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Politics & Government

This Week in PA Politics 10/27

Animal rights bill fails to move out of state House: A bill that banned the practice of consuming cats and dogs in private received unanimous support in the state House back in December of 2013. Once it was sent to the Senate for approval, however, a pigeon-shooting amendment was added, causing the bill to languish in committee when it was sent back to the House, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports.

Pigeon-shooting, an activity that involves taking aim at birds released from spring-loaded traps, did not garner the type of ban support that the consumption of domesticated animals did the first time around.

As bills heads to governor’s desk, state law could trump city ordinance on gun laws: A bill that recently passed in both the state House and state Senate would make it illegal for municipal ordinances to override state gun laws. If Pennsylvania cities or municipalities have gun ordinances that are in conflict with state laws, those local governments could be at risk for lawsuits from gun owners and outside organizations, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray is worried about the implications the law will have on his local ordinances.

Nonprofit calls for “merit selection” process when choosing appellate court judges: In the wake of the pornographic email scandal that took place in the Attorney General’s office during Gov. Tom Corbett’s tenure, the nonprofit Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) has called for the end of partisan elections’ influence on appellate court appointments, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. The group calls for the end of partisan-alignment for potential court judges and supports a merit-based system that includes a multiple committee selection board.

A breakdown of tax policies in the governor’s race: Tax issues have played an important role in this years gubernatorial election. Democrat Tom Wolf has called for a progressive income tax, Corbett is against that idea; Wolf wants to tax natural gas drillers, while Corbett does not. Holly Otterbein of WHYY Newsworks deconstructs Tom Corbett’s ad campaign, Tom Wolf’s proposed tax plan and the chances that a Wolf election would mean a change in taxes, now as the campaign enters its final week.

Lieutenant governor candidate Stack says he might stay on as state Senator after election: State Senator and Lieutenant Governor candidate Mike Stack is contemplating the idea that if he is elected to be second in command in the governor’s office, he would also keep his post in the Senate, Bill Hangley of WHYY Newsworks reports. By staying on as a senator, Stack could hypothetically push a special election for his seat off until the May primary, which would most likely lead to a larger turnout. But questions surrounding the separation of powers in government and the practical nature of the proposed move abound.

State Sen. Leanna Washington pleads guilty to corruption charges: After losing her re-election bid amidst news of corruption charges, State Sen. Leanna Washington decided to plead guilty to those charges, Dave Davies of WHYY Newsworks reports. Washington is said to have used public funds and state employees for political activity, and it is reported that by pleading guilty she should receive a reduced sentence.

A breakdown of the gubernatorial candidates and their views on natural gas drilling: StateImpact PA breaks down both Gov. Tom Corbett’s and his challenger Tom Wolf’s views on natural gas drilling in the state.

The upcoming gubernatorial election and the history of incumbent governors: In a feature article this week, Charlie Deitch of Pittsburgh’s City Paper reports that this gubernatorial election is going to be a historic one, regardless of the outcome. As political pollster G. Terry Madonna said, "Tom Corbett is making history on November 4, one way or another. He'll either have to win reelection by overcoming the largest poll deficit in history two weeks before the election, or he'll be the first candidate to lose the governor's office for his party since the 1950s."

PA Newspapers and their gubernatorial endorsements: Nick Field of PoliticsPA lists a few Pennsylvania newspapers and their choice for the upcoming gubernatorial election.