The Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents' Association: a brief history

Back row from left: David Spett, Intern; Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio; Matt Spolar, Intern; Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Christopher Wink, Intern; John Baer, Philadelphia Daily News; Mario Cattabiani, Philadelphia Inquirer; Front row from left: profile of Chuck Ardo, Rendell spokesman; Alex Roarty, PolitickerPa.com; Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer; Jan Murphy, Patriot-News; Kari Andren, Intern; Chris Lilienthal, Capitolwire.com

I have mentioned that I am currently serving one of the great internships that still remain in the newspaper industry these days. For 12-weeks, I am getting $500 every Friday to cover the largest full-time State Legislature in the country in the Capitol of Harrisburg, Pa.

When I am done at the end of August, I will have reported with top-flight state political reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Allentown Morning-Call, the Harrisburg Patriot-News and the online-only subscription service Capitolwire.

What unites them all is that they are members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association. The nearly 115-year-old organization doesn’t do much to promote itself because it is mostly an informal collection of members from a struggling industry, so I didn’t know much about it when I got here.

I have learned plenty and thought many might be interested, too.

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The 10 most attractive women in the country, seriously

*Addition(s) amended

Care for a sophomoric distraction?

People magazine or someone came out with another one of those Sexiest Man Alive lists. You know where Brad Pitt or George Clooney or Matt Damon get credited with being attractive because its their job.

Well, in preparation for Sunday when I will be waiting for state budget negotiations to move along, I just did something I tend to avoid: wasting time with something incredibly meaningless to me.

But people love lists and beautiful women, so it seems perfect.

The most common traits of those listed include that I know absolutely nothing about their personal lives and have judged them entirely in the superficial context of TV and public opinion.

In no particular order, here’s a compilation of the 10 female celebrities I find the most attractive.

Lara Logan

Lara Logan: The Chief Foreign Correspondent for CBS News is beautiful, brilliant and British (okay, so actually South African, but alliteration is key here). She has to be the go-to choice for anyone making a list as ridiculous as this and wanting to retain some semblance of self-respect.

See others below the fold, you know you want to…

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Capitol Wire: Professor calls leasing the turnpike "risky" at hearing

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 27) – Leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the current financial market was called “risky, volatile and unpredictable” by one professor who studied the proposal and spoke at a House Transportation Committee hearing Thursday.

“Why sell your prize asset in a buyer’s market?” Dr. Patrick J. Cusatis, an assistant professor of finance at the Harrisburg campus of the Pennsylvania State University, asked the committee.

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Capitol Wire: A. Richard Gerber, Democratic politician, 73, dies

By Christopher Wink | Jun 26, 2008 | Capitol Wire

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 26) – Richard Gerber, active in state Democratic politics, former chairman of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission and father of a current state legislator, died Wednesday night, several sources have confirmed. He was 73, a friend said.

“He was just a dynamic personality and possessed a strength of personality and a special kind of loyalty,” said U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa. “He would go right through a wall for you if he needed. Whatever it would take in a campaign. A truly great Democrat.”

Gerber was a longtime friend of the Casey family and ally of Casey’s father and former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert P. Casey Sr. since at least 1966 when Casey Sr. first ran for governor, Casey Jr. said.

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Capitol Wire: State graduation exam criticized in House committee hearing

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 26) Graduation competency exam requirements for Pennsylvania public schools were roundly criticized by panel and committee members during a public hearing of the House Education Committee Wednesday.

The new graduation exit exam, supported by Gov. Ed Rendell and the State Board of Education, has come under fire from critics for depleting classroom teaching.

“We don’t know what problem the state board is trying to solve,” said Pat Halpin-Murphy, the government relations director of Pennsylvania’s chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. The real issue is a lack of reading comprehension development in the earliest grades, which wouldn’t be solved by establishing another testing obstacle for high school graduates, she said.

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Budget negotiations start getting serious

HARRISBURG (June 25) State legislators are narrowing their focus on budget negotiations as its deadline rests just five days away.

Leaders from the four caucuses broke from a final meeting on general issues this afternoon and will return at 6 P.M. to begin talks on education, said House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Mario Civera, R-Delaware.

The focus of this afternoon’s negotiations were still on “tightening global issues” and few details had been agreed upon yet, said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Gibson E. Armstrong, R-Lancaster.

“Everything is still on the table,” Civera said.

Negotiations have remained tethered to a debate on overall spending, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia. Republicans want to keep state spending near the four percent rate of inflation, said Senate President Pro-tempore Joseph B. Scarnati III, R-Cameron, which is less than Democratic proposals.

“Some steps forward,” said Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna.

The leaders will be available to meet late into the night to broker a deal that will have to be approved by the General Assembly and the Governor.

“Nobody has left the table,” Civera said. “So that’s good news.”

Image courtesy of Art Voice.

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Capitol Wire: Tuesday's budget negotiations focus on Rainy Day Fund

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG (June 24) – The battle over the state surplus was a major element of Tuesday’s budget negotiations, said legislative leaders who participated in those discussions.

“The Rainy Day Fund is not to be touched,” said House Appropriations Committee Minority Chairman Mario Civera, R-Delaware. “If that’s resolved, I think we would be good, not June 30, but maybe a day or two late.”

Democrats proposed to take about $375 million of the state’s Rainy Day budgetary reserve fund and spend it. That would leave about $500 million in it after this budget, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia. Evans and Civera spoke after Monday’s round of negotiations.

Republicans, however, steadfastly oppose that plan.

“One thing that is not acceptable is touching the Rainy Day Fund,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Gibson Armstrong, R-Lancaster.

The caucuses could agree to use a portion of the year’s surplus destined for the Rainy Day Fund, though not already part of the fund, said Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna.

“We certainly haven’t made a backwards step,” said House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene.

….

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Capitol Wire: Bill: bullet-proof vests would be required for security companies

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG – Bullet-proof vests would need to be company-issued for private security guards who carry firearms, according to a bill that was reported out of the House Judiciary committee Tuesday.

House Bill 2119, introduced by John P. Sabatina Jr., D-Philadelphia, would require private security companies to purchase bullet-proof vests for employees with firearms.

In October 2007, two guards from security giant Loomis were killed and another injured in a neighborhood in Sabatina’s Northeast Philadelphia district.

“I believe bullet-proof vests would have saved their lives,” Sabatina said. Those given vests would not be required by the bill to wear them.

Minority Chairman Ronald S. Marsico, R-Dauphin, suggested the economic burden the legislation would put on smaller security firms is undue, considering police departments in Pennsylvania aren’t bound by similar mandates.

“Just wait,” Sabatina said. “That could be next.”

After the bill initially failed 14-15, Kathy M. Manderino, D-Philadelphia, called for reconsideration and switched her vote to an affirmative so the measure could be reported out of committee and developed on the House floor.

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