Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023

Pennsylvania

Norfolk Southern CEO Testifies Before State Senate

This morning, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testified before the Pennsylvania Senate regarding last month’s train derailment and subsequent environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. Shaw held that the steps taken by Norfolk Southern successfully helped mitigate further environmental and potential negative health impacts, though not all lawmakers were satisfied with this response. WFMJ has more.

Investigation Reveals Issues With Enforcement of State Law to Protect People With Mental Health Against Prosecution

A recent investigation conducted by Spotlight PA and the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism found that an existing state law intended to protect Pennsylvanians with mental health issues from prosecution if they cannot understand the legal system and aid in their own defense can often have the unintended effect of keeping them incarcerated. While there is currently no state agency that oversees this system, state police, attorneys, and jails are trying to fill existing gaps in the system. Spotlight PA has more.

Pennsylvania LGBTQ Leaders Found Keystone Equality

State LGBTQ leaders have launched Keystone Equality, a new nonpartisan organization devoted to coordinating statewide LGBTQ advocacy initiatives, including political organizing, voter mobilization, and candidate endorsement. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

 

Philadelphia

Who’s Running for City Council: An Updated List

With petition season in the rearview mirror and the ceremonial drawing of ballot positions completed, the list of candidates running for City Council is becoming more and more solidified. Billy Penn has been diligently tracking the candidates and their qualifications and backgrounds. Read more here.

Philadelphia To Pay $9.25 Million for Use of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets in Response to 2020 Racial Justice Protests 

Earlier today, it was announced that the City of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $9.25 million to more than 300 people impacted by “extraordinary abuses of police power” during the response to the racial justice protests that followed the police murder of George Floyd in 2020, which controversially included the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Delegation Members to Advocate for Increasing State Minimum Wage, Funding for Philadelphia Schools, More

With Democrats back in control of the State House for the first time in years, members of the Philadelphia delegation see a unique opportunity to advocate for state funding to support their policy agenda, including to increase the state minimum wage and make necessary improvements to Philadelphia school buildings, among other priorities that impact a wide swath of Philadelphians. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

SEPTA Ceases Work on Norristown High Speed Line Extension to King of Prussia

SEPTA announced Friday that it has ceased work on its four-mile King of Prussia railway extension project after the Federal Transit Administration declined a capital grant application. SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie Richards stated that the organization is committed to providing “safety and security improvements” to SEPTA’s aging infrastructure. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Mayor Gainey Fast Tracks Charles Anderson Bridge Renovation Project

On Thursday, Mayor Ed Gainey announced that an agreement had been reached between the City of Pittsburgh and federal, state, and regional officials to accelerate the rehabilitation of the Charles Anderson Bridge. The bridge has been closed since February for emergency repairs, which were expected to begin in 2025, but may now begin as soon as 2024. The Pittsburgh Union Progress has more.

 

Federal

Beltway Briefing: What’s Next for the Banks; Ronald vs. Donald

In what was a textbook case of classic bank runs, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapsed with astounding speed last weekend. Are these failures the legacies of poor practices specific to these banks, or did aggressive interest-rate hikes and poor bank supervision cause their downfall? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Rodney Davis, and Towner French break it all down and debate the current makeup of the Republican presidential field. Listen to the latest episode here

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