Jenn O’Mara Birthday Greeting –– A few days ago was my birthday, and in the evening I got a call from my state rep Jenn O’Mara wishing me a happy one. At first I thought it was a robo but as the conversation continued I realized it was live.
I was impressed. Granted, if my birthday was in June and this was an off-year election perhaps I wouldn’t have been so honored but I was still impressed.
So thank you Jenn, you made my night. I will be voting straight R, Nov. 3, which means for Bob Smythe in Pennsylvania’s 165th House District but what you did was very nice and you seem like a nice person.
If you want to get my vote push for ending prevailing wage. It would have made the cost of Springfield’s new white elephant high school about 20 percent less. Single parents, newlyweds with diabetic kids and the elderly are paying for it you know, and the extra money doesn’t help the trades unless you happen to be the one running the union.
Don’t sweat it though. I doubt Smythe will try to end it either.
Bill Would Allow Reopening Some Pa Businesses With Conditions
By Sen. Doug Mastriano
I introduced legislation this week to get Pennsylvania working again. Calling it “Pennsylvania Healthy Citizens and Healthy Businesses back to work initiative,” it applies strict health and safety measures on businesses to allow them to resume operations. The governor should not have the sole and arbitrary power to judge which businesses should survive. His only answer to this was creating a star-chamber like secret waiver process, which at last count has 25,000 requests pouring in. The entire process is a well-guarded secret with zero accountability or transparency. We have no idea if those approved/disapproved are getting political payback, or how decisions are being made. Is it constitutional that he is wielding so much power, unprecedented in Pennsylvania’s history? It is not up to Governor Wolf to pick winners and losers and he is indeed doing that. This was made evident in a recent expose by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which discovered the Wolf Family legacy company to remains open, despite his order to the contrary.
Pennsylvania is indeed confronted by a contagious virus, which has necessitated certain emergency measures to curtail its spread. This encompasses distancing, sanitary health practices, health conscience behavior, a sanitary workplace, among many other considerations as listed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These are designed to ameliorate the spread of COVID-19. Chief among the considerations is the need to avoid the spike in infected people that sadly occurred in other nations, such as in Italy. This spike overwhelmed their health care facilities and left scores not receiving the help that they required.
The key concern of Governor Tom Wolf in this environment was to reduce the spread of the virus across the state by severely restricting/limiting what he called “non-essential” and later, “non-life-supporting” business activity. His order to avoid a spike in cases was triggered by the governor’s 19 March order that initially called for the closure of all businesses across the state deemed non-essential that evening. Wolf’s unilateral closure order impacted tens of thousands of businesses; millions of jobs and put at stake the very lives and economic well being of our citizens. His draconian order took no account of CDC or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines on allowing low contagion risk jobs to remain operational, but at the stroke of a pen, unilaterally issued a proclamation that will be calamitous for our state. Hardest hit among these are; single-parent families, young couples, the independently employed (who still are not eligible for unemployment, despite my engagement with the governor to reverse his position on this), non-profits and small businesses. There is a real and present danger that Wolf’s cure may be worse than the virus.
And then there is Wolf’s much-vaunted waiver office. The governor’s waiver process lacks accountability, has no oversight and grants him unilateral power of who can and cannot be open for business. This is too much power in the hands of one man and as we saw with the Philadelphia Inquirer exposé, it is already being used for political payoff.
My “Pennsylvania Healthy Citizens and Healthy Businesses back to work” legislation will allow businesses to reopen if they agree to abide by CDC mitigation measures to contain the spread of the virus. We need a safe, fair and balanced approach to reopening businesses. Not the secret and random Wolf waiver process, but rather an approach that takes the incompetence and corruption of Harrisburg bureaucrats out of it. A process that uses the expert advice of CDC and OSHA to provide direction on how certain businesses can reopen, which will at the same time, protect the health and welfare of our people and our state.
