Friday, March 31, 2006

Patrick Murphy Petition Challenge Squashed

Judge Robert Simpson ruled today on Jane Faust's challenge to Patrick Murphy's nomination petitions in PA-08. Faust's objection was that the cadidate filed a false affadavit without providing specifics. She tried to raise specific challenges on the March 30th, but amending the challenge later than 7 days after the filing deadline is not allowed. The challenge was "denied and dismissed." (see full opinion here, on politicspa).

Given Faust's previous experience with falsifying petitions and with politics generally (see this post) one might expect she would have known what sort of objection was required. Murphy's primary opponent, Andy Warren, did not file the objection but he didn't make in public statements against it either. With his often mentioned long history of elected office and government service, he might be expected to have looked into this a little further and perhaps suggest the challenge be dropped.

Valentine's Day in the State Senate

I've been reading through some of the Senate Journals, now available on line. Take the most recent day available, February 14. On page 4, in a vote on an amendment to a bill, it is announced that Sen. O'Pake requests legislative leave for Sen. Connie Williams. It is granted. The vote is taken. Everyone votes for the amendment except Sen. Connie Williams. Either she really felt strongly about it or whoever had her proxy didn't think to change her vote. On page 8 Sen. Wonderling shows a little humor in saying a bill hits a "perfect sweet spot."

Again, I salute the Senate in making these journals available. Now, if they would just be updated.....

weekly legislative update

As I mentioned in the previous posting, the governor called a special legislative session to look into property tax reform. Information from that session is included here as well. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountants friends at PICPA have updated their legislative page, and have a lot to say about property tax reform.

Other weekly updates are available for this week:

PA House Democrats
PA House GOP daily updates
PA Senate Democrats
PA Senate Republicans

Special Session

Monday no action
Tuesday no action
Wednesday no action
Thursday no action
Friday no action

Regular Session


Here are some of the resolutions that caught my eye.

Serial No. 253 By Senator LOGAN. Printer's No. 1653. A Resolution recognizing the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship of the War Brides Operation that occurred after the end of World War II.



A few bills were shuffled this week but otherwise very little activity, nothing introduced or voted on.


HB 58 By Representatives MAHER, BROWNE, GERGELY and BEYER. Prior Printer's Nos. 236, 2674. Printer's No. 3760. An Act providing a bonus to Pennsylvanians who are United States Merchant Marine veterans who served during World War II; imposing certain duties on the Adjutant General; providing penalties; and making an appropriation.

HB 2157 Printer's No. 2980. An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for certain duty for emergencies.

SB 1043 Prior Printer's No. 1451. Printer's No. 1621. An Act amending Title 51 (Military Affairs) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for tuition costs and fees for children and spouses of deceased soldiers.

SB 1088 Prior Printer's No. 1507. Printer's No. 1649. An Act designating the section of State Route 219 that is situated in Somerset County as the Flight 93 Memorial Highway.

SB 1169 Printer's No. 1628. An Act designating a portion of State Route 279 in Allegheny County as the State Police Cpl. Joseph R. Pokorny Memorial Highway.

SB 866 By Senators STACK, MUSTO, TARTAGLIONE, LOGAN, COSTA, EARLL, PICCOLA, STOUT, RAFFERTY, LAVALLE, FONTANA, ORIE, WONDERLING, PIPPY, WOZNIAK, BOSCOLA, KASUNIC, WAUGH, O'PAKE, RHOADES, ROBBINS and KITCHEN. Printer's No. 1124. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for the offense of firearms not to be carried without a license and for license to carry firearm.

Things To Do

A few things for you "to do" list:

1) contribute to your favorite candidate(s) by midnight tonight

2) BenPA over at Young Philly Politics would like us to contact our state legislators and tell them we don't like the marriage amendment, which may be voted on next Tuesday.

3) April 5th there is a Kick Butts Philadelphia rally at 11:00 at City Hall. A health fair will be set up at 10:30. The main events will happen between noon and 1:00, so if you work downtown you can go on your lunch hour. The Mayor may show, City Council reps Nutter and Tasco are definites. It is a worthy cause:

At 11:30 on Wednesday, April 5th, Philadelphia students (K-12) who participated in the April 4th banner competition will walk with their banners along Broad Street from the School District Building to City Hall to present the winner banner to the Mayor. Banners will represent creative expressions on the issue of tobacco use. The students will arrive at noon to kick-off the Kick Butts Day rally that is scheduled to take place at noon at Dilworth Plaza. This year, the rally will be focused on reducing youth tobacco use and achieving a smoke-free Philadelphia through passage of comprehensive legislation.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bhakta DUI

Via politicspa

Raj Bhakta, who is the GOP scapegoat candidate in PA-13 against incumbent freshman Democrat Allyson Schwartz, has shown up on the The Smoking Gun. Turns out he has a 10 year old DUI record in Massachusetts. I know it must have been difficult to find someone willing to run against Schwartz, known for her fundraising abilities and tasteful scarves, but the voters in the district should have a least the illusion of a race to watch. Oh, well, they can always look north to PA-08.

The PA Senate Journals Are Up!!!!!

The Pennsylvania Senate announced recently that the Senate Journal would be published online, with a month or so lag. I was skeptical, thinking it would take an extraordinarily long time to get the whole thing up and running. Au contraire!!! You can now view the Senate Journal from January 2005 to mid-February 2006. This will allow voters to track what their senators are doing and saying and generally keep up with what is going on there. Granted, few will on a regular basis but at least is someone takes an interest they can slog through if they want. It will certainly help give at least the semblance of some transparency. I salute the Senate on taking this step.

Maybe the House will take notice????

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lois Murphy in the NYT

The Lois Murphy / Jim Gerlach race is highlighted in the New York Times. (article here).

Event Reports

The blogger at A Smoke-Filled Room went out on the town last night, to events for Patrick Murphy and Anne Dicker. The Murphy event brought out a lot of local candidates and elected officials and his staff get good grades for being receptive and perceptive. The campaign is also nearing a substantial fund raising target for this quarter.

The Numbers Games

Today's Inky (p. B4 in my edition, "Court throws out petition for Tartaglione challenger") reports that while 79 would be primary opponents to incumbent state senators and representatives filed petitions to run, nine have been tossed on petition challenges, leaving 70. Christine Tartaglione and John Payne are the latest to have challengers tossed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Diven Out, or, I See Dead People

This is a little out of my geographic area, but it is a sign that there may be a whole lot of shakin' going on this election season. From

Diven Out: Allegheny County State Representative Michael Diven has withdrawn from his re-election campaign. PoliticsPA has heard he had major petition problems, six dead people ended up "signing" one of his petitions.

Monday, March 27, 2006

March Madness

I think there's some basketball thing going on now, but for the politically, not athletically, minded the end of March means the end of another FEC reporting period. Time to rummage around behind the sofa cushions, people, and scrounge up some spare change. (No telling what else you will find -- I stumbled upon a sizable cache of children's multivitamins). Send it off to your favorite political candidate before midnight on March 30. These nice people will even show you a movie for your efforts.

Early Wake Up Calls in Philly

In the Pursuits section of Saturday's Wall Street Journal you can find an article "When life Begins at 5: A New Wake-Up Call," by John Jurgensen) on the evidence that Americans are getting up earlier than they used to. For example:

Aqua America, a water supplier for 13 states, has seen everything from toilets to washing machines starting up earlier: The company's booster pumps now kick into gear at 5:30 a.m. in Philadelphia, instead of 6 a.m. providing 20% additional water pressure to meet higher demand.

My alarm goes off at 6:05 (and I either get up or nudge Mr. J, depending on who has to leave first that day). Those of you getting up at 5:30, please keep the noise down.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

News Round Up

An assortment of things for your perusal:

Democratic State Committee meets (articles here and here) and, SURPRISE, endorses, Rendell, Baker Knoll, and Casey.

The pay raise that will not die (inky).

NOW endorses Valerie McDonald Roberts for lt. gov. (politicspa)

Rough Night. Day Not So Great, Either

In the past 24 hours Casa Jane has dealt with the following:

1) roof leak (Mr. J fields this one.)

2) sick kid -- 103 temp at 1 a.m., 104 temp at 4:30 a.m., 101.5 at 7:30 a.m. assorted body aches. Mom thinks meningitis. Dad thinks appendicitis. Pediatrician (10:45 a.m. appt on Sunday morning -- I love where I live) says flu. Parental tag-team napping Sunday afternoon. Mom and Dad sit down with Palm Pilots to see who is on duty which days this week.

3) discover bug infestation in pantry. Clean out all shelves, chlorox everything, throw out half of food, seal everything else in ziploc bags. (I field this one.)

I am tired.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Valerie McDonald Roberts Update

According to a press release received today:

Harrisburg, PA March 25, 2006: Today at the meeting of the Democratic State Committee candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Valerie McDonald Roberts withdrew her request for endorsement.

