This week in Pa. history
5 YEARS AGO Corbett considers gun show bans
Gov. Tom Corbett suggested in a public radio interview in early January 2013 that he would consider banning gun shows on public property such as the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
The Republican governor’s remarks came amid a national conversation about gun violence following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Corbett was asked by a listener whether he had considered such a ban.
“It’s a good thing to raise, and I will give a thought to it,” he said on WITF’s “Smart Talk.”
Corbett had made up his mind by the end of the day.
“There would be no reason to ban (gun shows) on public property, such as the Farm Show building, as they are legitimate business owners conducting business,” a spokeswoman said.
10 YEARS AGO Reports: Pa. bungled 9/11 cash
Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency was found to be ill-prepared to manage the more than $400 million in federal money that had begun flowing into the state since Sept. 11, 2001, reports publicized in January 2008 found.
The Associated Press reporter Marc Levy wrote that the reports found “record-keeping has been so inadequate that state emergency officials, who must approve local requests for the money, cannot say whether equipment that has been purchased is still in use or where it is.”
The reports were prepared by the state Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a private firm, James Lee Witt Associates of Washington, D.C.
The state’s new director of emergency management, Gen. Robert P. French, did not dispute the findings. But he told Levy he was confident local emergency response officials have, in general, put the money to good use in spite of oversight failures at the state level.
15 YEARS AGO Capitol evacuated on opening day
Gov. Mark Schweiker, who had taken over for Tom Ridge 15 months earlier, praised the General Assembly’s work as he addressed 227 newly swornin lawmakers during a joint session of the House and Senate in January 2003.
Incoming Gov. Ed Rendell and the Legislature were preparing to take on medical malpractice reforms and a promised special session on the Democratic governor’s plan to reduce local property taxes while sharply increasing state funding for public schools.
The opening day, though, was disrupted when a series of fire alarms went off and the Capitol was briefly evacuated, suspiciously interrupting a House debate over an attempt by Rep. Gregory Vitali to change House rules to prohibit lawmakers from using legislative accounts to pay for television ads or hire outside telemarketers to contact constituents.
The first alarm was attributed to smoke emanating from Sterno cans — used by caterers in the building — after the flames were extinguished.
A subsequent alarm resulted from two malfunctioning hoses on steam pumps in the Capitol East Wing’s heating system.