The preponderance of the “non-life sustaining businesses” closed by Governor Wolf are categorized by the Federal Government as low to medium risk at spreading the diseases and that’s without them already implementing the CDC’s health conscience best practices. Imagine how safe they will be with the implementation of CDC’s guidance. The way ahead for Pennsylvania is to offer businesses deemed by Gov Wolf as “non-life supporting” to resume operations but under certain conditions. To reopen, mangers, owners, and staff agree to comply with CDC and OSHA COVID-19 mitigation measures until the state of emergency has ended. These businesses do not require a waiver, but agree to enforce CDC and OSHA policies during the COVID-19 health crisis and will be responsible for meeting these standards if inspected by the PA Department of Health or local law enforcement. Timely and full compliance is required to continue operating the business during the crisis. An appeals process will be established at the Department of Labor to handle any concerns of disagreement with an inspector’s findings and monthly reports will be filed with the relevant committees in the House and Senate (Health, Labor, etc) to provide oversight and transparency. The House and Senate Labor Committees will adjudicate any appeals or complaints that are challenged by the businesses in disagreement with a Department of Labor’s decisions.
Businesses that resume operations during this health crisis agree to abide by the following healthy practices delineated by both the CDC and OSHA:
Businesses that resume operations during this health crisis agree to abide by the following healthy practices delineated by both the CDC and OSHA:
Implement a generous sick leave policy, without retribution, for anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath)
Employees who develop COVID-19 symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) will immediately be sent home and not return until cleared by a healthcare professional
Sick employees must remain at home until their symptoms have passed and/or they receive a clean bill of health from their healthcare provider or state/local health officials
Employees with sick family members, or family members at higher risk (elderly, those with a weakened immune system, heart conditions, respiratory disease, chronic medical condition, diabetes, etc), should not work in a public area and all efforts should be made for them to work from home
Employers allow as many employees as possible to work from home (telework)
Employers must ensure that there is a minimum of six feet between workers, as well as six feet maintained between the employee and the public.
Employees at higher risk of suffering severe consequences or death by COVID-19 (elderly, weakened immune system, heart conditions, respiratory disease, chronic medical condition, diabetes, etc), will not be permitted to work in a non-life supporting business until the crisis has passed.
Employees with a sick family member will not return to work until that family member is cleared by a professional healthcare worker.
Additionally, the business will agree to:
Implement sanitary policies and a regular cleaning schedule to reduce exposure to COVID-19
To disinfect workspaces and areas with access to the public in addition to the workspaces and especially the restrooms.
Have adequate cleaning supplies available, as well as disposable paper towels, etc. The business will also ensure that tissues, hand sanitizers, gloves, medical masks, and other necessary sanitary products are available on site should an employee need them.
Online meetings will be encouraged rather than in-person
Employees will not share tools, equipment, phones, desks, computers or electronics.
Employers will agree to allow employees to remain home to care for sick relatives if necessary
Employers will develop flexible emergency leave policies during this health crisis and have non-punitive measures in place for those that need time off due to health concerns
Employers will not require their employees to have a COVID-19 positive test result to take sick leave
Employers will suspend non-essential operations and go to “minimal manning” to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19
Employers Adopt “flexible worksites” that allows telework, etc. to reduce the likelihood of exposure
Break rooms and cafeterias should be closed
Postpone all non-essential meetings.
Limit public interaction and use curbside pickup, and online meetings.
Seek ways to increase building/office ventilation and circulation,
In closing, I’m reminded of a local florist that is operated by a husband and wife. They can do all transactions online and deliver the arrangements to the customer. They will not exchange money, see or meet any people and are at zero risk of spreading the virus. There is another local business in my area that is operated by a husband, wife and their daughter. Again, the transactions can be done online and the goods can be left out for pick up or delivery. They will have no interaction with the public and are at zero risk of spreading the virus. Having such low-risk businesses shut down at the whim of the governor lacks reason or justification. He’s doing nothing to limit the health crisis while causing unnecessary pain to the community. What’s the point of shutting down any activity that has zero to little risk of spreading the virus? This is simply an example of the heavy hand of big government, needlessly crushing hard-working families and small business owners.