McDonald Roberts announced her decision in an impassioned speech before Democratic State Committee Members. She stated:

“This is about choice. Everyone has a god given right to choose and you all as popularly elected party officials have the responsibility as well as the right to choose who would be the best person on the ticket. But to my supporters, I see the agony in your eyes; I see that you know what needs to be done but that doing so will cause you difficulty. I don’t want anyone to have to go through any more difficulties here on my behalf. So I am going to withdraw name from consideration from endorsement.

Instead I am going to take my case to the people. I will continue run my race because I believe I am the best candidate for Lieutenant Governor and I believe that I represent what the people of Pennsylvania are looking for. I am going to continue to talk to the people and I am going to go to all the counties to deliver my message of a fresh perspective and a fresh face. I will show the people that I am not change for the sake of change but that I have substance and that I provide balance and strength to the ticket. Remember, our battle is November. And I am going to fight to keep Pennsylvania blue in the Governor’s office.”

Shortly after she spoke candidate McDonald Roberts left to continue campaigning in Philadelphia, living up to her pledge to take her campaign to the people.

This afternoon McDonald Roberts attended a previously scheduled forum in Philadephia, sponsored by Neighborhood Networks and the African American Heritage Coalition. I was not able to attend but hope that someone who was there will blog about it.

The Things You Tell Me ...

And what I do with that information.

If you will notice at the bottom of the right hand sidebar there is a small sitemeter icon. It tells me how many hits this blog gets, a general location and partial IP of where the hit is coming from, when it happened, how long the person was here and how many pages they looked at, if they were referred here from another site, and if they exited via a link. Some blogs leave this information available to everyone who stops in. I have it passworded so only I can see it. If you don’t want to leave these kinds of tracks, you will need to get an anonymizer of some kind. I use the free version of sitemeter which tracks the most recent 100 visitors. After that the information scrolls off the screen. So, generally, I only have a day’s statistics at a time.

Having this information allows me to tailor the content of the blog to what readers seem to want. About a third of my visitors come here via search engines, often having typed in the names of candidates, bills, and so on. This has encouraged me to continue doing candidate interviews, the weekly legislative updates, and other lengthy time consuming projects. People are using them and coming back to them months after they are posted. This makes me very happy. These items seldom generate a lot of comments and without usage statistics I would assume they weren’t attracting any interest and stop.

“Aha,” you may say, “but what else do you do with that information besides sit around and feel smug?” Good question. Let me answer it. These rules are general and I have broken each of them at least once. In my view if you can reach the bar easily it is set too low. So I set the standards a little higher and sometimes make exceptions depending on circumstances.

In general I keep usage information to myself. If I have posted an interview or lengthy posting on a candidate and am on good terms with someone at that campaign I sometimes tell them how many people have been looking at it. If there is a sudden rush of interest in a particular item and I am on good terms with someone at that campaign I might tell them there is a sudden rush of interest. For the most part I keep the specifics private, though there have been exceptions.

You are welcome to leave comments here, either attached to a blogger profile or anonymously. Some people adopt pseudonyms so they are anonymous but tagged as the same person who had stopped in to comment before. This is fine with me and it is actually nice to know some of the same people are stopping back in. I have no problem with people associated with a campaign leaving anonymous comments. Paid campaign staff are welcome to leave occasional comments, even anonymously, especially if they provide clarification or correct a misconception, but I’d rather they didn’t paper the blog with propaganda. Note that I do not use profanity or vulgar language (at least here). I would prefer that people not use that kind of language in comments. I’d like the blog to be available in public libraries and other places that might have filters installed. I would rather not have a lot of mean-spirited ad hominim attacks. If you like or dislike a candidate by all means express yourself but back up your opinions with something substantive. “Candidate X kicks puppies,” just doesn’t cut it. If someone makes a nuisance of themselves I will let them know nicely once, maybe twice, and then review my options. In general I don’t delete comments. Two exceptions have been (1) when people became involved in a series of personal attacks on each other with a lot of cursing and name calling, and (2) when one post had to be altered and the comments no longer made sense.

There is one other privacy policy I should announce. In general I do not share the contents of emails I receive or “bcc” anyone else on what I send out. The primary exception to this is if you tell me you are doing something unethical. If I am on good terms with any of the people affected I may tip them off. You are sorely tempting my virtue and I may not pass the test.

Friday, March 24, 2006

weekly legislative update

As mentioned in a previous posting, the governor called a special legislative session to look into property tax reform. Information from that session is included here as well. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountants friends at PICPA have updated their legislative page, and have a lot to say about property tax reform.

Other weekly updates are available for this week:

PA House Democrats
PA House GOP
PA Senate Democrats
PA Senate Republicans

Special Session

Monday no action
Tuesday no action
Wednesday no action
Thursday no action
Friday no action

Regular Session


Here are some of the resolutions that caught my eye.

SR 200 A Resolution directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to perform a study of cost control measures for the Medicaid program.



HB 213 Prior Printer's Nos. 215, 1072, 1177. Printer's No. 3115. An Act amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for agricultural crop destruction; and adding an offense and a civil action relating to ecoterrorism.

HB 893 Prior Printer's Nos. 1016, 2994, 3557, 3579. Printer's No. 3718. An Act requiring State and local approval for terminations or transfers by municipal authorities; authorizing and requiring cities, boroughs, townships, municipal authorities and public utility companies engaged in the supplying of water, to shut off the supply of water for nonpayment of sewer, sewerage, or sewage treatment rentals, rates, or charges imposed by municipal authorities organized by counties of the second class, by cities of the second class, by cities of the second class A, by cities of the third class, by boroughs or by townships of the first or second class; authorizing and requiring them to supply to such authorities lists of metered water readings and flat-rate water bills and other data; authorizing them to act as billing and collecting agents for such authorities; conferring certain powers upon the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in connection therewith; requiring certain procedures to be followed in residential buildings; and making a related repeal.


SB 874 By Senators MADIGAN and STOUT. Prior Printer's Nos. 1129, 1476. Printer's No. 1618. A Supplement to the act of December 8, 1982 (P.L.848, No.235), known as the Highway-Railroad and Highway Bridge Capital Budget Act for 1982-1983, itemizing additional local and State bridge projects.

SB 1160 By Senator WENGER. Printer's No. 1599. An Act making an appropriation from a restricted revenue account within the General Fund to the Office of Small Business Advocate in the Department of Community and Economic Development.

SB 1163 By Senator WENGER. Printer's No. 1602. An Act making appropriations from the Professional Licensure Augmentation Account and from restricted revenue accounts within the General Fund to the Department of State for use by the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs in support of the professional licensure boards assigned thereto.

SB 1164 By Senator WENGER. Printer's No. 1603. An Act making an appropriation from the Public School Employees' Retirement Fund to provide for expenses of the Public School Employees' Retirement Board for the fiscal year July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.

SB 1165 By Senator WENGER. Printer's No. 1604. An Act making an appropriation from the State Employees' Retirement Fund to provide for expenses of the State Employees' Retirement Board for the fiscal year July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, and for the payment of bills incurred and remaining unpaid at the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.

SB 1166 By Senator WENGER. Printer's No. 1605. An Act providing for the capital budget for the fiscal year 2006-2007.

HB 200 Prior Printer's Nos. 633, 3555. Printer's No. 3732. An Act establishing the Ounce of Prevention Program to provide grants to certain entities that provide home visitation and other services to low- income, at-risk expectant first-time mothers and their newborn children and families; and providing for the powers and duties of the Department of Public Welfare.

SB 845 By Senators CORMAN, GREENLEAF, LEMMOND and RAFFERTY. Prior Printer's No. 1092. Printer's No. 1355. An Act amending Title 23 (Domestic Relations) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for court-appointed child custody health care or behavioral health practitioners.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Gerber and Shapiro Showcased

State Representatives Josh Shapiro (D-153) and Michael Gerber (D-148) have been named two of Pennsylvania's political "stars to watch" by the National Journal Group Inc. (Press release here).

I've written about some of Shapiro's proposed legislation more than once. It might be time to take a look at Gerber, too.

A Note on the Missing

Regular readers will know I participate in the area Missing Monday campaign. On the first Monday of each month participating bloggers highlight a missing person case. Doing that has drawn my attention to the number of missing persons who are simply never found. Some may not want to be found. Other stories end like this one. A Pennsylvania girl who disappeared when she was 14 has been found 10 years later, still living in the same town. We may never know all that happened in this case, and others like it. This family, unlike many others, has the opportunity for closure.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mea Culpa?

I spent more time rummaging around the Congressional Record online this evening. It looks like in many places representatives are referred to by their last name only. Let me review this further. In a post earlier this week I may have misjudged Rep. Fitzpatrick's presence in the Record. Updates later this week.

News Round Up

Here are few things that came to my attention recently:

The Garnet Donkeys think we should be paying more attention to Joe Sestak's campaign in PA-07. (hat tip Colin)

Here is an update on some of the petition challenges around the state. (hat tip John)

Russ Shade, who decided not to fight the petition challenge in PA house district 183, wants us to know that he is not dropping out of the race, just switching to a write-in campaign for the Democratic nomination. As a note for voters in the 183rd, let me say that, at least on email, Russ is a thougtful, civil, yet determined guy. I think his campaign is worth a look.

