DMGS Capitol Commentary


DMGS is currently hiring interns for the Fall in our Philadelphia, Trenton, and Pittsburgh offices. More information can be found here: Philly/Trenton (Fall)

Note: This issue of Capitol Commentary discusses presidential candidates and campaigns but is provided only for informational and educational purposes. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular candidate or political party.


OVERALL STANDING OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES (2,383 delegates needed for the nomination)
Hillary Clinton:
2,220 delegates (wins include Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, American Samoa, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Northern Mariana Islands, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania / Clinton has the support of 520 unpledged or ďsuperĒ delegates).
Bernie Sanders:
1,449 delegates (wins include New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Democrats Abroad, Kansas, Nebraska, Maine, Michigan, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington State, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Rhode Island, and Indiana  / Sanders has the support of 39 unpledged or ďsuperĒ delegates)


OVERALL STANDING OF REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEES (1,237 delegates needed for the nomination)
Donald Trump:
1,048 delegates (wins include New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, the Northern Mariana Islands, Arizona, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Indiana  / Trump has the support of 41 unpledged delegates). Following his decisive win in Indiana, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus stated via twitter that ď[Donald Trump] will be the presumptive [GOP] nominee.Ē He also called in this tweet for Republicans to unite behind Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Ted Cruz:
566 delegates (wins include Iowa, Alaska, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Maine, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Wisconsin/ Cruz has the support of 20 unpledged delegates). Following his loss in Indiana, Cruz announced that he was suspending his campaign.
John Kasich:
153 delegates (he has won Ohio and has the support of no unpledged delegates). Following his loss in Indiana, Kasich suspended his campaign.


The remaining primaries and caucuses are listed below

Saturday, May 7   
Guam Democratic Caucus
Tuesday, May 10
Nebraska Republican Primary
West Virginia
Tuesday, May 17
Kentucky Democratic Primary
Tuesday, May 24
Washington State Republican Primary


Saturday June 4  
Virgin Islands Democratic Caucus
Sunday June 5  
Puerto Rico Democratic Caucus
Tuesday, June 7  
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Dakota Democratic Caucus
South Dakota

Tuesday, June 14
District of Columbia Democratic Primary


The Senate was able, in April, to pass an FAA reauthorization bill. After initial delays around a package of amendments, and unsuccessful attempts by Democrats to include  a green energy tax credit renewal to the legislation, the Senate was able to approve legislation that would reauthorize the FAA through FY 2017. The Senate plan did not include a central component of the House reauthorization plan (the AIRR Act) that would privatize, in the form of a non-profit entity, air traffic control functions of the FAA. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Bill Shuster is continuing attempts to build support for his privatization plan. At the time of writing, a number of key Senate appropriators remained opposed to the proposal. FAA authorization expires on July 15.

The White Houseís Office of Management and Budget is expected to wrap up its review of a Department of Labor rule that would increase the minimum salary threshold required in order for an employee to be exempt from overtime pay protection. The rule as it is currently drafted would increase this threshold from $23,500 to $50,440. New reports suggest the final rule may lower the minimum exempt salary level to $47,000. The final rule could be issued as early as mid-May. DOL had projected in the fall that its final rule would be published in the Federal Register in July of this year. The proposed rule, published  in July of 2015, can be viewed here.

Republican leadership is moving ahead with the appropriations process absent a House budget resolution. As there is no budget resolution, the full House will need to wait until after May 15 to start voting on appropriations bills.



Statewide Updates




Governor Christie: ďAll NJ Schools Should be Tested for LeadĒ
New Jersey will test the water in its 3,000 schools for lead exposure beginning later this year and publicly release the findings, Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday, two months after results from 30 schools in Newark found lead levels as high as 35 times above the federal action limit.
The governor also announced the state will adopt stricter guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will trigger an investigation sooner when lead is detected in a child's blood
Under the governor's new regulations, all public schools will also need to post and notify parents of their lead testing results, and provide them with a description of any steps the school is taking to ensure safe drinking water will be made available to students.
Christie called on the Legislature to appropriate $10 million to cover the costs of the new statewide school lead testing mandate, which will take effect at the start of the next school year this fall.
Christie also embraced a 2012 recommendation by the CDC that said family notification, follow-up screening and other case management services are warranted if a child's blood test reveals at least 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in the blood.
Twenty-nine states adopted the CDC's tougher recommendation, but until Monday, New Jersey was not one of them. New Jersey still relied on the old CDC recommendation that calls for monitoring at a reading of 10 micrograms.
The CDC has said no exposure to lead is safe. Lead exposure inflicts permanent brain damage in children that linked to attention deficit disorder, memory loss, a low IQ and behavioral problems. 

