Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024


Harrisburg Budget Hearings Update

Last week’s state budget hearings in Harrisburg addressed topics ranging from UFO reports to cannabis regulation, Governor Josh Shapiro’s higher education plan, unemployment wait times, and revenue projection differences. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

State House to Consider Prohibiting Pennsylvania Universities from Mandating Diversity Courses

A bill introduced by state Representative Stephenie Scialabba (R-Butler) seeks to prohibit Pennsylvania universities from mandating diversity courses for undergraduate degrees, defining them as electives instead. WTAE has more.

State Pursues Reimbursement for Legal Expenses from County That Permitted External Access to Voting Machines

The state elections agency seeks reimbursement from Fulton County and officials totaling $711,000 for legal fees and litigation costs related to a three-year battle over allowing examination of voting machines, linked to former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud. The Associated Press has more.

Federal Funding Accelerates State Well-Plugging Efforts

Pennsylvania has accelerated oil and gas well plugging thanks to an influx of federal funding, but concerns persist over targeting, oversight, and the vast number of remaining wells. Spotlight PA has more.



Mayor Parker Mandates Full-Time, In-Person Attendance for Senior City Officials

Last week, Mayor Cherelle Parker officially mandated full-time, in-person work for top city officials beginning Monday, March 4, citing the need for face-to-face collaboration, efficiency, and a desire for a more visible workforce. WPVI has more.

Mayor Cherelle Parker Promises Rigorous Enforcement of Illegal Dumping, Abandoned Vehicle Laws

During her Friday visit to the 29th Street corridor in Strawberry Mansion, Mayor Parker vowed to address quality-of-life issues like illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles, signaling plans to allocate more funding to enforcement initiatives in her upcoming budget proposal. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

How Philadelphia’s Real Estate Market Might Impact the Upcoming City Budget Cycle

Mayor Parker is preparing to give her first budget address amidst a 26% decrease in realty transfer tax revenue due to a sluggish real estate market, which may impact the City’s projected revenue, though other taxes exceed expectations. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Ethics Board Amending PAC Regulations

The Philadelphia Board of Ethics is proposing amendments to campaign finance regulations that would clarify rules on coordination between candidates and independent expenditure committees. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

PPD to Increase Number of Officers Assigned Weekend Shifts

On Friday, the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) announced plans to increase weekend patrols, including implementation of a special roving unit targeting crime hotspots and mass gatherings and deployment of additional officers in marked vehicles. WHYY has more.



Confusion Arises Amid Implementation of Pittsburgh’s Plastic Bag Ban

Business owners in Pittsburgh have been dealing with challenges stemming from the City’s new plastic bag ban, including customer dissatisfaction, transitioning to pricier paper bags, and concerns about potential impacts on Strip District businesses. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Two Pittsburgh Institutions Named Among Nation’s Top Museums

Two Pittsburgh museums, the Heinz History Center and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, have been recognized among the best in the nation by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice contests. KDKA has more.

Refurbished Mosaic Created by Renowned Pittsburgh Artist Relocated to Steel Plaza Station

A prominent Pittsburgh artist’s landmark mosaic, originally destined for burial, has been relocated to the Steel Plaza T stop, with its vibrant glass tesserae now adorning the walls of the corridor, a project spearheaded by the late artist’s daughter and local arts activists. WESA has more.



What Pennsylvanians Can Expect From This Year’s Senate, Presidential Races

The upcoming U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania between incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey and Republican challenger Dave McCormick is expected to once again break spending records, albeit with less chaos expected compared to the 2022 race, according to analysts. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have been making frequent visits to Pennsylvania, recognizing its pivotal role as a battleground state in the upcoming presidential election, with both candidates targeting key demographics and rallying their bases.

Rep. Fitzpatrick Discusses Border Security Bill on “Face the Nation”

In an appearance on “Face the Nation” this weekend, U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-10) and Jared Golden (ME-02) expressed confidence in their expedited bipartisan border security bill despite House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (LA-04) dismissal of the Senate’s bill. CBS News has more.

Lafayette Prepares to Host Vice Presidential Debate

Lafayette College is gearing up to host the U.S. vice presidential debate with plans for community involvement, on-campus events, and viewing parties, while seeking volunteers and navigating logistical challenges and potential disruptions to daily life. has more.

Beltway Briefing: The Ebb & Flow of Capitol Hill 

Despite the influx of dollars into Nikki Haley’s campaign, the South Carolina primary could mark its end of the road. But, until the financial well runs dry, will Haley power through in the off-chance Trump’s court cases take a political toll? Looking to Washington, the Public Strategies team analyzes the ebb and flow of Capitol Hill over the last decade, including a loss of bipartisan socialization, a degradation of party unity, and a consolidation of executive power. Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin here.


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