Albert, who is one of two bloggers I know of running for Philadelphia committeeperson, has been smacked by the party machine. Read here, here, and here. I hope all goes well for him.

Looking for Rising Stars

This showed up in my inbox this week and I hope a number of Pennsylvania nominations will go in. Give it some thought and see if there is anyone you think fits the bill.

Each year, Campaigns & Elections magazine selects its Rising Stars of politics. We will feature the Rising Stars of 2006 in our June issue and also at our 23rd Annual Campaign Training Seminar - The Art of Political Campaigning, in Washington, D.C.

Rising Stars are people under age 35 who are beginning to make their mark in political consulting or advocacy. Qualifications can include managing a winning campaign that their candidate was expected to lose, or excellence working on direct mail, polling, get-out-the-vote operations, fund raising and media, among others. Elected officials will not be considered.

Nominations must include a high-resolution picture of the nominee, or they will not be considered.

We will choose 10 Republicans, 10 Democrats and up to five Independent or non-partisan nominees.

To submit a nominee, return this form COMPLETELY filled out, with the accompanying picture. Please be specific as to why this person should be a Rising Star. E-mail completed forms to

• Name:
• Company or campaign:
• Company description
• Position:
• Birth date:
• Educational background:
• Employment history:
• Accomplishments:
• If nominee is a consultant please include a client list:

Please explain in 200 words or less why this person should be considered a Rising Star:

Note: A high-resolution photo of at least 300 dpi MUST be included for consideration.

Nominee Contact Information:

E-mail address:
Phone number:

Your Contact Information:

E-mail address:
Phone number:

The deadline for submission is Friday, April 14, 2006.

For more information, please contact Campaigns & Elections Managing Editor Morgan E. Felchner at or (202) 207-0507.

Note: Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Congressional Record Online

The Congressional Record is now available in an online searchable form. Keep in mind that you have to search for elected officials by their full name and also by "Mr." or "Ms." and their last name. Otherwise you end up writing blog posts and then having to retract them.

(Initially this post outlined what I thought was a spotty record of participation by Mike Fitzpatrick. As Michael Fitzpatrick there is very little on him. As Mr. Fitzpatrick there actually is. I have deleted the comments made in response to the original post.)

Monday, March 20, 2006

An Interview with Paul Lang

Paul Lang, Democratic candidate for the 6th state senate district (previously profiled here), kindly sat down to answer some questions. He not only provided very thorough answers, he also provided links to further information. My thanks to him and his campaign staff for taking time to do this. The residents of the 6th district will surely be able to expect the same level of service. My favorite answer to any of these questions is the one on veterans running for office. However, this sentence stood out for me as a good single sentence summation of his answers: The challenges presented in representing a district whose integrity and pride outweigh their income involve doggedly advocating for their economic needs through improving education and increasing the minimum wage.

There are a number of areas in your district labeled “industrial park.” What are these areas? Are they an asset, a liability or an opportunity?

These industrial parks are a latent opportunity as they are perfect places for small business incubators. One of my biggest supporters owns a small business that is involved in engineering and manufacturing large heating and cooling systems. They are located in an industrial park and have thrived through hard work, persistence, and determination. I certainly understand that we can’t have employees without employers. Thus, in addition to being a strong advocate for workers, I will be an equally strong friend to creating tax incentives and greater opportunity for our small and mid-size business.

I also think it has taken too long to bring large and mid-size companies back to the district. Recently, Lenox (the giftware company) moved its headquarters to Bristol to occupy the old Dial soap factory. This move will bring 400 employees to the area. Needless to say, the Lenox relocation is a huge success and I congratulate Governor Rendell and Bristol Borough’s revitalization efforts. This accomplishment, however, is only a start. As the next state Senator, I will make it a priority to bring similar companies to such appealing locations to create better jobs and a high quality workforce.

The 6th district borders on but does not contain the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. How will the future of Willow Grove affect the 6th district?

The potential loss of Willow Grove will greatly affect the area. Not only is the presence of the Air Station a homeland security and national defense comfort to the area, but it is also a strategic asset to our protection. Furthermore, many veterans reside in my district. Thus, with Willow Grove’s closure, my district will lose many solid contributing citizens/soldiers.

If the closure does occur, we need to smartly capitalize on the use of the area. I advocate for an independent board to handle all proposals for purchase and use of the property. Surely, the land is very appealing to developers, senior communities, educational facilities and business. It is imperative that we evaluate all proposals objectively and find out how to best use the land to preserve and enhance the community.

There are some small medical facilities in the area. Is your district especially affected by the medical malpractice controversy? Will you encourage growth in the health care area?

Each area of the state is affected by the malpractice controversy. Bucks County, in particular, is specifically affected because malpractice payouts in the Philadelphia area are among the highest in the state (which surely extends out to the suburbs).

I was present at the celebration in the summer of 2005 when Power Medical Interventions moved their manufacturing operations to Langhorne. The move to Bucks County created 153 new jobs and retained 43 jobs. Governor Rendell’s Action Team, consisting of a team of economic-development professionals, is largely responsible for this success. I will continue to engage the Governor’s Action Team to continue this growth as these jobs are vital to the improvement of my district.

The 6th district houses Philadelphia Park racetrack. How will the recently passed gambling legislation affect the district? What will it mean for the state senator of that area? Will slot machines in the district affect Sesame Place and other family oriented attractions?

Approximately 5000 slot machines will be brought to the racetrack by 2007. My opponent trumps this accomplishment as one of his greatest legislative achievements. He has, however, failed to address the important details of the gambling legislation.

Philadelphia Park is situated on Street Road in Bensalem Township. If anyone knows the area, they know that Street Road is terribly congested. With thousands of visitors traveling Street Road to gamble, traffic will be a nightmare. I have visited numerous businesses throughout the area to determine the gambling impact. Their biggest complaint is that traffic will prevent easy ingress/egress to their stores, businesses, and restaurants. In addition, they have complained that the state and Gaming Control Board have not done more to involve them in the promotion and planning of the slot machines. Overall, they are hopeful for the business the slots will provide, but they wish the state government would provide more concrete plans and projections.

Citizens are very concerned about how the state government plans to spend the gaming revenues. Needless to say, they are skeptical. There is no cohesive or comprehensive plan to specify how the funds will be spent. Will the state use the revenue for tax relief, improving our schools, our first responders, or will it be ferreted to pet projects?

Currently, no engineering study has been conducted to determine the slot’s impact on our roads, community, and government infrastructure. Thus, we are left guessing at what needs to be done to ensure public safety. Why hasn’t a study been done to determine how much our police force must increase in size and what equipment will need to be purchased? Again, the answers to these questions will ultimately impact the surrounding homes and family oriented attractions. When elected, I intend to find out through a thorough study and thoughtful action.

The I-95 and Pennsylvania Turnpike intersection – why can’t this get off the ground? What would you do to stop it from being built or to assist it in being built?

This may be a long answer, but the situation is complicated. I wanted to get first-hand information on this issue, so I called KCI Technologies, Inc. who performed the Federal Environmental Impact Statement and Edwards and Kelcey who is overseeing the design stage. Currently, Edwards and Kelcey are working with 8 different designers on contract with the Turnpike to develop preliminary designs for 8 different sections.

Excluding the bridge, the project is estimated to cost somewhere between $600 and $700 million, depending on gas and steel prices. Bids for construction are to begin this Fall on the overhead bridges. Thus, the project is moving forward.

It is my understanding that the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce believes that the intersection will provide a great business opportunity for the area. It will create smoother exit/entry into the area which will thus introduce the region to outside consumers. In addition, it will entice many visitors to experience the various heritage and cultural offerings in the 6th Senatorial District. Finally, traffic from Route 1, Route 13, and some of 413 will be alleviated from the intersection.

From my understanding after the research, the project is taking a long time due to two major issues. The first was the impact statement, which took around 10 years to complete. The second is that there was a concern about displacement of some of the homes and the impact on the area at the intersection.

A recent meeting regarding the interchange drew hundreds of residents from Newportville and Fergusonville. Many questions were left unanswered because the preliminary design phase is not complete. I spoke to a leading member of the Newportville-Fergusonville Civic Association and he voiced many concerns over the vague answers received from the project planners. The citizens are concerned about the lack of information they are receiving--they have not seen a table model that fully describes the height of the ramps and they do not know the traffic/economic/real estate impact of the project.

At this time, I cannot support the I-95/Turnpike intersection until the preliminary design phase is completed. As a state Senator, I will be an untiring voice and remain very sensitive to the protection and mistreatment of homeowners and the community. The people need answers and they have not been given them. I fully intend to evaluate the proposal (expected in Fall 2006) and come to a conclusion after talking to the residents, local businesses, and civic organizations of the area. If the proposal adversely impacts the quality of life (including noise levels, total number of cars along Ford Road, New Falls Road, and Newportville Road), I will stand to protect the rights of the homeowners and ensure their quality of life.

You’ve been very public about having broken your back in the Coast Guard. Will your spinal mobility or other physical limitations affect your ability to travel back and forth to Harrisburg and around your district?

