Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, July 10, 2023

July 10, 2023


Budget Impasse Continues Into Second Week Past Deadline

While both chambers of the General Assembly have passed the FY24 budget as of last week, animus over the now defunct private school voucher plan has resulted in the further delay of the passing of codes bills required for the budget to go into effect. Also on indefinite pause are appropriations for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities. Spotlight PA has more.

Rising Inflation Rates Render School Funding Boost Inadequate in Some School Districts

While the still-to-be-finalized FY24 state budget includes a $700 million bump in funding for K-12 schools across the commonwealth, many public education experts say the additional funding will be insufficient to keep pace with rising rates of inflation in one in six school districts. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in the Senate

Last week, a bipartisan bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for Pennsylvanians 21 years old and older was introduced in the State Senate. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State House Passes CROWN Act Bill

Last week, the State House passed its version of the CROWN Act, a bill that would prevent discrimination based on hair type, texture, or style. If passed by the Senate, Pennsylvania would join 23 other states in implementing this type of anti-discrimination law. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State House Passes Bill to Impose Regulations on Cyber Charter Schools

On Friday, the State House passed a bill that would standardize tuition for non-special education cyber charter students, impose restrictions for advertising and event sponsorships, and ban enrollment incentives in an effort to increase transparency. The Associated Press has more.



Who Will Succeed City Council President Clarke?

Majority Leader Curtis Jones Jr. and District 2 Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson are said to be frontrunners in the race to succeed current City Council President Derrell Clarke, who will be retiring at the end of his term. Members of City Council will vote for its next president during its first meeting of 2024. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Region Job Recovery Outpaces Northeast Peers

According to data recently released by the Census Bureau, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro region added nearly 100,000 non-farm jobs in the past year through May 2023, outperforming all of its peers in the Northeast. WHYY has more.

SEPTA Route 15 Trolleys Coming Back to Service Soon

Good news for fans of SEPTA’s iconic green Route 15 trolleys: the first of the newly rehabbed cars will be making their way back into service — along with several buses that have been running the route since January 2020 — sometime this September. Billy Penn has more.



Spin Scooters Taken Off Pittsburgh Streets, a Victim of Harrisburg Budget Delays

While the prolonged state budget stalemate won’t necessarily have an immediate effect on operations at the local level, MovePGH’s Spin scooter program has already taken a hit, as its two-year pilot program recently ended and plans to make them a permanent part of the Pennsylvania vehicle code have stalled. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh City Council Grants Initial Approval to Affordable Housing Bond

A bond initially proposed by Mayor Ed Gainey won preliminary approval from Pittsburgh City Council last week, clearing the first hurdle toward the goal of creating more affordable housing in the city. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Creates Office of Equal Protection

The City of Pittsburgh has officially created a new Office of Equal Protection which will, as part of the Mayor’s Office, work to ensure that disability rights, civil rights, and labor laws are properly enforced. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.



Lawmakers Who Opposed Student Debt Forgiveness Target of Organizers

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to shoot down President Joe Biden’s signature student debt relief plan, Protect Borrowers Action, a group of supporters of student loan debt cancellation, are now organizing to hold certain lawmakers — including Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry — “accountable” in the upcoming 2024 election cycle. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

I-95 Rebuild Seen as Key to Re-Election for President Biden

Last month’s collapse of a Northeast Philadelphia section of I-95 was a true stress test for all levels of government and their ability to coordinate to address an urgent infrastructure need. Now, the success of the swift response to date is being seen by President Joe Biden’s team as a potential boon to his re-election prospects. Politico has more.


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