Gov. Tom Wolf: “Free the Six-pack” in Gas Stations

Tom Wolf - six pack of beer

Six pack photo by Alan Levine, used under a Creative Commons license

You soon might be able to buy gasoline and beer at the same location — though not at the same time.

In a letter to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board titled “Free the Six-pack,” Gov. Tom Wolf asks the PLCB to allow gas stations to sell six packs of beer at attached convenience stores. The liquor code currently forbids the LCB from approving any new licenses “where the sale of liquid fuels or oil is conducted.”

But, Wolf writes, the LCB should approve 12 such gas station licenses to sell up to 192 ounces of “malt or brewed beverages.” Though the law says the board should not approve such licenses, Wolf says a recent court case has reversed one item in the liquor code: Read more »

The No-Bullshit Guide: 2016 Election’s Biggest Winners and Losers

From L to R:

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Dwight Evans, Councilman Darrell Clarke, U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman and labor leader John Dougherty.

Oftentimes, elections feel like they’ve been decided by the powers that be before they’re even over. The 2016 primary was different: It was full of genuine nail-biters. At 8:30 p.m., I headed to state Rep. Dwight Evans’ Election Night party at Temptations on Chelten Avenue, and everyone around me spent the first hour-and-a-half of the celebration hunched over, obsessively refreshing the Department of State’s website on their phones as votes from different areas were counted. They weren’t just tracking Evans’ bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat — they were also following the Attorney General’s race, which looked like it might be won by Stephen Zappala at the beginning of the evening, as well as several close state legislative races.

By the end of the night, a seemingly unstoppable labor leader had lost, along with an indicted congressman, a bajillion-year incumbent, and a state representative who is part of one of the most powerful political machines in the city. What a wild election.

The Winners

1. The Northwest Coalition

The Northwest Coalition, led by Evans and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, helped put Jim Kenney in the mayor’s office last year. The alliance was also instrumental in electing Derek Green and Cherelle Parker to Council. Now, one of its own is going to Congress — Evans defeated U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the 2nd Congressional District race yesterday. (Yes, Evans will technically face Republican James Jones in the fall. But, with the district being overwhelmingly Democratic, we all know how this movie ends.) Another sign of the organization’s rising power: Relish, the Northwest Coalition’s Election Day lunch spot, drew bigger crowds yesterday than Famous 4th Street Deli.

What does this mean for the future? Good things for Parker, potentially, if she runs for mayor in 2023. It could also mean bad things for District Attorney Seth Williams if the Northwest Coalition decides to support a challenger when he runs for reelection next year. (Tasco isn’t a fan of Williams’.) It’s worth noting, however, that the coalition did suffer one loss yesterday, which proves it isn’t indestructible: state Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis, its pick in the 200th House District race, was not reelected. Read more »

Relish Was Hot on Election Day — While Famous 4th Street Deli Was a Ghost Town

State Rep. Dwight Evans, Councilman Derek Green, former Mayor John Street, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Tom Wolf were among the many politicos at Relish today.

State Rep. Dwight Evans, Councilman Derek Green, former Mayor John Street, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown and Tom Wolf were among the many politicos at Relish today.

This year, Josh Shapiro didn’t go to the power crowd’s longtime Election Day lunch hangout Famous 4th Street Deli. Instead, the Democratic frontrunner in the Attorney General’s race dined at the other, newer power lunch spot in Philadelphia: Relish, a Southern restaurant in West Oak Lane that serves immaculate fried chicken and mac and cheese. “This is where real folks come to enjoy themselves in the middle of a busy Election Day,” Shapiro told me, as he worked the room in a crisp blue jacket and rimless glasses. “I enjoy the camaraderie here.”

Shapiro wasn’t alone. While the Famous 4th Street Deli managed to attract only a small crowd Tuesday, Relish was awash with politicos. Gov. Tom Wolf was there. So was Mayor Jim Kenney, who appeared on a live show on 900AM WURD that was broadcast  from the restaurant. U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty was there, too. Ditto former Mayor John Street, District Attorney Seth Williams, Pennsylvania Democratic Party leader Marcel Groen, state Sen. Daylin Leach, state Sen. candidate Sharif Street, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Councilman Derek Green, Laborers business manager Ryan Boyer and … the list goes on.

Is Relish officially the new place for politicos to see and be seen on Election Day? “This place is taking over,” said Leach, who was noshing with Aren Platt, a political advisor to Councilwoman Cherelle Parker. “I grew up on Jewish deli food, so Famous always has a special place in my heart. But I gotta tell you, this place is terrific. We shall see how this rivalry plays out over the next few years.”

State Rep. Dwight Evans built Relish into the hot spot that it is today. He and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco are the leaders of the Northwest Coalition, a powerful alliance of black politicians that gained a great deal of political clout when it decisively endorsed Kenney in the mayor’s race. The fact that pols swarmed Relish, as Famous 4th Street Deli looked like a ghost town, underlines how much power the coalition has gained in the last year. Read more »

Bill Green: I’m Taking Tom Wolf to Court Over SRC Ouster

Bill Green | City Council Flickr

Bill Green | City Council Flickr

Update: Governor Tom Wolf has responded to Bill Green’s claims that he lacked the authority to unseat him as chair of the SRC. A statement issued by his spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan reads:

“Governor Wolf used his authority, as provided by statute, to appoint the chair of the School Reform Commission and to bring new leadership to the school district, which has been devastated by education cuts. Even now, after the governor has fought for greater investment in education at all levels and started to restore the funding Philadelphia lost, the district is in dire financial straits and our children are at a disadvantage. Due to misguided and poor decisions made by Harrisburg politicians, the district has been forced to lay off educators, cut important programs and slash transportation, security and other vital services. Governor Wolf will continue fighting for more funding for education and to provide a new path forward for Philadelphia’s schools.”