I’ve been given a second chance at life. Thus, no physical limitations will prevent me from living my life fully. To be honest, I was in really bad shape for the first three years after the law enforcement accident. The service understood my situation as I missed a lot of work due to the pain and my occasional inability to drive or walk. During this time, I was going to a lot of physical therapy, seeing various doctors, and working hard at rehabilitation.

Today, I still grit my teeth in the morning when I get up and I still have aches and pains throughout the day. I’m not able to do activities like jet-ski, but I can do everything else the campaign requires. Thus, my back will not limit me in any way from performing my duties in Bucks County and Harrisburg.

There are a number of veterans running for office this year. What aspects of military experience provide good training for elected public service?

While many incumbents have been smoking cigars with lobbyists and attending wine and cheese events with their high-dollar donors, we veterans have been to hell and back. We were dedicated to public service when the pay was low, dangers were high, and our personal lives were disrupted for months at a time. In this sense, the service and sense of duty we lived and breathed every day translates well into being good stewards, advocates, and leaders for our constituents.

Your family was active in politics. Do you remember a specific event or realization that awakened your own interest in politics or was it always a part of your life?

My parents are longtime committee people for the Bucks County Democrats. I grew up getting paid with ice cream for doing literature drops, working the polls on Election Day, and helping put up campaign signs. This type of political action and involvement were instilled in me as a patriotic obligation.

The event that awakened my interest in politics is also somewhat embarrassing. I traveled down to Washington, D.C. with my parents and a contingent of Bucks County Democrats to attend President Clinton’s Inauguration and the Inaugural Balls. I was able to move my way through the crowd with a friend to a close spot* to see the swearing in ceremony. The view was amazing and I was able to watch President Clinton, the austerity of the ceremony, and the awe-inspiring buildings in D.C. that really awakened my view of government and its power to do good for society.

*Full disclosure: I climbed up onto a port-a-potty to view the event.

A number of the state representatives and the federal congressman for 6th state senate district are Republicans. Will you be able to work with them?

I am running for the state Senate not to make friends, but to make changes. I am willing, however, to extend my hand across the partisan aisle if it will benefit my district and the state.

At one point you were being considered as a candidate for the federal congressional seat; if the Democratic frontrunner, Patrick Murphy, wins would you be able to work with him, even though at one point the two of you were in competition for the Democratic nomination?

I have a great relationship with Patrick Murphy, Andy Warren, and Fred Viskovich and I look forward to campaigning and coordinating efforts in the General Election with the Primary winner. All of the candidates have heartily endorsed my efforts and have given great support in my transition. Whoever wins in the Congressional Primary, I promise you that we will light up the district in passion and energy.

Incidentally, a common problem for Patrick and I are that we are similar in backgrounds and, so I’m told, in our appearance (unfortunately for him). Andy and Fred are sometimes mistaken as my distant uncles. Despite the similarities, I’m O.K. with the confusion as long as all of them know that I can beat them at arm wrestling.

Has your experience in Coast Guard and with potential anthrax exposure while working in Washington, D.C. shaped your views on domestic defense and terrorism issues?

The most important lesson I learned from my anthrax exposure and my subsequent participation as a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security is that legislators are too often reactive to domestic terrorism and threats. It isn’t popular to discuss events that “might” occur, but it is popular for politicians to stand in the aftermath and pledge solutions. These common problems run through both parties and up to Harrisburg.

In my district, for example, Bristol Township recently had four bomb threats in one week. The principal of Truman High School said to CBS News, “I’m constantly worried about if the building is secure.” Bristol Township is left dealing with the fallout of a myopic vision from our legislators. If we had exhaustively studied and listened to the concerns of the school administrators, we would not be facing the cameras and scrutiny of the media and parents.

Here are just a few of the security weaknesses that have yet to be addressed – unprotected drinking water supplies, underfunded first responders, and limited security in schools. My question is: Are we going to exhaustively study the security weaknesses before breaches occur or are we going to create a patchwork of agencies and temporary solutions after the disaster? Upon taking office, I vow to appoint an independent auditor to conduct a thorough analysis of all security threats. Then, I will work with PEMA to ensure all reasonable measures have been taken to limit and minimize our domestic terrorism threats.

Have the same experiences shaped your views on health care and medical insurance?

I was fortunate enough to be sent to Washington, D.C. after my accident to advocate for the military as a member of the Coast Guard’s Congressional Hearings Team. While there, I was able to be treated at two of the best military hospitals –Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Medical Center. I was given the honor of being retired as a Lieutenant, thus providing me with lifetime health care provided through the Veteran’s Administration and the military’s TriCare Program. With these experiences in large-level medical care, I saw the potential for expanding such a program to other areas of society.

With this background, my primary focus when I win will be on providing comprehensive health care to all children. CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) was established in 1993 and has accomplished a lot in providing coverage to children whose parents are not covered by an employer and cannot afford health insurance. There are still limitations to CHIP. As of January 1, 2005, CHIP enrollment was 138,198 but, there are still around 240,000 uninsured children in the state. The Democrats have introduced program provisions that would create a more vigorous approach to locate and enroll these uninsured children. In addition, Governor Rendell’s proposed budget would provide health insurance for virtually every child in Pennsylvania. At the least, one provision, that I advocate, is a system of “presumptive eligibility”. This presumption would immediately provide a child in need the appropriate healthcare without the bureaucratic and administrative burdens that could frustrate the child’s ability to receive care.

Another important issue is the cost of long-term health care. Too many seniors, like my grandmother, save money throughout their lifetime only to have their savings depleted by steep monthly costs at nursing homes or long-term care facilities. If a family scrapes and saves $25,000 in a lifetime, their savings can be gone within 5 months of nursing home care. This is unacceptable. We need to provide seniors with dignity and respect in their twilight years. This starts with creating affordable, long-term health care that preserves their savings and quality of life.

The 6th district is one of the most populous in the county but residents have lowest incomes. What challenges does that present?

The residents of the district have been largely ignored by state government. Despite repeated promises from the state Senate, Lower Bucks County has lagged behind the rest of the state. For example, when I left home at age 18 for the service, the state legislature was promising for property tax relief. Now, at age 29, these knuckleheads are still promising property tax relief. People are fed up with being left behind.

The challenges presented in representing a district whose integrity and pride outweigh their income involve doggedly advocating for their economic needs through improving education and increasing the minimum wage.

First, I believe the basis for economic prosperity is a foundation in quality education. In Bristol Township, the school district was recently determined to be “most in need” based on their performance on the standards established under the No Child Left Behind Act. This outcome is a byproduct of the Republican-controlled state Senate continually watering down education bills with nominal funding increases and excluding Governor Rendell’s and the Democrat State Senate’s educational reforms. Without a concerted emphasis on improving the schools in the district through embracing increased funding for Head Start tutoring and equality of education for low income areas, the economic conditions and the incomes of the residents in my district will never improve.

I also believe that a tide rises all ships. Thus, I will be a strong advocate for increasing the minimum wage. Here’s some quick “back of the envelope” math: According to the National Low Income Housing Association, Pennsylvania requires the 18th highest wage in the country to afford a two-bedroom home. A single mother making minimum wage in Bucks County would have to work 111 hours a week/52 weeks a year in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment. My opponent, Tommy Tomlinson, has been an enemy to working families through his resistance to any minimum wage increase. Back in 1997, he voted to deny working families a raise in the minimum wage from $4.25 to $6.60. Now, we are facing the Governor’s call to raise the minimum wage from federal minimum of $5.15 to $7.15 by January, 2007. I will proudly vote for such an increase as I believe it is a critical step (but not the last step) in improving the economic situation of my district.

What are the greatest challenges facing the 6th district and how are you best suited to meet them?

The greatest challenges facing the 6th district are the same for all struggling Americans. They are jobs, healthcare, and taxes.

To take a campaign slogan from Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Congresswoman and first African American Presidential candidate, I am “unbought and unbossed”. Thus, I bring a vision to Harrisburg unfettered from special interests and corporate connections. My previous service in the military, legislative work, homeland security experience, and my longtime knowledge of the county bring a unique perspective and unbiased advocate to the state Senate. I will reach across the aisle and throughout my own party to find solutions to increase jobs, create affordable health care, and look for ways to create an efficient government that doesn’t sacrifice service.

How long or how much of your life have you lived in the 6th district and what about the area appeals to you?

I’ve been a resident of the 6th district most of my life. As you have mentioned, my district is the “heritage region” of Bucks County. The heart and soul of America is captured in the district’s ability to retain its small-town allure but exist near a large metropolitan city. From local parades to firehouse beef and beers to cultural festivals (I heartily recommend the free birch beer at the Bensalem Fall Festival and the sausage at Bristol’s Italian Day), there is no better place to enjoy everything that makes our country great.

What question didn’t I ask that you would like to answer?

What keeps a future state Senator going on the campaign trail? God, family, friends, and caffeine (in that order).

Will you win? Yes.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Sixth State Senate District in Pennsylvania

Tonight I'm posting a description of the 6th state senate district. Tomorrow I will post an interview with Paul Lang, Democratic candidate for that office.