Atlantic City Update
The battle for Atlantic City rages on and according to some sources, could create a political battle in NJ unlike one that hasnít been seen in a generation.
Even though the city made a $1.8 Million bond payment on 5/2 and narrowly avoided becoming the first NJ municipality to default on debt in nearly eight decades, the future is still grim as another default looms.
Mayor Don Guardian is opposed to a state takeover proposed by Governor Christie and Senate President Sweeney and has floated an alternative plan backed by Speaker of the House Prieto. Guardian and Prietoís proposal gives AC two years to work out itís problems before a state takeover goes into effect.
It is unclear whether the Guardian-Prieto proposal can pass a vote in the legislature and recent reports out of Trenton indicate that this battle could cost Prieto the speakership as many different NJ political factions are now pitted against one another.
AC Mayor Guardian has cited his opposition comes from wanting to keep  ďoutside interestsĒ from exploiting Atlantic City.
How this plays out will continue to be a central theme in NJ politics and may reverberate for years to come.

Pennsylvania Primary Report


The following is a brief update on the primary election held last Tuesday. We focused on contested races/open seats due to retirements. If you would like more information on other election results please click on the following link:

Presidential Primary
Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in Pennsylvaniaís Democratic Primary. Clinton picks up 91 pledged delegates from the state while Sanders picks up 59. Clinton also has the support of the stateís 21 superdelegates.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump easily beat his competitors, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, winning every county in the state. He has picked up all of Pennsylvania's 17 pledged delegates.

U.S. Senate
Katie McGinty beat 2010 Democratic candidate Joe Sestak by 10 points to become that partyís nominee for Pennsylvaniaís Senate seat. John Fetterman came in third with 20% of the vote. McGinty will face incumbent Republican Senator Pat Toomey who was unopposed in the primary.
U.S. Congress
Congressman Chaka Fattah (who received 36.8% of the vote) was defeated by Dwight Evans (who received 43.5% of the vote) in the 2nd Congressional Districtís Democratic Primary. Evans was endorsed by Governor Wolf and Mayor Kenney. Evans will face Republican James Jones, who was uncontested, in one of the most reliably Democratic districts in the state.
Congressman Bill Shuster, Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House, survived his primary challenge for the 9th Congressional Districts. In the closest federal race with an incumbent, Shuster won with 50.5% of the vote. His challenger, Art Halvorson received 49.5% of the vote. There were no Democrats running in that partyís primary for this seat.
Brian Fitzpatrick easily won the 8th Congressional Districtís Republican Primary with 78.4% of the vote. His challengers, Andrew Warren and Marc Duome received 12.5% and 9.1%, respectively. Fitzpatrickís brother and current representative of the district, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, is stepping down at the end of this term. Brian Fitzpatrick will face Steven Santarsiero in the general election who beat his challenger, Shaughnessy Naughton 59.8% to 40.2%.
Lloyd Smucker defeated Chet Beiler 54.1% to 45.9% in the 16th Congressional Districtís Republican Primary. The districtís current representative, Congressman Joe Pitts (R), is stepping down at the end of the term. Smucker will face Christiana Hartman in the general election who was unopposed on the Democratic ticket.
Matt Connolly defeated Glenn Geissinger 62.7% to 37.3% in the 17th Congressional Districtís Republican Primary. Connolly will face Congressman Matt Cartwright in the general election.
Pat Meehan easily beat his primary challenger, Stanley Casacio 76.2% to 23.8% in the 7th Congressional Districtís Republican primary. He will face Democrat Mary Ellen Balchunis who beat her challenger, Bill Golderer, 73.8% to 26.2%.
Mike Doyle easily beat is challenger in the 14th Congressional Districtís Democratic primary, Janis Brooks, 76.6% to 23.4%. There were no Republicans on the ballot in that partyís primary.

Other Statewide Elections
Attorney General

With 47.2% of the vote, Josh Shapiro beat his challengers Stephen Zappala (36.8% of the vote) and John Morganelli (16.07%) in the Democratic Primary for Attorney General. On the Republican side, John Rafferty beat his competitor, Joseph Peters 63.9% to 36.1%. Current Attorney General, Kathleen Kane (D), is not seeking re-election.
Auditor General and State Treasurer
The Primaries for Auditor General and State Treasurer were uncontested on both sides. Eugene Depasquale (D) will face off against John Brown (R) for Auditor General in the general election. Joseph Torsella (D) will face off against Otto Voit (R) for State Treasurer in the general election.

