Currently Browsing: Pennsylvania
Oct 25, 2016
Savor this, as it might be the only schadenfreude you’ll get this silly season: Kathleen Kane in handcuffs being carted off to prison. They had high hopes for this rising star in Democratic politics, and now where are they? Bloomberg sank, if I recall, about half a million into her race. That’s a lot of cash to spend to buy a few reciprocity agreement changes, but it’s always good to get in the ground floor of a rising political career. But that was not to be.
I noticed that Bloomberg was only willing to dump an even quarter million to Josh Shapiro’s campaign in the AG race this time around, but at this point he’s probably only looking to protect his gains from that office rather than looking for risky favors.
Oct 25, 2016
Pennsylvania voters will be casting votes for a ballot initiative they have already defeated once this year. Why?
Because lawmakers realized what the outcome would likely be and decided at the last minute to invalidate the question wording to put something more misleading on the ballot instead. Based on a test run by a polling firm, they are going to get what they want by playing dirty.
What’s the issue? Judicial retirement ages.
In April, we were asked directly whether or not to increase the age at which judges could retire from 70 to 75. The question before voters was clear:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?
It explained who it would apply to, the proposed change, and the old rule. Perfectly reasonable ballot question! Except that when you look at the history of these types of votes in other states, they almost always go down in defeat. So the lawmakers decided to change the wording at the last minute. Except absentee ballots were already printed and voting machines programmed. Instead, we were told that our votes wouldn’t count, so we shouldn’t bother voting on it. But 2.4 million people voted anyway, and they said no to the increase – exactly what lawmakers feared would happen.
When the new language was announced, a couple of former Supreme Court Chief Justices sued on the basis that it’s deliberately deceitful. You be the judge:
Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?
Funny how now it sounds like you’re adding a judicial retirement age to the constitution instead of extending the terms of those in office! Even funnier that the current Chief Justice turns 70 this winter, and the next in line for the seat turns 70 next year. What an odd and completely unexpected coincidence! What an even stranger coincidence that the Supreme Court decided to leave the question alone with one Justice recusing, half saying it’s perfectly clear and the other half saying it’s confusing. Average age of the justices voting that it’s clear as day? 62. Average age of those voting that it’s clear as mud? 55. If you count the Chief Justice’s recusal as putting him in the camp of those wanting the new, confusing language, that average age goes up to 64.
While I did vote no on the initial non-binding vote, I could have been convinced that it’s worthwhile to increase the retirement age. But now, no way. This is a deliberate deception, and one columnist mentions that a local polling firm has found it’s likely going to work exactly how lawmakers and the courts wanted it to work.
Berwood Yost, chief methodologist for the Franklin & Marshall Poll, … found in a split-ballot experiment that voters presented with the current wording tended to vote “yes.” When asked if justices should be able to retire at 75 instead of 70, however, most say no.
If you’re a Pennsylvania voter, I would strongly encourage you to vote “NO” on the ballot question this November. More importantly, tell your friends and family who vote about what’s going so they know not to support this kind of deceit. In April, it was a legitimate vote on the retirement age. Next month, it’s a more of a vote on legal ethics. Don’t let them play these games and get away with it.
Oct 1, 2016
Because protections built into the law mean nothing to the Pennsylvania State Police. They apparently have illegally linked the LTCF information to our Drivers’ Licenses so that when you’re pulled over at a traffic stop the officer can see all your information related to the LTCF. It may not just be cops either:
Furthermore, even if there was, it is illegal to disclose this information to individuals other than a law enforcement officer acting in the scope of his/her duties. As I understand the new system, it is being relayed to emergency responders, which may even include tow truck drivers that are part of the system.
I’m very uncomfortable with this state of affairs. This essentially makes Pennsylvania a duty-to-inform state. How long before they link this to the plate readers the cops use these days? Bullshit. This information was supposed to be private and increasingly we’re seeing state officials violate the law when they feel like it. What’s worse? Most of the time they get away with it.
Sep 22, 2016
The new pre-emtiion enhancement bill, HB 2258, is now going before the Pennsylvania House floor, having been voted out of committee by a 21-6 vote. I’m curious to see if we can pass this with a veto-proof or near veto-proof majority. The GOP controls the House and Senate at levels in this state that have not been seen for decades, and there are still some pro-gun Democrats out there, so I’m hopeful we’ll get a good vote tally.
When this bill was briefly law before it was invalidated by the courts for violating the single-subject requirement of our state constitution, it did a lot of good. Most municipalities folded like a cheap deck of cards once challenged under it. The only holdouts were the big cities, which fought the law using the single-subject argument.
Follow this link to go to NRA’s handy app that will help you write your rep. Let’s get this done.