Earlier: Last spring, after the School Reform Commission he chaired had approved five new charter schools in Philadelphia, Bill Green was removed from his role as chair by Governor Tom Wolf and replaced with fellow commissioner Marjorie Neff.

Wolf was said to not want any new charter schools approved. Neff had voted against the new charter applications. At the time, Green, a former Philadelphia City Councilman, had said he planned to challenge the governor’s authority to make such a move. Then some time passed, and that challenge never came. Fast forward one year, and Green, in an oped in today’s Inquirer, says his challenge is coming now.  Read more »

Governor Tom Wolf Legalizes Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania


In a move that’s been in the works for some time, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf  announced yesterday that medical marijuana is now legal in the state. The Pa. House of Representatives passed a bill legalizing medicinal pot back in March, the Senate passed it last week, and Wolf has now made good on his promise to approve it once it reached his desk.

“I am proud to sign this bill that will provide long overdue medical relief to patients and families who could benefit from this treatment,” Wolf said in a statement. “I applaud members of both parties in the House and Senate who have come together to help patients who have run out of medical options and want to thank the thousands of advocates who have fought tirelessly for this cause.”

Read more »

Wolf to Sign LGBT Non-Discrimination Orders Tomorrow


Governor Tom Wolf plans to sign a pair of far-reaching anti-discrimination executive orders tomorrow, according to a statement released by his office.

The orders — one pertains to commonwealth employees, while the other covers state grants and the procurement process — forbid any agency under the governor’s jurisdiction from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, among other areas.

The aim, Wolf’s office said, to “make clear that Pennsylvania is inclusive, welcoming, and open for business for everyone.” Read more »

Wolf Will Let GOP Budget Become Law


Gov. Tom Wolf today said he would let a Republican-passed state budget become law, ending — at long last — the budget impasse that has persisted since last summer.

Wolf made the announcement at a 1 p.m. press conference, simultaneously tweeting his comments through his official account. He said the $6.6 billion budget package would become law without his signature. Read more »

LOCAL NEWS: Marni Snyder to Stay on Ballot in the 182nd

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for State Rep. of the 182nd District.

Marni Snyder is running in a highly contested race for representative of the 182nd District.

A ballot challenge lodged against 182nd District candidate Marni Snyder has been dismissed.

State House candidate Marni Snyder can remain on the ballot for the 182nd District in the April primary, Judge Rochelle S. Friedman ruled on Tuesday. Another candidate in the race, Lou Lanni, had challenged the validity of certain signatures on Snyder’s nominating petitions. Ultimately none of the challenges were upheld during the proceeding, including one arising from a photograph Snyder had circulated of a young girl writing “Philadelphia” on a petition form. “I knew we would have enough signatures and was happy to lose that signature to make an impression on her,” said Snyder. “But I will never apologize for trying to inspire young girls and young women to aspire to public office.” Lanni was not originally available for comment.

UPDATE: Lou Lanni sent the following statement, “My campaign and I had every reason to be suspect of Ms. Snyder’s petition signatures. There were several obvious falsities in her petitions which spurred us to make a challenge. However, Ms Snyder and I have had our day in court and I certainly respect the judge’s ruling. This has become an interesting race for The seat of State Representative for the 182nd District of PA. While there are four candidates competing for your vote, I respectfully submit that there is only one candidate who is not looking for career in politics but rather for a position which will allow for the 182nd to be best represented. That candidate is me, Lou Lanni. I am a lifelong Philadelphian, I know this city inside and out, I know the problems which it faces, and most importantly I am confident that I am the only candidate who will provide the sound solutions to these problems. I love this city and I simply want to do everything in my power to represent it. I am certain I have the experience and abilities to do this job better than any of my opponents.” Read more »

Clinton, Trump Lead Among Pa. Voters

Clinton - Trump - Wolf - Obama

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the leading presidential candidates in Pennsylvania, according to a new Franklin & Marshall poll.

Primary election day is still two months away — April 26 — but Clinton holds a sizable lead over opponent Bernie Sanders among likely voters, 51 percent to 29 percent. Trump’s margin is much lower over a still-divided Republican field: He clocks in a 21 percent of likely Republican voters, compared to 18 percent for Marco Rubio, and 16 percent each for John Kasich and Ted Cruz.

Philadelphia is proving to be bulwarks for both front-runners, according to the poll: Clinton attracts 59 percent of the metro area’s Dems, while Trump commands the support of 50 percent of area Republicans — by far his most concentrated pocket of support in the state.

The survey had an error range of plus or minus 3.1 points. Read more »

State Should Pay for Gender-Reassignment Surgeries, Says Pa. Governor Wolf

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf's hopes of ending Pennsylvania's 99-day-old state budget impasse were dashed Wednesday when nine of his fellow Democrats joined all House Republicans to vote against his revised plan to raise billions in income and gas drilling taxes.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks with members of the media Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is speaking out against the very state that he runs after the state-run Medicaid program said it wouldn’t pay for a gender-reassignment procedure for a 30-year-old transgender man who has since filed suit over the denial of coverage. Read more »

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