Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, April 20, 2023

April 20, 2023


Pennsylvania Higher Education System to Delay Tuition Rate Decision

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education announced today that it would be delaying a decision on next year’s tuition rate until July so it can take into account the amount of funding it will be receiving from the FY24 state budget. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State Supreme Court Sanctions Fulton County for Defying Court Order During 2020 Election

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down sanctions to Fulton County, which, in providing a third-party company access to its Dominion voting machines during the 2020 election, had “willfully violated” a court order. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Capacity Limitations Hinder Pennsylvania’s Production of Natural Gas

While Pennsylvania remains the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation — behind only Texas — its gas production fell by two percentage points in 2022 due to capacity limitations. The Center Square Pennsylvania has more.

Lehigh Named One of the “Most Endangered” Rivers in the U.S.

According to American Rivers, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting U.S. waterways, the Lehigh River is one of the top ten most endangered rivers in the country, due in large part to poor planning of warehouse development. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Ahead of Potential Recession, Senator Pittman Urges “Judicious” FY24 Budget Negotiation Process

At a speech given to the Pennsylvania Press Club on Monday evening, Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Indiana) offered praise for and levied criticism against certain aspects of the FY24 budget proposed by Governor Josh Shapiro, urging for a “judicious” negotiation process in light of an anticipated recession. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Commonwealth Court Dismisses Challenge to Proposed Constitutional Amendments Levied by Governor Wolf

Toward the end of the last legislative session, Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg hurriedly passed a bundle of five controversial state constitutional amendments — including a declaration that the right to abortion is not constitutionally protected and a voter ID requirement. On Monday, the Commonwealth Court dismissed a challenge to the manner in which the amendments were passed brought by former Governor Tom Wolf. The proposed amendments would need to be passed once more in each chamber during this legislative session, then be approved by Pennsylvania voters before becoming law. The Associated Press has more.



City Agrees to Construct Affordable Housing on Current Site of University City Townhomes

Yesterday, the City of Philadelphia announced that it will be constructing 70 affordable housing units on a portion of the land currently occupied by the University City Townhomes. Current owner IBID Associates will donate approximately one half-acre to the City for the construction of these units, while the remaining three acres will be used for development. District 3 Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who spearheaded the negotiations with IBID, intends to introduce zoning legislation to allow for next steps during next week’s City Council meeting. WHYY has more.

SEPTA to Replace Key Card Fare Collection System

SEPTA has announced that it is currently seeking a contracting partner to build a new fare collection system to replace its SEPTA Key platform, which was originally launched in 2016 and had fully replaced the phased-out token system by 2018. The move is intended to bring SEPTA “into the future” and make it less beholden to third-party vendors for future system updates. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Commissioners Office Releases Final Ballot Layout for Primary Election 

The Office of City Commissioners has set the final ballot for the May 16 primary election. The ballot includes 109 total candidates for various municipal offices. Billy Penn has more.

2023 Mayoral Race Update: Candidates Stances on Affordable Housing, Stop-and-Frisk; Super PAC Spending

  • Yesterday evening, mayoral candidates Jimmy DeLeon, Allan Domb, Helen Gym, and Rebecca Rhynhart participated in a forum focused on affordable housing and development. WHYY has more.
  • With about a month still remaining until the mayoral primary, super PACs have reportedly spent $5 million supporting four candidates. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
  • Law and order has become a central focus throughout the mayoral campaign, making policies like stop-and-frisk ripe for political debate. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Governor Shapiro Lauds Pittsburgh Tech, Robotics Industry

During the opening night of the Aviation & Robotics Summit on Tuesday night, Governor Josh Shapiro praised the Pittsburgh region for the growth of its technology and robotics sector, highlighting Astrobotic and its Peregrine lunar lander as a prime example. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald Weighs in on County Council Election

Current Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has endorsed fellow Democrat Joanna Doven for Allegheny County Council, citing her experience in both the private and public sectors. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Meet the Candidates for Allegheny County Council District 9

Two Democratic candidates — independent broker Khadijah Harris and local political mainstay Khari Mosley — are going head-to-head in the Democratic primary election for the District 9 County Council seat. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Area School Districts File Lawsuit Against Social Media Companies for Alleged Role in “Youth Mental Health Crisis”

Three school districts in the greater Pittsburgh area — Seneca Valley, Moniteau, and Burgettstown Area School Districts — have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that social media companies have had a detrimental impact on students’ mental health. WTAE has more.



Former President Trump Among Republicans With Concerns About Potential Mastriano Senate Run

Many Republicans from Pennsylvania and beyond are allegedly skeptical that State Senator Doug Mastriano, who lost his 2022 congressional bid to current Democratic U.S. Senator John Fetterman, could be a serious contender for U.S. Senate in 2024. Even former President Donald Trump has allegedly expressed concern that appearing with Mastriano on the same ballot could potentially hurt his chances of re-election. Politico has more.

Shadyside Republican Reportedly Planning to Challenge U.S. Representative Lee in 2024

Republican businessman Jim Hayes is reportedly planning to announce his candidacy for the U.S. House — for the seat currently held by freshman Democratic Representative Summer Lee — later this week. KDKA has more.

U.S. Senator Fetterman Expresses Joy in First Week Back at Work

Much has been said about U.S. Senator John Fetterman’s return to office this week after his extended absence to receive mental health treatment. In his first interview since resuming work, the Senator himself has stated that he is finally enjoying his new job. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.


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