Last Week Today is a roundup of all things politics and civics that happened in Philadelphia during the previous week. This includes legislation, news from political officials, government initiatives, and internet ephemera.
Democratic nominee Larry Krasner is preparing for victory in the district attorney race he is almost sure to win. Krasner is stepping down from his private practice after 25 years, making sure to avoid any conflicts of interest. This is an obvious move for Krasner, who said that in context of the former District Attorney Seth Williams’ transgressions, it is important for him to be transparent.
Christie Hatred is Real
Chris Christie’s approval rating was not helped by his blatant lie to reporters about not getting any sun. His rating is now 15 percent approval, 80 percent disapproval. According to a poll from Monmouth University, the most common words used in reaction to Christie’s beach photoshoot were “disgusted, angry, outraged, jerk, and profanity used.” And Twitter still hasn’t let go of the beach incident.
Sometimes my child, when you see only one set of footprints, it's because Chris Christie had kicked everyone else off the beach… pic.twitter.com/mGWlThIDLy
— Jake Turx (@JakeTurx) July 9, 2017
Budget Issues in Harrisburg
Gov. Tom Wolf is letting a unbalanced budget become law for the second straight year. The state legislature has not approved a tax plan necessary to pay for the budget. Wolf did not sign, veto, or amend the bill in the ten days it was on his desk, therefore it became a law. Wolf advocates for higher taxes to pay for the deficit, but Republican members of the legislature have pushed against any tax increases.
Michelle Obama Visiting
Michelle Obama is coming to the City of Brotherly Love, the Pennsylvania Conference for Women announced on Tuesday. The former First Lady will be in town on October 3 for the 14th Pennsylvania Conference for Women. The conference is already sold out, but you can add yourself to the ticket waiting list here.
President Donald Trump is being sued by a group of Twitter users for allegedly violating the U.S. Constitution. The group claims that Trump, as a government official, violated the federal law when he blocked them on Twitter. The users claim that Twitter is a public forum and that Trump’s tweets, which often contain official government announcements, should be open to everyone.
— Jameel Jaffer (@JameelJaffer) July 11, 2017
State Fights Opioid Epidemic
In an effort to fight the growing opioid problem creeping over the state, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to supply 300,000 ‘drug disposal’ pouches over 12 counties. The pouches render the pills useless and one pouch can deactivate up to 45 pills by just adding water. The goal is to lower the amount of prescription pills sitting idly in medicine cabinets.
Synthetic Marijuana Use Rising
Synthetic pot, often called K2, is a man-made drug designed to mirror the effects of marijuana. But K2 is much more powerful, and the can even cause overdoses. Executive Director of Lancaster Emergency Medical Services Bob May said they received 65 overdose calls alone between Monday and Friday. The drug can cause seizures, kidney damage, and aggression in its users.
Bridgegate Mastermind Gets a Break
David Wildstein, faced a possible 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to his role in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s notorious Bridgegate scandal. But instead he was sentenced to three years probation and 500 hours of community service. His testimony last fall helped prosecutors convict two other men in the scandal. Those men were sentenced to 18 and 24 months in prison for their roles.
— POLITICO New Jersey (@politiconj) July 12, 2017
Tuition Rising at PA Colleges
Pennsylvania state universities will see a 3.5 percent rise in tuition next year after a new plan was approved. The 14 universities are: West Chester, Cheyney, Clarion, Slippery Rock, Bloomsburg, Kutztown, California, Millersville, Indiana, East Stroudsburg, Mansfield, Shippensburg, Lock Haven, and Edinboro. Temple University will also raise tuition for in-state students 2.5 percent and Penn State University will vote on the issue next week.
Cost of Cosby Trial
The most intriguing trial of the area has cost Montgomery County over $219,000, so far. The sum will grow when Cosby is back for retrial this Fall. Montgomery County DA Kevin Steele said “you can’t put a price on justice.” The jury alone accounts for $74,000 of the costs so far. County officials have not yet determined how the cost of the trial will affect the budget.
Bucks County Murder Mystery
An extremely unusual murder case in the suburban Bucks County captured the attention of area over this past week. Four men ranging in ages from 19 to 22 disappeared between Wednesday and Friday last week, causing a massive missing persons search. There were no suspects named all week and the community and media were left to speculate on what happened to the four men. Eventually, 20-year-olds Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz were charged with the murders, after DiNardo pointed police to the remains of all four men located on his family’s sprawling 50-acre property. For continuous updates, click here.
This Cosmo DiNardo case is bound for a Netflix docu-series at some point, it's bonkers.
— Jamie Lynch (@jelynchjr) July 13, 2017
No chance Cosmo acted alone. You don't dig 12' deep holes with a shovel. Heavy equipment being used to excavate…father? #cosmodinardo
— Deke Dickerson (@dekedick) July 12, 2017