Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, March 6, 2023

March 6, 2023


State Representative Zabel Steps Back From Judiciary Committee, Will Not Resign

Late last week, it was revealed that state Representative Mike Zabel is the previously anonymous legislator whom union lobbyist Andi Perez accused of sexual harassment in January. In a letter to House Democrats penned Friday, the Delaware County lawmaker stated that he would be stepping down from the Judiciary Committee and would not be accepting any other committee assignments, but stopped short of resigning. The Associated Press has more.

Proposed Bipartisan Bill Would Expand State’s Medical Marijuana Regulations

According to a co-sponsorship memo circulated by Republican Senator Mike Regan and Democratic Senator Jim Brewster, the state Senate may soon be considering a bill that would loosen the state’s medical marijuana program regulations, including eligibility for potential participants. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has more.

Former State House Speaker John Perzel Evades State Restitution Efforts Thanks to Superior Court Ruling

Last week, the state lost its latest bid for restitution from former Pennsylvania State House Speaker John Perzel via a Superior Court ruling. Two decades ago, the former House Speaker improperly utilized the House Republican information technology office as a de facto Republican campaign office. PennLive has more.

Governor Shapiro to Give First Budget Address on Tuesday

Governor Josh Shapiro will be giving his first budget address since taking office tomorrow, with reconfiguring Pennsylvania’s school funding system and making the commonwealth friendlier to businesses expected to be featured as top priorities. The Associated Press has more.



President Biden to Unveil Budget Proposal in Philadelphia on Thursday

President Joe Biden will be visiting Philadelphia on Thursday to unveil his latest budget proposal, which includes a more than $2 trillion cut to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. His proposal is expected to serve as an indicator of his administration’s priorities ahead of a second potential presidential run. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

A Look At City Council President Clarke’s Lasting Impact on City Government

Outgoing City Council President Darrell L. Clarke has left an indelible mark on the way business is done in city government over his 25-year career with the legislative body. A notable element of his likely lasting impact is the shift toward hyperlocal decision-making, which has over time given Council members more authority to set the city’s policy agenda. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Racial Equity a Primary Focus of Mayor Kenney’s Final Budget Address

Last week, Mayor Jim Kenney gave the final budget address of his time in office. One of the primary focuses of his last few months in office will be improving streetlights, providing free WiFi for families, and encouraging diversity throughout the police recruitment process — all of which falls under the umbrella of “budgeting for equity,” according to city officials. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Allegheny County Democrats Endorse Both Progressive, Moderate Candidates for Various Offices in Upcoming Primaries

Over the weekend, the local Democratic Party of Allegheny County made its endorsements for the upcoming May 16 primary elections, favoring more progressive candidates for district attorney and county council and a more moderate candidate for Allegheny County executive. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

Pittsburgh’s Innovation Economy Going Strong

While many industries are still feeling the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh’s innovation economy has continued to thrive, with early-stage companies raising sufficient funds to sustain their growth and venture capital investment bucking plateauing national trends. The Pittsburgh Business Journal has more.



Former U.S. Senator Toomey Joins Board of Private Equity Firm

Late last month, private equity firm Apollo Global Management announced that former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey would be joining its board of directors. During his time in the Senate, Toomey fought diligently to protect a loophole that allows certain private equity executives to pay a lower tax rate than similar high earners. The Level has more.

Beltway Briefing Special Episode: Chicago Mayoral Election

Last Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her re-election bid by failing to garner enough votes to make a runoff race. It was a stunning fall for a candidate who in 2019 had won all 50 of Chicago wards, becoming the city’s first Black woman mayor as well as its first openly gay mayor. It was also the first time in 40 years that the city didn’t elect a sitting mayor who sought re-election. Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ Chicago team members Pat Carey, John Dunn, and Sydney Holman breakdown the results of the mayoral election and the city’s shifting political dynamics, and discuss what we can expect in the runoff that will elect the 57th mayor of Chicago. Listen to the latest episode here.


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