The Sixth State Senate District in Pennsylvania

Where is it?
The district is part of Bucks County, comprising the townships of Bensalem, Bristol, Lower Southampton, Middletown, Northampton, Warwick and Wrightstown, and the boroughs of Bristol, Hulmeville, Ivyland, Langhorne, Langhorne Manor and Penndel. Part of the district borders the Delaware River and is prone to flooding. Most of the population in Bucks County lives in the lower Bucks area (now being referred to as the “heritage region”), including parts of the 6th district, but these residents earn a lower income generally than those in the less populous parts of the county. The Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 cross but do not meet, in the district.

What is there?
It has one of four race tracks in the state, Pennsylvania Park. By odd coincidence the district is also home to the nation’s only amusement park based on the Sesame Street characters, Sesame Place. No large (or even medium sized) industries are located in the district, although there are a few smaller hospitals, and Jones of New York has its headquarters in Bristol. There are a number of industrial parts in the area. The only higher education institution is the Philadelphia Biblical University. A Bucks County Community College campus is nearby. Also just outside the district borders is the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The private and prestigious George School is in the area, as is the Langhorne Civic Center. Some public schools are in need of assistance. Of the 16 “most in need” school districts in the state, Bristol Township is the only one in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Expert teams have been sent in to help the schools improve. Since many area attractions are near but not in the district, collaboration with elected officials in adjoining districts, most of whom are Republican, and the state representatives whose districts are within the senatorial district, also primarily Republicans, would seem especially important. Some of the regions largest shopping areas, including Neshaminy and Oxford Valley malls are in the district. Like much of the Philadelphia area, the region is rich in history and tradition and has strong neighborhoods with stable populations, but industrial jobs have left and nothing has really replaced them. The region is ripe for a renaissance but whether one will happen is not is uncertain. One promising sign is that filmmaker M. Night Shayamalan, who grew up in Bucks County, recently finished filming The Lady in the Water in Bristol Township at the old 3M building.

Who is the current senator?
Currently represented by Republican Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson, a former funeral home owner, and school board member who was first elected to the 18th house district in 1991 and in 1994 to the state senate. Tomlinson voted against the recently repealed pay raise. He also voted against easing the requirements on wearing motorcycle helmets and voted for increasing fines and punishment for DUI offenses. He did receive some criticism when he neglected to report profits from stock in IGA Federal Savings, as did three of the other nine state legislators and political leaders who bought stock in the company when it went public. In 2001, the company was purchased by First Penn Bank, headed by state Sen. Vince Fumo. Tomlinson and three others did not report the profits until this year when prompted by the Inquirer. He received $22,200 in the stock sale. At the time Tomlinson said he did not know ethics rules required him to report capital gains. It was not the only time Tomlinson seemed unaware of the rules. He was one of two co-sponsors of the slots bill, but seemed surprised that the gambling legislation allowed legislators to own a small percentage of a gambling company.

Cattabiani, Matt, Jennifer Lin and Craig McCoy, “8 other political leaders invested in IGA Federal, “ Philadelphia Inquirer May 16, 2005, p. B1.

Finley, Ben, “State helping district improve,” Bucks County Courier Times December 18, 2005, p. C1.

Sullivan, John, Mario Cattabiani and Amy Worder, “Lawmakers could benefit from slots….” Philadelphia Inquirer July 2, 2004, p. A1.

“Where We Live: A Special Report on Life in Lower Bucks County,” Philadephia Inquirer Wed. Dec. 7, 2005, section G, pages G1-G10.

Shout Out for a Square Peg

The blogger at Forever a Square Peg remembered me writing about donating my hair to Locks of Love and has done the same thing herself. If you have long hair (they want at least 10") and are ready to get a cut, look at the Locks web site or call around to salons. Particpating businesses will cut your hair for free and take care of mailing it to Locks. The hair is made into wigs for children who cannot grow hair or have lost it for medical reasons. A worthwhile cause and, hey, a free haircut is a free haircut. My thanks to Sqaure Peg for remembering and taking the time to get the cut and to write about it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Murphy Video Now Available

Patrick Murphy's campaign has put together a very professional video, now posted on his website. It's about 4 minutes long and worth the time to watch.

(Trivia: this is the 500th post on this blog. Popcorn and champagne all around.)

weekly legislative update

As I mentioned in the previous posting, the governor called a special legislative session to look into property tax reform. Information from that session is included here as well. Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountants friends at PICPA have updated their legislative page, and have a lot to say about property tax reform.

Other weekly updates are available for this week:

PA House Democrats
PA House GOP daily updates
PA Senate Democrats
PA Senate Republicans

Special Session

Monday In the House HB03 and HB29 were laid on the table and removed from the table; in the Senate for HB39 senators were appointed to a committee of conference
Tuesday no action
Wednesday HB35 and HB68 were laid on the table and removed from the table.
Thursday no action
Friday no action

Regular Session


Here are some of the resolutions that caught my eye.

Serial No. 167 By Senators ORIE, BROWNE, GREENLEAF, KITCHEN, BOSCOLA, LOGAN, FONTANA, PIPPY, WOZNIAK, RHOADES, C. WILLIAMS, CORMAN, STACK and WONDERLING. Prior Printer's Nos. 1140, 1513. Printer's No. 1551. A Concurrent Resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish a task force to enlist the help of knowledgeable persons to develop educational materials to identify elderly persons at risk for suicide and to identify barriers and ways to surmount barriers encountered by professionals and nonprofessionals in connecting at-risk persons with appropriate resources.


The following bills passed either the House or Senate or both this week:


HB 2125 Prior Printer's No. 2929. Printer's No. 3583. An Act amending the act of July 14, 2005 (P.L.278, No.48), known as the Health Savings Account Act, further providing for special tax provisions by excluding from personal income taxation any amounts deposited into a health savings account.

HB 2315 By Representatives ARMSTRONG, CALTAGIRONE, CREIGHTON, FAIRCHILD, GEIST, HARPER, HARRIS, HENNESSEY, ROHRER and E. Z. TAYLOR. Printer's No. 3276. An Act amending Title 74 (Transportation) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for the Aviation Advisory Committee.

HB 2443 An Act amending the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), known as the Public Welfare Code, providing for continuation of demonstration projects for cardiac care.

HB 214 Prior Printer's Nos. 216, 3512. Printer's No. 3719. An Act amending Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for payments to family and funeral directors; and providing for autopsies.

HB 1983 Prior Printer's No. 2724. Printer's No. 3720. An Act amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further defining "police officer"; defining "school police officer"; and further providing for police training, for automatic certification and for reimbursement of expenses.

HB 2003 By Representatives MAJOR, HERMAN, STERN, PICKETT, R. MILLER, ROSS, CALTAGIRONE, CAPPELLI, FABRIZIO, HERSHEY, M. KELLER, O'NEILL, SAYLOR, E. Z. TAYLOR, TIGUE, BEBKO-JONES and PAYNE. Printer's No. 2754. An Act amending the act of August 9, 1955 (P.L.323, No.130), known as The County Code, further providing for assistant county solicitors.

HB 2038 Prior Printer's No. 2815. Printer's No. 3722. An Act amending the act of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the Tax Reform Code of 1971, establishing a tax credit program to encourage the placement of students in a work environment through internships; and establishing a corresponding internship clearinghouse.

HB 2347 Printer's No. 3354. An Act providing for determination of a rural area in certain laws, programs and studies.

SB 435 Prior Printer's No. 458. Printer's No. 1357. An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, amending provisions relating to comparative negligence.

SB 862 Prior Printer's Nos. 1105, 1241, 1302, 1319. Printer's No. 1553. An Act amending Titles 4 (Amusements) and 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for definitions and for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board; providing for applicability of other statutes; further providing for powers and duties of board; providing for code of conduct; further providing for temporary regulations, for licensed entity application appeals from board, for license or permit application hearing process, for board minutes and records, for collection of fees and fines, for Category 2 slot machine licenses, for Category 3 slot machine licenses, for order of initial license issuance, for slot machine license application and for slot machine license application business entity requirements; providing for licensing of principals, for licensing of key employees and for recusal and disqualification of members; further providing for supplier and manufacturer licenses; providing for manufacturer licenses; further providing for occupation permit application, for nontransferability of licenses, for gross terminal revenue deductions, for establishment of State Gaming Fund and net slot machine revenue distribution, for the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, for transfers from the State Gaming Fund, for the compulsive and problem gambling program, for public official financial interest, for political influence and for enforcement; providing for procedures, for hearing officers and for conduct of public officials and employees; further providing for prohibited acts and penalties; providing for detention and for interception of oral communications; further providing for duty to provide and for submission of fingerprints; providing for preemption in cities of the first class; further providing for corrupt organizations; and making a related repeal.

SB 969 By Senators RAFFERTY, LOGAN, COSTA, LEMMOND, FONTANA, ORIE, REGOLA, BOSCOLA, WONDERLING and ARMSTRONG. Prior Printer's Nos. 1289, 1474, 1530. Printer's No. 1554. An Act amending the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the Liquor Code, further defining "eligible entity"; and further providing for responsible alcohol management remediation for licensees and for rights of municipalities preserved.

