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!
For more information, click on the link above or call Allison Murphy at 215-490-9314, x3005.
WEATHER: Philadelphia, rain, high of 57; Harrisburg, rain, high of 56; Pittsburgh, rain, high of 70.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* In PA’s US Senate race, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty traded barbs over Philadelphia’s “sanctuary city” policy, which bars cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Toomey called the policy “unfortunate,” the Morning Call reports.
* A bill that would end seniority protection for public school teachers during staff layoffs is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
* A preliminary accident report blamed an explosion at a Westmoreland County gas pipeline last week on corroded welding, triggering renewed fears over pipeline safety in gas-rich areas of PA, according to the Allegheny Front.
* The state auditor has launched an inquiry following revelations that PA law enforcement agencies have a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits, in which criminal evidence was gathered but not examined, reports the Tribune-Review.
* Donald Carlton, the head of the Philadelphia Streets Department, was arrested for punching a man during an altercation at a house party, fracturing his skull, reports the Inquirer.
* Garbage piled up in PA Senate offices for several days as GOP leaders transitioned from in-house janitorial services to a private company, purportedly saving $500,000, according to the Patriot News.
* PennDOT will introduce elaborate new traffic lights, designed with deliberately complex signals that would encourage drivers to slow down while making left turns, the Trib reports.
THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:
* A new Quinnipiac poll showed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump effectively tied in three key swing states: PA, Ohio and Florida.
* With Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Democrats are eyeing a comeback in Southern states where the party has lagged on downballot races, the Associated Press reports.
* With typical bluster and lack of detail, Trump told West Virginia voters he would scrap “90 percent” of US coal regulations to bring industry back to Appalachia, according to the Trib.
TEN TITANS: The next issue of City & State PA magazine will feature profiles of the most powerful behind-the-scenes players in Keystone State politics, detailing their influence and connections. If you have suggestions for who should be on the list, email Editor Greg Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to advertise in the issue? Email David Alpher at email@example.com.
* The Inquirer runs a salient and timely point-counterpoint set of columns today that answer the question: Can government be trusted, yes or no?
* In an Inquirer op-ed, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne uses Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to speak to coal miners and their families in West Virginia – a state she has little chance of carrying in the general election – as an example of what a politician who understands the concepts of justice and empathy looks like.
* In an Intelligencer op-ed, Robert Litwak and Robert Daly, both of the Wilson Center think tank, lay out a difficult – but attainable – strategy for freezing North Korea’s nuclear program.
* Tribune News Service columnist Dan Thomasson explains why it is incumbent upon Paul Ryan to give up his good judgment and fall in line with the rest of the Republican establishment to endorse Donald Trump – party unity is the only way they will have a chance to retake the White House.
* In his Newsworks blog, Dick Polman observes that President Obama’s poll numbers – currently 53 percent favorable, a higher number than Reagan had during his last year in office – and his 90 percent approval rating among Democrats mean that he will most likely be taking a victory lap during the general election to support Clinton on the campaign trail.
* An impeccably sourced and researched PennLive editorial lays out in stark terms the causes and repercussions of ignoring our literally crumbling local, state and federal infrastructure, as evidenced by the collapse of a retaining wall of Harrisburg’s Mulberry Street Bridge last week.
* A Tribune-Review editorial opines that there really is nothing shocking in the revelations about former Rendell aide John Estey, writing that everyone knows the state legislature does a terrible job vetting those for whom it writes legislation.
* The Post-Gazette editorial board is incredulous that so much time has been wasted on a bill that would allow public schools to display the motto, “In God We Trust” – instead of focusing on doing something about the real, substantive issues that are impacting students, teachers and administrators – like education funding.
Want to subscribe to City & State PA’s new glossy magazine? Just send an email to David Alpher at firstname.lastname@example.org and get the details!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to US Rep. Mike Kelly … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday at email@example.com
10 a.m. – The PA Senate Committee on Labor and Industry will meet. Room 461, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
10 a.m. – The PA Senate Committee on Transportation will meet. Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.
11:30 a.m. - The PA Senate Committee on the Judiciary will meet. Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.
12 p.m. - The PA Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will meet. Room 461, Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
12 p.m. - Mayor Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilman Mark Squilla will meet and have lunch with city veterans. Conversation Hall, City Hall Room 201, Philadelphia.
12:30 p.m. – The PA Senate Committee on State Government will meet. Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.
12:30 p.m. – Gov. Wolf will make remarks at the Keystone Crossroads Conference. Harrisburg Hilton, Juniata Ballroom, 2 N. Second St., Harrisburg.
1 p.m. - The PA House Judiciary Committee will meet. American Heritage Federal Credit Union, Community Room, 2060 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia.
1 p.m. – The PA Senate will reconvene.
6:45 p.m. - Mayor Kenney will speak at the 2016 Celebration of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, celebrating the group and the work they do to improve children’s lives. William S. George, President and CEO of Health Partners Plans, will also be honored for his work on behalf of children and families in Philadelphia. Vie, 600 N. Broad St., Philadelphia.
Want to advertise in First Read?
Contact City & State PA Publisher David Alpher at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
KICKER: “This bill finally says goodbye to a system that serves adults, not schoolchildren, by dispelling the crazy notion that the only way to measure a teacher's value is by how long they've worked in a school,” said Republican state Sen. Ryan Aument of a measure to end public school teacher seniority, the Inquirer reports.