Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, February 12, 2024

February 12, 2024

Pennsylvania

Bucks County Special Election Happening Tomorrow

While tomorrow’s special election for Pennsylvania’s 140th state House District will no longer be a tie-breaker — due to Representative Joe Adams’ (R-Wayne) immediate resignation on Friday — the race between Democrat Jim Prokopiak and Republican Candace Cabanas will still see Democrats aiming to maintain their narrow majority in the chamber. The Pennsylvania Capital Star has more.

False Election Information Originating With Pennsylvania Activist Spreads Nationwide

A false election claim made by former President Donald Trump during the now infamous rally on January 6, 2021 originated from flawed research by Pennsylvania activist Heather Honey. Honey’s work has gained prominence among the far right, influencing conservative narratives on election integrity and leading to the withdrawal of several states from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), though her conclusions have been debunked by experts and fact-checkers. Spotlight PA has more.

Could General Assembly Thwart Governor Shapiro’s Plans to Legalize Recreational Marijuana?

Pennsylvania’s prospects for marijuana legalization surged after Governor Josh Shapiro advocated for recreational use during his second annual budget address, citing missed economic opportunities and the need to curb the black market. Hurdles remain given unresolved regulatory questions, as well as more general criticism from Republicans like Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), who have expressed concerns that Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget “lacks accountability.” WESA has more.

Governor Shapiro’s Partnership With Natural Gas Sector Causes Discontent Among Environmental Advocates

In June 2020, then-Attorney General Shapiro presented the results of a two-year grand jury investigation into the fracking industry, revealing government failures to protect residents from harmful effects. Three years later, Governor Shapiro’s collaboration with CNX Resources has drawn criticism from environmental activists due to a perceived shift in his priorities. Inside Climate News has more.

State Legislature Ended 2023 With Near $300 Million Surplus

At the end of 2023, Pennsylvania’s legislative branch held a surplus of nearly $300 million, enough to cover operations for about eight months, sparking criticism and calls for stricter controls on the reserve funds. PennLive has more.

Southeastern Pennsylvania to Open State’s First Micro-Hospitals

Southeastern Pennsylvania will see its first micro-hospitals established by ChristianaCare and Lehigh Valley Health Network, aiming to address healthcare needs in communities lacking full-scale hospitals. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Philadelphia

Mayor Parker to Split Department of Licenses, Inspections

Last week, Mayor Cherelle Parker announced the reorganization of the Department of Licenses and Inspections into two divisions, appointing commissioners for each in a move aimed at addressing the agency’s expanding responsibilities and improving efficiency. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Mayor Parker Considers Increasing Number of In-Person Days City Workers

The Parker Administration is reportedly considering bringing City Hall workers back to the office for more than the currently mandated two days per week. In order to help boost business in Center City. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

New Study Sheds Light on Philadelphia’s Teacher Attrition Phenomenon

A new analysis from Pennsylvania State University reveals that Philadelphia faces a significant teacher attrition crisis, with more educators leaving the profession than local teacher-preparation programs produce. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Allegheny Conference Sets Sights on Revitalizing Downtown Pittsburgh

The Allegheny Conference unveiled new board members and outlined its three-year agenda focusing on downtown revitalization, inclusive growth, maximizing federal investments, and thought leadership during its annual meeting. WESA has more.

Allegheny County Democratic Committee Backs Incumbent Representative Lee

Progressive U.S. Representative Summer Lee secured the endorsement of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee over challenger Bhavini Patel in a 440-299 vote, as incumbents dominated the day’s voting. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Owes Students Nearly 603,000 Hours Of Services Missed During COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 7,800 Pittsburgh Public Schools students — including those who have graduated or moved — qualify for COVID Compensatory Services, with nearly 603,000 hours of missed services owed to current students based on district data. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Public Schools to Introduce Electric Buses Thanks to $40M Federal Grant 

A $40 million federal grant will make it possible for Pittsburgh Public Schools to introduce electric buses, aiming to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with U.S. Representative Lee advocating for similar initiatives nationwide. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

 

Federal

Former President Trump Speaks to Base in Harrisburg

On Friday, former President Donald Trump spoke at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, during his first visit to Pennsylvania this year, banking heavily on his persona and policy stances on issues like immigration to sway voters and energize his base. PennLive has more.

Beltway Briefing: The 2024 VP Choice Matters

The special counsel report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents reignites doubts about his age and mental fitness as he seeks reelection. With no clear Democratic alternative questions are swirling about Biden’s ability to finish out a second term. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, political greed derails the bipartisan border deal, cementing immigration as the new third rail. Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and the Hon. Rodney Davis here.

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