By implementing the above best practices, the spread of the virus will be contained/migrated, while at the same time allowing Pennsylvania to reopen for business. Many of the businesses shut down by the governor’s unilateral order are considered by CDC and OSHA criteria as low risk of spreading the virus. Mandating the implementation of these commonsense and life-saving measures, as described by CDC and OSHA, will ensure the safety of our citizens and the survival of our businesses. Without compromising the health and welfare of our people, this balanced/commonsense approach is in the best interest of Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf, it’s time to think about the people of Pennsylvania and get “safe businesses” back to work.
Murt Quits Ammo Tax Bill — The neo-feudalists who want to be our kings and queens are using the pandemic to try to sneak in a new law to make it harder for sane, law-abiding adults to defend themselves.
The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee received, March 10, House Bill 2344 which would require a “permit to purchase” for ammunition, and tax all ammo purchases.
Murt has withdrawn his name from the bill. That’s a good thing but the bill remains with 10 other solons backing it.
This bill is counter-productive to the problem it presumes to solve namely mass shootings and random acts of violence. What must be recognized and what its supporters deny is that it is good for sane, law abiding adults to have guns and ammunition, while it is bad for the insane and criminal to do so.
The bill is aimed solely at the sane and law-abiding. Hey sponsors, if you need a clue as to how to solve the problem consider that the United States had 450,000 more mental hospital beds in the 1950s that it does today with about half of the population.
If you want another clue, consider that mass school shootings in the United States didn’t start happening until those who rule us declared the start of life to be just a matter of opinion.
“This unconstitutional legislation is an affront to every law-abiding gun owner in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Rob Kauffman (R-89) said. “HB 2344 goes on the list of anti-Second Amendment legislation that will never see the light of day as long as I’m Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in Pennsylvania.”
In late 2014 and early 2015, five current and former members of the General Assembly were charged with bribery and other charges related to their acceptance of cash “gifts” from a lobbyist. The House and Senate changed their chambers’ rules to prohibit the acceptance of cash gifts from lobbyists, but the law hasn’t changed. One of the reasons the law wasn’t changed was because banning only cash gifts could raise questions for lawmakers about the kinds of gifts they can still accept.
What kinds of gifts can they accept? Virtually anything as long as they follow the disclosure rules. Lawmakers are required to disclose gifts of more than $250 per year from any source and transportation, lodging, and hospitality worth more than $650. Over the years, those gifts have included everything from Super Bowl tickets to Turkish rugs. As long as they follow the rules, pretty much anything is fair game.
That might finally be changing. On Nov. 18, the House State Government Committee advanced House Bill 1945. Per the co-sponsorship memo:
“The legislation will prohibit public officers, public employees and candidates for public office from accepting a gift of cash in any amount. The same individuals will be prohibited from accepting any gift that has either a fair market value or an aggregate actual cost of more than $50 from any one person in a calendar year. In addition, public officers, public employees and candidates for public office will be prohibited from accepting hospitality, transportation or lodging that has either a fair market value of an aggregate actual cost of more than $500 from any one person in a calendar year…Gifts and hospitality, transportation and lodging received that attain these thresholds will be reported on the individuals’ Statement of Financial Interests along with the circumstances surrounding the receipt of the same.”
At CAP, we generally aren’t a fan of banning things or unnecessary regulations. However, given the sheer number of public officials from Pennsylvania who end up in prison, we think that enacting these changes makes a lot of sense. There is room for improvement in HB 1945, but it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
We will be keeping our eye on the legislation and will keep you informed about its progress.
Reject Marcy’s Law Amendment — Marcy’s Law, a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, is on the ballot Nov. 5.
