Pennsylvania Perspective for Tuesday, January 3, 2023
January 3, 2023
January 3, 2023
Nominated by Republican Jim Gregory (Blair) and seconded by Republican Tim O’Neal (Washington), Mark Rozzi (Berks) was elected Speaker of the PA House today. Rep. Rozzi was first elected to the state house in 2012 and most recently led the bi-partisan constitutional amendment effort to open the state’s statute of limitations window to allow for a limited retro-active window for victims of sex abuse to file civil lawsuits. Rep. Rozzi defeated Republican Carl Metzgar (Somerset) by a vote of 115-85 to become Speaker of the House. Although he has been a Democrat during his 10 years in the House, during his floor speech today he stated that he will oversee the House as an Independent and will not caucus with neither Democrats nor Republicans.
Pennsylvania’s 2023-24 legislative session officially kicked off today, marking historic firsts among both individual lawmakers and for the body as a whole. Notably, there are now more women lawmakers and lawmakers of color than ever before — thanks in large part to updated district maps — with many of them rising to new heights of leadership. While several vacancies remain — which will be filled by special elections later this year — PennLive has more about the current makeup of the General Assembly.
Key legislative priorities for this session — several of which have been highlighted by City & State Pennsylvania from hundreds of co-sponsorship memoranda circulated by lawmakers in the final days of 2022 — include proposals for a ballot curing measure, a ban on TikTok on state-owned devices and networks, a 72-hour waiting period for gun purchases, and the codification of abortion rights, among others.
Yesterday, a new state law went into effect that lowers the threshold for suspending the registrations of Pennsylvania vehicle owners that have racked up hundreds of dollars in turnpike tolls from $500 to $250. According to Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton, the legislation is intended to combat those who are intentionally cheating the system. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.
With only a few weeks remaining until his inauguration, last Friday, Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro announced the appointment of six deputy chiefs of staff for his incoming administration. PoliticsPA has more.
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has sided with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, filing an order last Friday stating that none of the seven articles of impeachment filed by state House Republicans against constitute “misbehavior in office.” It is unclear whether the January 18 impeachment trial in the Senate will be moving ahead as planned. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the formation of a new Carjacking Enforcement Unit last week, which will work with existing law enforcement entities throughout the city to investigate and prosecute the record-breaking number of carjacking cases. The unit was made possible by a $1.5 million budget increase to the Office of the District Attorney. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
A new regulation requiring the owners of Airbnbs and other short-term rental properties to secure a “limited lodging operator” license went into effect on January 1. The legislation, originally passed by passed by City Council in 2021, was intended to combat certain “bad actors” in the sector. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
It is perhaps no surprise that Philadelphia has countless exciting new development projects in the works, from new parks and museums to towers, affordable housing units, and even a highly anticipated new sports complex. Billy Penn has more on the projects to keep an eye out for in the coming year.
Brendan McPhillips, who recently helped lead Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman to victory in his campaign for the U.S. Senate, will be staying in Pennsylvania for the time being, where he will serve as campaign manager for former City Councilmember Helen Gym’s mayoral run. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.
In a recent opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michael H. Reed and J. Shane Creamer Jr. — the Chair and Executive Director, respectively, of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics — emphasized the oversight body’s commitment to enforcing the city’s strict campaign contribution limit for organizations and ensuring that political action committees (PACs) remain truly independent. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
The City has declared its intent to crack down on “streeteries,” the popular parking-space and sidewalk eateries that became a fixture of the local dining scene during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While all restaurants who operate streeteries must be fully licensed by January 9, only 22 businesses have applied thus far due to the “lengthy and confusing” application process. No applications have been approved yet. WHYY has more.
With a new year often comes a renewed commitment to local community improvement, and the hopes that the political squabbles of the past remain firmly behind us. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has highlighted several races, political trends, and policy priorities for lawmakers in Western Pennsylvania to keep an eye on this year.
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