Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, August 17, 2023

August 17, 2023


Lawmakers Hope State Police Funding Will Help End Practice of Diverting Road Dollars

Lawmakers in Harrisburg are hopeful that the nearly 8% budget bump allocated to the State Police force in the recently passed FY24 budget will help end the routine diversion of funding from road and bridge construction that Pennsylvania has relied on in the past 50 years. Spotlight PA has more.

Bill Introduced in State House Aimed at Sustaining Long-Term Substance Use Disorder Recovery

On Tuesday, state Representative Jim Gregory (R-Blair) introduced legislation that would create a Lifetime Recovery from Substance Abuse Grant Program within the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to help Pennsylvanians suffering from substance use disorders stay in recovery for the rest of their lives. The bill has bipartisan support. WTAJ has more.

State House to Consider Implementation of Four-Day Work Week for Certain Employers

State Representative Roni Green (D-Philadelphia) has circulated a co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would reduce the standard number of hours in a full-time work week from 40 to 32 hours for businesses with more than 500 employees. ABC27 has more.

Pitt, State Researchers Identify Correlations Between Fracking, Various Health Problems in Children

The results of three joint studies conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health were released Tuesday, detailing the relationship between living near fracking operations and childhood cancers, asthma and birth outcomes. While the studies did not identify a causal relationship, there were numerous correlations. PublicSource has more.

Opinion: State Senate Should Rework Probation Reform Legislation, Says Former Public Defender

Veronica Miller, a former public defender who now works with the ACLU, argues in an opinion piece in City & State Pennsylvania that the state Senate should amend a probation reform bill currently being considered in order to make the system less punitive and less complicated.



What to Know About Philadelphia’s Mayoral Race

The end of summer is in sight, meaning Philadelphia voters will soon be heading to the polls to elect their 100th mayor. The Philadelphia Inquirer has published a guide on what to expect from Democratic nominee Cherelle Parker and Republican nominee David Oh, who served together on City Council until they each resigned to kickstart their respective mayoral campaigns.

Republicans Appeal Ruling on WFP Candidates’ Candidacy

Working Families Party (WFP) candidates for City Council — incumbent Councilmember At-Large Kendra Brooks and Nicolas O’Rourke — recently survived legal challenges to their spot on the November ballot. Philadelphia’s Republican Party is now appealing the judge’s ruling, alleging that the candidates improperly filed their respective statements of financial interest. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Councilmember Driscoll to Run for Council President

District 6 City Councilmember Mike Driscoll will reportedly be running for Council President. Members of City Council will vote to choose current Council President Darrell Clarke’s successor when the new session begins in January 2024. Northeast Times has more.

Philadelphia Zoo Announces New President

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Zoo announced that Jo-Elle Mogerman will be the institution’s first Black person and first woman to serve as president in its 164-year history. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Tenant Shot During Eviction in July Files Lawsuit

A lawyer for Latese Bethea, who was shot in the leg by a landlord-tenant officer during an eviction last month, has filed a lawsuit against Philadelphia’s appointed Landlord Tenant Officer Marisa Shuter, the landlord, and the contractor who carried out the eviction. This is the second such lawsuit filed, with the July shooting the third occurrence of its kind in four months. The move comes at a time when officials are considering overhauling the city’s for-profit eviction system. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

SEPTA Prepares for Return of Route 15 Trolleys, Additional Bus-Only Lanes in Center City

This week, SEPTA announced that the iconic green Route 15 trolleys will begin returning to service on September 10. The agency will also be painting more red bus-only lanes in Center City following the success of a pilot program that helped reduce traffic delays and wait times for bus riders.



Westmoreland Democrats Race to Replace Hovis on County Commissioner Ballot

Following the sudden withdrawal of Democratic candidate for Westmoreland County commissioner Sydney Hovis from the race, local Democrats are scrambling to fill a vacancy on the November ballot. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Pittsburgh Launches Online Dashboard to Track Revitalization Efforts

The City of Pittsburgh has launched an online dashboard to track various metrics — including those related to monthly visitors, public transit ridership, and hotel occupancy, and more — in an attempt to support downtown revitalization efforts. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Officials Believe Pittsburgh Land Bank is Turning a Corner

The Pittsburgh Land Bank, first created by City Council in 2014, has been stalled for the first eight years of its existence. However, with its first sale having been made in May, officials believe that the land bank is turning a corner. WESA has more.

Staffing Shortage Impacts Recycling Pickup, Audit Finds

An audit recently conducted by the Pittsburgh City Controller’s Office on Pittsburgh’s recycling program has found that city staffing shortages have regularly resulted in delays in recycling pickup. WESA has more.

Wilkinsburg Development Group to Appeal Commonwealth Court Decision on Proposed Annexation

The Wilkinsburg development group responsible for the 2022 attempt to annex the borough to Pittsburgh plans to appeal the recent Commonwealth Court decision requiring both municipalities to put the decision to their respective voters. WESA has more.



Pennsylvania Features in Most Recent Indictment of Former President Trump

On Monday, former President Donald Trump once again made history with a fourth indictment, this time coming from a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, for alleged attempts to overturn the state’s election results in 2020. And once again, the indictment features plenty of Pennsylvania connections. WESA has more.

U.S. Senator Fetterman Talks Congressional Gridlock, Farm Bill, More

During a recent trip across the state, freshman U.S. Senator John Fetterman discussed his frustrations with gridlock in Congress, his role in helping craft the highly anticipated reauthorization of the federal farm bill, and the future of the Democratic Party in 2024 and beyond. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Republican Rob Mercuri Enters U.S. House Race

This week, Republican state Representative Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democratic U.S. Representative Chris Deluzio. WESA has more.


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