The amendment claims to give crime victims “rights” and is being supported by actor Kelsey Grammer and various politicians.
It’s wording is:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to grant certain rights to crime victims, including to be treated with fairness, respect and dignity; considering their safety in bail proceedings; timely notice and opportunity to take part in public proceedings; reasonable protection from the accused; right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused; restitution and return of property; proceedings free from delay; and to be informed of these rights, so they can enforce them?
The most obvious reason is the question as to why we need a difficult-to-change constitutional amendment when the issue could be addressed with far more flexibility via a statute.
The most significant reason is that the proposed amendment puts the accused in the category of criminal and cements the accuser as the victim. Not all accused are guilty. Not all accusers tell the truth. That’s why we have trials.
The most subtle reason is ballot questions are limited to 73 words but the actual amendment is 500 words and creates 15 new “rights”.
Buying something unseen is always unwise.
The clincher is the amendment is being backed by Bloomberg money. Is this going to be a gun grab?
Gun Rights Mean Civil Rights; Call to Action — Defenders of the Second Amendment and self defense rights are being urged to attend hearings in Harrisburg, Sept. 24-25. Being considered are “red flag” laws which will allow gun confiscation without due process; “universal background checks” which is de facto universal gun registration; and bans for AR-15s which has become the best-selling rifle in America.
It is noted that paid corporate shills wearing red shirts will be in attendance.
The hearings will be 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 24 and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 25 before the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee in Capitol’s North Office Building, Hearing Room 1.
Pennsylvania’s annual budget process is ripe with problems. Members of the General Assembly are typically given a day to review hundreds of pages of proposed spending, and accounting gimmicks hide the size of spending increases. One of the tricks used to disguise spending is the use of “special funds.” Special Funds frequently become part of the shadow budget with minimal accountability over the spending. One bill gaining traction is the House would add to the problem. HB1410 purports to address a vacated military base that has polluted the water system for the surrounding area.
HB 1410 establishes a Keystone Opportunity Zone around the “qualified former Military Installation.” It allows the municipality to establish a “qualified authority” to fund military installation remediation. The legislation provides a formula to collect a percentage of taxes (CNI, Sales & Use, Personal Income Tax, Realty Transfer Tax, & Local Taxes,) to fund the authority.
HB 1410 directs the State Treasurer to create a new Special Fund known as the Military Installation Remediation Fund to collect monies. Note that the Commonwealth has 36 environment-related special funds. Specifically, Pennsylvania has a safe drinking water special fund, an industrial sites cleanup fund, and a hazardous sites cleanup fund. Any or all of those funds could be utilized for a remediation project such as this if authorizing legislation was passed to allow qualified former military installation projects to be eligible for the monies in these various special funds.
Finally, HB 1410 directing the State Treasurer to establish restricted accounts within the special fund for each qualified former military installation. The funding can be used for funding transportation infrastructure, economic development costs, payment of debt service for construction, infrastructure, site preparation, etc. In other words, it can become a slush fund for pet projects. Raising additional concerns is the provision that allows the State Representative and Senator in that municipality, or an adjacent one, to serve as a board member of the established authority. The Representative who introduced the legislation, Todd Stephens, just so happens to meet the qualifications to sit on the board.
HB 1410 addresses a problem with questionable methods, and grants the board, and potentially select members of the General Assembly, overly broad discretion in what projects to fund. It runs the risk of becoming one more shadow budget item.
Pennsylvania Presidential Popular Vote Bill Pushed By Extremist Dems— SB 270 was introduced, yesterday, July 9, to give Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes to the popular vote winner for President
The bill compels Pennsylvania to join The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote plan being pushed by wannabe dictators.
The sponsors are extremist Democrats Daylin Leach (17), Steven Santarsiero (10), Wayne Fontana (42), Judith Schwank (11), Vincent Hughes (7) and Andrew Dinniman (19).
