Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, December 19, 2022
December 19, 2022
December 19, 2022
While state House Democrats and Republicans have been going tit for tat in their fight over which party currently controls the chamber — including hosting competing swearing-in ceremonies and press conferences — former Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mark S. Singel suggests one historically successful tactic that neither side has yet deployed to resolve the current leadership crisis: communicating directly with one another. PennLive has more.
A study conducted and recently released by the Pennsylvania Economy League has found that the state’s Local Tax Enabling Act — the 1965 law that allows the state to determine what municipalities can and cannot tax — is outdated, due in large part to significant demographic shifts over the last several decades. Because of this, municipalities across the commonwealth often have difficulty generating enough revenue on their own to meet community needs amidst rising costs. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Last Friday, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System board voted to lower the contribution rate that state school districts must pay into the pension system, marking the first time taxpayers will see this cost decrease in more than a decade. The contribution rate will also go up less than anticipated over the next five years. PennLive has more.
Over the summer, Timothy Loehmann — the disgraced former Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014 — was hired as Tioga’s only police officer. He resigned just two days after his swearing in, which had sparked tremendous backlash throughout the small, rural community. Spotlight PA has the full story of how tensions boiled over, nearly bringing the entire borough to a standstill.
A new Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County allegedly exceeded Pennsylvania state air pollution limits before it even opened. In September, as the plant was preparing to open, the plant emitted more than 510 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nearly surpassing its yearly allotment of 516.2 tons, the second highest amount permitted in the entire state. StateImpact Pennsylvania has more.
Philadelphia’s soaring rates of gun violence — and more importantly, which policies would be the most effective in combating them — have been debated ad nauseam by government officials, community leaders, and residents alike. This week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that $25 million in American Rescue Plan funding will be directed toward Philadelphia law enforcement in their efforts to quell the violence. While few would debate that the funding is sorely needed, some critics, including CeaseFirePA Executive Director Adam Garber, would like to see more of the funding allocated to community-based violence reduction programs. City & State Pennsylvania has more.
The race for Allegheny County executive is well underway, with five candidates having entered the now crowded Democratic field to replace the term-limited Rich Fitzgerald. City & State Pennsylvania has more.
Over the weekend, the Republican Committee of Allegheny County met to choose their nominees for the three currently vacant state House seats that have caused such a kerfuffle in Harrisburg. While election dates remain uncertain, what is certain is that candidates Clayton Walker, Robert Pagane, and Don Nevills will run for the 32nd, 34th, and 35th House Districts, respectively. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
On Monday, after months of investigation and testimony, the January 6 Congressional Committee announced its recommendations, including the referral of Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry to the House Ethics Committee for defying a congressional subpoena. The final report will be released sometime before January 3 when Republicans take control of the House. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Outgoing U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is pleading with his successor John Fetterman not to eliminate the filibuster. On this weekend’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, Senator Toomey expressed concern that such a move would only increase the country’s already vast political divide. Senator-elect Fetterman campaigned heavily on his promise to get rid of the filibuster. Politico has more.
In two separate recent interviews with WESA, Pennsylvania’s outgoing members of Congress Mike Doyle and Conor Lamb reflected on coalition and relationship building, with both indicating that there may be more bipartisan cooperation going on in Washington outsiders may realize. WESA has more.
Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin wrap up this year’s Beltway Briefing podcast series as they reflect on key political and legislative battles of 2022 and — as the 118th United States Congress gets ready to convene — look ahead to events in Washington and beyond in 2023. Listen to the latest episode here.
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