Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Twelve people in Chester County

.... might be to blame (or thank) for a whole host of potential policy shifts in Pennsylvania over the next two years.

Michael Smerconish, the morning talk show host at WPHT in Philadelphia, floated that thought as he interviewed the Count this morning.

There's truth to the statement.

Today's Inquirer showcases one idea that could be expedited in a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives -- a scenario that looks more likely after Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith edged out Republican Shannon Royer by 23 votes in a preliminary-but-closer-to-final tabulation yesterday.

The Count's pod mate, Jeff Shields, (with an assist from the ubiquitous Cattabiani) broke the story this morning about House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese, the frontrunner to become the next Speaker, planning to introduce legislation next year that could legalize poker, blackjack and other table games. A bill of that kind goes further if DeWeese is the one actually in charge.

So, yes, a handful of votes in one House district could have a big impact.

Afternoon update: Gov. Rendell throws a bucket of cold water on DeWeese's fire, according to the Inquirer's Harrisburg wonkette, Angela Couloumbis.

"I think it’s way, way premature," Rendell said a press conference. "We have to make sure that what we’ve done, in the expansion of gaming, is successful and works well, and whatever negative sides there are to it, that we can control them."

"And until we’ve had a significant test period to see that in operation, I don’t think any of these bills should be considered and I wouldn’t sign them."

Asked what he meant by a significant test period, Rendell said: "Probably, at least two or three years from the time all of the licensees are in operation. So probably not during my watch."

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