Scheduling of Special Elections to Fill Vacant State Senate, House Seats Underway
Special elections to fill the vacant seats in state Senate District 27 and state House District 32 are underway, with writs having been issued for both, and the former being made official today by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s signature. The election to fill the seat of former Senator John Gordner — who resigned earlier this week — will be held Tuesday, January 31, while Tuesday, February 7, has been proposed for the election to fill the seat of late Representative-Elect Tony DeLuca — who passed away mere weeks before the midterm elections.
IFO Releases Report on Monthly Revenue Update
The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the state agency responsible for providing revenue projections and impartial analysis for state legislators, has released its monthly revenue update for November. Actual General Fund collections were $129 million below initial IFO projections, reflecting a $3.87 billion decrease compared to November 2021. The comparative underperformance is likely due in part to delays caused by the Department of Revenue’s tax modernization project. View the report here.
Despite Hiccups, Luzerne County Elections Finally Certified
The Luzerne County elections board certified its midterm elections results Wednesday despite having been sued for missing a state deadline earlier in the week. On Monday, the board voted 2-2, with one abstention, to defy the state certification deadline due to Election Day paper shortages at county polling places — which the board’s two Republicans argued amounted to a failed election process. The Hill has more.
Standardized Test Scores Declined for Second Consecutive Year
New testing data released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Education is shedding light on the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning capabilities. For the second consecutive year, Pennsylvania System of State Assessments (PSSA) standardized test scores have declined among third through eighth graders, suggesting that students and teachers are still struggling to catch up in the wake of severe learning interruptions. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Governor Wolf Signs Emergency Emissions Regulation
On Wednesday, Governor Tom Wolf signed a Certification of need for an emergency environmental regulation to curb oil and gas emissions. The move comes after the Environmental Quality Board voted 16-2 to adopt a rule that limits such emissions. WESA has more.
City Council Passes 10 p.m. Curfew for City Teens
On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council passed a bill implementing a permanent 10 p.m. curfew for the city’s teenagers. A similar piece of legislation was put in place over the summer, but expired in September. The curfew is intended to keep Philadelphia’s youth safe, though critics question whether it will have any noticeable effect on crime. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Former City Councilmember Helen Gym Officially Launches Mayoral Campaign
After resigning her at-large City Council position last week, Helen Gym made her entry into the already crowded 2023 mayoral race official yesterday, kicking off her campaign at the William Way LGBT Community Center. Gym is the eighth candidate to throw her hat into the ring, with likely the most progressive platform. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Pittsburgh Awards $1 Million in Stop the Violence Grants
City officials announced $1 million in grants would be awarded to more than 30 local community organizations for their Stop the Violence initiative, which itself is one prong of Mayor Ed Gainey’s Pittsburgh Plan for Peace. The funding will be used to support those who exhibit risk factors for violent behavior in order to prevent violence before it occurs and help people live healthier lives. WESA has more.
New Pittsburgh Homeless Shelter Already Nearing Capacity
Second Avenue Commons, a homeless shelter that opened its doors last week, is reportedly already at capacity. The year-round downtown Pittsburgh shelter, a collaboration between the city and local community partners, is part of a new approach to addressing homelessness in the city. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.