Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, April 15, 2024

April 15, 2024


Republican Lawmakers Introduce Higher Education Proposal

Last week, Pennsylvania Republicans proposed grants and tuition discounts for students in high-priority disciplines to counter Governor Josh Shapiro’s higher education plan, aiming to address workforce shortages and declining enrollments. WESA has more.

Which School Districts Would Benefit From “Tax Equity” Under Gov. Shapiro’s Budget Plan?

Pending legislative approval of Governor Shapiro’s proposed FY25 budget, some 500 high-taxing school districts would receive “tax equity supplements” aimed at assisting districts that have reached their spending levels through high local property taxes by providing grants and tuition discounts. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

How PA Secures Mail Ballots, Prevents Fraud

Pennsylvania election officials have implemented multiple safeguards to verify mail ballots — despite continued Republican opposition and former President Donald Trump’s false claims of fraud. Certain gray areas persist, including drop box regulations and date requirements for ballots. Votebeat Pennsylvania has more.

PA Democrats Push for Significant Minimum Wage Increase

State Senator Christina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) is introducing legislation to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $20, citing the inability to cover basic needs amid ongoing frustration over stagnant wages. WESA has more.

PA House Subcommittee Investigates Impact of Potential Cannabis Legislation on Equity

The state House Health Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Care examined potential cannabis legislation’s impact on equity and social justice during a hearing on Thursday, which included testimony on social equity programs, public health concerns, and regulatory challenges in the cannabis industry. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

How SCOTUS Mifepristone Case Could Impact Abortion Access in PA

Though Pennsylvania has a generally favorable reproductive rights climate and a Democratic governor who has voiced his support for abortion access, an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case could limit access to mifepristone, a key drug used in medication abortions, which accounts for more than half of abortions performed in the state in 2022. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.



Mayor Parker Unveils Plan to Combat Crime, Gun Violence

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker marked her 100th day in office last week with a tour of Kensington, where she announced her administration’s plan to combat crime and gun violence, including an initiative to shut down open-air drug markets, a temporary halt to ghost gun sales, and the resumption of sheriff land sales to address housing goals. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

PHS Seeks Volunteers to Plant 1,100 Trees in Philadelphia Region

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is seeking volunteers to plant more than 1,100 trees in the Philadelphia region this week to enhance the city’s tree canopy and promote health benefits like stress reduction and improved mental acuity. Axios Philadelphia has more.



Pittsburgh Introduces Novel Diversion Initiative For Recurrent Minor Offenders

Pittsburgh has launched a diversion program for low-level offenders, aiming to reduce their involvement in the justice system and provide supportive resources, alongside changes to handling burglar alarms for more efficient police response. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh URA Grants Loans for Two Downtown Office Building Conversions

Last week, the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) approved roughly $4.88 million in loans for two downtown projects converting office space into affordable housing, creating over 100 residential units. WESA has more.



President Biden Cancels 10,800 Pennsylvanians’ Student Loan Debt

On Friday, President Joe Biden announced the cancellation of an additional $7.4 billion in student debt for 277,000 borrowers, including 10,800 Pennsylvanians, predominantly benefiting low- and middle-income communities. The Keystone has more.

President Biden, Former President Trump Make Campaign Stops in PA

Former President Trump spoke to a larger-than-expected crowd in Lehigh Valley over the weekend, where he endorsed Republican U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, criticized President Biden, and made false claims about election rigging during the 2020 presidential election. Meanwhile, President Biden has embarked on a campaign tour across the Commonwealth, focusing on his plan to raise taxes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Pennsylvania is once again expected to play an outsized role in this year’s presidential election, with certain battleground counties drawing particular attention.

A Look at Fundraising in Four PA Congressional Districts

As Pennsylvania’s April 23 primary nears, federal campaign finance reports provide insights into the fundraising performance of candidates in the 1st, 7th, 10th, and 12th Congressional District races. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Beltway Briefing: Politics of Choice

State supreme courts have become as political as courts get. Could the recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling on reproductive rights cost Republicans the November election? Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Towner French here.

The State AG Report: Swinging Through the Rust Belt, the Sun Belt & the South

Pennsylvania Public Strategies’ Jim Davis and Joe Hill joined Cozen’s State AG Practice’s Meghan Stoppel and Siran Faulders to discuss Pennsylvania races from the top of the ticket down. From Rust Belt state Pennsylvania, they traverse the other swing states of the Sun Belt and the South to explore how demographics in those other purple states may also drive voter behaviors. Listen to the latest episode here.


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