Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, February 5, 2024

February 5, 2024


What to Expect From Governor Shapiro’s Second Annual Budget Address

Governor Josh Shapiro’s second budget address tomorrow is expected to include proposals to address the adequacy gap in education funding, proposals for higher education reform, increased funding for public transit, a 10-year economic development plan, and a call for a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, along with discussions on marijuana legalization, mental health services, Medicaid costs, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), election integrity, and the corporate net income tax rate. PoliticsPA has more.

State Legislators to Consider Implementing “Purple Alerts” to Assist in Locating Missing Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities

Lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly plan to introduce legislation for a “purple alert” system, similar to an AMBER alert but for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ages. The alert system would aim to expedite public notice and assistance in locating vulnerable individuals. WESA has more.

Races for Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor General Prompt Significant Fundraising Efforts

Pennsylvania’s attorney general race has seen robust fundraising, led by state Representative Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) with over $1 million on hand, while the treasurer race features incumbent Stacey Garrity with $551,580, and state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) leading the Democratic primary for auditor general. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Additional Funding Sought for Popular $120M Home Repair Initiative

A year after the launch of Pennsylvania’s $120 million Whole Home Repairs program, advocates are calling for significantly more funding to meet overwhelming demand. The Center Square has more.

DOJ Resolves Claims of Discrimination Against Pennsylvania Courts Regarding Opioid Treatment

Pennsylvania’s court system will pay $100,000 to six individuals who were denied prescribed medication for opioid addiction under court supervision, settling a 2022 lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.



Mayor Parker Announces 10 Cabinet Appointments

Mayor Cherelle Parker announced 10 appointments to senior roles in her administration last week, with some continuing the legacy of former mayors while others signal how she intends to reshape city government. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Weekend Law Enforcement Presence in Kensington was not the National Guard, Says City Council

Members of City Council’s new Kensington Caucus clarified that the recent increase in law enforcement presence in the neighborhood over the weekend was a special operation by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to serve warrants, not the National Guard. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Democrats Remove Committee Members Who Supported Non-Democrats During 2023 Elections

Philadelphia’s Democratic Party followed through on promises to remove committee members who supported non-Democrats in last year’s City Council races. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Set to Host 6 FIFA World Cup Games in 2026

Philadelphia will host five group stage and one round 16 games at Lincoln Financial Field during the 2026 FIFA World Cup, including one on the nation’s 250th Independence Day. WHYY has more.

IBX Modifies Hybrid-Work Policy, Joining Other Major Employers by Mandating Increased In-Office Attendance

Independence Blue Cross (IBX) is transitioning from a “hybrid of choice” work model to mandating its approximately 3,000 hybrid employees to work in the office three days per week starting in March and April, aiming to enhance collaboration and innovation after years of remote work prompted by the pandemic. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Dr. Bettigole to Resign as City Health Commissioner

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole has announced that she will be resigning, with Deputy Health Commissioner Frank Franklin to serve as interim commissioner while the City conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement. CBS has more.



Legal Concerns Over Syringe Services Prevent Opioid Settlement Dollars From Flowing to Harm-Reduction Organizations

$150,000 in approved opioid settlement funding for FAVOR ~ Western PA was withdrawn by  Westmoreland County officials due to legal concerns about the nonprofit’s syringe services, highlighting the inconsistency between Pennsylvania laws and the need for legislative changes to support harm-reduction strategies in addressing the opioid epidemic. Spotlight PA has more.

City of Pittsburgh Introduces New EMT Training Program During Black History Month Event

Last week, the City of Pittsburgh launched the Freedom House EMT Training Academy to honor the groundbreaking Freedom House Ambulance Service, the nation’s first emergency medical service. WESA has more.



U.S. Senators Casey, Fetterman Disagree With President Biden on Pausing Natural Gas Exports

Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman express concerns about President Joe Biden’s decision to halt approvals for additional liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant exports, fearing potential impacts on Pennsylvania jobs, and emphasize the state’s role as the second-largest natural gas producer in the country. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Beltway Briefing: The Art of Legislating

Bipartisan legislating is turning heads in Congress as the House advanced this week a significant tax package and the Senate continues negotiations on a border and national security supplemental. Don’t blink, but will Congress actually get things done, or will election year politics threaten to derail both efforts? Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin here.


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