Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, July 25, 2022

July 25, 2022


State Senator Mastriano Introduces Bill to Allow School Employees to Open Carry

Last week, Pennsylvania state senator and current Republican nominee for governor Doug Mastriano introduced legislation that would permit licensed teachers and other school employees to open carry guns in schools. The bill would also require school employees to undergo additional training. PennLive has more.

Four Pennsylvania Universities to Receive Additional $40 Million

This year, Pennsylvania legislators chose not to increase the formal appropriation that subsidizes in-state tuition for students attending Pitt, Penn State, Lincoln, and Temple Universities. Some lawmakers even tried unsuccessfully to block Pitt’s funding altogether due to debate over fetal tissue research. Now, Governor Tom Wolf is quietly directing one-time payments of $40 million to each institution utilizing stimulus funds that the governor’s office has sole control over. Spotlight PA has more.

PennDOT Seeks New Revenue Sources to Alleviate Dependence on Gas Taxes

As vehicles become increasingly more fuel efficient across the board, and with electric vehicle sales on the rise, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is under tremendous pressure to find more reliable sources of revenue. Some ideas being floated include a package tax and road use fees. Currently, state and federal gas taxes account for approximately 75% of its revenue. The Center Square Pennsylvania has more.

Pennsylvania Officials Still Butting Heads Over Election Misinformation, Mail-in Ballots

Debates about the merits of no-excuse mail-in voting are still ongoing among Pennsylvania officials, and are largely divided on partisan lines. Many Republicans, like York Representative Seth Grove, believe that an increase in mail-in ballots is likely to lead to an increase voter fraud, whereas Governor Tom Wolf and other Democrats argue that such beliefs perpetuate election misinformation. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Demands Escalate for Elimination of DCNR Database Fees

Environmental activists are requesting that the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) eliminate a $5,000 subscription fee and $500 annual maintenance fee for access to its EDWIN database. The database — short for “Exploration and Development Well Information Network” — contains information on abandoned gas and oil wells throughout Pennsylvania, which is otherwise only accessible via an in-person visit to Pittsburgh or Middletown. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.



Philadelphia Police Department at Risk of Losing Statewide Accreditation

The Philadelphia Police Department may lose its accreditation by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission (PLEAC) due to a new city ordinance passed last year that prevents police officers from pulling drivers over for minor offenses. The ordinance prevents officers from enforcing eight sections of Pennsylvania vehicle code, which is a requirement for accreditation. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program to Receive New Infusion of Funding From the State

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is set to give $11.8 million to Philadelphia’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which was founded during the pandemic to ameliorate cost burden on renters and landlords. WHYY has more.



Increase in Cost of Insurance Responsible for 60% Jump in Cost of Commute in Pittsburgh

The cost of insurance has risen drastically in Pennsylvania and Ohio due to the historic rates of inflation seen in the past year. According to a new study by Overheard on Conference Calls, a company that provides reviews of office products, insurance costs are the primary reason that the cost of commuting has increased as much as 60% in Pittsburgh, not exorbitant gas prices as some may expect. WESA has more.

Budget Billing Customers Seeing Drastic Increase in Monthly Gas Bills in Wake of IGS Acquisition of Dominion

Last month’s sale of gas supplier Dominion Energy Solutions to Ohio-based Interstate Gas Supply Corp. (IGS Energy) has caused some customers’ gas bills to skyrocket. Customers who opted in to budget billing, a program which spreads out the cost of gas bills throughout the entire year, are being charged the entire amount that had been owed to Dominion before the transfer of ownership to IGS. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit Completes Internal Strategic Plan, Sets Sights Toward Future Goals

The new dawn of a new era for Pittsburgh Regional Transit, formerly known as Port Authority of Allegheny County, is on the horizon. The organization has announced the recent completion of a five-year internal strategic plan, including implementation of several programs outlined therein. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

Mayor Gainey Turns Attention Toward Increasing Diversity and Equity on Pittsburgh’s Boards, Commissions

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has announced his mission to increase diversity across the city’s boards and commissions. The effort is being made with an eye toward improving equity in government services throughout Pittsburgh. The city is encouraging participation from all Pittsburgh residents by launching city board and commission volunteer applications that are open to all. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.



Beltway Briefing: How Will Opinions on the State of the Economy Sway Midterm Voters?

The rapidly approaching midterm elections will undoubtedly be impacted by voters’ views on the economy. But whether more positive views that focus on the strong labor market, sustained levels of consumer spending, and business investment or more negative views that emphasize record-high inflation rates and the increasing cost of gas, food, and housing will win out is perhaps the most pertinent question. Listen to the latest Beltway Briefing here.

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