Pennsylvania Perspective for Monday, November 27, 2023

November 27, 2023

Pennsylvania

Governor Shapiro Appeals Decisions That Struck Down Pennsylvania’s Membership in RGGI

The Shapiro Administration has appealed two Commonwealth Court decisions that struck down Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an interstate program to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. Pennsylvania recently ranked seventh in the nation in greenhouse gas supply, according to a list of the nation’s 100 top greenhouse suppliers compiled by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Spotlight PA has more.

Jack Stollsteimer Enters State Attorney General Race

Last week, Delaware County’s top prosecutor Jack Stollsteimer announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania attorney general. The Associated Press has more.

Democrat, Republican Enter State House Races for Open Seats

Beaver County Republican Party Chair Roman Kozak announced his candidacy for the 14th District seat last week, for which state Representative Jim Marshall will not run for re-election. Meanwhile, Democrat Donna Petrecco has announced her candidacy for the 140th District, which state Representative John Galloway will be resigning in mid-December to accept a district judgeship he won earlier this month.

Federal Court Rules That Pennsylvania Counties Must Accept Undated, Incorrectly Dated Mail Ballots 

A federal court ruled last week that Pennsylvania counties must accept mail ballots that a voter has failed to date or misdated, as the date a voter writes on the envelope they return a mail ballot in is “immaterial” to its eligibility. Spotlight PA has more.

Northampton Voting Machine Trouble Triggers Alarm Ahead of 2024

While Northampton County officials say a recent voting machine glitch did not affect the outcome of the votes, the issue may have negatively impacted voter confidence ahead of next year’s election. County Director of Administration Charles Dertinger has since resigned. Politico has more.

Top State Officials to Receive 3.5% Automatic Pay Raise

Thanks to a state law that delivers automatic pay raises for state officials, more than 1,300 officials — including Governor Josh Shapiro, 253 members of the General Assembly, and seven state Supreme Court justices — a pay raise of 3.5% in 2024. The Associated Press has more.

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency Expands Savings Program for Families With Rent Subsidies

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is devoting $2 million to help tenants in private subsidized housing grow their savings through enrollment in the federal Family Self-Sufficiency Program, making it the first agency of its kind in the nation to do so. The program allows tenants to invest what they would pay in rent increases into a savings account. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Pennsylvania Cities, Towns Top List of America’s “100 Best Places to Retire”

Harrisburg, Reading, Lancaster, Scranton, and Allentown have been named by U.S. News & World Report as the five best places in the nation to retire. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia made the top 20 as well, ranking 10th and 13th, respectively. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Philadelphia

Kevin Bethel Named Next PPD Commissioner

Last week, during a news conference at City Hall, Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker announced West Philadelphia native and Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) veteran Kevin Bethel as the city’s next police commissioner. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Councilmember Johnson to Become Next Council President, According to Inside Sources

Last week, 11 current and four future City Council members met for an unofficial “straw poll” to informally choose District 2 Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson as the next council president. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Demolition of Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge Begins

Work to demolish the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge over I-95 at Penn’s Landing began Monday as part of the $329 million highway cap project. The site will serve as part of the new Park at Penn’s Landing and will connect Center City to the Delaware River waterfront. WHYY has more.

Philadelphia Area ER Visits Take Longer Than Average

According to federal data released earlier this month, emergency room (ER) visits in the Philadelphia region typically take nearly an hour longer than reported by hospitals nationally, with approximately half lasting nearly 3.5 hours. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Calls for Zoning Reform Mount in Pittsburgh

Following the recent rejection of two high-profile development proposals, many community development officials have begun calling for changes to Pittsburgh’s zoning code, which some say unnecessarily impedes growth. WESA has more.

Traffic Calming, Bridges Major Aims for Pittsburgh in 2024

Last week during the department’s budget hearing, officials from Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure told City Council that traffic calming projects will be their major focus for in 2024. WESA has more.

 

Federal

Several Democrats Competing for Freedom Caucus Chair’s U.S. House Seat

Following his controversial attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, seven Democrats are vying to replace Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) after his six terms in office. The Daily Beast has more.

Lafayette College Announced as Host of Only 2024 Vice Presidential Debate

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced last week that Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, will host the only scheduled vice presidential debate of the election cycle in September 2024. CBS News Philadelphia has more

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