1) We're still not sure about the mechanics that could bring it to fruition, but Gov. Tom Wolf has made it clear that he's going to push hard for a severance tax on gas drilling in the state. In an appearance Monday in Monroeville, Governor Go Time said his proposed tax – which would be levied at 5.8 percent – is competitive with taxes in bordering states and would be lower than Ohio's proposed 6.5 percent tax.
2) A federal judge in Texas has issued an injunction that halts President Obama's executive order on immigration, just a day before the first provision of the order – the one that protects children who were brought to the country from deportation – was to take effect. The White House will appeal the decision, which sided with a lawsuit filed by more than half of the states in the country.
3) Recent statements by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul turned a public health question – immunization – into a political issue; a new website, released today by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, should bring us all back to the idea that maybe politics shouldn't play a role here. The site, an adaptation of the Framework for Reconstructing Epidemiological Dynamics -- or FRED -- simulates the spread of a measles outbreak in areas with a 95-percent immunization rate versus those with an 80-percent rate. Spoiler alert: an 80-percent immunization rate doesn't do much to stop an outbreak.
4) Actually, it's endorsement season, and the candidates for seats on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board are lined up to seek a nod from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee.
5) There's no denying the lofty position of Pennsylvania in the history of the United States, but there's one area in which we don't fare so well. For all of our illustrious history, we've produced just one president – sorry, Rick Santorum – and a new survey of political scientists ranks him as the worst president ever. James Buchanan -- the pride of Cove Gap, Pa. -- waffled over the legalities of Southern secession and going to war to stop it; that indecision is cited in the survey as the biggest factor in the ranking.