Not over for labor-dispute bills

Published by Karen Langley on .

That bill removing exemptions to the laws against stalking and harassment for parties to a labor dispute passed the Senate this afternoon.

But with an amendment in committee, it now returns to the House, where Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said the Senate changes need reviewing.

The House had left an exception to the criminal ban for "constitutionally protected activity," which the Senate changed to "activity protected by the Constitution of the United States, federal law or the Constitution of Pennsylvania."

"The committee will take a long look to see if there are any effects," Miskin said. "The intent of the legislation is to ensure that stalking and harassing and threats of violence are not permissible."

David Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association, which is backing the effort, has one response: "It has no practical effect."

While House Bill 1154 passed the House 115-74, it cleared the Senate 48-0.

One point of agreement between the chambers: No exceptions to the ban on threatening to use weapons of mass destruction.


Campaign Stop: April 7

Published by Karen Langley on .

In the Sunday edition, James O'Toole caught us up on the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. Cue the self-deprecating humor:

"If you want to hide a secret from someone," state Sen. Mike Stack advised the Oakland audience, "talk about it at a lieutenant governor forum because no one will hear it."

(There's more like that. After tweeting a few quotes, I received an email with the subject line: "Did a lieutenant governor steal your parking space?")

And an interesting fact to throw around next time you're talking about the state's second-ranking office: "Since the adoption of the state's current Constitution in 1968, no lieutenant governor has gone on to be elected governor or, for that matter, to any other position."


GOP hits McCord on Outsourcing

Published by James O'Toole on .

First Allyson Schwartz, then Tom Wolf, were the chief targets for Republican Party brickbats among the Democratic candidates for governor.  Treasurer Rob McCord got his turn Friday as the GOP jumped on his explanation of his former trade group's role in promoting the outsourcing of technology jobs.

Mr. McCord was the head of the Eastern Technology Council from 1996 to 2007, before running for treasurer.  In an interview with the editorial board of PennLive and the Harrisburg Patriot last week, he described the group's work guiding its membership on outsourcing as mainly a function of the Y2K crisis, the wave of software recoding that was designed to ward off the feared effects of the computer world's response to the new century's clock. 

The Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald pointed out, however, that the council conducted informational programs on outsourcing as late as 2007, years after the Y2K scare was history.

The GOP jumped on that, contending that it was showed "hypocrisy'' in light of the fact that McCord has successfully courted the support of many labor unions across the state.

"Pennsylvanians have to wonder if Rob McCord brought up his history of helping to send American jobs overseas while seeking union endorsements.  No wonder the Pennsylvania Democratic Party rejected these gubernatorial candidates,'' the GOP said in a press release.

The notion that the Democratic Party had "rejected'' these candidates was the GOP's tendentious interpretation of a vote at the last state committee meeting in which no candidate succeeded in passing the threshhold of a two-thirds majority needed for the organization's official endorsement.  McCord, however, got the lion's share of the committee's support there, collecting roughly half of the votes cast.

Since we shot a few of the GOP's bullets here, we'll cite the return volley from Mark Nevins, McCord's campaign spokesman:

"After watching Pennsylvania drop from 7th in the country in job growth to 47th, it's hard to take a lecture from Team Corbett on jobs.  The fact is, Rob has received more union support than any other candidate in the Democratic primary and, as a business leader, he helped invest in start-up companies that created more than 2,000 jobs in Pennsylvania. He is opposed to outsourcing and will continue to fight for jobs in Pennsylvania as governor."



Pennsylvanians have to wonder if Rob McCord brought up his history of helping to send American jobs overseas while seeking union endorsements. No wonder the Pennsylvania Democratic Party rejected these gubernatorial candidates.” - See more at:

SEIU, Fitz back Molchany

Published by James O'Toole on .


Rep. Harry Readshaw won big a few weeks ago in the Allegheny County Democratic Party's endorsement vote in his race against fellow Democratic Rep. Erin Molchany.  The two lawmakers were pitted against one another in the primary due to the recent round of  redistricting.  On Saturday, Molchany will showcase her own party and labor support in a rally with county Executive Rich Fitzgerald and officials of SEIU Healthcare Pa., and SEIU 32BJ.

An announcement from SEIU said they will be joined at the afternoon event _  1:00pm at 2615 Brownsville Rd., Pittsburgh _ by supporters including state Sen. Wayne Fontana, city Council President Bruce Kraus, and city Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.