State Senate
Representative Tom Killion went unopposed in the open Senate seat vacated by Senator Pileggi.  Killion will faceoff with democrat Martin Molloy in the general election.
Sharif Street was acclaimed as the Democratic nominee for the 3rd Senatorial District. Street will replace the districtís current representative, Senator Shirley Kitchen, who is retiring.
Scott Martin defeated challengers Ethan Demme and Neal Rice in the 13th Senatorial Districtís Republican Primary. Martin is running to replace the districtís current representative, Senator Lloyd Smucker who is stepping down in order to run to replace Joe Pitts in the 16th Congressional District. On the Democratic side, Gregory Paulson ran unopposed.
Mike Regan defeated Jon Ritchie, Brice Arndt, and Scott Harper in the 31st Senatorial Districtís Republican Primary. Regan is running to replace that districtís current representative, Senator Pat Vance who will not run for a 4th term.
Representative Kevin Boyle challenged Senator John Sabatina for the 5th State Senate District's Democratic primary.  After counting absentee and provisional ballots Sabatina claimed victory.  Representative Kevin Boyle was not challenged for his House seat.


State House of Representatives
Former State Representative Kevin Haggarty defeated State Representative Frank Farina for the 112th House Districtís Democratic Primary.  Haggarty will challenge republican Ernest Lemoncelli in the general election.
Jared Solomon defeated State Representative Mark Cohen for the 202nd House District's Democratic Primary. With 56.93% of the vote (4980 votes) Solomon unseated Cohen after 42 years in office. Solomon will be running un opposed in the general election.
Brian Sims retained his seat in the 182nd House District's Democratic primary. Sims was challenged by Ben Waxman, Marni Snyder and Lou Lanni. There were no republicans in that party's primary for this district seat.
Morgan Cephas won an open primary in the 192nd House District's Democratic primary. Cephas beat 5 other challengers including 52nd Ward Leader Steve Jones. There is no republican challenger for this seat.
Perry Warren was unopposed in the 31st House Districtís  Democratic Primary. Warren is running to replace current Representative Steve Santarsiero (D) and will face Republican Ryan Gallagher in the general election.
Anita Astorino Kulik was unopposed in the 45th House Districtís Democratic Primary. Kulik is running to replace current Representative Nick Kotik (D). There were no Republicans in that partyís primary for this district seat.
Alan Benyak defeated five other challengers in the 49th House Districtís Democratic Primary. Benyak is running to replace Representative Peter Daley (D). On the Republican side, Donald Cook defeated Melanie Patterson.
Mary Popovich defeated Charles Mrlack and James Manderino in the 58th House Districtís Democratic Primary. Popovich is running to replace Representative Ted Harhai (D) and will face Republican Justin Walsh in the general election.
Dawn Keefer defeated Kraig Bruder and Anthony Pugliese in the 92nd House Districtís Republican Primary. Keefer is running to replace Representative Mike Regan (R). There were no Democrats in that partyís primary for this district seat.
Francis Ryan defeated three other challengers in the 101st House Districtís Republican Primary. Ryan is running to replace Representative Mauree Gingrich (R) and will face off against Democrat Lorraine Scudder in the general election.
Thomas Mehaffie defeated Jonathan Keeler in the 106th House Districtís Republican Primary. Mehaffie is running to replace Representative John Payne (R). There were no Democrats in that partyís primary for this district seat.
Jonathan Fritz defeated Alan Hall and Jerald Birmelin in the 11th House Districtís Republican Primary. Fritz is running to replace Representative Sandra Major (R). There were no Democrats in that partyís primary for this district seat.
Michael Corr was unopposed in the 150th House Districtís Republican Primary. Corr is running to replace Representative Mike Vereb (R) and will face off against Democrat Linda Weaver (who defeated Steven Burda) in the general election.
There were no Republican candidates on the ballot for the 158th House Districtís Republican Primary. Perry Bentley and Eric Roe are competing for a write-in victory. The current Representative, Chris Ross (R), is not running for re-election. Democrat Susan Rzucidlo was unopposed in her partyís primary for this district.
Brian Kirkland was unopposed in the 159th House Districtís Democratic Primary. Kirkland is running to replace Representative Thaddeus Kirkland (D) and will face-off against Republican Michael Ciach in the general election.
Alexander Charlton was unopposed in the 165th House Districtís Republican Primary. Charlton is running to replace Representative William Adolph (R) and will face-off against Democrat Elaine Schaefer in the general election.
Christopher Quinn was unopposed in the 168th House Districtís Republican Primary. Quinn is running to replace Representative Thomas Killion (R) and will face-off against Diane Levy in the general election.
Zachary Mako defeated Cynthia Miller for the 183rd House Districtís Republican Primary. Mako is running to Replace Representative Julie Harhart (R) and will face off against Phillps Armstrong in the general election.
Isabella Fitzgerald was unopposed in the 203rd House Districtís Democratic Primary. Fitzgerald is running to replace Representative Dwight Evans (D). There were no Republicans in that partyís primary for this district seat.





