Two State Representatives Resign; Representative McClinton Sworn In; Chaos Ensues
The new state House session is set to begin on January 3, and while Democrats claimed key midterm victories that resulted in their apparent winning of the chamber for the first time in more than a decade, the question of which party currently has control is contentious. Yesterday, Democratic state Representative Joanna McClinton was sworn in during an unpublicized ceremony on the floor of the chamber — making her the House’s presiding officer, according to her office — in what House Republicans have called a “paperwork insurrection.” Also yesterday, state Representatives Austin Davis and Summer Lee, both of Allegheny County, resigned ahead of their January swearing in as lieutenant governor and U.S. representative, respectively. While Republicans argue that the three House vacancies — left by Representatives Davis, Lee, and Tony DeLuca, who won re-election posthumously — mean that Democrats do not currently have the requisite majority, House Democrats argue that because these seats had been held by lawfully elected Democrats, their majority is valid. Spotlight PA has more.
First Marijuana Pardon Project Beneficiaries Fewer Than Originally Promised
When it was first announced, Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s signature marijuana pardon project promised to provide amnesty for thousands of Pennsylvanians with nonviolent marijuana possession convictions. Yesterday, the Wolf administration announced that only 231 of the more than 2,600 applicants will be receiving a final public hearing. Many applications had been thrown out, as they did not meet the eligibility requirements for the program. The Wolf administration hopes that the program will be continued and improved upon by the incoming Shapiro administration. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
State Panel Votes to Update Anti-Discrimination Laws
Earlier today, a state regulatory panel voted along party lines to update Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws. The panel approved revised definition of sex, religious creed, and race, which will provide greater clarity to organizations who must abide by them, as well as individuals who are protected by them. The Associated Press has more.
The Philadelphia Inquirer Revisits Its Past Coverage of the Clearing of Black Bottom Neighborhood
The predominantly Black West Philadelphia neighborhood that is today largely dominated by the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University used to be referred to as “Black Bottom,” and its residents were rarely covered with any sort of sympathy by the city’s papers of record, including the Philadelphia Inquirer. Now, as part of its “A More Perfect Union” series, the Inquirer is reexamining its coverage of the bulldozing of the neighborhood beginning in the 1950s, informed by the perspective of former resident and Penn social policy professor Walter Palmer.
Federal Government Seeks Extension in Philadelphia Supervised Injection Site Lawsuit; Local Nonprofit Safehouse Pushes Back
On Monday, the Department of Justice requested a two-month extension to a lawsuit filed by local public health nonprofit Safehouse in their attempt to open a supervised injection site in Philadelphia, citing their dedication to carefully considering “harm reduction and public safety goals.” On Tuesday, Safehouse pushed back, requesting the decision in two weeks rather than two months. WHYY has more.
Allegheny County Democrats to Choose Replacement for Late State Representative DeLuca
When state Representative Tony DeLuca passed away in October, it was too late to remove his name from the November ballot, resulting in a posthumous victory. Now, the Allegheny County Democratic Committee will be meeting this Sunday to decide in a ranked-choice vote among eight different candidates whom they will nominate to replace the late Representative. PennLive has more.
Former Aide to Pittsburgh City Controller Lamb to Run for His Office
Rachael Heisler, former aide to outgoing Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, has announced that she will be running for the position when her boss steps down next year. Michael Lamb will be leaving his current position to run for county executive. WESA has more.
Pittsburgh’s Most Popular Game-Centered Bars, Restaurants
The concept of gaming bars and restaurants — where games are not merely an added bonus, but the main attraction — have been gaining popularity across the country over the last few years. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has put together a list of some of the most notable gaming-and-refreshment destinations in the city, including details on what the food, drink, and game offerings are at each.