Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, December 18, 2023

December 18, 2023

Pennsylvania

Criminal Justice Reforms, Public Safety Among Top Priorities During Last Week of Session in 2023

The end of the halfway mark of session in Harrisburg has seen the passing of numerous bills around crime, public safety, and criminal justice reform, ranging from historic probation reform and clean slate legislation and first-time state funding for indigent defense to tougher penalties for “porch pirates.” City & State Pennsylvania has more of the December highlights.

Shapiro Administration Cancels Planned Voter Roll System Upgrade

The Shapiro Administration and contracted company KNOWiNK have mutually canceled a planned $10.7 million upgrade to Pennsylvania’s SURE, the commonwealth’s outdated, two-decades-old voter roll system, due to difficulties in implementation. Spotlight PA has more.

Secretary of State Schmidt Talks Election Integrity

During a recent discussion with This Week in Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Al Schmidt highlighted voter turnout and election administration turnover as two of the most pressing challenges facing the commonwealth’s election system. ABC27 has more.

State Democrats Endorse Representative Kenyatta for Auditor General, Representative Bizzarro for Treasurer

This weekend, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party endorsed State Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) and Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) for auditor general and state treasurer, respectively. Representative Kenyatta, now the first openly gay Black man endorsed for a statewide office, emphasized the importance of party and state unity, while Representative Bizzarro expressed readiness to collaborate. The Party did not endorse any candidate for attorney general, as none garnered the required two-thirds of the vote to win the endorsement. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Cabanas Nominated As GOP Candidate to Replace Galloway

Falls Township resident Candace Cabanas has been selected by the Bucks County Republican Executive Committee as the Republican Party nominee in the special election for the 140th House District. PoliticsPA has more.

Pennsylvania Has Two Years to Update Methane Rules to Meet New EPA Standards

Pennsylvania will have two years to update methane rules up to the new standards published this month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who will then have another year to review them. The goal is to cut methane leaks at oil and gas sites, targeting an 80% reduction in methane emissions by 2038. WESA has more.

New State Bill, Federal Rule Aim to Protect Kids From Lead in Water

A state Senate bill aims to address the pervasive issue of lead in school drinking water by requiring the replacement of older water fountains with high-filtration ones by 2026, offering a “filter first” policy to reduce lead exposure. An update to a federal regulation could further reduce lead exposure in water. WESA has more.

 

Philadelphia

Mayor-Elect Parker Announces Administration Leadership

This morning, Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker announced Tiffany Thurman, Aren Platt, and Sinceré Harris as the top three staffers in her administration. Thurman will serve as chief of staff, while Platt and Harris will serve as chief deputy mayors for planning and strategic initiatives and intergovernmental affairs, sustainability, and engagement, respectively. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Krasner, Street Rebuke New SEPTA Special Prosecutor Law

A new law signed by Governor Josh Shapiro last week would require special prosecutors to oversee crime taking place near SEPTA’s operations, severely impacting Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s authority to oversee criminal activity throughout the city. Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Sharif Street has also criticized the legislation, saying it never should have been signed. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

 

Pittsburgh

U.S. Steel to Maintain Pittsburgh Headquarters Following $14.9 Billion Acquisition by Nippon Steel

This morning, a $14.9 billion deal for Japanese conglomerate Nippon Steel Corporation’s acquisition of U.S. Steel was announced, though the Pittsburgh-based company will retain its name and local headquarters. WESA has more.

 

Federal

Senator Fetterman Breaks With Left Wing of Democratic Party

U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) made clear during a recent interview with NBC News that he does not consider himself to be a progressive, a proclamation that comes amid his staunch support for Israel and advocacy for stricter immigration laws than those proposed by some of his Democratic colleagues. NBC News has more

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