The Electoral College was largely devised by liberty-loving Founding Father Alexander Hamilton who considered it a bulwark against “cabal, intrigue, and corruption.”
He was absolutely right. How many Americans are convinced in their hearts that massive vote fraud occurs in Democrat controlled big cities and college campuses? Probably about half. Think about it. Really, why the objection to a citizenship question on the census? Why the fight to keep illegals from being deported?
A close popular vote would never be accepted by the losing side.
Only fools or despots want to get rid of the Electoral College.
By the way, Hillary Clinton did not win the majority of the popular vote in 2016. Only a true fool can think 48.2 percent is a majority. Since 1992, only George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, got more than 50 percent of the vote. Only Obama in 2008 got more than 52 percent.
Hat tip Bobby Lawrence
Pennsylvania Presidential Popular Vote Bill Pushed By Extremist Dems
On April 29, 2019, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released the latest version of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Climate Action Plan, announcing that Pennsylvania would join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 24 states committed to implementing policies that support the Paris Agreement — an international collaboration from which the U.S. has withdrawn.
According to the governor, “states like Pennsylvania must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our communities, economies, infrastructures, and environments from the risks of a warming climate.”
The plan’s primary objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 80% by 2050 in the Keystone State to reduce the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and keep future increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
Described in the 231-page plan are more than 100 actions intended to reduce GHG emissions, 15 of which are analyzed in detail. Each action involves increased taxation, increased regulation, increased spending or restrictions on citizens’ freedoms.
Some very relevant questions should be answered by the governor and the PA DEP concerning this far-reaching plan that will necessarily have significant negative impacts on the Commonwealth’s citizens and businesses:
Once implemented, what effect would this have on global temperature?
Are the justifications listed in the proposal supported by the science, facts and data?
What costs and negative effects are associated with this plan and are they offset by the alleged benefits?
The overarching goal of the proposal is to lower the Earth’s temperature by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania. However, nowhere does this hefty document estimate a reduction of temperature.
To obtain an estimate, we used the MAGICC simulator (Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change) that was developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research under funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The model estimates how much temperature rise would be averted globally by various reductions of CO2 for the United States.
Calculations using this (Figure 1) assume an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions, a climate sensitivity of 2.0 and the latest estimate of Pennsylvania’s share of U.S. emissions (4.2%) to reveal the following theoretical reductions:
0.0023oF by 2050
0.0061oF by 2100
This extremely small effect should be a very important component in the discussions on whether to impose the significant burdens of the Climate Action Plan on the state and its citizens.
Listed on page 14 of the plan is a section titled “Why Does Pennsylvania Need a Climate Action Plan?” It lays out justifications for why the plan is needed, listing 10 climate impacts that were “already occurring and put Pennsylvanians and local industries at risk.” Many of the impacts it described as occurring are, in fact, not happening and in some cases are improving the state’s ecosystems.
We will look at only a few of the most egregious examples of misinformation due to space restrictions, but these should serve to illustrate that this document is more of a political tool than science-based justification for action. More frequent extreme weather events including drought
Increased demand for energy, particularly during warmer summer months
There is no mention of the reduced energy demand during the winter months.
Most of what was listed as justification for implementation of this far-reaching plan were projections of what may or may not occur many decades in the future. These projections are based on climate models that over-predict warming by 2.5 to 3 times too much. It is important to separate speculation of what may occur in the future based on failed climate models from the actual events that can be empirically observed.