Sep 12, 2016
Good news from Firearms Attorney Joshua Prince regarding the Pennsylvania Superior Court case that ruled “other lawful purposes” language in the Pennsylvania school weapons ban didn’t include legally carrying a firearm, but instead meant that lunch ladies could have knives in the kitchen, or other such school related activity:
After the decision, Mr. Goslin contacted me and we, pro-bono, filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Reargument en banc, wherein, inter alia, we argued that the Superior Court should permit new briefs to be filed and oral argument, after vacating the court’s July 6, 2016 decision. Today, the Superior Court GRANTED the motion, withdrew the July 6, 2016 decisions and scheduled re-briefing and argument.
That’s definitely good news. Hopefully we can get a better result on appeal. If this case loses, it would technically be a serious violation to drop your kid off at school with a firearm in the vehicle, or even to turn around in a school parking lot on the way to the range. What about a sidewalk that transits school property? The “other lawful purposes” was what prevents this law from applying to ordinary people, rather than only to people who don’t have lawful intent.
Aug 25, 2016
Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.
But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.
Good call there, Pat.
You know what I was doing 6 years ago in November? Casting a ballot for you, Pat, when polls opened and spending the rest of the day standing outside of a senior citizen’s center asking voters to support your candidacy. You know what I won’t be doing this November? Telling anyone about your campaign – other than the fine readers of this blog about how you screwed us and fell for every pathetic lie from the gun control groups. You can rely on your new best buddies at Ceasefire to help out instead, Pat.
Oh, wait, no, you can’t.
Aug 16, 2016
Kathleen Kane has finally, after pressure from her own party’s Governor, and pretty much every other Dem in the state, chosen to resign: “I have been honored to serve the people of Pennsylvania and I wish them health and safety in all their days.” I doubt Josh Shapiro, the Dem candidate for AG in 2016 (who is promising to somehow implement bans on rifle transfers a la handguns in the commonwealth), is going to want the fresh stench of Kathleen Kane’s trashed career wafting over his campaign.
It’s worthwhile to keep in mind that Attorney General is a good stepping stone for Governor, and Bloomberg made his significant investment in Kane in part because he had high hopes that she was a winner, and it would be nice to have a friend in the Governor’s mansion. It is not without considerable snickering that I’ve watched her come apart at the seams.
Aug 15, 2016
Pennsylvania’s proud first female Attorney General hasn’t been able to practice law for months. Tonight, she was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other counts of abusing her official position in order to exact illegal revenge on an opponent.
Did I mention that the Clintons are huge supporters?
It shouldn’t be surprising that Kathleen Kane’s attorney indicates that she’s still not going to make any move to resign. The woman won’t give up, despite widespread calls from her party to resign. She has not yet been jailed, but she must come back to court tomorrow to surrender her passport, and she was issued a warning that any hint of retaliation against witnesses will put her behind bars immediately.
Jul 7, 2016
Some unfortunate news from Pennsylvania Superior Court. I believe Superior Courts mean this is now law in the entire state, so currently, it is now illegal to carry weapons on school property. The law states:
§ 912. Possession of weapon on school property.
(a) Definition.–Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime),”weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.
(b) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.
(c) Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.
The Superior Court ruled that “other lawful purpose” needed to have a sanction from the school. In other words, the lunch ladies can have knives in the school, because their purpose is to cook lunch for the kiddies. The janitor can have a screwdriver, but not a student.
Statutes that are vague or unclear are supposed to be interpreted in a light most favorable to the defendant, but this very clear language, which exempts lawful purposes, was read to favor the state. The law already carved out an exception for the lunch ladies when it said “It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course,” but then it went on to create a separate defense, the “other lawful purposes” defense, for the chef dropping his kid off at school on the way to the restaurant with the knives he just got sharpened.
As Josh Prince notes in his article, this appeal was pursued by a pro-se defendant, meaning a guy representing himself. That’s usually an invitation to disaster, as it was here. Nonetheless, the law is clear here, but there is no rule of law. They offer us the illusion, and not even a very good illusion, that there is rule of law, all the while ruling however they damned please.
Jun 13, 2016
The antis are putting the pressure on Senator Toomey to embrace the terror watch list bill, or face ads saying the Senator supports arming terrorists. Be sure to call Pat Toomey’s office and persuade him. Tell him you have no compunctions about leaving him off your ballot in November if he turns. Say this even if you plan already to not vote for him because of his past sins. I believe in redemption if he rediscovers where his interest lie.
“Pat Toomey has worked to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns in this country and that is just an outrageous position,” McGinty, challenging Toomey in one of the country’s most critical Senate races, said in a telephone interview. “Of all the kind of tough issues, this one should not be a tough call.”
Unless you don’t believe people should be stripped of fundamental constitutional rights because of being put on a secret government list, where only the FBI knows the criteria to get on, and there is no process for getting off. I appreciate it if Senator Toomey would stand up for due process of law and for the Heller and McDonald decisions. This gets to the fundamental core of how we treat fundamental constitutional rights. Toomey can’t turn on this issue and still claim to believe in the Second Amendment. I know civil liberties are currently out of style with the American left, but someone has to stand up for them.