Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, March 4, 2024

March 4, 2024


Pennsylvania Gets $20 Million to Boost Broadband and Device Accessibility

On Friday, Philadelphia City Councilmember Jeffery Young and Mayor Cherelle Parker joined state, local, and federal officials to announce $20 million in federal funding allocated toward increasing the number of devices and broadband accessibility within workforce training centers, municipalities, and local entities. The federal grant program is part of $279 million in broadband funding distributed through the Capital Projects Fund. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

PA Lawmakers Tussle Over Immigration, Border Control

GOP State Senators Doug Mastriano and Chris Gebhard introduced a bill aiming to deter illegal immigration by imposing a 10% fee on money that undocumented immigrants send back to their home country. The Washington Post also interviewed Governor Josh Shapiro about the potency of the immigration issue in Pennsylvania. PennLive has more.

Lawsuit Seeks to End “Unconstitutional” Solitary Confinement in PA Prisons

A class action lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania challenges solitary confinement practices in prisons across the state, saying they violate prisoners’ Eighth Amendment rights as cruel and unusual punishment. The suit, filed on behalf of six inmates, seeks to end prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement for anyone with a mental health diagnosis. PennLive has more.

Experts Expect PA Election Lawsuits This Year to Be “More Intense” Than 2020

With a Biden-Trump rematch likely in November, election experts, lawyers, and others expect new challenges to target everything from the legality of drop boxes to what constitutes a valid mail ballot. Experts say this potentially crowded litigation landscape could have been prevented if the state legislature had clarified portions of Pennsylvania’s 2019 law ushering in voting by mail. PennLive has more.

Everything to Know about Pennsylvania’s Voting Machines, How They’re Kept Safe, and More

In Pennsylvania, all voting machines produce paper ballots that can be audited, allowing election officials to verify the accuracy of the outcome. These systems are tested twice before going into service. Despite these security measures, politicians have seized on human error to cast doubt on election results. WESA has more.



Philadelphia Water Department to Hold Public Listening Sessions on Water Revitalization Plan

The Philadelphia Water Department’s 25-year Water Revitalization Plan, estimated to cost around $2.5 billion, aims to update and strengthen aging drinking water infrastructure, from stations that pump water out of rivers to pipes that carry water across the city. The Department is launching a series of listening sessions to receive public input. WHYY has more.

City Council Plans Hearing on Outdoor Dining Regulations

City Councilmember Rue Landau introduced a resolution calling for a comprehensive review of Philadelphia’s outdoor dining regulations. The aim is to restart the conversation through a public hearing on the policies, and the economic and cultural impact, of the city’s “streeteries” and sidewalk cafes. Billy Penn has more.

Teachers Demand Change to District’s Sick Day Policy

Teachers rallied outside the School District of Philadelphia board meeting to protest the district’s 3-5-7-9 absence policy, and members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers delivered a petition with more than 2,000 signatures to board members with the hope of ending the rule. WHYY has more.



Pittsburgh Regional Transit to Debut System to Tell Riders About Delays

After months of delays, Pittsburgh Regional Transit expects to begin offering riders information next month about immediate delays or cancellations through its website. The goal is for riders to have reliable information on when their next transit vehicle is coming so they do not have to unnecessarily wait outside in the cold, rain, or heat. Union Progress has more.

Lt. Gov. Davis Visits Pittsburgh to Push for More Public Transit Funding

Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis pushed for more funding for public transit at a news conference at Station Square in Pittsburgh. Davis noted that transit suffered sharp ridership losses during the pandemic and needed millions of dollars in federal support to continue operations, but money will run out as early as this year for SEPTA, and within the next three years for PRT. Union Progress has more.



Senate Candidate McCormick Says Less Red Tape, More Gas Are Key to PA’s Economic Future 

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick said during a speech in Pittsburgh that Pennsylvania’s future economic prosperity will depend on whether its energy industry can grow even faster than it already has. He stated that he would focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by flooding the market with LNG. WESA has more.

Beltway Briefing: A Leadership Shuffle: The “Three Johns” Eye McConnell’s Seat

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving leader of the Senate GOP, announces his planned resignation from leadership, all eyes turn to the “three Johns”  — Barrasso, Cornyn, and Thune — each plotting to fill McConnell’s shoes. Coupling this leadership shake-up with the potential for a second Trump presidency, the Public Strategies team navigates turbulent political waters, exploring the normalization of impeachment and the events of the January 6th insurrection. Listen to the latest episode featuring Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, the Hon. Rodney Davis, and Towner French here.


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