The Battling Toms continue to battle and Harrisburg has a month to get some stuff done before November's elections. Add it all up and you have a pretty busy Tuesday.
- Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee in the race for governor, reiterated his campaign's claim that Gov. Tom Corbett cut $1 billion from education during his first term, prompting an exchange that left both Toms looking a bit weak. Mr. Wolf was asked about the details of his opponent's cuts; he responded by saying he didn't want to "get into the weeds on the details." The response of Corbett campaign officials? They seem to be stuck in a time warp where their guy is running against Ed Rendell: "So basically, (Mr. Wolf is) saying we're right and he's engaging in semantics to perpetuate a lie against Gov. Corbett's historic investments in our public schools and cuts made by his former boss and mentor that were replaced by one-time federal stimulus money from Washington," said Billy Pitman, a Corbett spokesman.
- As we mentioned a day ago, it seems like a good bet that a cigarette tax to help bail out the Philadelphia School District – that's a $2-per-pack tax the district says it needs to fill an $81 budget hole – will get quick attention from the General Assembly.
- One we didn't mention a day ago? The potential for movement on a proposal to allow the use of medical marijuana in the state. State Senate Republicans will discuss the bill, which would provide for a narrow use of marijuana for medical purposes, this week; if that caucus reaches a favorable outcome, a vote by the full Senate could come next week. The bill's prospects in the House – and, if it gets that far, before Mr. Corbett – don't seem as solid.
- Mr. Corbett is asking Commonwealth Court to block the release of hundreds of emails related to the Jerry Sandusky case, after the state Office of Open Records ruled that the emails should be released. Penn State alumnus Ryan Bagwell filed requests to review 644 pages of emails between former Education Secretary Ron Tomalis, aides to Mr. Corbett and officials at Penn State.
- And speaking of emails, the Post-Gazette has filed suit in Commonwealth Court to force the state's executive branch to halt its practice of permanently deleting emails after five days; the suit seeks to establish a policy that requires emails be stored for at least two years. The suit stems from the employment of Mr. Tomalis as Mr. Corbett's special adviser on higher education; Mr. Tomalis resigned last month amid accusations that he collected a $140,000 salary for a no-work job. A right-to-know request filed by the PG yielded just five emails from Tomalis, along with a startling admission by acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq that officials in her department delete emails daily.