Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, August 4, 2022

August 4, 2022


Pennsylvania Supreme Court Upholds No-Excuse Mail-in Voting Law

In a 5-2 decision on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a law that allows for no-excuse mail-in voting does not violate the state constitution. The law, which was passed with bipartisan support by the General Assembly in October 2019, drew much national attention leading up to and in the wake of the 2020 general election. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Additional Election Administration Funding Comes With Additional Requirements

During the recent budget negotiation process, the Pennsylvania General Assembly allocated $45 million in funding intended to assist counties in the administration of their elections. However, some local officials have taken issue with the stipulations for the additional funding — including mandatory continuous vote tabulation — which many argue would place unnecessary pressure on already overburdened election workers. WITF has more.

Unpopular Bridge Tolling Plan Will Not Be Carried Out

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s proposal to toll nine of the commonwealth’s major bridges, including the I-83/South Bridge, will not be coming to fruition. On Monday, PennDOT failed to meet an appeal period deadline in response to a case filed against it by Cumberland County. The tolling initiative was intended to raise more than $2.2 billion in revenue to help repair or replace the bridges that would be tolled, and was considerably unpopular among the communities where the bridges are located. PennLive has more.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Announces Toll Increases for 15th Consecutive Year

Beginning January 8, 2023, tolls along the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be increasing once again, marking the 15th year of consecutive annual increases. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced the increase on Tuesday. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Insurance Department Proposes Average 7.1% Increase in Monthly Premiums

State health insurers are seeking to increase monthly premiums by an average of 7.1% beginning January 2023. The increase would apply only to those who are covered through the state’s online marketplace, which includes an estimated 375,00 individuals. The Insurance Department hopes the action will allow them to address the increasing cost of health care, as well as a projected increase in claims that have been deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.

Anti-Abortion Nonprofit to Receive More Than $7 Million in State, Federal Funds

In its most recent budget, Pennsylvania legislators chose to continue providing funding for Real Alternatives, a Harrisburg-based anti-abortion nonprofit that funds crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state. The organization will be receiving more than $7 million in state and federal TANF funds. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Philadelphia Department of Human Services Office Serves as Makeshift Hotel for City’s Children; Indicative of Greater Challenges

The child care room housed in the Philadelphia Department of Human Services office located in Center City has become a de facto overnight accommodation for children in the city who have nowhere else to stay. Over the course of the past year, the number of children who have stayed in the room for at least one night has tripled, though the room is neither intended nor equipped for this purpose. This trend is indicative of a greater system in turmoil, and has resulted from multiple changes in recent years made in attempts to improve it. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Comcast to Bring Employees Back to Center City Offices Three Days a Week Beginning in September

Comcast, one of Philadelphia’s top seven largest employers, has announced that it is planning on bringing its employees back to its Center City offices for three days a week beginning mid-September. Approximately 8,000 employees work at Comcast Center and Comcast Technology Center, which has potential to further revitalize businesses in Center City and beyond. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Is Donating Half-a-Million Dollars to a Group That Helps Patients Pay for Abortions

Today, City officials announced that $500,000 from the City’s general fund will go to the Abortion Liberation Fund of PA, which helps patients pay for abortions. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Pittsburgh Tech Company Announces Autonomous Vehicle Safety Oversight Council

Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle developer based in Pittsburgh, has announced the creation of the Argo Safety Advisory Council, comprised of subject matter experts, to oversee the safety of the company’s self-driving cars. This follows the June passage of a Pennsylvania House bill that allows for testing of driverless cars in the state. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.



Pennsylvania Congressional Members Lobby Secretary of State to Help Oakmont Teacher in Russian Prison

A group of eleven members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation from both sides of the aisle sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. In the letter, they urge the State Department to include Marc Fogel, an Oakmont teacher being detained in Russia for possessing medical marijuana, in a possible prisoner exchange. The Tribune-Review has more.


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