Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, June 24, 2024

June 24, 2024


Budget Approval Obstacles Remain with Fewer Than 6 Days Until Deadline

Disagreements on education funding, a recreational marijuana and skill games tax, and income tax cuts continue to threaten state budget negotiations. If the state legislature fails to approve the budget, the immediate effects might be negligible. However, a prolonged impasse could jeopardize state- and county-run academic programs and mental health services. GoErie has more.

PA Senate GOP Receptive to Transit Agencies’ Calls for Increased Funding

SEPTA’s 2024 budget projections put the agency in a $240 million deficit by the end of the year. With the federal pandemic-era operating aid nearly out, SEPTA has requested more transit funding from PA legislators. Senate Republicans have expressed interest in the proposal but ask for a definitive number before engaging in negotiations. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Funding Youth Literacy is a Uniquely Bipartisan Fight for PA Legislators

Pennsylvania Democratic and Republican legislators agree that youth literacy programming needs more money; however, they disagree on how to allocate funds. With the June 30 budget deadline rapidly approaching, the debate on how to implement a new program jeopardizes youth literacy funding in general. WESA has more.

Rural Hospitals Request State Funding in Budget Negotiations

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania sounded the alarm that hospitals in rural Pennsylvania are severely underfunded, requiring additional capital to remain operational. The organization found that 25% of rural hospitals endured negative margins, while only 14% broke even through FY22. With nursing vacancy rates and support staff counts low, hospitals implore Governor Josh Shapiro and state legislators to allocate more money to rural health facilities. The Tribune-Democrat has more.

Bill Aims to Reduce Credit Card Swipe Fees

Facing adamant opposition from banks and credit unions, the bill which has picked up pace in the state House will likely meet a less optimistic crowd in the Senate. Proponents of the bill claim that swipe fees are a significant burden on sellers and consumers, while opponents have faith in the current system and fear that lowering these fees could cause financial disarray. Spotlight PA has more.

Federal Election Lawsuit Could Rock Pennsylvania’s 2024 Election

United Sovereign Americans and a few Pennsylvania voters filed suit against the Commonwealth Department of State and nine other defendants, alleging that Pennsylvania did not meet its election laws in 2022. The Pennsylvania Department of State claims that the plaintiffs’ claims rely on conspiracy theories and remain unsupported by factual evidence. WHYY has more.

PA Court Expected to Rule on Gambling Machines

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear a case that alleges skill game terminals are not considered gambling machines, which if true will strike down a PA law that bans such machines in unlicensed locations. The Associated Press has more.

PA Out-of-State Abortions Rose 41% in 2022

Abortions performed on out-of-state residents in Pennsylvania increased by 41% in 2022. Although out-of-state residents made up a minority of Pennsylvania’s abortions (15%), experts suspect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade might have contributed to the rise. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Freshman City Council Members Talk First 6 Months in Office

Billy Penn caught up with City Council’s four freshman Council members about their experiences, and surprise during their first six months in office, as well as their plans for the future. Billy Penn has more.

“Jumpstart Germantown” Aims to Boost Affordable Housing Options in Philly

Jumpstart will attempt to eliminate blight and expand workforce housing in the City of Philadelphia. The program focuses primarily on middle neighborhoods, featuring sixteen hours of instruction on real estate development basics for those seeking to source and finance properties. WHYY has more.

Philly Joy Bank Offers Program for Pregnant Mothers

In an effort to support maternal and infant health outcomes, Philly Joy Bank rolled out a guaranteed income program for pregnant Philadelphia mothers. Selected mothers will receive $1,000 per month to cover any expense. The program intends to eliminate the racial disparities that unfortunately result in a Black infant being three times more likely to die before their first birthday. WHYY has more.



Tree of Life Synagogue to Undergo Expansion Project

Nearly six years after a gunman opened fire and killed eleven worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, renovations are underway, promising a cultural center, a new sanctuary, an academic hub, and a museum. Governor Shapiro and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, among other local and federal leaders, attended the groundbreaking event. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit Police Eyeing Potential Salary Increases

Pittsburgh Regional Transit police officers have requested that the board’s finance committee provide immediate raises of $9,000 to $68,004 to first-year rank-and-file officers and $15,000 to $98,062 to master detectives. If passed, the contract would also require a second and third-year survey to evaluate five other local departments and provide raises accordingly. The Pittsburgh Union Progress has more.

North Hills Police Union Supports Dem. William Petulla’s Run for State Rep.

The endorsement sheds optimism on Democrats’ chances of flipping the 28th District’s Republican-leaning constituency. Petulla has claimed that his campaign is uniquely bipartisan- and he believes that the police union’s endorsement will only help prove that to voters. WESA has more.



Trump, Biden Campaigns Hold PA Rallies

On Sunday, First Lady Jill Biden criticized the Dobbs Decision and campaigned for female reproductive rights at a Women for Biden-Haris event in Millersville. At Temple University, former President Donald Trump spoke about nationwide spikes in violent crime. Both campaigns continue to eagerly fight for the battleground state’s 19 electoral votes in November.

PA Democrats Echo White House in Reminding Constituents of Preserved 2021 Pensions

The Biden Administration wants to remind Pennsylvania union voters that the Butch Lewis Act saved one million pensions from expiring that were part of a federal COVID -19 funding package. Democratic legislators have joined the White House in a broader campaign to secure more blue-collar workers for November. The Associated Press has more.

Independence Hall Could Host a Joint Session of Congress in 2026

Democratic U.S. Representative Brendan Boyle (PA-02) wants to propose a bill that would convene a joint session of Congress at Independence Hall in 2026 to celebrate America’s 250th Anniversary. This would only be the third time that a joint session of Congress was held outside of D.C. since its establishment as the nation’s capital in 1800. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Beltway Briefing: Migrant Crisis: National Issue, Local Impact

As droves of migrants arrive at the Southern Border, the consequences of the federal government’s inaction on immigration profoundly affect major cities like New York City and Chicago. Members of Public Strategies’ Federal, New York, and Chicago teams discuss the national perspective and the localized impact, emphasizing the need for comprehensive federal immigration reform and support to alleviate the burdens of the migrant crisis on urban areas. Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Towner French (Federal), Katie Schwab (New York), and John Dunn (Chicago) here.


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