Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023


Record Number of Food-Assistance Recipients in Pennsylvania Renews Calls to Increase State Minimum Wage

Last month, Pennsylvania recorded its highest ever number of food-assistance recipients, with approximately 5,000 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollees added in June alone. The food security crisis, which has come at a time of almost record-low unemployment numbers, has renewed calls for Pennsylvania to increase its $7.25 per hour minimum wage, which has remained stagnant since 2009. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Norfolk Southern to Pay “Community Relief” to Darlington Township Following February Train Derailment

On Monday, Governor Josh Shapiro announced that Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay $660,000 in “community relief” to Darlington Township in Beaver County. The county was impacted by the February 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — less than a mile from the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Shell Chemical Appalachia to Pay $5 Million to Beaver County for Air Quality Violations 

Shell Chemical Appalachia will be paying $5 million to Beaver County as part of a settlement over air quality violations at the company’s cracker plant. The money will be used for community projects that provide environmental, health, or quality of life benefits, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Pennsylvanians With Disabilities, Caretakers Demand Additional Funding for Necessary Programs

Disability providers that run day programs for people with intellectual disabilities or autism, in-home care teams, and residential facilities are fighting for the additional funding that they say is necessary for them to stay open, attract more workers, and offer services to residents. A staggering 34% of disability service agencies have closed programs since 2020. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

PASSHE Freezes Tuition for In-State Students

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors voted last week to freeze tuition throughout the state system at $7,716 for in-state students for the fifth consecutive year. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

State Senate to Consider Cyber Charter School Regulations

The COVID-19 pandemic and related quarantining measures made cyber charter schools an appealing option for parents. A bill being considered in the General Assembly would cap the amount of funding that public school districts would be allowed to allocate to such schools, and require them to meet additional transparency and accountability measures. Spotlight PA has more.



L&I Cracks Down on Unlicensed Short-Term Rentals

The Department of Licenses & Inspections is now enforcing rules passed by City Council in 2021 that require short-term rentals to be licensed, potentially impacting thousands of unlicensed Airbnb and VRBO listings in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Construction on Calder Gardens Underway; Set to Open in Late 2024, Early 2025

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will soon boast a new world-class cultural institution. Slated to open sometime in late 2024 or early 2025, the Calder Gardens will celebrate the work of Philadelphia’s own Alexander Calder at a new permanent home between 21st and 22nd Streets. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

How Republican Mayoral Candidate David Oh Hopes to Buck Expectations

As a Republican candidate in a city that leans heavily Democratic, former Councilmember At Large David Oh faces an uphill battle in his campaign for mayor. However, he believes his track record on City Council as a “reformer” who regularly defied expectations makes him worthy of the position. Metro Philadelphia has more.

Former City Councilmember Ramos Dies at 71

Over the weekend, former City Councilmember and long-time community leader Juan F. Ramos Jr. passed away at 71 from Alzheimer’s disease. 6ABC has more.



Pittsburgh Housing Authority Received Game-Changing $50 Million Federal Grant to Transform Affordable Housing in Hill District

Thanks to a prestigious $50 million federal grant, the Housing Authority of Pittsburgh will be able to demolish Hill District’s Bedford Dwellings, the city’s oldest public housing community, to make way for new and improved affordable housing. PublicSource has more.

House Democratic Leadership Appeals to Pittsburgh-Area Unions for Support

Over the weekend, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York appeared alongside U.S. Representative Chris Deluzio of Pennsylvania in Wilkinsburg to garner support from local union members and leaders. WESA has more.



U.S. Senator Casey Unveils Legislation to Protect Workers From Certain AI Use Cases

Last week, U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania unveiled two new bills intended to protect workers from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for the purposes of intrusive workplace surveillance and “robot bosses.” NBC News has more.

Beltway Briefing: The Federal Government Needs a Facelift

Media coverage of political extremes and fringe politicos skews the American people’s perception of the federal government. With boomers passing the baton to the next generation, the nation has an opportunity to shift this narrative and select more aspirational leaders for the next chapter. Listen to the latest episode here.


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