Recommended Strategies: The Plan identified 15 actions that were most impactful for reducing GHG emissions and would require increased taxation, spending and government control, some of which are listed below. In the Energy sector, the Plan would:
Invest in building-scale solar
Incentivize renewable energy
Maintain current nuclear generation levels (bailouts for Exelon)
Tighten regulations on methane emissions
Create a Cap & Trade program for electricity sector carbon emissions
Reduce personal vehicle mileage (no more trips to Home Depot)
Incentivize increased electric vehicle use
Increase use of public transportation
Please note the repeated use of the terms “invest” and “incentivize” as code for spending more taxpayer dollars. Additionally, the Cap & Trade program that is proposed will be a huge revenue generation scheme that would draw large sums of money into Harrisburg for redistribution to favored programs. Pennsylvania’s citizens would not only be burdened by new direct taxation, but additional costs of regulation and higher energy costs would be passed on to customers. While the plan offers no estimates of costs, they surely would run into the millions if not billions of dollars.
According to the Plan itself, the 15 action items would only reduce the state’s GHG emissions by 21%, far less than the 80% targeted. In order to reach the higher targeted goals, ever more onerous and economically crippling actions would be required.
Conclusion Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan will impose huge costs on the Commonwealth’s citizens and businesses while burdening them with additional levels of restrictions and regulations. Companies will pass these higher costs on to consumers or absorb the costs, which will deter hiring and new investment. A rise in prices means that consumers will buy less, and companies will drop employees, close entirely, or move to other states where the cost of doing business is lower. The consequence means fewer opportunities for Pennsylvania’s workers, less economic growth, lower incomes, and higher unemployment.
The justifications for imposing this plan are flawed, the costs and regulations are economically crippling, and the result is a temperature reduction so low that it is indistinguishable from zero.
In short, the plan would infringe on the freedoms of people and make them significantly poorer. This plan should be opposed vehemently by the GOP-led House and Senate.
GOP Pushing Gun Grab In Pa. — Virtue-Signaling Philly Suburban Republicans — Delco’s Tom Killion (R-9) in the Senate and Montco’s Todd Stephens (R-151) — have introduced bills that would arguably allow permanent loss of gun rights on the basis of mere allegations.
The bills SB 90 and HB 1075 would amend Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes creating the category of Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO).
An ERPO would be a court order that would prohibit a person from having in the person’s possession or control, purchasing or receiving or attempting to purchase or receive, a firearm, based upon a finding that the person presents a risk of suicide or of causing the death of, or serious bodily injury to, another person.
Fine. So how does one get subject to such a thing?
Upon the word of a law enforcement officer or a family or household member. They tell a district judge that you considered suicide or were cruel to a dog or made a threat and you lose your rights, whether you did such a thing or not.
You really think a district judge is going to say no?
There is a duration limit to the ERPO — from three months to a year — but as Joshua Prince points out the ERPO puts you in a federal database and that makes you subject to the feds which is in effect a life-long ban.
Here’s is the wording of the law: Entry into database.–Upon receipt of an extreme risk protection order or an order renewing, vacating or terminating an extreme risk protection order, the Pennsylvania State Police shall cause the order to be entered into the appropriate database so that notice of the order is provided through the Pennsylvania Instant Check System and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
How about the termination part?
At a termination hearing, the respondent seeking termination of the order shall have the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent does not present a risk of suicide or of causing the death of, or serious bodily injury to, another person
So much for presumption of innocence.
We have some sympathy — or at least we would if we didn’t think they were pandering virtue-signalers — for those trying to deal with loons having access to guns.
We remember Sylvia Seegrist. We remember her mom desperately trying to get her help — and off the street.
The thing with Sylvia, though, is that she committed chargeable crimes such as assault, terroristic threats and vandalism before her murder spree but escaped prosecution due to the bizarre mental health theories of the time.
If ERPOs were based on the commission of crime for which one is charged as opposed to someone’s word, we’d back the concept.
By the way, most of the recent mass shooters could have been or had been charged with crimes before their killings that should have curtailed their access to guns. Nickolas Cruz had had numerous contacts with police, Devin Patrick Kelley had a record of domestic violence, Dylan Roof had drug and trespassing arrests etc.
Another point, gun rights are as important as voting rights. Some people should not be allowed to have a gun. These same people should not be allowed to vote.