Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, November 20, 2023

November 20, 2023

Pennsylvania

Governor Shapiro Appoints New Members to State Charter Appeals Board

Last week, Governor Josh Shapiro nominated new members to the seven-member Charter Appeals Board, which is responsible for reviewing charter school appeals. Proponents say the move could potentially lead to more school choice options in Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State Senate Introduces legislation to Upgrade School Water Fountains to Remove Lead, Other Harmful Contaminants

Last week, state Senator Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny) introduced a bill to set aside a $30 million Safe School Drinking Water Fund to help schools replace outdated water fountains with those that filter out lead and other harmful contaminants. WESA has more.

Democrats Considering Legal Challenge to Central Bucks Superintendent’s $700,000 Severance Package

Central Bucks County Democrats, who recently won control of the school board, are considering a legal challenge to the $700,000 buyout the current GOP majority awarded to Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh in an abrupt severance deal last week. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Pennsylvania Races to Watch in 2024

Next year’s presidential race has already begun garnering attention. However, there are several U.S. Congressional and statewide races in Pennsylvania battleground districts that are worthy of attention as well. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Who’s Running for Pennsylvania Attorney General?

Historically, Pennsylvania attorneys general have a good chance at becoming governor down the line, which makes keeping tabs on current and rumored candidates all the more important. Republican Katayoun “Kat” Copeland is expected to join the race today. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Comans to Challenge Salisbury in Race for House District 34

Wilkinsburg school board member Ashley Comans has announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for state House District 34, a seat formerly held by friend and ally, U.S. Representative Summer Lee. WESA has more.

Pennsylvania Maintains Historically Low Unemployment Rate in October

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was unchanged over the month of October, remaining at the record low of 3.4%, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. PoliticsPA has more.

 

Philadelphia

Business Leaders Implore Mayor-Elect Parker to Focus on Economic Development Like Governor Shapiro at State Level

Many local business owners are hoping that Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker will prioritize policies that make it easier for economic development by streamlining licensing and permitting processes, similar to what Governor Shapiro has done at the state level. WHYY has more.

Philadelphia Reparations Task Force Solicits Members, Plans to Officially Launch in February

The Philadelphia Reparations Task Force, which began soliciting applications last week, will work to create a report for City Council on how reparations can be used to “atone for the legacy of slavery.” Work is expected to begin in February. WHYY has more.

Oh Doesn’t Rule Out Future Run for Office

David Oh — who as the Republican mayoral candidate garnered more votes than any other Philadelphia Republican in two decades — hasn’t ruled out another run for office in the future, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

30th Street Station to Embark on $550 Million Renovation

Amtrak is preparing to shut down parts of 30th Street Station as it moves ahead with a $550 million renovation that will bring a new outdoor plaza along Market Street, revamp the station’s restaurants and stores, and modernize systems throughout the monumental rail terminal. Billy Penn has more.

$12 Million Federal Grant to Boost Philly Tree Plan

A new $12 million federal grant — part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act — will be used to jump start the Philly Tree Plan, a 10-year plan launched earlier this year that aims to increase the City’s tree canopy to 30%. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Should Allegheny County Executive-Elect Innamorato Tackle Property Reassessments?

During a Pittsburgh City Council meeting last week regarding the City’s 2024 spending plan Council Budget Director Peter McDevitt express hope that Allegheny County Executive-elect Sara Innamorato, who won by a narrow margin earlier this month, will consider doing a real estate reassessment in order to bring in more revenue. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh City Council to Weigh Creation of “Temporary Managed Community”

Pittsburgh City Council is considering a bill to implement zoning changes to allow for legally authorized homeless encampments by creating “temporary managed communities” which would host homeless encampments, with support staff, heat and food. WESA has more.

RFA Investigates Reasons for Black Teachers Leaving Allegheny County Schools

A recent study of 38 Black current and former teachers in Allegheny County from Research for Action (RFA) examines the reasons why 10% have left their schools or the profession altogether over the past decade. WESA has more.

 

Federal

Pennsylvania Name One of Five Democratic-Held Seats Most Likely To Flip

Fox News has named Pennsylvania as one of the five Democratic-held U.S. Senate seats that is most likely to flip in 2024. Incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey will face off against a Republican nominee, likely to be Dave McCormick, this time next year.

Penn, Lafayette Among Schools Under Federal Hate Probe

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it is investigating seven schools  — including the University of Pennsylvania and Lafayette College — over reported instances of antisemitism and Islamophobia on college campuses. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Beltway Briefing : Government Funding: A 2024 Problem

In the midst of heated debates and elbows, Congress kicks the “government funding can” down the road by passing a laddered continuing resolution (CR), allowing the government to stay open over the holidays and punting funding negotiations into the new year. Looking ahead to 2024 retirements, redistricting and aspirations for higher office, Washington braces itself for high turnover and a competitive race for control of both chambers. Listen to the latest episode featuring CPS’ Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin here.

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