HB 1804 By Representatives KENNEY and J. TAYLOR. Prior Printer's No. 2355. Printer's No. 3511. An Act amending the act of June 27, 1939 (P.L.1199, No.404), entitled "An act relating to the assessment of real and personal property and other subjects of taxation in counties of the first class; providing for the appointment of members of the board of revision of taxes by the judges of the courts of common pleas; providing for the appointment, by the board, of personal property assessors, real estate assessors and assistant real estate assessors, clerks and other employes; fixing the salaries of members of the board, assessors and assistant assessors, and providing for the payment of salaries and expenses from the county treasury; prescribing the powers and duties of the board and of the assessors, the time and manner of making assessments, of the revision and notice of assessments and of appeals therefrom; prescribing the records of assessments; and repealing existing laws," establishing a revenue-neutral tax rate after a countywide revision of real property assessment.

HB 2158 Printer's No. 2981. An Act amending the act of August 9, 1955 (P.L.323, No.130), known as The County Code, further providing for other meeting expenses paid by counties.

HB 2304 By Representatives SOLOBAY, McCALL and GEIST. Printer's No. 3228. An Act designating the bridge carrying State Route 1025 over Interstate 79 in North Strabane Township, Washington County, as the Canon-McMillan Alumni Bridge.

HB 2380 Printer's No. 3396. An Act amending the act of July 7, 2005 (P.L. , No.1A), known as the General Appropriation Act of 2005, increasing the State appropriation to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for the Homeowner's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.


SB 780 By Senators RAFFERTY, LOGAN, O'PAKE, WONDERLING, PIPPY, FERLO, TARTAGLIONE, KITCHEN, WOZNIAK, M. WHITE and C. WILLIAMS. Prior Printer's No. 982. Printer's No. 1549. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages.

SB 873 By Senators MADIGAN and STOUT. Prior Printer's No. 1128. Printer's No. 1539. An Act providing for the highway capital budget project itemization for the fiscal year 2005-2006.

HB 983 Prior Printer's Nos. 1118, 1960, 2397, 3677. Printer's No. 3717. An Act amending Title 12 (Commerce and Trade) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing, in the Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program, for approvals; and providing for film production tax credits.

SB 243 Printer's No. 244. An Act amending the act of June 28, 1935 (P.L.477, No.193), referred to as the Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law, extending the payment of the salary, medical and hospital expenses to sheriffs and deputy sheriffs under certain circumstances.

SB 773 By Senators GREENLEAF, BOSCOLA, WONDERLING, ARMSTRONG, FERLO and C. WILLIAMS. Printer's No. 952. An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for the offense of greyhound race simulcasting; and prescribing a penalty.

SB 1062 By Senators RAFFERTY, LOGAN, BOSCOLA, ORIE, ERICKSON, COSTA, PIPPY, BROWNE, M. WHITE, O'PAKE, REGOLA, GREENLEAF, KITCHEN, C. WILLIAMS, LEMMOND, STACK and RHOADES. Prior Printer's Nos. 1456, 1475, 1498. Printer's No. 1514. An Act amending the act of April 12, 1951 (P.L.90, No.21), known as the Liquor Code, further defining "public venue"; and requiring the Bureau of Alcohol Education to make certain reports to the General Assembly.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More on Shapiro's College Transfer Bill

I've written a couple of times (here and here) on a bill introduced by State Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-153) to improve the ability to transfer college credits from one college to another. The Patriot News is also taking an interest in this bill and it was highlighted in yesterday's editorial.

Schriftman Out, Endorses Paston

Ross Schriftman, who had been running for the Democratic nomination in the 152nd state house district, has issued this statement:

Ross Schriftman has decided to withdraw from the Democratic Primary in the 152nd State House District (portions of Eastern Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia). "In light of the endorsement of Mike Paston by the committee people in the Montgomery County portion of our District I have decided not to continue my campaign," Schriftman wrote to supporters. "Many of the committee people felt that Mike has more resources to win this election. I respect their decision. I plan to continue my active involvement in politics and public policy issues. I will continue to speak out on issues of government integrity and reform. I will support Mike in the Primary and do all I can to elect him to replace Sue Cornell as our State Representative."

Paston will face either incumbent Sue Cornell or her Republican challenger Tom Murt.

As one note of caution, if you receive announcements on email, and the email has been sent to a number of people, it would be prudent to hit "reply" instead of "reply all," unless you read through the list of recipients and know them all. When people knowlingly put bloggers on their email distribution lists they don't always indicate that to the other people on the list.

I am sorry to hear that Ross is no longer in the running.

PA Senate Votes to be Online

There is a short note in today's Inky that put a big smile on my face. Regular readers will know that one of my pet peeves is that legislative votes are not easily available to the general public. That will soon change, at least for the senate:

The state Senate plans to begin posting transcripts of floor debates and vote tallies on its Web site, senators said this week. The transcripts, called Senate Journals, will be available at the Senate's Web site,, about a month after floor action. Senate Journals from prior years also will be posted.

I won't break out the bubbly until the debates and votes are actually online, but just the thought of the possibility puts a girlish spring in my step.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Featherman Out of the Senate Race

John Featherman, the other Republican running for Senate has decided not to fight the challenge to his election petitions. See his comment on the "Fate of Featherman" entry below.

More Petition Challenges

There are more petition challenges. An article in the Intelligencer outlines some of those in suburban races. This paragraph struck me:

Patrick Murphy, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. 8th District congressional seat, which is held by Republican Michael Fitzpatrick, is being challenged by a Bensalem voter. Murphy's petition challenger is Jane Faust, a Democratic voter from Bensalem, according to Larry Otter, the attorney representing some Cleansweep candidates in the court actions. Otter confirmed that Faust is the same former Republican committeewoman convicted in 1996 of forging signatures and consequently barred from holding elected office.

I guess she know more about invalid signatures than most of the rest of us. I wonder why she would be picking this particular fight, though.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Fate of Featherman

John Featherman, the other Republican running for Senate, is facing a court challenge over the validity of his election petitions. The challenge is being brought by two people associated with the Pennsylvania GOP. I am not certain how this will play out.

Update: See Inky article here.

Update #2: Another article, from the Patriot News.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Press Release Round-up

There are a number of interesting press releases on politicspa tonight.

Patrick Murphy has released a statement on Pres. Bush's Iraq policy. (His campaign website has more on this topic).

Robin Rosenthal, Democratic candidate for the 10th PA state senate district sent out a release on Women's History Month. In it I found this statement:

March 4th, 2006 was an exciting, humbling, and memorable day for me. I was endorsed by the Bucks County Democratic Party to be the State Senate Candidate for the 10th District. Subsequently, I learned that I am the only woman candidate challenger on the Democratic ballot for Senate in the State of Pennsylvania. I hold this as a proud and solemn responsibility.

Is that correct? Ladies, we need to get out and do our part more. This is just terrible.

[paragraph deleted -- the press release described, though amusing, was not genuine]

A Word on Wal-Mart

There is a lot of talk about Wal-Mart these days.

Before I get too deeply into the topic, let me say that I own Wal-Mart stock. It might be in various retirement and index funds I own, but, more importantly, it is included in the portfolio created by the investment club I belong to. I did not research and present the stock for consideration, but I did vote to purchase it. We have owned 50 shares for about a year and it has lost about $2.00 a share since then. I also shop at Wal-Mart and affiliated stores.

Wal-Mart is the state's largest private-sector employer, with 48,000 employees; nearly 16% of these workers are on Medicaid. The state's cost to provide medical benefits to these workers is $15 million (3/06/06). This number includes both full and part-time employees. Information was not released on how many employees had other jobs as well. Many part-time employees work more than one part-time job or are students or retirees. While the number of Wal-Mart employees on state assistance is high, I would like more information.

Wal-Mart does offer health care benefits. Full-time employees are eligible for benefits after 6 months, part -timers after 2 years. According to company officials, nationally 7% of new hires are on Medicaid, but that goes down to 3% after two years.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley (D - Allegheny) has introduced a bill that would require the PA Department of Public Welfare to annually provide a list of businesses with more than 20 workers on Medicaid (3/03/06). State Rep. Mike Veon wants to require businesses with 10,000 or more employees to devote at least 8% or their payrolls toward health care benefits. (Paul Lang, candidate for 6th state senate district, and one of the candidates I am following, is also in favor of this.) This is in part response to a bill in Maryland requiring Wal-Mart (the only company in the state that fit the requirements of the bill) to spend at least 9% of their payrolls on health insurance. Other states are also looking at similar measures to track state funded health benefits for employees of large companies and perhaps legislate more employer contributions. For more on this topic see Wal-Mart Watch.

An article in the Feb. 5th Inky provided more information, excerpted here:

Wal-Mart disputes the claim that it provides inadequate health coverage. Company spokesman Dan Fogelman said employee payments for family coverage for Phladephia-area Wal-mart employees started at $65 a month. That comes with a $1,000 annual deductible, but every member of the family can get three doctor visits and three prescriptions filled before the deductible kicks, in, he said.

later in the same article:

[Vincent] DeMarco [lawyer and activist] worked the [Maryland] legislature and addressed church, community and business groups, doing what he could to keep the issue in the news. Giant, a unit of Ahold, USA, became a powerful ally. It spends substantially on health care for its large unionized workforce and competes againts Wal-Mart. But DeMarco also linked up with small employers such as Mark Derbyshire, who owns a moving and storage firm in Aberdeen, Md.

