Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, February 27, 2023

February 27, 2023

Pennsylvania

What Pennsylvania Can Learn From Other States’ Education Funding Models

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court declared the state’s education funding model unconstitutional due to its over-reliance on local property taxes. Now, the challenge for state officials is to find a more equitable and reliable funding model, which will likely take years and could be very costly. In this case, the successes and failures of other states to fund their education systems may serve as useful case studies as Pennsylvania decides how it should move forward. PennLive has more.

New Senate Bill With Bipartisan Support Intended to Fix Unnecessary Legal Trouble for Participants in State Medical Marijuana Program

Medical marijuana has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2016, and enrollees in the state program are provided with medical marijuana cards to prove that they are legally able to partake in the substance. However, a simple mix-up of medical marijuana cards and regular state IDs have led to unnecessary legal trouble for some Pennsylvanians, which a new state Senate bill — SB 363 — is intended to remedy. CBS Pittsburgh has more.

Governor Shapiro Discusses Administration Goals With the Philadelphia Inquirer

Now a month into his new job, Governor Josh Shapiro sat for an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer to discuss his goals for the term ahead, necessary changes to the state’s school funding model, the effects of Norfolk Southern train derailment that occurred less than a mile from the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, and what to expect from next week’s budget address.

Speaker Rozzi to Introduce Chamber Rules That Would Provide Minority Party With More Legislative Leverage

As the dust continues to settle in the wake of the special elections that gave Democrats the majority in the state House, Speaker Mark Rozzi has stated his intent to introduce “revolutionary” new chamber rules that would provide the chamber’s minority party with more power to set the legislative agenda, which has long been called for by Democrats and good-government groups. Spotlight PA has more.

 

Philadelphia

Competition to Succeed Council President Clarke Begins

Last week, Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke confirmed that he will not be seeking reelection, meaning that next term will bring new leadership to the body for the first time in more than a decade. Four current Council members — Majority Leader Curtis Jones, Jr. (District 4), Majority Whip Mark Squilla (District 1), Deputy Majority Whip Cindy Bass (District 8), and Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (District 2) — are reportedly intending to run for his position, should they win reelection themselves. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Free Library Opening on Saturdays at 10 Branches

Like many publicly funded institutions, the Free Library of Philadelphia was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated weekend closures for budgetary reasons. Last week, the Free Library announced that 10 of its branches would now be opening for Saturday hours for the first time in three years thanks to staff members who have volunteered to work overtime. Billy Penn has more.

Indego Bike Share Program Hoping to Expand Into Historically Marginalized Neighborhoods

The iconic blue Indego bikes have been a staple in Philadelphia for almost a decade may soon be making their way to traditionally underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia in the coming years. Waffiyyah Murray, the manager of the citywide bike share program, announced last week that Indego is looking to add another 150 stations over the next five years. WHYY has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Vote-by-Mail Helped Allegheny County Residents Out-Vote Their Philadelphia Counterparts in 2022 Midterms, Says County Executive Fitzgerald

During last year’s midterms, Allegheny County outperformed Philadelphia County in terms of votes cast and voters registered, a feat which County Executive Rich Fitzgerald attributes to concerted efforts to inform and instruct residents about how to vote by mail. PoliticsPA has more.

 

Federal

Beltway Briefing: A Historic Visit on A Grim Anniversary

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss President Biden’s trip to Ukraine and the sharp response it drew from Congressional Republicans who have been critical of the U.S funding of the war effort and accused the President of neglecting issues back at home. They also break down the political fallout over the Administration’s response to a toxic train derailment and the resulting environmental disaster in Ohio that had the White House take bipartisan heat. Listen to the most recent episode here.

Federal Judge Rejected U.S. Representative Perry’s Bid to Shield January 6-Related Emails From Investigators

A federal judge secretly denied U.S. Representative Scott Perry’s bid to shield more than 2,000 of his emails from the Justice Department during its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. The December 28 decision was unsealed on Friday. The Politico has more.

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