Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, August 31, 2023

August 31, 2023


Legislators Make Progress on FY24 Budget Code Bills; Senate Reintroduces School Voucher Program

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled state Senate passed two code bills that address a portion of the stalled $1.1 billion in spending, including funding for first responders, community colleges, public libraries, and universal free breakfast in Pennsylvania’s public schools. More controversially, the bills also included a reintroduction of the school voucher program that held up initial FY24 budget negotiations. Spotlight PA has more.

State Lawmakers Debate Merits of Imposing Regulations on Skill Games

State lawmakers are weighing the pros and cons of regulating skill games, which currently operate in a legal gray area. A bill introduced in May by state Senator Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport) would impose such regulations and establish an additional tax, which has potential to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to the commonwealth. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Pennsylvania State Police Academy Will no Longer Require College Credit

This week, Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris announced that applicants to Pennsylvania State Police Academy will no longer require college credits to become state troopers. WESA has more.

State Senator Introduces Bill to Require Armed Security Guards in All Pennsylvania Schools

State Senator Mike Regan (R-York) has introduced a bill that would require Pennsylvania school districts to employ an armed security guard at every school during the school day. FOX43 has more.

City & State Publishes Special Report on the Future of Education

With the Commonwealth Court’s historic February decision that Pennsylvania’s current public education funding system is unconstitutional comes the reality of the herculean undertaking legislators in Harrisburg have before them in order to make the requisite changes. City & State Pennsylvania has published a special report on the future of education in the commonwealth to catch you up to speed.

Three Freshman Representative Discuss Their First Year on the Job

This session saw the ascendency of one of the largest groups of incoming freshman legislators in state history. Three first-time lawmakers — Representatives Justin Fleming (D-Dauphin), Tarik Khan (D-Philadelphia), and Dallas Kephart (R-Clearfield) — spoke with Spotlight PA about their turbulent first few months on the job.



City Selects Developers for AAMP Relocation, Hotel Construction Project

Yesterday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that developers have been selected to help convert the former Family Court Building into a hotel. The project will also incorporate the relocation of the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) to an adjacent lot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. WHYY has more.

Project to Cap I-95 to Break Ground Next Week

The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation will break ground next week on a revolutionary $329 million cap over a portion of I-95, which will create a vast new park and reconnect Center City to the waterfront. Billy Penn has more.

How Philadelphia Plans to Keep Students Safe Throughout the School Year

In anticipation of students’ return to school next week, the Philadelphia Police Department and School District of Philadelphia unveiled their plans to keep students safe from gun violence, which include AI-powered gun detection in the city’s middle schools. WHYY has more.



Pittsburgh Unveils New Policy Addressing Tent Encampments 

Earlier this month, Mayor Ed Gainey’s office finalized a policy for clearing tent encampments in hopes of ensuring the safety of Pittsburgh’s unhoused population. However, some advocates worry that the policy doesn’t do enough to protect Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable residents. PublicSource has more.

Allegheny County Council Votes to Draft Climate Action Plan

On Tuesday, Allegheny County Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance compelling the County Department of Sustainability to draft a climate action plan by next summer. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Republican Nominee for Allegheny County Executive Begins Airing TV Ads

The Republican nominee for Allegheny County executive Joe Rockey began airing his first 30-second televised campaign advertisement on Wednesday. The Pittsburgh Union Progress has more.



Former Philadelphia Proud Boys President Sentenced to 15 Years for Involvement in January 6th Insurrection

Zach Rehl, the former president of the Philadelphia Proud Boys, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for his involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, among the longest sentences handed down to defendants in related cases thus far. His co-defendant, Joseph Biggs, was sentenced to 17 years in prison earlier this afternoon. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Pennsylvania Could Hold 2024 Presidential Primary as Early as March

Pennsylvania may end up rescheduling its primary to a date as early as March 19, 2024, in order to avoid holding the election on Passover — which may interfere with some Jewish voters’ ability to cast their ballots — as currently scheduled. State Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) and Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) have proposed moving the election to April 2, 2024. The Associated Press has more.


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