Wolf, GOP Battle Over Refugees
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
Harrisburg Republicans are unhappy with Gov. Tom Wolf’s welcome to Syrian refugees — but he’s got Ed Rendell’s support.
“Republican lawmakers are pressuring Gov. Tom Wolf to stop accepting Syrian refugees in Pennsylvania out of fear that deadly terrorists attacks like those in Paris will happen here,” PennLive reports. “The governor has to realize this could be a life and death situation with radicals,” said Rep. Ron Marsico. “The danger is real and the safety of Pennsylvanians is at serious risk.” Wolf’s response? He couldn’t keep them out, even if he wanted to. “Despite the implication of some, states do not have the authority to refuse to accept refugees that are admitted by the federal government.”
Ed Rendell, talking on Rich Zeoli’s radio show, defended Wolf: “Remember who these people are. These are people who fled ISIS. They fought ISIS. When ISIS started rampaging in their country, they fled. I think it’s fair to assume that they’re not ISIS sympathizers. Now, would I be worried that some people who once the announcement was made that we’re taking people, that some people would try to jump in and get into the group? Sure. But people who fled and have been in refugee camps for six months, nine months, a year, I think it’s fair to assume that they hate ISIS too.”
A state research agency says Kathleen Kane can be removed from office by the governor and Pa. Senate — but Kane is pushing back.
The opinion of the Legislative Reference Bureau: “The Constitution of Pennsylvania allows for the removal of certain elected civil officers from office for reasonable cause, including the Attorney General, by the Governor on address of two-thirds of the Senate.” The opinion came in response to a special legislative committee investigating the matter. Kane, though, disagrees: “I think the AG would continue to disagree and believes that the only constitutional route for her removal would be through impeachment,” her spokesman said.
State officials are recommending Uber be fined nearly $50 million for operating without permission in Pennsylvania.
“Judges with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission plan to recommend a $50 million fine — its largest ever — for ride-sharing app company Uber Technologies Inc. for operating for six months in 2014 without the state commission’s permission and for ignoring multiple requests for information,” the Post-Gazette reports. “It is inescapable that Uber chose to launch its ride-sharing service and then continued to evade commission oversight,” the judges wrote in the decision. “As a sophisticated company, Uber clearly should have been aware that arranging transportation with uncertificated drivers was not permitted.” If the commission imposes the fine, Uber will have 20 days to appeal.
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney has appointed the city’s first Chief Diversity Officer.
“On Tuesday, Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced that he is tapping Nolan Atkinson, Jr. to become the city’s first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer to address ‘the barriers that keep the city’s workforce racially and economically divided,’” Philly Mag’s Holly Otterbein reports. “Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Kenney, said that this position is the city’s first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer ‘with this much reach and seniority.’ She added that ‘there may have been people with similar titles who reported to HR in the past.’”
Mayor Nutter says security will be beefed up for this weekend’s Philadelphia Marathon.
The recent Paris attacks heightened concerns that had already been raised by the Boston Marathon bombings a few years back. “Mayor Nutter, joined by a phalanx of federal and local officials, said Tuesday the Homeland Security Secretary assured him there’s no threat to Philadelphia, but he understands there may still be concerns,” CBS3 reports. Nutter: “The events of this past Friday cause us to reaffirm to the public that we’re paying attention we’re taking this seriously. Life has to move on but we want you to know we’re on top of this.”
Other items in the news today: