Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, August 22, 2022

August 22, 2022


Commonwealth Court Judges Call for Release of Medical Marijuana Information

On Friday, the Wolf Administration was ordered by a panel of Commonwealth Court judges to release information regarding the number of patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana as a means of treating opioid use disorder. Opponents of the decision argue that this would breach doctor-patient confidentiality, while proponents believe aggregating such data is an important step to help Pennsylvanians understand the state’s medical marijuana program and how it functions. Spotlight PA has more.

Federal Highway Funds at Risk Over Refusal to Regulate Emissions

Earlier this month, the state House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee blocked a proposed emissions regulation, and in doing so, may have also inadvertently prevented the state from receiving more than half a billion dollars in federal highway funding to repair roads and bridges. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if Pennsylvania does not regulate its oil and gas industry by December 16 of this year, the state could forgo up to $750 million in federal highway funds next year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

Gaps In FBI National Database Result From Failure of Law Enforcement Agencies to Report

No law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania successfully reported their 2021 crime data to the FBI. Pennsylvania is far from unique, with an astounding 40% of law enforcement agencies nationwide failing to do so, thus creating huge gaps in the FBI’s national database and subsequently generated crime statistics. The Marshall Project has more.



Profile: Can Ryan Boyer Change How Philly Unions Do Politics?

Ryan Boyer is the first Black leader of the Philadelphia Building Trades. Philadelphia Magazine chronicles his rise to power and offers insight into his plans to mobilize labor unions’ political power in upcoming elections.

Workers for School District of Philadelphia Vote to Strike

A week before the 2022-23 school year is set to begin, maintenance, custodial, and transportation employees for the School District of Philadelphia voted to authorize a strike in light of the currently stalled contract negotiations. The workers are represented by the Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ. WHYY has more.

School District of Philadelphia Raises Red Flags Over Two Charter Schools

The School District of Philadelphia is voicing concerns about two West Philadelphia charter schools that it claims lack management structure and still have significant teacher vacancies. School District officials have even penned letters inviting parents of roughly 1,000 Bluford and Daroff students to enroll at other district schools for the upcoming school year. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

New Union Focuses on Organizing Local Coffee Shop Employees

A new Philadelphia union has materialized, focused on assisting in the organizing efforts of local independent coffee shop employees. Local 80, the new branch of Workers United — itself a SEIU affiliate —is so named because of the 80 people involved in the branch’s creation. Billy Penn has more.



Allegheny County Selected to Participate in Harvard-Led Initiative

Allegheny County has been chosen to participate in a new Harvard Kennedy School-led initiative to implement alternative responses to 911 calls. The initiative is intended to reduce reliance on law enforcement and medical responders in order to improve outcomes for callers, especially in communities of color. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Driver’s License Scanners Proposed as Potential Solution to “Problem Customers” at South Side Bars

At a meeting with South Side bar owners on Tuesday, District Attorney Stephen Zappala floated the idea of using driver’s license scanners not only to confirm patrons’ ages, but also to identify patrons’ history of bad behavior at other neighborhood bars. While the idea has not been formalized in any way, it is seen as a potential means by which bar owners can keep their establishments safe by curbing violence. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Airmall Operator Loses Bid to Continue Operating Pittsburgh International Airport Concessions — Again

Fraport Pittsburgh has lost its second consecutive bid to stay on as operator of the Pittsburgh International Airport’s airmall. On Monday, the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas denied an emergency motion to stay an earlier ruling that denied the operator’s request for a preliminary injunction. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.



Election Officials Across the Nation Experience Difficulty Accessing Federal Funding to Combat Threats of Violence

Across the country, election officials have resigned en masse, with many citing increased threats of violence as their reason for leaving. And with many elections offices experiencing difficulty in accessing federal funding for increased election security, elections will likely continue to be severely understaffed. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Labor Day Rally in Wilkes-Barre to Feature Former President Trump

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Luzerne County Pennsylvania over Labor Day weekend for a rally in support of Republican candidates Doug Mastriano and Dr. Mehmet Oz, who are running for the governor and U.S. Senate, respectively. PennLive has more.

Dr. Fauci to Step Down in December

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has announced that he will be stepping down from government service in December of this year. Dr. Fauci became a household name during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time his expertise was politicized in an unprecedented manner. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.


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