Derbyshire said he had long been concerned about the cost of health insurance for his employees, and decided to join forces with DeMarco after hearing him speak at his church. Derbyshire, who testified in a legislative hearing for the proposal, said his company paid 75 percent of the cost of comprehensive health insurance for his workers; they pick up the balance of $200 a month for family coverage.

I don't like the idea of large corporations cutting costs by pushing medical expenses off on the state, but I don't like laws aimed at one company or person either. The issue should have more thought behind it than that. Public employers were not included in the state numbers released and I'm a little worried at what will happen when the numbers of part-time instructors at state colleges and universities who are on Medicaid start showing up on reports. Or the part-time employees of custodial companies who do the work that used to be done by union members or state employees. How about the number of military dependents on public assistance? Maybe I'm wrong but I think there are a lot of people out there in those situations.

If the problem is that employers are not offering the benefits they used to, let's focus on that. I know there are employers, such as UPS, that do offer good benefits, even to part-timers. But UPS bases it's business on reliable customer service, something that, in a free country, requires the acquisition and maintenance of well-trained, reasonably happy employees. If you have shopped at a Wal-Mart lately I'm sure you have noticed their emphasis is on low prices and not on customer service, reliable or otherwise.

Medicaid is government health insurance, a very touchy subject. Do we want to keep it solely for the indigent or disabled? Do we want to encourage people who do not have a long work history to find employment where they can? Do we want to foster the growth of consortiums of large and small businesses to provide employee health care benefits at reasonable prices? What do we want to do here? Wal-Mart and other large conglomerates are easy targets because they are so large and are easily idenfiable, especially given the high percentage of the American population that shop there. But, again, I am wary of demonizing one individual or group in particular. Do I think Wal-Mart could do a better job of providing benefits? My answer, formed in complete ignorance of the internal workings of the company, is "Sure." From their point of view, if the law states that employers with more than 10,000 workers in a state have to pay more for health coverage, wouldn't the easiest thing for them to do be to fire one person and get down to 9,999? What would be better all around is a more detailed, thoughtful solution to the problem at hand.

As one more personal note, I went to high school in a small, rural town. The county library was within walking distance and I used it often. Even in those days library budgets were small, and my reading was shaped by what they had as opposed to what I might have wanted. The local drugstore had a small selection of books and magazines and I kept watch on those, learning the delivery schedule and getting to know the delivery man. The grocery store had a few books too. To find a real bookstore you had to drive about 2 hours (in any direction -- the town was equidistant from everywhere). A big box store, Wal-Mart or something like it, I don't remember now, opened on the outskirts of town and it had a larger selection of books and magazines that anywhere else nearby. While I still relished the trips to a city mall (with Dalton's or Walden's) 2 or 3 times a year, the big box store did expand my horizons at least a little.


Gurney, Kaitlin, "Wal-Mart bill in NJ seeks health benefits," Philadelphia Inquirer Feb 26, 2006, p. A1

Mondics, Chris, " Forcing firms to spen on health," Philadelphia Inquirer February 5, 2006, p. E1

"One out of 6 state Wal-Mart employees enrolled on medicaid," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 6, 2006, p. B4

Worden, Amy. "Workers' Medicaid data to be released," Philadelphia Inquirer March 3, 2006 p. B1

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Federal Rep's Car Lease Program

It never occured to me, though I should have thought of it, but US Rep's can lease a car on the taxpayer's dime, or get a per mile reimbursement for official government business. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but, as you might imagine, some people take advantage. Charles Rangel (D -NY) has a $1,000 a month lease. And that doesn't even make it into the list of the seven most expensive. At the other extreme, John Carter's (R-TX) lease is $210.65 a month. Locals on the program include Mike Fitzpatrick who drives a Ford Five Hundred for $483.29 per month. Curt Weldon drives a Ford Expedition for around $713 per month. Read the whole story in today's Inky here.

I can understand the need to have a vehicle that can seat staff or transport cargo between here and DC or around a congressional district. I also note that the van in my driveway can seat 7 or hold a lot of stuff, depending on whether or not the 3rd seat is up. And it runs us about $250.00 a month for the basic payment plus interest. I also note that vehicles leased by the government for congressional representatives are not to be used for campaign purposes. During campaign season, when an elected official running for re-election is likely to make several stops in a day, how do they make that distinction?

It's a tricky subject.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

weekly legislative update

Standard caveats apply (resolutions not generally included, list of sponsors deleted if it was too long - three lines in the originally formatting).

Our accountants friends at PICPA have updated their legislative page, and have a lot to say about property tax reform.

Other weekly updates are available for this week:

PA House Democrats
PA House GOP daily updates
PA Senate Democrats
PA Senate Republicans

Special Session

Monday HB03 conference committee report presented, HB 14, HB15, HB16, HB17 laid on the table and removed; HB39 the house does not concur with the senate; representatives appointed.
Tuesday no action
Wednesday no action
Thursday no action
Friday no action

Regular Session

These bills passed either the house or senate this week.


HB 248 Prior Printer's No. 274. Printer's No. 3637. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for unattended children in motor vehicles, for legislative review of State highway transfers and for allocation of proceeds from taxes for highway maintenance and construction.

HB 1631 By Representatives BOYD, DeWEESE, SURRA, PICKETT, HERSHEY, BAKER, PHILLIPS, SEMMEL, ARMSTRONG, GEIST, CALTAGIRONE, McILHATTAN, FABRIZIO, CLYMER, KILLION, DENLINGER, STABACK, J. EVANS, THOMAS and HARPER. Printer's No. 2016. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for vehicles exempt from registration.

HB 1928 Prior Printer's Nos. 2637, 2882. Printer's No. 3638. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for permits for movement of a mobile home or a modular housing unit and modular housing undercarriage.

HB 2017 An Act amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for exemptions from jury duty.

HB 2133 By Representative FAIRCHILD. Prior Printer's No. 2937. Printer's No. 3636. An Act amending Title 75 (Vehicles) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for special registration plates, for identification card, for unattended children in motor vehicles, for periods for requiring lighted lamps, for authority to use flashing or revolving blue lights and for restrictions on highway and bridge use.

HB 20206 An Act designating a bridge in Coudersport Borough, Potter County, as the Specialist Mike Franklin Memorial Bridge.

HB 2210 An Act designating a portion of State Route 422 in Berks County as the Sergeant William V. Fernandez Highway.

SB 987 By Senator CORMAN. Printer's No. 1297. An Act authorizing and directing the Department of General Services, with the approval of the Governor, to grant and convey to Centre County Industrial Development Corporation, certain lands situate in Benner Township, Centre County.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Note from Team Joe

The campaign manager for Joe Hoeffel's lt. gov. campaign has sent an email to supporters and volunteers. With his permission, I am excerpting part of it here.

First of all, I want to personally thank everyone who circulated petitions for Joe and started to contribute money to his campaign. Unfortunately as many of you have read in the news by now, Governor Rendell has changed his mind about Joe entering the race. Certainly we wish he had conveyed that message to Joe three weeks ago, but in the world of politics, sometimes things change very fast.

Later in the email he says:

You all would have been proud to see Joe’s graceful and genuine demeanor in the face of yesterday’s disappointment. He was appreciative and positive with every supporter and reporter he spoke with, and refused to speak negatively of the situation.

For those out there thinking there was some quid-pro-quo to get Joe out of the race, please be assured there was not. I have first-hand knowledge that no “deal” was cut between Joe and Gov. Rendell, and want to assure all our supporters that Joe has more integrity than that and genuinely just wanted to run for public office. Gov. Rendell, while we disagree with his change of mind, has enough ethical sense not to make that overture.

I thought the email was well-written and sincere.

Hoeffel also sent out an email, thanking his supporters, volunteers and contributors. Having heard Hoeffel speak and having talked with him personally, I found his words believable and from the heart. The exact words are not included because I did not want to intrude in what is no doubt a difficult time by asking if I could post part or all of it.

One Last Snippy Comment

One last snark, and then I'll let it go.

Gov. Rendell asks Bryan Lentz, a candidate who is raising money and energizing grassroots supporters, to step aside in the 7th congressional district.

Gov. Rendell asks Joe Hoeffel, a candidate who has years of public service and a reputation for integrity and good character, to step aside in the lt. gov. race.

But in all his years as governor and all his years as mayor of Philly, Ed Rendell couldn't find State Rep. Bill Rieger's phone number to call him and ask him to, oh, I don't know, do his job or retire or something?

If, as has been said, and probably correctly so, that I am cynical about politics, things like this are a big reason why.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Payday Lending Update

A Smoke-Filled Room has a good recap of recent developments in payday lending regulations.

His Bruised and Aching Hand

As you probably know by now, Joe Hoeffel is no longer running for lt. gov. His old pal Ed Rendell apparently requested that he withdraw from the race. Colin at the Garnet Donkey and Albert have both said what I would have wanted to say. I couldn't figure out how to word it properly so just read their postings.

