Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, August 3, 2023

August 3, 2023


Governor Shapiro Signs FY24 Budget

After weeks of delay, Governor Josh Shapiro has signed the $45.5 billion FY24 budget into law. The bill makes important investments in several key areas, including education, community and economic development, indigent defense, infrastructure, and resources for law enforcement and first responders, among other priorities. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Governor Shapiro Issues Executive Order to Allocate $400 Million for Infrastructure Worker Training

During a press conference in Pittsburgh earlier this week, Governor Shapiro announced a $400 million investment in training for infrastructure workers over the next five years. The Associated Press has more.

New Document Unveil Details About Governor Shapiro’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Working Group

Documents released under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law have revealed new details about Governor Shapiro’s secret working group on greenhouse gas emissions, including membership. Inside Climate News has more.

House District 21 to Hold Special Election in September

Pennsylvania House District 21 will be holding a special election on Tuesday, September 19 to replace former Representative Sara Innamorato. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

City & State Publishes Special Report on State Transportation Infrastructure

With Pennsylvania set to receive more than $15 billion from the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act dollars over the coming years, now is a critical moment for the commonwealth to reimagine transportation from all angles — from highway and bridge construction and repair to public transit improvements and expansion of electric vehicle charging capabilities. City & State Pennsylvania has published a special report on transportation infrastructure, which includes interviews with Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission CEO Mark Compton, SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards, and Senate Transportation Committee Chair Wayne Langerholc.

Pennsylvanians Continue to Struggle as State Attempts to Reform PHFA

Spotlight PA has published an in-depth investigation into the state’s attempt to overhaul the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) — and how some Pennsylvanians feel that they have been left in the lurch.

As Pennsylvania Educators Flee the Profession, Proportion of Teachers of Color Decreases as Well

Pennsylvania has been experiencing historic rates of teacher attrition due in large part to increasingly hostile political environments and burnout. In Pennsylvania, the decreasing proportion of teachers of color is an added challenge. The Associated Press has more.

PSERS Sues Consulting Company Over Costly Investment Profit Error

Pennsylvania’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) is suing consulting company Aon Investments for incorrectly calculating investment profits, which the system alleges contributed to investigations by the federal government. PennLive has more.

Uncertainty Regarding How to Spend Opioid Settlement Money Persists Among Pennsylvania Counties 

The debate over how to spend approximately $1 billion in opioid settlement money is ongoing in counties across Pennsylvania. Further complicating the discussion is the state oversight board, which has the power to withhold and cut funding if it determines a county’s plan to spend the money is inappropriate — a designation which itself is unclear. Spotlight PA has more.

IFO Releases May Monthly Revenue Update

The Independent Fiscal Office (IFO), the state agency responsible for providing revenue projections and impartial analysis for state legislators, has released its monthly revenue update for the month of July. View the report here.



City Council Investigates Creating Independent Authority to Remedy Crumbling School Infrastructure

On Wednesday, the City Council Committee on Education held a hearing to investigate the creation of an “independent school building authority.” Billy Penn has more.

WFP Candidates File to Run for Key City Council, Commissioner Positions

This fall, candidates from Philadelphia’s progressive Working Families Party (WFP) are running for City Council and Commissioner positions with the goal of ousting Republicans from those offices. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Vice President Harris to Visit Philadelphia Next Week

Vice President Kamala Harris will be visiting Philadelphia for the second time in as many months next week to announce a new worker initiative and discuss the Biden Administration’s commitment to infrastructure. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Jury Sentences Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooter to Death

A month after finding him eligible for the death penalty, jurors voted unanimously to sentence the convicted Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooter to death. Notably, Governor Shapiro — who yesterday commended the justice system for doing its job — has previously called for Pennsylvania legislators to abolish the death penalty. WESA has more.

As Pittsburgh Seeks to Expand Smart Loading Zones Program, Local Business Owners Express Concern

Pittsburgh began introducing smart loading zones as part of a pilot program last year as a means of reducing congestion and safety hazards, as well as combat emissions. The City has plans to expand the program, though some have expressed concern that it adds undue cost burden to small businesses. WESA has more.



Former President Trump Indicted for Third Time on Election Interference Charges

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was indicted for his alleged attempts to subvert the 2020 election. Pennsylvania plays a large role in this indictment, from the Philadelphia political strategist who helped orchestrate the fake elector scheme in the state, to the former president’s public disparagement of now-Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt, to a hearing convened by state Senator Doug Mastriano’s (R-Franklin) and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg following Pennsylvania’s certification of the election results. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

U.S. Representative Fitzpatrick Calls to Fund Research, Development of PFAS-Free Gear for Firefighters

A bill co-sponsored by Republican U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania has been introduced that would fund research and development of firefighting gear free from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.” The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Maria Montero Enters U.S. House Race

This week, Republican attorney and former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women and the Pennsylvania Latino Commission Maria Montero announced her candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democratic U.S. Representative Susan Wild. PoliticsPA has more.


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