Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, March 11, 2024

March 11, 2024


Budget Hearings Conclude, Legislators’ Stances Little Changed

State budget hearings concluded in Harrisburg last week, with Senate Republicans criticizing a proposed increase in social spending and Senate Democrats advocating for it, echoing the debate since the hearings’ start. Disagreement over Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed budgetary surplus spending and future economic implications persists. PennLive has more.

Democratic State Treasurer Candidate Shines Light on Obscure Policy

Democratic State Representative and candidate for state treasurer Ryan Bizzarro has critiqued Republican incumbent Stacy Garrity’s handling of Pennsylvania’s $4.5 billion in unclaimed property, arguing that Garrity’s efforts fall short despite her touted successes. He has proposed legislation for automatic returns of unclaimed property up to $10,000. Spotlight PA has more.

Ballot Drop Box Availability Varies From County to County

In Pennsylvania, disparities in drop box availability highlight the debate over mail-in ballots, spurred by concerns about timely delivery and voter access. As some counties embrace drop boxes, others rely solely on mail or in-person delivery, citing unfounded concerns about election security and fraud. PennLive has more.

Minimum Wage Debate Persists in PA

Last week, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage took center stage during a state House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the topic, with advocates testifying that doing so could help alleviate poverty and stimulate economic growth. Critics have expressed concern that a minimum wage increase could potentially eliminate thousands of Pennsylvania jobs. The Center Square has more.

What to Know About Gov. Shapiro’s Proposed $10.3M Agriculture Innovation Program

Governor Shapiro’s proposal for a $10.3 million grant program aimed at enhancing innovation in Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry has sparked both skepticism and optimism among lawmakers and farmers alike, with discussions centered around potential impact and implementation. Spotlight PA has more.

Symposium Spotlights Immigration as Potential Solution to Workforce Challenges Facing PA Rural Communities

Last week’s Global Pathways for a Thriving Rural Workforce event convened over 30 presenters from various organizations to discuss challenges facing Pennsylvania’s rural communities, particularly workforce shortages, and explored strategies for incorporating international residents into rural communities. WVIA has more.



Mayor Parker Convenes Meeting to Discuss Solutions to Gun Violence

On Friday, Mayor Cherelle Parker convened a meeting with various stakeholders to address gun violence following a series of shootings, emphasizing the importance of cross-governmental collaboration and the need for short-, medium-, and long-term strategies. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Council Passes High School, College Athlete NIL Legislation

Last week, Philadelphia City Council passed legislation allowing the City — partnering with Temple University School of Law — to offer free legal and financial advice to high school and college athletes and their families to monetize name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. WHYY has more.

DoorDash, Share Food Program Deliver Thousands of Food Boxes to Seniors in Need

A partnership between DoorDash and Share Food Program helps deliver free monthly food boxes to seniors in need in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Chester Counties. The North Philadelphia pickup location is one of the company’s largest in the world, with DoorDashers making more than 1,000 deliveries twice a week. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Activists Call on PECO to Buy More Renewable Energy

Climate activists urge PECO to increase renewables in its electricity mix, citing cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits, as the utility’s power purchasing plan undergoes regulatory review. WHYY has more.

Participation in Medicare Shared Savings Program Increases in Philadelphia Region

Participation in Medicare Shared Savings Program — an initiative to coordinate care and reduce costs spurred by the 2010 Affordable Care Act — has risen in the Philadelphia region in recent years, as evidenced by the formation of various Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) by healthcare organizations like Tandigm Health, Doylestown Health, Penn Medicine, and Aledade. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Pittsburgh Opens Section 8 Waiting List Today for First Time in 5 Years

Pittsburgh’s housing authority reopened its Section 8 voucher waiting list today for the first time since 2018 and will accept online applications until March 15, aiming to assist low-income tenants with rental costs. WESA has more.

Reps. Deluzio, Lee Highlight Rail Safety, Healthcare During State of the Union

Pittsburgh-area congressional delegates used President Biden’s State of the Union address to address rail safety and healthcare concerns, inviting local guests, including a resident affected by a train derailment, and a former EMT to discuss the historic contributions of the Freedom House Ambulance Service. The Pittsburgh Union-Progress has more.



President Biden Appeals to Suburban Women in PA Campaign Stop

Following last week’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden visited Wallingford on Friday, where he emphasized his administration’s commitment to women’s rights and pledged to continue fighting for reproductive rights. Recent polls have shown a growing gender gap in support for President Biden over former President Donald Trump. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Democrats Hope to Leverage IVF Controversy to Unseat Rep. Perry

Democrats hope to capitalize on reproductive rights concerns to challenge Republicans in suburban swing districts like Republican U.S. Representative Scott Perry’s (PA-10). While Rep. Perry says he supports in vitro fertilization (IVF), he also previously backed a bill declaring embryos people. During  a weekend forum in Harrisburg, five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Rep. Scott also discussed green energy, boosting manufacturing jobs, and bipartisan border security deals. The Washington Post has more.

Biden Administration’s Save Plan Grants $45.1M in Student Loan Forgiveness to PA Borrowers

The Biden Administration forgave $1.2 billion in student loan debt for 153,000 borrowers nationwide — including $45.1 million for 5,600 borrowers in Pennsylvania — as part of the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan. WHYY has more.


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