Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, July 1, 2024

July 1, 2024


State Budget Deal Could Be in Sight Despite Deadline Passing

With education funding standing between state legislators and a deal, skill games and affordable housing could make a surprise appearance in the final budget roll out. Lawmakers have considered increasing funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), an initiative aimed at providing municipalities with grants to erect and revitalize housing developments in low income communities. Additionally, with the legality of unlicensed skill games still uncertain, Governor Josh Shapiro contemplates how taxing the devices could contribute to state revenue. WGAL has more.

Renewable Energy Enters the Framework in Legislative Debates

Governor Shapiro vowed that by 2035, Pennsylvania would produce 35% of its electrical energy from renewable sources, which he believes could be accomplished through his Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS). House lawmakers have taken up the energy debate, with democrats pushing for the adoption of PRESS and Republicans questioning the need for increased regulations on energy. WESA has more.

PA House Approves Pharmacy Benefit Manager Bill

With near unanimous support, the state House passed a bill geared to regulate pharmacy benefit managers. The bill will target nefarious practices that result in prescription drug cost spikes. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

PA Senate Approves Anti-Divestment Bill for Universities, Pension Funds

A bill that prevents public pension systems and the state treasury from boycotting or divesting from Israel won the support of most Democrats and all but one Republican. Now on its way to the state House, the bill will also bar state aid from universities and colleges that boycott and divest from Israel’s government or commercial activities. WESA has more.

Sunday Hunting Proposal Advances

The state House approved a proposal to expand Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania. If it passes the Senate, the bill will authorize Sunday hunting for the next five years, eliminate current restrictions on hunting in State Parks, and reform trespassing laws. WESA has more.

IFO Releases June Monthly Revenue Update

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the state agency responsible for providing revenue projections and impartial analysis for state legislators, has released its monthly revenue update for the month of June. View the report here.



Councilmember References Vienna’s Affordable Housing as Hopeful Guide

City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (District 3), who serves as chair of the Housing Committee, advocated for Philadelphia to model Vienna’s socialized housing program in a broader effort to lower prices and enhance optionality for low-income residents. The Inquirer has more.

Small Businesses’ Financial Stress Now Commonplace in Delaware Valley

In 2022, the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia conducted a survey that found 56% of small businesses in the region exhibiting financial instability. Up 1% from 2022, the majority of small businesses in the Delaware Valley still reported poor or fair financial status in 2023. WHYY has more.

Prominent Center City Office Building Sells for Two-Thirds 2018 Selling Price

The roughly 127,000-square-foot building at 1760 Market Street that hosts 15 stories of office space, sold for $11.5 million last week. Its 2024 selling price fell below its 2006, 2015, and 2018 transactions. The Inquirer has more.

Former City Councilmember Donna Reed Passes Away

Philadelphia mourns the passing of former City Council Member Donna Reed. The 8th District representative, who served from 1996 to 2012, is most notably known for her coordinated efforts to improve city residents’ quality of life. WHYY has more.



SCOTUS Homeless Ruling Unlikely to Impact Pittsburgh 

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey vowed that despite the Supreme Court ruling against homeless encampments, the city’s approach to addressing the issue will not change. Pittsburgh will continue to allow sleeping in public spaces when no means of shelter are available WESA has more.

Bird Town Coming to Allegheny County 

In establishing a partnership between Bird Town Pennsylvania and Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, a program aimed at mitigating population threats to bird species is set to emerge in Western PA. Pittsburgh will join a list of fifty “Bird Towns” in Pennsylvania. WESA has more.

Farmers Fearing the Worst, Hoping for the Best in Bird Flu Outbreak 

Vets and dairy farmers in Pennsylvania have begun to scale their preparation efforts for a potential Bird Flu outbreak among livestock. The H5N1 virus is known to have the ability to occasionally jump from avian species to some mammals. And with the virus reportedly found in cattle back in March, dairy workers are considering measures to mitigate the risk of exposure. WESA has more.



What SCOTUS’s Presidential Immunity Ruling Might Mean for the 2024 Election

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling, which grants former President Donald Trump immunity for actions taken while in office, complicates the outlook for his remaining criminal cases and likely prevents any trial from taking place before the November election. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

PA Dems in Damage Control Mode Post Presidential Debate 

While the majority of PA democrats shared similar sentiment on debate performance, they remain divided on whether President Joe Biden should remain in the race or seek a replacement. U.S. Senator John Fetterman is one of the PA democrats who remain steadfast in their support for a Biden 2024 general candidacy. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Former AG Barr Joins GOP Senate Candidate McCormick at Campaign Stop 

Campaigning on immigration, police, and drug trafficking, U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick focused on crime and public safety at his Cranberry campaign event. Former Trump-era Attorney General Bill Barr joined the Republican Senate candidate in the discussion. The Butler Eagle has more.

Beltway Briefing: Presidential Debate or Debacle?

As Americans watched the first televised presidential debate, it became clear that American politics had hit a new low in its political discourse. Between President Biden’s inability to set a narrative and pace, and former President Trump’s rapid-fire barrage of false statements, it resembled more of a debacle than anything remotely presidential. Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Mark Alderman, Towner French, and Kyle Anderson here.


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