Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, May 9, 2022

May 9, 2022


Four Decades After It Started, Renovation of the State Capitol is Complete

After the Governor and his staff moved into their renovated offices earlier this year, the renovation of Pennsylvania’s Capitol complex was officially marked complete, spanning four decades and costing almost $2.5 million. The State Capitol, often held to be one of the most opulent in the nation, fell victim to decades of delayed maintenance and preservation work, necessitating the full renovation. PennLive has more.

Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Preparing for Transition Without Disruption

Secretary of the State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) Jen Smith said her department is preparing for a smooth transition from the Wolf administration to the next, aiming to minimize disruption to key programs. Read more from City & State PA.

New 988 Suicide Hotline Has Soft Launch, But More Workers Still Needed

A federally-mandated suicide prevention hotline now has a new number — 988 — to better connect people in crisis, but employees of Pennsylvania ’s hotlines say more funding is needed to ensure staffing meets demand and that callers are routed to operators in their area familiar with local resources. WITF has more.

Pennsylvania Moving Slowly Towards Ending the Gas Tax in Favor of a Mileage Tax

State transportation officials say they are working with the General Assembly on legislation to do away with the state gas tax and move towards a mile-driven tax, which industry experts say will be necessary in the coming years as people drive more electric and hybrid cars. Read more from the Post-Gazette.


Suburban Renters See the Highest Jump In Rent Prices

Renters in Philadelphia ’s suburbs saw the largest rent increases in the region, with some going up 15 percent since last year. In Philadelphia, average rent went up 6 percent. BillyPenn has more.

Public Defender’s Office Asks for More Funding, Calling it a Racial Justice Issue

Staff in Philadelphia ’s public defender’s office are paid less on average than nearly every other city agency. The office is now asking for $5.8 million in new funding to help close that disparity. The office, which represents most defendants in City courts, says closing the funding gap is a matter of racial equity. Read more from the Inquirer.

City GOP Leaders Remove Ward Leader Over “Ballot Harvesting ” Issue

City Republican leaders moved this weekend to remove a South Philadelphia ward leader who is the subject of an investigation over “ballot harvesting ” — in this case, allegedly filing for mail-in ballots on behalf of other voters and having the ballots sent to his house. The Inquirer has more.

Rising Exports of Natural Gas Relying on Mariner East Pipeline

The two-year growth of natural gas exports from the Pennsylvania region is being fueled by the Mariner East 2 pipeline, the controversial pipeline which opened in 2018. Extra transportation capacity from the pipeline now means one ship a day arrives in Marcus Hook for processing to be loaded. Read more from the Inquirer.

Will Momentum for Unions Change Philadelphia’s Restaurant Scene?

A growing number of foodservice employees are pushing for unionization, led by workers at five Philadelphia Starbucks shops, but they are also joined by employees at some smaller shops. The new push could lead to increased benefits for workers but added costs to the owners. The Inquirer has more.

Senator Anthony Williams Faces First Serious Challenger in Years

Longtime Democratic Senator Anthony Williams, who serves parts of southwest Philadelphia as well as parts of Delaware County, is facing his first serious primary challenger in years from progressive activists Paul Prescod. Read more from WHYY.



Democrats Decry Attack Ads Against Summer Lee

Democrats from Pittsburgh and other parts of Pennsylvania sent a letter decrying an attack ad against U.S. House candidate Summer Lee, which was funded by a pro-Israel Super PAC and accuses Lee of being a fake Democrat. The Tribune-Review has more.

New Survey Shows Significant Inequities Still Persist for Black Women in Pittsburgh

Black Women in Pittsburgh continue to face the highest per capita rates of maternal morbidity and the lowest overall earning power, signs that inequities continue to persist. Read more from the Capital-Star.

Video Released of Fern Hollow Bridge Collapse

Investigators released footage of a bus driving over the Fern Hollow bridge just as it collapsed. The collapse occurred hours before President Biden was scheduled to visit Pittsburgh, but resulted in no serious injuries. Pittsburgh Magazine has more.



Beltway Briefing: Political Earthquake

The Supreme Court stands on the brink of striking down the landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, and the news has hit the political world like an earthquake.

Public Strategies ’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, Kaitlyn Martin, and Tristan Breaux discuss the leak of a draft opinion itself, unprecedented in the Supreme Court ’s recent history, on the court ’s standing, and ponder the potentially seismic consequences of overturning the landmark decision across the social, demographic, and political spectrum. Listen here.

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