November 28, 2014

Dec. 1 PA Environment Digest Now Available

Dec. 1 PA Environment Digest now available.  Click Here To Print Entire Digest.

General Assembly Ends Legislative Session With Few Positive Environmental Bills
The General Assembly formally adjourned the 2013-14 legislative session November 12 and ended a legislative year with few positive environmental bills signed into law.  All bills not reaching the Governor’s desk start over on January 6 when the new General Assembly convenes. The environmental bills signed into law in 2014 included--

What Can We Expect For The Environment Next Legislative Session?
With the increase in the Republican majorities in both the Senate and House, in particular more conservative members, we can expect to see the reintroduction and consideration of several environmental bills from last session, including the bills to eliminate certain protections for endangered species, create an unaffordable scheme to fund unsustainable nutrient reduction technology, legislation to rollback the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and a bill to focus more attention on developing the state’s oil industry.
Of course the priorities and dynamics will be a little different with Democrat Tom Wolf in the Governor’s Office.  

Gov.-Elect Wolf Names Budget Task Force Members, Inaugural Committee Chairs
Gov-elect Tom Wolf unveiled the members of his Budget Deficit and Fiscal Stabilization Task Force Tuesday.  The group is assigned to deal with the state’s budget deficit and will be Chaired by Mary Soderberg. Josh Shapiro will serve as Vice-Chair.  Click Here for a full membership list.
Wolf also announced Gov. Ed Rendell as Honorary Chair of his Inaugural Committee and Mary Isenhour, a senior advisor to his campaign, and Reid Walsh, Director of Operations for his campaign, as Co-Chairs.  Click Here for more background.

Senate GOP Leaders Announce Changes In Leadership Staff, No Decision On Session
Changes to Senate Republican Leadership senior staff will take place with the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia).  Click Here for the complete announcement.
There has been no decision yet by Senate and House Republicans on whether there will be a real voting session before Gov. Corbett leaves office January 20.

DEP Submits Comments On EPA’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulation
On Wednesday the Department of Environmental Protection submitted its formal comments on EPA’s proposed Section 111(d) clean power greenhouse gas emission reduction regulations saying while it recognizes the authority for EPA to reduce carbon emissions, EPA’s proposed regulation does not do it it a lawful way and “inappropriately directs national energy policy.”  
A copy of DEP’s comments is available online.  Other background information is available on DEP’s Clean Power Plan Comments webpage.

4 PA Counties Would Violate New Ozone Standard Proposed By EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday proposed to reduce the ozone pollution standard to within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion (ppb) to better protect Americans’ health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb.

November 25, 2014

Wolf Names Rendell, Isenhour, Walsh To Inaugural Committee

Gov.-elect Tom Wolf Tuesday announced Gov. Ed Rendell as Honorary Chair of his Inaugural Committee and Mary Isenhour and Reid Walsh as Co-Chairs.
“Today, I am proud to announce Governor Ed Rendell as Honorary Chair and Mary Isenhour and Reid Walsh as Co-Chairs of my Inaugural Committee,” said Wolf. “With their combined experience and expertise, I am confident in their abilities to bring Pennsylvanians together in celebrating a fresh start for the Commonwealth.”
Mary Isenhour. As a senior advisor to the Tom Wolf for Governor campaign, Mary Isenhour was a key player in Tom Wolf’s gubernatorial success in both the Pennsylvania primary and general elections. Isenhour has over 25 years of political leadership and strategic planning experience within the Democratic Party.
She is currently a partner in the consulting firm Isenhour Rooney Strategies, LLC, where she serves as political advisor to clients including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s PAC and Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody.
Before founding Isenhour Rooney Strategies, LLC in 2010, Isenhour served as executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee from 1999 to 2003 and then as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party from 2007 through June 2010, where in 2006 she led the state party’s successful Coordinated Campaign for Governor Rendell and Senator Bob Casey, Jr. Isenhour also served as Pennsylvania State Director for the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign in 2008.
Reid Walsh, a native of York, has over a decade of experience in communications, human resources, project management, and operations. Most recently, Walsh served as the director of operations for the Tom Wolf for Governor campaign, where she oversaw the operational needs of 15 offices across the state and a staff of over 90 employees. Walsh also managed the planning and execution of the Tom Wolf for Governor campaign’s primary and general election night events.
Before moving back to her hometown of York, Walsh spent over thirteen years in Washington, DC, working for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), most recently as the senior director in the Business Affairs and Program Management Department overseeing a multi-million dollar fiscal year budget while leading operational activities across seven departments.
During her tenure, Walsh also served as point person for the PBS Business Affairs team to ensure timely negotiation and accurate execution of all legal agreements and acted as a primary liaison to PBS’s governmental funding arm, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2007, Walsh developed, implemented, and managed a new company division of PBS. Walsh also worked on the production team for seven PBS Annual Meetings.

Gov.-Elect Wolf Names Budget Task Force Members

Gov-elect Tom Wolf unveiled the members of his Budget Deficit and Fiscal Stabilization Task Force Tuesday.  The group is assigned to deal with the state’s budget deficit and will be Chaired by Mary Soderberg. Josh Shapiro will serve as Vice-Chair.  Click Here for a full membership list.

Tuesday NewsClips

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November 24, 2014

Senate Republican Leaders Announce Changes In Leadership Staff

Changes to Senate Republican Leadership senior staff will take place with the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session, according to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson), Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Sen. John Gordner (R-Columbia).
Drew Crompton: In December, Drew Crompton will begin serving as General Counsel to the Majority Caucus, in addition to remaining Chief of Staff to the President Pro Tempore.  As General Counsel, he will be responsible for managing all litigation for the Caucus, working on advancing priority issues and overseeing day-to-day legal matters for the Caucus.
Mr. Crompton joined the Pennsylvania Senate in 1993 as a policy advisor and has played a major role in the development of legislation relating to state taxes, healthcare, and lobbyist disclosure. He is also a graduate of Dickinson College, as well as Widener University School of Law.
“I am honored to fill the shoes of the likes of Steve MacNett and Donna Malpezzi,” Mr. Crompton said.  “I look forward to taking on new responsibilities within the Caucus and being a part of the new Caucus team.”
“I am pleased that Drew has decided to accept the position of General Counsel to the Caucus,” Senator Scarnati said.  “His extensive experience in overseeing concerns in regard to policy development and legal questions will be valuable to the Senate Republican staff.  Without question, I fully trust in Drew and am confident he will lead the staff and Caucus with integrity as we continue to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
“Drew’s extensive legal ability is a benefit to our entire Caucus and I am appreciative that someone of his acumen is able to serve the Caucus in this role,” Senator Corman said.  “His legal resume and wide-ranging credibility is an integral part of our operations and he will be counted on greatly.”
“Drew is an exceptional attorney with a sharp legal mind,” Senator Gordner said.  “He has already advised the caucus on numerous and diverse legal matters, so his background will certainly benefit us in his new role.”
Mark Meyer: Mark Meyer will take on the position of Chief of Staff to the Majority Leader, a continuation of his role as Chief of Staff to Sen. Corman, a job he has held since 2011.  Mr. Meyer brings twenty years of experience, joining the Pennsylvania Senate in 1994, serving as Chief of Staff, as well as Executive Director for three Senators.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s Degree from Westminster College.
“Mark’s tenure with me as Chief of Staff has been invaluable and has served my office and district well,” Sen. Corman said.  “His abilities to manage issues and direct staff will serve my new office equally well and bring a steady direction to the transition. I have tremendous confidence in Mark and I am very glad he is able to continue with me in this capacity.”
Dave Thomas: The position of Chief Counsel to the Majority Leader will be filled by Dave Thomas.  In addition to managing legal responsibilities within Sen. Corman’s office, he will also serve as Floor Counsel to the Majority Leader, as well as the Caucus.  Mr. Thomas will take on the responsibility of managing legislation for the Caucus and overseeing the calendar on the Floor.
For over 14 years, Mr. Thomas worked in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. His experience as Chief Counsel to the Speaker of the House and Legislative Counsel to the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, are among his many professional accomplishments.  He is a graduate of Shippensburg University, as well as Widener University School of Law.
"I am honored and privileged to return to public service with the Senate,” Mr. Thomas said.  “I am fortunate to have worked for one of Pennsylvania's finest Speakers of the House, Sam Smith and now I am excited to work for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and the entire Senate Republican Caucus. It's an amazing opportunity and one that I will deeply cherish."
“Dave Thomas has an unquestioned ability to advance issues through difficult legal questions and policy development,” Sen. Corman said.  “His time with the House of Representatives will serve our Caucus immensely.  I am very grateful that we were able to secure Dave’s talents for this important role and look forward to beginning work with him.”
“Dave will be a great addition to the Senate Leadership staff,” Sen. Browne said. “He is a smart, hardworking attorney who is well respected both in Harrisburg and in the legal community. He has a vast knowledge of state government, knows the capitol inside and out and has worked on many of the important issues that the Commonwealth is facing in the coming year.”
Kathy Eakin: Serving as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Majority Leader will be Kathy Eakin.  Ms. Eakin has worked for the Commonwealth for over 35 years, including as Deputy General Counsel for Legislation and Secretary of Legislative Affairs for Gov. Ridge and Counsel to the Senate Republican Caucus and Senate Judiciary Committee.
Ms. Eakin earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Elizabethtown College, a Master’s Degree from Wake Forest University and Law Degree from the Dickinson School of Law.
“I am very fortunate that Kathy Eakin is able to bring her advanced legal expertise to my team,” Sen. Corman said.  “Her experience in both the executive and legislative branches will continue to serve the Caucus well.”
"Kathy is one of the Senate's best lawyers and one of the hardest working individuals I know,” Mr. Thomas said.  “She will remain a true asset to the Senate Republican Caucus and I am honored to have the pleasure of working with her."
Diane Acri: Joining the legal team as Deputy Counsel to the Majority Leader will be Diane Acri.  She brings more than 23 years of experience working in state government and government relations.  Ms. Acri received a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University and a Law Degree from Widener University School of Law.
“Diane brings to the office a wealth of legal and accounting experience, both in government and the private sector,” Sen. Corman said.  “She is a great addition and I am looking forward to her joining the Senate.”
"Diane is an outstanding lawyer and has impressive public sector and private sector experience,” Mr. Thomas said.  “She has worked for the House of Representatives and most recently served as Counsel to one of Harrisburg's lobbying firms. I am thankful for her willingness to join me in this new endeavor."

Chief Justice Castille Receives PA Bar Association’s Most Prestigious Honor

PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille has been awarded the Bar Medal, the highest honor conferred by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He is the eleventh person to receive the award in the 119-year history of the association.
The Bar Medal is presented to a PBA member whose efforts have resulted in significant improvement in the administration of justice or the legal profession, or who has performed outstanding service to the association, profession or the community.
"Under Justice Castille's leadership, significant strides have been made in the funding of civil legal aid for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens," said PBA President Francis X. O'Connor, who presented the award to Castille during the PBA House of Delegates meeting on November 21 in Harrisburg.
"Chief Justice Castille has called on every Pennsylvania lawyer to increase pro bono service to low-income Pennsylvanians. He also led the creation of the loan repayment assistance program, which helps participating lawyers in the public service sector better manage their educational debts so they can better afford to remain in their careers," O'Connor said.
In addition, Castille is honorary chair of the Pennsylvania Civil Legal Justice Coalition, a statewide coalition of leaders from the Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, Dauphin County and Philadelphia bar associations, representatives from the public interest community; and other stakeholders who address unmet needs for civil legal services.
Castille began his career in public service as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corp in 1966, the same year that he graduated from Auburn University.
His heroic service as a rifle platoon commander in Vietnam was recognized with the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for valor; two Purple Heart medals; the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross; the Navy Presidential Unit Citation; a Navy Unit Commendation; and Combat Action Ribbon.
After his medical retirement from military service, he spent 15 months in the Philadelphia Hospital recovering from his war injuries before pursuing a law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law. While there, he served as vice president of the student body and earned membership in the Raven's Society through his outstanding scholarship and leadership.
Upon graduation from law school, he joined the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and served the citizens of Pennsylvania as Philadelphia's assistant and deputy district attorney for 14 years before being twice elected as district attorney of Philadelphia.
As district attorney, he tried more than 200 jury trials and thousands of non-jury trials. He co-drafted legislation that fostered a sea change in the way the criminal justice system treated juvenile offenders.
He created the juvenile division in the District Attorney's Office and launched the Philadelphia's Youth Aid Panels, which was one of Pennsylvania's first diversionary programs for juvenile offenders, and the Juvenile Habitual Offenders Unit to deal with repeat offenders.
Castille was elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1993, having spent two prior years in private law practice at Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay. He was re-elected in 2003 and 2013 by Pennsylvania voters in retention elections.
He was elevated to chief justice of Pennsylvania in 2008, becoming the 55th chief justice of the nation's oldest appellate court and the leader of Pennsylvania's third branch of government.
During his 20-year tenure on the court, Castille authored more than 400 majority opinions and more than 200 dissents in cases affecting every citizen of Pennsylvania.
Previous recipients of the PBA Bar Medal include Gilbert Nurick (1978), Judge James Bowman (posthumously, 1980), Stanley Siegel (1987), Joseph Jones (1991), Thomas Cooper (1994), William Hoffmeyer (1997), Ralph Snyder (1999), H. Reginald Belden Jr. (2004), Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy (2007) and Professor Louis Del Duca (2014).

Monday NewsClips

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November 22, 2014

Saturday NewsClips

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