Pennsylvania Perspective for March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024


Gov. Shapiro Unveils Election Security Task Force

On Thursday, Governor Josh Shapiro announced a new election security task force aimed at ensuring the 2024 vote in the state is free from interference, misinformation, and other major obstacles. The task force will be led by Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt and include officials from various government agencies. Votebeat has more on voting machine integrity in Pennsylvania’s upcoming presidential election.

Shapiro Administration Takes Aim at Gun Violence

As part of his proposed FY25 budget, Governor Shapiro has proposed a $100 million plan to combat gun violence, including the creation of an Office of Gun Violence Prevention. However, its fate in the Republican-controlled Senate is uncertain. WESA has more.

Cyber Charter Reform Could Save Certain Southwestern Pennsylvania Schools More Than $1M

Pennsylvania school districts could save $262 million with cyber charter reforms proposed by Governor Shapiro, potentially benefiting districts like Penn Hills, Steel Valley, and Woodland Hills with savings of up to $700,000 each, according to state data from the 2021-2022 school year. WESA has more.

State House, Senate Races to Watch in November

The upcoming general elections in Pennsylvania could determine control of the state House, with Democrats currently holding a slim majority and Republicans eyeing competitive races in various districts across the state, including suburban Philadelphia, Johnstown, and the Lehigh Valley. Meanwhile, Republican strategists are eyeing at least five opportunities to expand the party’s advantage in the state Senate, while Democrats hope that recently redrawn districts have given them an advantage in three Senate districts.

DEP Seeks Additional Funding for Equipment for Water, Air Quality Testing

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is seeking funding for additional water testing systems to detect PFAS — also known as “forever chemicals” — faster, following new state regulations governing their levels in drinking water, as well as new air quality monitors in response to concerns about poor air quality in certain areas. WHYY has more.



Mayor Parker Addresses Chamber of Commerce

During her first address to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Mayor Cherelle Parker urged Philadelphia businesses to bring remote employees back to in-person work. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Proposed Legislation Would Tighten Rules Governing RCOs

City Councilmember Cindy Bass (District 8) has proposed legislation that would require leaders of Registered Community Organizations (RCOs) to reside in the neighborhoods they serve. Currently, there is a patchwork system of zoning rules for different Council districts and neighborhoods across the city. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Comcast Spectacor Proposes $2.5B Stadium District Transformation

Comcast Spectacor unveiled plans to transform South Philadelphia’s stadium district into a vibrant sports and entertainment complex featuring hotels, residences, restaurants, shops, and a 5,500-seat performance stage over the next decade. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

School District, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

The Philadelphia School District and its largest union, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, have reached a tentative one-year contract extension, with a 5% raise and $1,200 bonus to its 13,000 teachers, counselors, nurses, secretaries, and other workers. City & State Pennsylvania has more.



City Council Considers Allowing Pittsburgh Parking Authority to Issue Tickets by Mail

A proposed bill in Pittsburgh City Council would allow the Parking Authority to issue parking tickets by mail to registered vehicle owners, aiming to enhance efficiency and safety for parking attendants amid staffing shortages, although concerns remain regarding reduced enforcement in certain neighborhoods. WESA has more.

Gov. Shapiro Visits Pittsburgh to Discuss Higher Education Plan

During a visit to the Community College of Allegheny County on Tuesday, Governor Shapiro outlined details of his plan to revamp Pennsylvania’s higher education system, proposing to merge state-owned universities and community colleges, increase financial aid, and implement a new funding formula. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Water Utilities Increase Aid to Low-Income Customers

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) customers participating in a pilot program offering free plumbing assistance saw significant reduction in their water bill, though officials hope to see an increase in enrollment among eligible participants. WESA has more.



Democratic Candidates for PA-10 Participate in Debate

The Democratic race for an opponent against U.S. Representative Scott Perry in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District began with a debate featuring five out of six candidates, focusing on various issues and priorities, including election integrity and candidate qualifications, ahead of the April 23 primary. PennLive has more.


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