Pa. Senate Eyes Low State Vaccination Rate

flu vaccine

Remember that Pew study showing Pennsylvania has the second-lowest vaccination rate in all the 50 states? The news didn’t go over so well in the Pennsylvania Senate.

The chamber’s Committee on Public Health and Welfare this week gave approval to a resolution calling for a study on how to increase youth vaccinations in the state. “According to the Pennsylvania Immunization Coalition, approximately 23 percent of 2-year-olds in Pennsylvania are not up-to-date for the currently recommended vaccines,” Sen. Shirley Kitchen, a Philadelphia Democrat, said in a memo sponsoring the resolution. “The goal of this staff study is to improve public health by addressing issues that affect youth vaccination within our Commonwealth.
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Gosnell-Inspired Bill Targets Infanticide, Illegal Abortions

State capitol |

State capitol |

A bill that would lengthen the statute of limitations for crimes of the sort committed by “House of Horrors” abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has been introduced in the Pennsylvania House.

The bill, introduced Tuesday, would entirely set aside the statute of limitations for infanticide, the killing of a baby born alive during the course of an abortion or pregnancy termination. Furthermore, the statute of limitations for illegal abortions performed after the 24th week of gestation would likewise be increased to five years. Currently, prosecutors cannot bring charges in either case if more than two years has elapsed.

“Infanticide is homicide and should be treated as such,” Rep. Matthew Baker, a Republican, wrote in a memorandum explaining the bill. Read more »

Does Pennsylvania Have a Self-Esteem Problem?

Tom Wolf

Gov. Wolf is finding out these days how easy it is to generate a little bit of political trouble for himself. The latest example? Telling a National Governors Association panel that “the biggest problem in Pennsylvania is low self-esteem.”

PoliticsPA reports on the governor’s comment:

“I’m not saying this is a matter of just confidence, and that kind of thing, but I think one of the things that a good leader does is – and I think as governors we have this opportunity to do that – is to actually tout our own potential, and make sure that we’re not wasting away in part because we don’t think we’re as good as we’re really are,” the Governor said.

Why’s that a problem? Well, as PoliticsPA observes, “Ever since President Carter’s 1979 ‘malaise’ speech politicians run from any statement questioning citizen’s confidence in fear of being viewed as weak or critical.”
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Pa. Supreme Court Nominee Withdraws

UPDATE: In a statement, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced that he has accepted Judge Thomas King Kistler’s nomination withdrawal:

“Today, Judge Thomas Kistler voluntarily withdrew his nomination to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and I accepted.

“I will make no further nominations, and Senate Leadership has said they will not hold hearings for either of the existing vacancies on the Supreme Court.”

ORIGINAL: A nominee for Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is out of the running:

The Centre Daily Times described the controversial email:

In an email obtained by the Centre Daily Times, a holiday greeting card, framed with Santa and a reindeer, shows a jail visit, with a black couple smiling for the camera, the orange-jumpsuited man separated from the woman by a pane of glass as they hold the prison phones to talk, with the caption “Merry Christmas from the Johnsons.”

The email was sent Dec. 16, 2013, at 9:55 a.m. It purports to be from the account of Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler, with the message “Touching and heart-warming. Merry Christmas to ALL!” and is signed “JK.”

Kistler confirmed Friday that he had received and then forwarded the email but says his meaning was misconstrued.

“There was absolutely no ill intent,” he said. “It was a comment about how lightly people take being incarcerated.”

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Pa. Bill Would Decriminalize Out-of-State Liquor Purchases


The days of cross-border liquor smuggling may be about to end. The Delco Daily Times reports that legislators are proposing legislation that would decriminalize out-of-state alcohol purchases.

The proposed law would allow residents to bring home wine, beer and liquor purchased outside of Pennsylvania without facing legal ramifications.

Pennsylvania’s current law restricts state residents from crossing borders and bringing back alcohol purchased outside the commonwealth, where they typically find cheaper prices. Violators could face up to 90 days in prison.

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Comcast Makes $50,000 Donation to Tom Wolf


Here’s one of the spoils of political victory for Gov. Tom Wolf: The friendship and support of Comcast, the biggest cable company in America.

During the 2014 gubernatorial election, Comcast threw its weight behind incumbent Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, despite early signs his candidacy was doomed: Vice President David Cohen even held a fundraiser that netted $200,000 for the Corbett campaign.

Now Corbett’s gone. Wolf reins in Harrisburg. And the money is flowing a little differently.
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Is President Obama Really Christian?

Reverend Dr. Luis Leon (R) looks on as United States President Barack Obama (C) prepares to leave St John's Episcopal Church after an Easter service, in Washington, 31 March 2013. Photo by: Drew Angerer/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Reverend Dr. Luis Leon (right) looks on as United States President Barack Obama (center) prepares to leave St John’s Episcopal Church after an Easter service, in Washington, on March 31,  2013. Photo | Drew Angerer/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Forget the Oscars. Here’s how Erick Erickson, the blogger-activist recently labeled by The Atlantic as America’s “most powerful conservative,” entertained himself this weekend:

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Meet 6 (OK, Maybe 5) Reasons Why Tom Wolf Is Right About the Death Penalty

The death penalty debate has flared up again in Pennsylvania, thanks to the death penalty moratorium issued by Governor Tom Wolf on February 13th. And there are many arguments against state-sponsored execution: It’s barbaric; it unfairly targets minorities; it’s not actually a deterrent to crime; and it can cost more than life imprisonment. But the single most convincing argument I’ve heard is this:

What if the government executes an innocent person? Read more »

Rick Scott Is Coming to Take Our Jobs

Florida Gov. Rick Scott waves after the swearing in for his second term as governor of Florida at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The inauguration took place in front of the Old Capitol. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott waves after the swearing in for his second term as governor of Florida at the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The inauguration took place in front of the Old Capitol. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott will be in Pennsylvania next week, ostensibly on a mission to steal businesses from the state and take them back to his sunny home. The odd thing is, some of Pennsylvania’s leading business and conservative organizations are cheering him on.
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NYT: Christie Losing Presidential Momentum


Chris Christie’s nascent presidential campaign is losing momentum before it’s even formally announced, the New York Times says today. The result? Big-money donors are turning instead to rival candidates, like Jeb Bush, to support.

Policy advisers, donors and even a prominent New Jersey state senator who met his wife through Mr. Christie have all flirted with or committed to rival candidates. One potential donor, Woody Johnson, the billionaire owner of the New York Jets, will back Jeb Bush, according to three people close to the Bush campaign. Mr. Johnson attended a round of Bush fund-raising events on Wednesday in Chicago, where the former Florida governor acknowledged him by name.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr. Christie’s negative ratings in some opinion polls are higher than his favorable ones. He has been slower than Mr. Bush to lock down support within the Republican Party’s pool of big-name “bundlers,” and it is unclear how quickly Mr. Christie is amassing cash. A spokesman declined to say, or even provide a range for, how much money the governor’s leadership political action committee has raised.

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