Radio PA Roundtable – September 2-5, 2016

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Bruce Beemer becomes Pennsylvania’s new Attorney General; and the NFL makes a major announcement involving Philadelphia.

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Radio PA Roundtable – September 12, 2014

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, Brad Christman visits a training seminar for police and corrections dogs; the city of Philadelphia moves to decriminalize marijuana; and the NCAA lifts some key sanctions it had levied against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

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

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Guns, Seized Guns

Advocates ‘Demand Action’ to End Gun Violence

The US Senate Judiciary Committee has already advanced four pieces of gun legislation, but it remains to be seen what the chamber will vote upon when it reconvenes next month.  Regardless of what happens, Vice President Joe Biden says it’s just the beginning.  “The American people are way ahead of their political leaders and we – the president and I and the mayors – intend to stay current with the American people,” Biden said on a Wednesday conference call hosted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The call came in advance of what advocates are calling the “National Day to Demand Action” to end gun violence.  In the Keystone State, rallies are planned, Thursday, in Easton and Norristown.  Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also has a Thursday news conference planned to address the issue. 

Vice President Biden laid out a number of priorities on the call, including universal background checks.  “No federal registry is kept, it’s not gun registration, it’s common sense,” Biden said, noting that such background checks only take minutes.  He says a loophole in the existing law allows 40% of guns to be purchased without a background check. 

Mayors Against Illegal Guns has already launched a TV ad campaign in Pennsylvania, urging Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to support expanded background checks. 

This is all in anticipation of a Senate debate next month, which is expected could include background checks either in the principle bill or as an amendment. 

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania gun rights supporters already have a date circled on their calendars next month.  April 23rd will mark Second Amendment Action Day at the state capitol.

Andy Reid is Out in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Eagles have officially cut ties with head coach Andy Reid.  The Eagles fired Reid after 14-seasons with the team, which ended a 4 – 12 2012 campaign by suffering a 42 – 7 loss to New York Giants on Sunday afternoon.  Reid is the winningest coach in Eagles history with 140-career victories, and he ranks 22nd on the NFL’s all-time list. 

In 1999, Reid’s first year with the organization, the team went 5 -11, but only had two other seasons below the .500 mark. 

Off-the-field drama also affected Reid earlier this year when his 29-year-old son Garrett passed away at the team’s training camp facility on the campus of Lehigh University.

Philly Museum Marks 200 Years of Discovery

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

"Discovering Dinosaurs" is one of the museum's most popular exhibits.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the nation’s oldest natural history museum, and it turns 200 next month.  The Academy will mark its yearlong bicentennial celebration with a major new exhibition to open on March 24th.  “We’re going to use the exhibit to celebrate the groundbreaking discoveries that scientists have uncovered here both in the past and present, and provide a little glimpse into what our third century will be as one of the great natural history museums in the world,” says Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Sara Hertz. 

The exhibition will be called The Academy at 200: The Nature of Discovery

A group of amateur naturalists founded the Academy of Natural Sciences back on March 21st, 1812, but many professional scientific disciplines got their start there.  For instance ornithology (the study of birds) and entomology (the study of insects) both began in Philadelphia. 

“Over the course of 200 years, the Academy has had an extraordinary arrange of people associated with it,” says Senior Fellow Robert Peck.  “They run the gamut from Henry David Thoreau to Earnest Hemingway, who did some collecting for the Academy in the 1930s.  The real James Bond, from whom Ian Flemming stole the name, was a curator of ornithology here for a period of about 40-years.”

It boasts a collection of nearly 18-million plant and animal specimens that’s described as library of life on earth, and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University welcomes nearly 200,000 visitors a year.   

(photo credits: ANSP/Will Klein)

Capitol View from East Wing

Committee Votes to Re-Bid Foxwoods License

The revoked Foxwoods casino license would be re-bid via a statewide public auction, under legislation penned by House Gaming Oversight Committee chairman Curt Schroder (R-Chester).  HB 65 was written to maximize state revenues, and would set the minimum bid for the casino license at $66.5-million dollars.  The original category 2 licenses were sold for $50-million dollars. 

The committee voted 21 to 4 in favor of Schroder’s bill, today.  It now heads to the House floor.  Meanwhile, the Foxwoods developers have appealed the revocation of their license in Commonwealth Court.    

The Foxwoods casino project was awarded its category 2 casino license in December of 2006.  After years of delays and financing woes, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted to revoke the Foxwoods license in December 2010.  Under current law, if the Foxwoods license is awarded to another casino developer it must stay within the City of Philadelphia. 

Earlier this fall, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord told a Senate committee that South York and Reading were the two alternative locations that would have the biggest impact on net revenues.  McCord’s analysis of PA’s gaming markets finds that a western Philadelphia casino site could generate the 5th greatest gain to statewide gaming revenues.  The site of the proposed Foxwoods site checked in at number nine on that list.

Corbett Signs Disaster Declaration Ahead of Hurricane Irene


Gov. Corbett briefs the media after declarating a statewide disaster emergency.

By declaring a statewide disaster emergency, Governor Tom Corbett says state agencies will have the flexibility they need to provide help to local emergency responders.  It also authorizes the state to use all resources and personnel as necessary.   1,500 National Guard troops have been pre-positioned in central and eastern PA.  “Hopefully we won’t have to use them, but they’re going to be in the area and be there.”  Corbett said at a Friday afternoon briefing. 

The governor urges every Pennsylvania citizen to heed the safety advice and warnings being issued by emergency managers across the eastern half of the state.  “You prepare for the worst, and you pray for the best,” Corbett says of Hurricane Irene

Southeastern Pennsylvania, in particular, has been saturated by rain.  Philadelphia has already set a record for monthly rainfall totals with 13-inches – before Irene even arrives.  But, Corbett cautions that nobody should take the situation lightly.  “Folks in the central part of the state, I’d be watching this storm.  I’m going to be watching this storm, very, very closely.” 

Governor Corbett tells reporters he’s cleared his scheduled through Monday, and will be splitting time between the Governor’s Residence and PEMA emergency operations center in Harrisburg.  Pennsylvanians can find all the resources they need for emergency planning online.