Friday, February 19, 2016

Capitol Digest: Kathleen Kane, John Hanger Spending More Time With Their Families

The shortened Presidents’ Day week did not mean Harrisburg was short on political news.  Two prominent political figures this week made career-changing decisions because they wanted to spend more time with their families.
Kane Khronicles
Indicted Attorney General Kathleen Kane Tuesday said she would not be running for a second term citing concerns about her two young sons.  Practically, however, she’s spending most of her dwindling campaign funds on legal defense fees; although she was ahead in the last poll.
The House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts Wednesday scheduled its first hearing for February 23 pursuant to House Resolution 659 (Everett-R-Lycoming) investigating the potential impeachment of Kane.
Kane is also due to appear in Montgomery County Court on August 8 to begin her trial on perjury charges.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Tuesday he would be auditing Kane’s $2 million contract with a Maryland lawyer appointed by Kane to identify additional targets for charges among the tens of thousands of pornographic emails her office accumulated during its review of the Sandusky child molestation investigation.
Some busy months ahead for Kane.
Hanger Leaving
Gov. Wolf’s Secretary of Policy and Planning, and one-time Wolf opponent, John Hanger resigned Friday saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter who live in Worcester, Massachusetts.  
Hanger was a frequent lightning rod for policy issues in the Wolf Administration with a combative style.
A spokesperson for Senate Republicans said in reaction, “Maybe now that we have only one governor, things will get better.” (Ouch!)
April Primary Ballot Shaping Up
Tuesday was also the deadline for candidates to submit their nominating petitions to be on the April 26 Primary Election ballot.
There will be 9 candidates for President on the ballot, all the usual suspects. Sadly, Willie Wilson from Chicago fell short of the number of signatures required.  But cheer up, you will be able to vote for Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (if you’re a Democrat).
It’s Fetterman, McGinty, Sestak and Vodvarka fighting it out for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
Morganelli, Shapiro and Zappala will battle for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General, while Rafferty (favored) and Peters seek the Republican nomination.
Torsella and Knoll will contest the Democratic nomination for State Treasurer, while the Republican Voit is unopposed.
The Democrat and Republican candidates for Auditor General are unopposed.
Only 26 House incumbents out of 189 seeking reelection have a primary opponent, with 14 open seats.
Only 4 incumbent state Senators out of 25, all Democrats, have a primary opponent, with 3 open seats.
Click Here to see the list of those on the ballot.
Budget Hearings Start
The Senate and House begin hearings on Gov. Wolf’s FY 2016-17 budget request February 22, with the Governor’s Budget Office up first in the Senate and the Independent Fiscal Office up first in the House.
Senate budget hearings--
February 22-- 10:00- Governor’s Budget Office; 1:00- Independent Fiscal Office-Economic Outlook & Revenue Overview; 3:00- Dept. of Health.
February 23-- 10:00- Judiciary; 1:00- State Treasurer; 3:00- Auditor General.
February 24-- 10:00- Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources; 1:00- State Police/Homeland Security; 3:00- Dept. of Drug & Alcohol Programs.
February 25-- 10:00- Dept. of Environmental Protection; 1:00- Dept. of Community & Economic Development; 3:00- Attorney General.
House budget hearings--
February 22-- 10:00- Independent Fiscal Office/Economic Outlook; 1:00- Dept. of Revenue/Lottery; 3:00- Office of Open Records.
February 23-- 9:30- State Treasurer; 10:30- Auditor General; 1:00- Judiciary.
February 24-- 9:30- Gaming Control Board; 11:00- Dept. of Aging; 1:00- Public Utility Commission; 3:00- PUC Consumer Advocate and Small Business Advocate.
February 25-- 9:30- Liquor Control Board; 1:00- PA Higher Education Assistance Agency; 2:00- Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
House budget hearings are held in Room 140 (Majority Caucus Room) and the Senate budget hearings are held in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building.
The hearings are usually carried live on the PA Cable Network and online through the Senate and House Appropriations Committee webpages.
The complete schedules are available on the Senate Appropriations Committee and House Appropriations Committee webpages.
Watch for the sparks to fly next week on the state budget!
Will Hanger’s Departure Change Severance Tax Negotiations?
Micek: With Hanger’s Exit, Wolf’s Team Of Rivals Era Over

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