is down by 50 percent.

* Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has an op-ed in today’s Inquirer that examines the innovative and worthwhile legislation proposed by Republican Congressman David Jolly (Fla.) to ban members of Congress from soliciting campaign contributions in order to spend more time doing the job they were elected to do – and then explains why it will never happen.

* An Intelligencer editorial commends Democratic Sen. Bob Casey for his proposed legislation on child abuse, which the senator said was inspired by Pennsylvania’s own expansive laws on the subject – and wonders why it hasn’t been embraced on Capitol Hill yet.

* Bloomberg View columnist Stephen L. Carter writes in the Intelligencer that for some historical perspective on this year’s presidential election, we need look no further than the 1816 race.

* Newsworks columnist Dick Polman gives four reasons why the conservative movement’s efforts to find and field a third-party candidate as a Trump alternative have failed – and will continue to do so.

* The Patriot News features an op-ed by Pennsylvania’s 43rd governor, Tom Ridge, explaining why he won’t be voting for Donald Trump in this year’s election.

* Calling their third-party candidate efforts “Hillary Clinton’s fifth column inside the Republican Party,” in a Tribune-Review op-ed, Pat Buchanan tries to understand why Mitt Romney and Bill Kristol continue to press their anti-Trump case.

* Former U.S. ambassador and current Post-Gazette associate editor Dan Simpson writes a column arguing that the U.S. needs to focus less time and resources on the MIddle East and more on other regions of the world.

 

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TODAY’S SKED:

8:45 a.m. - The PA Senate and House Local Government Commission will meet. Room 14, East Wing, Harrisburg.

9 a.m. -  The PA House and Senate Joint Education Committee will meet. Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg.

9 a.m. - The PA Senate Game and Fisheries Committee will meet. Room 8E-A, East Wing, Harrisburg.

9 a.m. - The PA House State Government Committee will meet. Room 39, East Wing, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee will meet. Room B31, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will meet. Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – Philadelphia City Council Committee of the Whole will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.

10:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee will meet. Room 461, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.

11 a.m. – The PA House will reconvene.

11 a.m. – The PA Senate will reconvene.

11:15 a.m. - Mayor Kenney will give opening remarks at the Lutheran Settlement House’s annual fundraiser, Women of Courage Award Ceremony and Luncheon. Crystal Tea Room, 100 E. Penn Square, Philadelphia.

12:30 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will join Councilman Bobby Henon, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite, Jeffrey Lurie and Eagles players to build a new playground and help paint a custom mural at Disston Elementary in the Northeast. 6801 Cottage St., Philadelphia.

2 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will give remarks as the Cramp School Community Playground opens to the public. The playground will feature outdoor classrooms that will have a weather station, air quality monitor and bird and butterfly houses for increased science education as well as basketball and handball courts, and serve as a community space for the neighborhood. 3349 N. Mascher St., Philadelphia.

5 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will speak at the rededication of Baldwin Park and unveiling of the Museum Towers II Project. 423 N. 19th St., Philadelphia.

7:15 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will be joined at the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia 25thAnniversary by Philadelphia International Airport CEO Chellie Cameron and President of BABC, and Managing Director, Government & Airport Affairs, American Airlines Rhett D. Workman, as he speaks about the importance of the Philadelphia International Airport and the trade relationship between Philadelphia and the United Kingdom. Philadelphia International Airport, American Airlines Hangar, 2000 Tinicum Island Rd., Philadelphia.

 

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KICKER: “In terms of his prospects, it was bad news. The congressman told me, in order to win, they would need more funds [to buy TV ad time]. He said it would be expensive,” former Sallie Mae exec Al Lord recalled the start of Chaka Fattah’s money troubles, stemming from his failed mayoral bid, at the congressman’s corruption trial – From the Inquirer.

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First Read is the morning email newsletter from City & State, covering politics and government in Pennsylvania. © 2016 City and State PA, LLC.