Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, December 14, 2023

December 14, 2023

Pennsylvania

General Assembly, Governor Shapiro Finalize State Budget

Last night, after a months-long impasse, Governor Josh Shapiro signed the final code bills — which were passed by the legislature over the course of the final three session days of the year — into law, officially completing the 2023-24 state budget. Included was implementation of tax credit increases for child care expenses and private school tuition, as well as public safety and criminal justice reform. PennLive has more.

Senate Passes Bill Mandating Armed School Security Officers In Public Schools

The state Senate has approved legislation that would require public school districts to employ one full-time armed security officer at minimum by a 30-19 vote, mostly along party lines. The bill now heads to the Democratic-controlled state House for consideration. PennLive has more.

State House Committee Advances EV Registration Fee Bill

The state House Transportation Committee has approved legislation that would set the annual registration fee for electric vehicle owners at $290 beginning next year. While negotiations regarding the exact amount are ongoing, if passed as written, Pennsylvania would have the highest such fee in the nation. PennLive has more.

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Withhold Penn Vet School Funding 

State lawmakers defeated a bill to send $33 million in funding to the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school over ongoing concerns about the institution’s handling of antisemitism on campus. The Associated Press has more.

Representative Galloway Resigns; Special Election Set for February 13

Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks) has officially resigned, and House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) has announced a special election set for February 13, 2024 to fill the vacancy. The election will once again determine control of the state House. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Representative Dunbar Will Not Seek Reelection

House Republican Caucus Chairman Representative George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) announced this week that he will not seek reelection. PoliticsPA has more.

Results of Clean Energy Dollar Infusion Remain to Be Seen in Communities

Despite analyses that show a federal tax credit is working as intended to drive investment to energy communities and low-income areas for clean energy, those communities may not be feeling the impact yet. StateImpact Pennsylvania has more.

Grocery Store Prices Rose the Most in Pennsylvania in 2023

A recent analysis of grocery store price data by ConsumerAffairs shows that Pennsylvania has seen the largest increase in prices — 8.2% — over the past year.

 

Philadelphia

City Council Passes Dozens of Bills, Resolutions During Last Meeting of 2023 Session

During their last meeting of the 2023 session — and the final meeting of Council President Darrell Clarke’s tenure — City Council approved dozens of bills and resolutions, including the midyear budget transfer, an end to “unlawful deportations” of non-citizens by local hospitals, a revision to rules and definitions related to nightclubs and private clubs, and revisions to the existing single-use plastic bag ban.

Ski Mask Ban Becomes Law Without Mayor Kenney’s Signature

Philadelphia’s ski mask ban has become law without Mayor Jim Kenney’s signature. The city can now fine people $250 for wearing ski masks in certain public places — including parks, schools, day-care centers, and city-owned buildings, and on public transit. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Public Schools Board Gives Itself a Failing Grade

Members of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors have little confidence in their effectiveness, according to the results of a survey they themselves took earlier this year. WESA has more.

Riverlife Unveils Options to Improve Pedestrian Access to West End Bridge

Riverlife, a nonprofit dedicated to Pittsburgh’s riverfront development, is planning various ways to improve pedestrian access to the West End Bridge, though any potential changes could be years away. PublicSource has more.

 

Federal

Candidate for PA-10 First to Utilize AI Campaign Staff

Shamaine Daniels, a candidate running to represent Pennsylvania’s competitive 10th District in Congress, is using an AI campaign volunteer, stretching the bounds of how technology shapes retail politics. Politico has more.

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