Valerie McDonald Roberts, still in the race (note to Val: if Ed calls, don't answer the phone), issued a very classy press release. Read it in it's entirety here. This is the last paragraph (italics mine):

I commend Joe for his years of public service and thank him for his commitment to the people of Pennsylvania. I look forward to his continuing participation in public service and as an elected official within the state. I hope that we can continue to partner together in bringing compassion and common sense to the voters of Pennsylvania. I also wish to commend his supporters for their activism and we hope that they stay involved because we need everyone's voice to bring the reform and change Pennsylvania needs at this crucial time.

For me the italicized part is very important because if I had carried around a petition for Joe and found out a day later that my work had gone for naught I'd be pretty darn ticked. It's reason #45 why I don't carry around petitions. The political powerbrokers generally consider people who carry around petitions to be expendable cannon fodder. Not that I have strong feelings about it, mind you.

Since I had a hard time finding the right words to describe the situation I looked through some anthologies for something that did. I found a poem, "Bill and Joe" by Oliver Wendell Holmes, about two men at various points in their lifelong friendship. One stanza stood out and I thought of Joe Hoeffel.

The weary idol takes his stand,
Holds out his bruised and aching hand,
While gaping thousands come and go, --
How vain in seems, this empty show!
Till all at once his pulses thrill; --
'Tis poor old Joe's "God bless you, Bill!"

I think Joe Hoeffel has been poorly treated by his old friend Ed today.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Three in Twelve

State Senator Stewart Greenleaf, 12th district, faces double trouble. He will have a primary challenge from Kathy Mendla. Jeff Albert, chairman of the Upper Dublin Democratic Committee, attorney and noted ethics expert, is the Democratic candidate.

For more such fascinating data, check out the 60+ page file of unofficial primary candidates. Print a copy for reference as a score card. (via politicspa)

Mr. Featherman Floats

Republican senatorial candidate John Featherman has handed in his petitions and is slated to appear on the primary ballot. According to this article from the Ledger Enquirer Santorum has agreed to at least one primary debate. While Sen. Santorum might not sit up nights worrying about losing the primary, this will provide the campaign with an extra complexity that he would surely rather do without, and provide Republican voters with a choice they would not otherwise have. Featherman was interviewed on this blog here.

Hoeffel Lt Gov Website Up and Running

PoliticsPA is reporting that Joe Hoeffel has launched his lt. gov. campaign website. Check out

Dan Fee Re-Ups with Rendell

Capitol Ideas is reporting that Dan Fee, who worked on Ed Rendell's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, will sign up for round 2.

Monday, March 06, 2006

News Round Up

Sorry not to have a longer posting today but a lot of things are happening. Instead of me re-capping everything, I would invite people to take a look at A few of the things you will find: Alan Sandals and Catherine Baker Knoll have rounded up all the signatures they need to officially run for senate and lt. gov. respectively. Joe Hoeffel has planned a series of announcements to formally kick off his lt. gov. bid.

You will also find numbers and press releases on this past weekend's Bucks Co. Democratic endorsements. In addition, Raj Bhakta will be taking on the political juggernaut known as Allyson Schwartz.

Koufax Voting Open

Voting on the Koufax Awards is now open. There are a number of good PA blogs represented in a number of categories. I, of course, would draw your attention to the State and Local Blogs category. The state is especially well-represented there. I do have one (ahem)or two favorites there. Please take a moment to vote.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Missing Monday

As part of the Philly area bloggers Missing Monday campaign, a missing person case is highlighted on the first Monday of each month.

VERNETHA VICTORIA ALSTON is considered an endangered runaway. She was last seen in Philadelphia on January 9, 2006. She is 15. More details here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

More Bucks Co Endorsements

The Next Direction has posted a longer list of candidates endorsed at today's Bucks Co Democrats meeting on Philly Future. Endorsed candidates mentioned on this blog are Joe Hoeffel (lt. gov.) and Paul Lang (6th PA State Senate district).

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Patrick Murphy has been endorsed by the Bucks County Democrats for the 8th congressional district.

A Note for Lawyers (and Other Legal Professionals)

Friday was a train day and as I waited in the station a group of people came over to wait for the same train. Given the close quarters it was impossible not to overhear their conversation. They had all been working on a legal case and some of the details they provided made it sound a lot like a case I have been reading about in the papers. The conversation also strayed into previous cases and one person made a statement to the effect that he had done something illegal in the previous case. Within the context of the conversation it was clear he was being sarcastic and referring to accusations made against him. One of those "oh, yeah, I did that..." comments made to say just the exact opposite. Nonetheless, it probably wasn't a smart thing to do. Nor is discussing the details of an ongoing case in a public setting.

Local law firms may want to provide continuing education on privacy and confidentiality concerns.

Albert Runs for Committeeman

If any readers live in Philadelphia, Ward 5, Division 8, Albert of dragonballyee is collecting signatures to run for committeeman in your ward. Check out this post for details. Go, Albert!

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Power of Nuance

Tomorrow the Bucks County Democrats meet to decide whether or not to make an endorsement in the 8th congressional race. As you might imagine, things are getting tense.

Yesterday I reported on an editorial in the Intelligencer criticizing Andy Warren for criticizing Patrick Murphy. One item in particular was Warren's comment that Murphy running in the 8th district was opportunistic because he had not lived there long. This is also referenced in an article on the phillyburbs website, dated yesterday. Here are three excerpts from that article (Scheid, Brian, "Candidate counters residency criticism," March 2, 2006 8:49 AM) :

In 2004 a profile on Murphy appeared in Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper that covers Congress.


At the time Murphy was an Army captain who had just returned to Pennsylvania from a tour in Iraq and was recruiting veterans to vote for Sen. John Kerry for president, an effort the profile delves into.


In the article, Murphy also claims Democratic Party officials had approached him to run for Congress in either Pennsylvania's 8th District, which is made up mostly of Bucks, or the 13th District, which is made up of Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

In the article, Murphy never says he's definitely running for Congress, but he also says that party officials wanted him to run in one of those districts depending on how Democratic candidates did there in 2004 races. In the 8th, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick won, while in the 13th, Democrat Allyson Schwartz won.

This is what Warren has to say in a press release on his website:

Your editorial chastised me for calling Mr. Murphy an “opportunist.” The exchange happened when it was revealed by a reporter that on Election Day 2004, Mr. Murphy told “Roll Call Magazine” he would decide where to move based on the election outcomes in the 8th and the 13th Congressional Districts. I was asked if this could be described as ‘opportunistic.’” I answered—and would still answer—“YES.”

Look closely at the wording in the newspaper article: party officials approached him to run in either district. It doesn't say what he felt about it. I have tried to track down the original Roll Call article but archives are available only to subscribers and I don't have access. All I have to go on is what I can currently find and that indicates solely that he was approached. If either candidate has excerpts from the Roll Call article that would clear this up, I would be delighted to see them.

Also included in Warren's press release is this paragraph:

Contrary to your Editorial, Mr. Murphy has NEVER lived in this district until last year: he lived in the 3rd District in Northeast Philadelphia as a child and moved away long before the neighborhood became part of the 8th Congressional District. I never said Mr. Murphy wasn’t registered because of his military deployment. What is true is he was registered “No Party” for 12 years in Lebanon County from 1992-2004, with a less than 25% voting record, and admits to voting for George W. Bush in 2000. To claim to be a life-long Democrat is at best “opportunistic”. This “life-long Democrat” has been registered Democratic in the 8th Congressional District exactly one year.

Warren clearly states that the area Murphy lived in is now indeed part of the 8th district -- it simply wasn't at the time. Splitting hairs. In regard to the registration in Lebanon County from 1992-2004, Murphy says on his website that he was born and raised in Northeast Philadelphia and started Bucks County Community College in 1991. Assuming he took four years to graduate (from King's College in Wilkes-Barre), that would be 1995. He went to law school in Harrisburg. That's at least another three years. At one point, he was a legislative aide for Democratic Representative Thomas Tangretti, perhaps while a law student. There aren't dates associated with many of his accomplishments so it is difficult to track exactly where he was when. I know from my own research that he was at West Point for about 4 years before going to Iraq, say 1999 to 2003. In between he worked for the district attorney in Philadelphia. Many people in college or the military keep their address of record at a parent's or other relative's house to make sure their mail is received and cared for. College students move frequently and if the military sends you new orders you can't get away with saying your old roommate tossed it. In some of his West Point columns (reviewed in-depth here) he discussed the importance of the address of record. He also wrote more than one column on the military regulations regarding political activity by military personnel. These were very specific. There was nothing in them about party registration but, as an instructor at a military college, he may have wanted to avoid the appearance of favoritism or of politicing among his students. I don't know.

The nuances of language can be very prejudicial in situations like this. I do know that Warren's words are inflammatory. He also glosses over his own admission that if he had been selected for office two years ago to fill in for either Jim Greenwood or Mike Fitzpatrick he would still be a Republican. And that means a lot more to me than where Patrick Murphy kept his shaving kit and his books while he was in college.