Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, May 8, 2023

May 8, 2023


Special Election for State House District 163 to Determine Majority — Again

While much energy has been devoted to covering municipal primary elections in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in the lead-up to May 16, the special election for state House District 163 will — once again — determine which party will hold the majority in the chamber moving forward. The seat was most recently held by Mike Zabel, the first Democrat to win the district in decades upon his victory in 2019, who resigned in March of this year due to sexual harassment allegations. PoliticsPA has more.

Penn State University Anticipates Loss of 50 Full-Time, Non-Contract Jobs

Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi divulged during a late-April meeting of the Faculty Senate that the University estimates that about 50 full-time, non-contract jobs are “in jeopardy” this year. The University has previously states that it intends to balance its budget — which currently includes a multimillion-dollar deficit — by 2025. SpotlightPA has more.



Philadelphia Mayoral Television Spot War Gets Spicy

In the final days of Philadelphia’s historic mayoral primary race, the gloves have come off as far as televised campaign ads are concerned. Thus far, both campaigns and the interest groups supporting them have funneled $18 million into ads intended to distinguish the candidates from their competitors by any means necessary — which in such a tight race, has increasingly meant levying attacks against each other. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia City Council Passes Affordable Housing Legislation

On Thursday, Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed two bills — part of District 3 Councilmember Jamie Gauthier’s “People’s Preservation Package” — aimed at preserving affordable housing throughout the city. WHYY has more.

City’s Tourism Organizations, Public Entities Launch “Coalition 2026”

Ten of Philadelphia’s tourism organizations and public entities have announced a partnership called “Coalition 2026” to prepare the city for 2026, a landmark year during which Philadelphia will host celebrations of the nation’s semiquincentennial, FIFA World Cup matches, and the MLB All-Star Game. The Philadelphia Business Journal has more.

New City Program Aims to Combat Violence, Recidivism Through Increased Access to Services for Returning Citizens

This spring, Philadelphia’s Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety will be launching a community violence intervention program to provide returning citizens with access to services including therapy, employment, and housing assistance with the aim of reducing violence and recidivism. The program is modeled after Chicago’s successful READI program, which began in 2017. Next City has more.



Westmoreland County Will Not Count Undated, Misdated Ballots

Last week, members of the Westmoreland County Board of Elections voted to set aside undated or incorrectly dated mail-in ballots, in keeping with a recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. All mail-in ballots must be dated between April 25 and May 16 in order to be counted. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Candidates for Pittsburgh Public School Board Present Disparate Visions for the Future of the District

Among the potentially impactful elections taking place next week is one that will fill an open seat on the Pittsburgh Public Schools board, which, regardless of outcome, will affect issues ranging from decisions about curricula to school safety and school choice. WESA has more.



U.S. Representatives Weigh in on Debt Ceiling Debate

With a decision on the federal debt ceiling looming, Pennsylvania’s representatives in Congress are weighing in. Last week, U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan spoke with Bloomberg Market’s “Balance of Power,” while U.S. Representative Scott Perry spoke with CBS21’s “Face the State” on Sunday, both voicing their opinions on how the nation should move forward.

What Can the 2022 Pennsylvania Senate Race Tell Us About 2024?

While the nation gears up for a potential Biden-Trump presidential rematch in 2024, Pennsylvania will face what is sure to be another competitive, high-profile Senate race between incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey and a yet-to-be-determined Republican competitor. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has conducted a deep-dive analysis on the 2024 race between Democratic now-U.S. Senator John Fetterman and his Republican opponent Dr. Oz to see what lessons can be leveraged heading into 2024.

Beltway Briefing: Muddled Picture of the Economy

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Rodney Davis, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin break down the latest jobs report and its impact on the overall economy. And, ahead of a looming June 1 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid the first default in U.S. history, they also discuss what the White House and lawmakers are doing to revive the stalled debt-limit negotiations. Listen to the latest episode here.


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