Despite Governor Kasichís ongoing presidential bid, business is as usual in Columbus.  In the past 6 weeks, both the Capital Appropriations Budget and a series of Mid-Biennium Review bills were introduced, and progress has been strategic and steady.  These bills are especially important, as they include funding levels for state agencies, schools and community organizations.

Capitol Appropriations Bill
Earlier this month, legislators introduced the State of Ohioís Capital Appropriations Bill (SB310) that provides appropriations for the repair, reconstruction and construction of capital assets of state agencies, colleges, universities and school districts.  The $2.6 billion dollar budget bill includes $160 million for community projects.  Specifically, it allocates $650 million for school construction, renovation, and maintenance; $428 million for higher education capital needs; $500 million for roads, bridges, water supply, and wastewater systems; $275 million for dams, parks, waterways, and wildlife projects; $160 million for community quality of life projects, and $100 million for critical health and human services.  More than nine projects aimed at fighting drug addiction were included in the funded projects, and many of the other community projects were awarded to more rural communities versus the urban core, as has been seen in recent capital expenditures.  Community organizations worked for months with local lawmakers on key projects for their districts, but competition was fierce. Organizations who were awarded funds were likely prioritized by regional commissions and showed true need, partnership abilities and workforce focus. Historically, the capital budget is relatively streamlined, as legislators work behind the scenes on all negotiations before introducing it.  There are no amendments or modifications expected to the bill, as the Ohio Senate passed it out nearly unanimously on 4/20/16, and the House is expected to take it up on the floor shortly. The bill will go to Governor Kasich for final approval in the coming week(s). 
Ohio lawmakers are also actively hearing testimony on a series of Mid-Biennium Review bills.  As seen in the past, Governor Kasich introduced these bills as separate pieces of legislation based on legislative content.  HB474 is a the Higher Education MBR that includes changes to the College Credit Plus program for high schools students who are also enrolled in college courses, as well as language that would allow community colleges to offer select bachelors degrees.  HB483 is the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities MBR that discusses overall changes to healthcare standards, reimbursements and home health.  Depending on testimony and chamber strategy, these bills, originally slated to be passed before the General Assembly recessed for the summer, may be postponed until the fall. 


Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is also a current legislative priority.  After a constitutional amendment failed in the last election, Ohio lawmakers are considering House Bill 523, a bill aimed at legalizing medical marijuana.  The billís sponsor, Republican Stephen Huffman, a Republican physician from Tipp City, views this path as a far safer option than future ballot initiatives.  The chairman of the House Select Committee on Medical Marijuana has set the end of next week as the target for final changes to the bill before sending it to the full House and then over to the Senate, where leadership is still uncommitted on the position it will take on this issue. Sticking points seem to be on Ohioís legal authority to reduce the drug from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 3 controlled substance, and whether marijuana damages developing brains or ameliorates their dysfunction in children with epilepsy and other neurological disorders, among other points of debate. However, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana (OMM) continue to collect signatures for another constitutional ballot amendment this November, and are not appeased by the legislatureís attempts at legalization.

Conference Presentation
On Tuesday, May 3rd, Ohio DMGS Director Katie DeLand will be a panelist at the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO)ís 2016 Ohio Nonprofit Conference and Excellence Awards at the Columbus State Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio.  This annual conference brings together hundreds of nonprofits from across the state for policy, advocacy and regulatory updates.  Katie served on the Fundraising & Grants Panel and spoke on the opportunities at both the federal and state levels regarding state budget earmarks, competitive grants and other discretionary funding awards. 


Follow DMGS on Twitter for daily updates from NJ, PA, OH, DC, and beyond! @DMGSLLC 

Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC will continue to monitor these and other important issues. Contact us at if you have an issue you would like additional information on, or to be removed from the Legislative Updates distribution list.






Copyright © 2016 Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC, All rights reserved.
Washington, DC | Newark, NJ | Trenton, NJ | Albany, NY | Columbus, OH | Harrisburg, PA | Philadelphia, PA | Pittsburgh,
Our mailing address is:
30 S. 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103