RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 11.23.12

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Matt Paul brings you the latest updates on the possible privatization of Pennsylvania Lottery management. Also, Governor Tom Corbett discusses his Thanksgiving holiday and we get a preview of deer season from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


State Considers Bid from Potential Lottery Manager

State officials have until the end of the year to make a decision on a 20-year, $34-billion dollar bid to turn over the day-to-day operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery a private company.  After qualifying three potential bidders, the Commonwealth received one bid from Camelot Global Services PA LLC.  It’s the same company that operates the National Lottery in the United Kingdom.

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell says the state would be well-protected by the potential private management agreement (PMA).  “There’s a profit threshold that the company has to meet in order to get paid incentive compensation,” Brassell says.  “Beyond that, if there’s any contract year where that profit threshold is not met, there are additional securities… that the state can dip into and deduct shortfall payments from to make up the difference.” 

The Corbett administration is looking to generate more money for programs that benefit senior citizens, a population that’s on the rise in PA.  The Pennsylvania Lottery is the only lottery in the nation, which generates profits solely for senior programs. 

But opponents point to last year’s record profit of more than a billion dollars at the Pennsylvania Lottery.  “There’s only 2.3% administrative costs; so it’s not only profitable, but it’s also efficient,” says AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director David Fillman. 

AFSCME represents 175 of roughly 220 Pennsylvania Lottery workers, and Fillman says they will sit down with state officials to discuss the bid next week.  “We’re confident that anything that the Commonwealth wants to do… it’s something that the current employees can do.” 

No decision has been made.  Brassell says they will evaluate Camelot Global Services and crunch the numbers determine if a PMA is in the best interest of the state.  Even if the bid is accepted, the state would maintain ownership and control of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

State Police Start Holiday Enforcement

The national Click it or Ticket campaign is underway through December 2nd.  It focuses on proper seatbelt and child safety seat usage.   But Pennsylvania State Police spokesman Trooper Adam Reed says that’s not all troopers will be looking for over the holiday.  He says they will also focus on aggressive driving and other violations.

Trooper Reed reminds drivers the seatbelt law is a primary offense for drivers and passengers under age 18, meaning they  must be properly restrained while riding in a motor vehicle, or you could be pulled over.  He encourages drivers to slow down and take their time over the busy holiday travel period.

As part of the campaign, State police will offer free child safety seat inspections. To get a list of sites, go to

Click It or Ticket is part of Pennsylvania’s “Operation Safe Holiday.”  PennDOT and police departments across the state are joining forces to increase enforcement through the New Year holiday.  Those efforts will include sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular safety patrols.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that 40% of the fatalities over the holiday weekend are related to driving under the influence of alcohol.

RadioPA Roundtable

Radio PA Roundtable 11.16.12

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman brings you legislative reviews from the Pennsylvania Farm bureau and the state Senate Majority Leader. Also, PA Auditor General Jack Wagner releases a 100+ page report on Penn State University and AAA weighs in on how Sandy will impact Thanksgiving travel this week and used car sales in the coming months.


Radio PA Roundtable is a 30-minute program featuring in-depth reporting on the top news stories of the week.

Click the audio player below to hear the full broadcast:


Philadelphia Delegation Members Call for Election Probe

Several members of the Philadelphia delegation led by the outgoing minority chair of the House State Government Committee are calling for an investigation into Election Day issues faced by voters in Pennsylvania trying to cast their ballots.

Representative Babette Josephs is asking the U. S. Department of Justice and the state Attorney General’s office to look into widespread irregularities including a large number of registered voters being forced to use provisional ballots. She also hopes incoming AG Kathleen Kane might be interested in taking a closer look.

Representative Josephs says some voters who had to vote by provisional ballot even had receipts from PennDOT showing they had registered, but their names were not on the voter rolls at their polling place.

The group also cites cases of people being told they must have photo ID, when a court ruling made that optional for this election.

Many of the provisional ballots were cast at Philadelphia precincts.  Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Department of State, says counties request a voter extract (a list of their voters) in late October from the Department  and any registrations processed after that date must be handled by the county. As to the issue of voters being forced to use provisional ballots because their names were not in the books, he says that investigation needs to begin at the particular county where that happened.

Wagner Releases Special Report on Penn State Governance

Nearly four months after he first went public with his preliminary recommendations, Auditor General Jack Wagner has released a 124-page special report on governance at Penn State University.  It includes nine chapter and two-dozen recommendations. 

“No matter what the board may say, in terms of changes they’ve made, very little structural government changes have occurred,” Wagner said at a state capitol news conference.  “It’s pretty much the same operation that existed on November 4th, 2011, the day before Jerry Sandusky was arrested.” 

Chief among Wagner’s recommendations is his call for the university president to be removed as a voting member of the Board of Trustees.  “Penn State has invested too much power, almost unlimited power – and I repeat – almost unlimited power in its president.”  Wagner declined to comment about the charges recently filed against ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier.

Other recommendations contained in the special report include: making the governor a non-voting member of the board, reducing the size of the 32-member board, strengthening quorum rules for the board and subjecting PSU the state’s open records law. 

Following Wagner’s news conference, a Penn State spokesman provided us with this statement: Penn State welcomes input from Auditor General Wagner.  The University only just received the report today but will conduct a thorough review.   

About half of Wagner’s recommendations would require legislative action; the other half would require changes to Penn State’s bylaws.  


Christman Blog: PAMatters – 1,000 Posts and Counting

I’m usually not one for empty platitudes associated with round numbers, but this one has meaning. has reached the 1,000-post milestone – that’s one thousand news stories, blog entries, video clips and audio offerings since our inception last year.

We are proud to have “Ask the Governor” as our cornerstone program and I’m pleased to announce it will return for more monthly installments in 2013. This is one of the few venues in which Governor Tom Corbett is available for direct interaction. Communicating your question or comment to the governor is as simple as clicking on the link for “Ask the Gov” at the top of this page and filling out the online form. That’s all. Then check back after the next scheduled taping to hear the governor take on the issues that matter to Pennsylvanians (you can see the date for the next taping in that Ask the Gov section). Our emails to date have addressed everything from the death penalty to pot holes, although pot holes never made it into the show. Taxes are, of course, a popular subject, especially those pesky property taxes and we expect and hope for more of your great questions in 2013 and beyond. Please tell your family, friends and neighbors to become regular contributors to the show by submitting their questions.

As PAMatters now begins to build to 2,000 posts, we will remain your one-stop-shop for coverage of issues that matter to YOU. Visit us regularly for Ask the Governor, Radio PA Roundtable, reporter blogs and the headlines that impact your life.

Thank you for your support so far and look for more great things to come from and Radio PA in 2013 and beyond…


National Guard Troops Almost Ready to Return to PA

The National Guard’s in-state response to Superstorm Sandy wrapped up several days ago, but some 450-Pennsylvania troops remain deployed in New York and New Jersey.  “The guys in New York are doing security work… they’re delivering supplies and delivering fuel all throughout New York City,” says Pennsylvania Adjutant General Wesley Craig.  “The troops in New Jersey are primarily re-fuelers and they’re supporting the New Jersey Guard because they have so many troops on active duty they need help re-fueling their own assets.”

Craig estimates the cost of these troops is in the $2.8-million dollar range, but says Pennsylvania will be reimbursed by New York and New Jersey. 

At the peak of the storm response, Major General Craig says 1,600 Pennsylvania National Guard troops were providing security & delivering supplies in the hardest-hit areas of eastern Pennsylvania. 

Craig expects all of the deployed troops to return to the Keystone State by the end of the week.