Kane to Defend Wolf in Open Records Case

Kathleen Kane may be in a fight for her political life, but there’s still business to be done.

Her office said Tuesday it will defend new Gov. Tom Wolf from a lawsuit filed by Pennsylvania Senate Republicans after Wolf fired Erik Arneson, the state’s new open records chief who was given a last-second appointment by then-Gov. Tom Corbett as he left office.

“Our office is representing the Governor’s Office,” Kane spokesman Aaron Sadler told PennLive.

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Medical Marijuana Back in Play in Pennsylvania?



State Sens. Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer are try, trying again.

The bipartisan duo — Leach is a Democrat, Folmer a Republican — have reintroduced a bill (below) that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. A similar bill passed the State Senate last year, but stalled when sent to the House.

“This bill needs to get done,” Folmer said in a statement. “There are so many ill and suffering in Pennsylvania that could benefit from medical cannabis – reducing prescriptions of narcotic cocktails of highly addictive and dangerous drugs. Medical cannabis is a much safer and more effective solution.”

“Medical cannabis is a safe and effective alternative to the powerful, addictive, and often ineffective narcotics that doctors already prescribe to cancer patients, children with seizure disorders, veterans suffering from PTSD, and others Pennsylvanians who suffer from terminal health problems,” Leach said in a separate statement emailed to reporters. “It is cruel to continue denying these people the medicine they need.”
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In Pa. House, a Fresh Push for Liquor Privatization


A fresh push to privatize the state’s liquor store system is brewing in the Pennsylvania House, NewsWorks reports.

Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed told NewsWorks that his chamber may revive a privatization bill that passed the House and failed the Senate two years ago.  The Senate’s Republican majority has gotten larger and more conservative since then.

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Study: In Pennsylvania, Very Rich Getting Richer, Everybody Else Getting Poorer

Updated with comment from the governor’s office.

In Pennsylvania, it really is true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Actually, strike that: The very rich are getting richer — and everybody else is is getting poorer.

A new study shows that the average income of the state’s families grew between 2009 and 2013, but only because the top 1 percent earned so much more than the other 99 percent of Pennsylvania residents: Everybody else — the bottom 99 percent of Pennsylvania families — saw their collective income decline by 1.1 percent.

The widening income gap was found across the country, but was particularly pronounced in Pennsylvania.

“The pattern is the same across all the states, which is the income is increasingly flowing up,” said Mark Price, an analyst with Pennsylvania’s Keystone Research Center. “It’s worse some places than others.”

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Wolf Goes to Battle With GOP

Tom Wolf

That didn’t take long. On only his second day in office, Gov. Tom Wolf started throwing down with Republicans — voiding some last-second picks for appointed offices that his predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, made before leaving office this week.

“Included among the two dozen “pending executive nominations” that were recalled by Mr. Wolf on Thursday were judicial nominations, the nomination of former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley to Temple University’s board of trustees and the appointment of William Lieberman to the state Turnpike Commission,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

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Poll: N.J. Voters Don’t Think Chris Christie Would Be a Very Good President


Chris Christie is having a hard time hanging onto the support of his home state as he considers a run for the presidency.

“Nearly three in five registered voters in New Jersey do not think their governor, Republican Chris Christie, would make a good U.S. president, according to a poll released on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “Overall, 57 percent of the registered voters polled said they did not think Christie, who prides himself on his blunt, sometimes combative, speaking style, would make a good president. That included nearly a third of registered Republicans, 78 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents.”
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Comcast No Longer Tech Industry’s Biggest Spender on Lobbying

Comcast is no longer the tech industry’s biggest spender on lobbying. That distinction now belongs to Google. Comcast is in second place — by a mere $30,000.

Consumer Watchdog, which unveiled its annual report on the industry’s lobbying expenditures on Wednesday, said Comcast spent $16.8 million on lobbying in 2014. (That number is actually  a 10 percent decrease from $18.71 million in 2013.) Google, meanwhile, spent $16.83 million on lobbying during the year.

That’s somewhat surprising: After all, Comcast spent most of 2014 trying to persuade state and federal officials to approve its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. (That company spent $7.83 million in 2014, a 6 percent decrease from $8.29 million in 2013.) Time magazine reported in April that the company had as many as 76 lobbyists from a wide array of firms working to get federal approval for the merger.

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Docs: Grand Jury Recommended Charges Against Kane

Documents released today by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court confirm that a grand jury has recommended charges be brought against Attorney General Kathleen Kane for the leak of information from an earlier grand jury.

The documents were unsealed as part of a broader court battle involving Kane, who is challenging the authority of the special prosecutor who led the grand jury, as well as the judge who appointed the prosecutor.

“Kane’s defense team argued a Montgomery County judge had no authority to appoint a special prosecutor to run a grand jury under state law and the state constitution’s separation of powers clause prohibits the court from investigating a member of the executive branch, Kane,” The Morning Call reports. “The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied the motion to quash the grand jury and unsealed the records as requested by Kane’s defense lawyers.”
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Could Ed Rendell Take Pat Toomey’s Senate Seat?

It’s tough for us to see Ed Rendell in the Senate. The man is a chief — not somebody who would risk getting his voice drowned out by 99 others. He just seems bigger than that, somehow.

There’s only one reason to believe he would ever make the run, in fact: Because he could win.

A new poll from Public Policy Polling suggests that Rendell — who has given no indication of desiring a Senate run — is actually the leading candidate for the Senate seat now held by Pat Toomey.

“Former two-term Governor Ed Rendell leads the pack of potential Democratic challengers, besting Toomey 44-41 in a hypothetical matchup. Rendell owns a substantial 17-point advantage with Independents, and leads with both men and women (+1 and +6, respectively),” PPP reports. “Should Rendell decide to enter the race, he would start with a decided name recognition advantage over Toomey, 85-63.” (See the full poll results below.)

Now it’s true Rendell thinks — or has said, at any rate, that Toomey is vulnerable. “I would love to be a Democrat running against an incumbent Republican senator in 2016,” Rendell told the Inquirer back in November. But you’ll note he didn’t say he wanted to be the Democrat making the run.

Besides, aren’t we all waiting for him to swoop in and run for mayor again?
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