Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, February 1, 2024

February 1, 2024

Pennsylvania

Joe Hill Named to City & State’s “Who’s Who in Government Relations” 2024 List

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Managing Director Joseph Hill has been named one of City & State Pennsylvania’s 2024 Who’s Who in Government Relations.

Governor Shapiro on Trump/Biden Rematch, Navigating Divided Government, More

Governor Josh Shapiro discussed his administration’s preparations for a potential Trump/Biden rematch, navigating a divided state legislature, and implementing a pilot project for generative AI in government, with journalist Kara Swisher on her podcast, On with Kara Swisher. Listen here.

Governor Shapiro Announces 10-Year Economic Development Plan

During a visit to OraSure Technology’s Bethlehem facility Tuesday, Governor Shapiro unveiled a 10-year economic development strategy — the state’s first in two decades — to boost investment and growth through over a dozen new and expanded policies focusing on industries such as agriculture, energy, life sciences, manufacturing, and technology. LehighValleyNews.com has more.

Governor Shapiro Among Governors Urging SCOTUS to Rule in Favor of Medication Abortion Access

Governor Shapiro, along with governors of 20 other states, filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to rule in favor of unrestricted access to mifepristone, a drug used in medication abortions. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Will State Senate Approve Additional Funding for Pennsylvania’s Struggling Transit Systems?

While Governor Shapiro is expected to propose routing $1.5 billion in state aid to public transit over the next five years during next week’s budget address, the future of the proposal is uncertain in the Republican-controlled state Senate. Spotlight PA has more.

Representative Rozzi Announces Temporary Exit From Politics

State Representative Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), known for his stint as House speaker and as an advocate for child survivors of childhood sexual abuse, announced that he will be leaving politics temporarily at the end of his current term to focus on his mental health, thus also ending his campaign for state auditor general. He has endorsed state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta for the Democratic nomination. PoliticsPA has more.

This Month’s Special Election in Bucks County to Determine Control of State House

The February 13 special election for Pennsylvania’s 140th District in Bucks County between Democrat Jim Prokopiak and Republican Candace Cabanas will once again determine party control in the State House, with issues like property taxes, women’s reproductive rights, education, and healthcare, taking center stage and spending ramping up. PoliticsPA has more.

Pennsylvania Automatic Voter Registration Boosts Sign-Ups

New data from automatic voter registration at Pennsylvania driver’s license centers reveals a 45% increase in sign-ups compared to a similar period two years ago, with registrations almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The Associated Press has more.

State Needs More Election Volunteers to Compensate for Loss of Senior Officials

Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt is urging the public to volunteer as election workers in the upcoming April midterm and November general elections to ensure the smooth functioning of the democratic process. The call comes amid a loss of experienced election workers in recent years. The Center Square has more.

Proposed Legislation Would Allow Voters to Return Mail-In Ballots to Polling Places

State Representatives Tarik Khan (D-Philadelphia), Ben Waxman (D-Philadelphia), and Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) plan to introduce legislation that would allow voters to return mail-in ballots to polling places in person on Election Day. ABC27 has more.

IFO Releases January 2024 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 January. View the report here.

 

Philadelphia

City Council Bills Aimed at Protecting Renters, Homeowners; Investigate City’s Progress Toward Carbon Neutrality Introduced

City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (District 3) introduced a trio of bills intended to protect low-income tenants and homeowners from displacement, while Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At Large) introduced a resolution to allow the City Council Legislative Oversight Committee to investigate Philadelphia’s progress on meeting its goal of zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

New Kensington Caucus to Focus on Improving Neighborhood Conditions 

City Councilmembers Mark Squilla (District 1), Mike Driscoll (District 6), Quetcy Lozada (District 7), and Jim Harrity (At Large) have announced the formation of a new Kensington Caucus, as well as their intent to seek funding for a “triage center” for police and outreach workers to help get those suffering from substance use disorders off the streets and into recovery programs. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Superintendent Watlington Delivers Inaugural State of Public Education Address

On Tuesday morning, Philadelphia School District Superintendent Tony Watlington delivered his  inaugural State of the Schools address, during which he highlighted progress in student and teacher attendance, increased graduation rates, and reduced dropout rates; emphasized the importance of public schools in building the middle class; and addressed challenges such as the end of pandemic-era funding and school facility upgrades. WHYY has more.

 

Pittsburgh

PRT Seeking Public Input on Herron Station Redesign

Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) is seeking community input for the redesign of Herron Station, a critical transit-connection point at the intersection of Polish Hill, the Strip District, and Lower Lawrenceville, which includes plans to improve accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists, and people with mobility issues. WESA has more.

Property Tax Appeals Erode Budgets as Assessment Burden Shifts

Amid property assessment appeals impacting municipal budgets, Pittsburgh avoids immediate financial strain due to rising residential values offsetting reduced skyscraper tax bills, though the impending wave of assessment cuts downtown may lead to a citywide millage increase to compensate for lost revenue. PublicSource has more.

U.S. Labor, Education Secretaries Visit Pittsburgh to Applaud Workforce Development

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su visited the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) to highlight Pittsburgh’s role as a Workforce Development Hub and promote President Biden’s Investing in America initiative for domestic manufacturing. WESA has more.

 

Federal

Casey Widens Lead Over McCormick; Biden-Trump Matchup Remains Competitive

In the latest survey by the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, U.S. Senator Bob Casey holds a 12-point lead over presumed Republican challenger Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania’s 2024 Senate race, while President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump remain statistically tied in a two-person contest. PoliticsPA has more.

Representative Perry Leads Crowded Fundraising Race in PA-10

In the final quarter of 2023, U.S. Representative Perry outpaced Democratic rivals in fundraising, amassing over $400,000 — and spent more than any incumbent in Pennsylvania, with expenditures totaling just over $395,000, leaving him with $547,000 cash on hand. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

U.S. House Passes Tax Relief for American Families, Workers Act

The U.S. House approved the $78 billion Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which if passed would expand the child tax credit and reinstating some tax incentives for businesses. Republican Representatives Scott Perry (PA-10) and John Joyce (PA-13) were the only members of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House delegation to vote “no” on the bill, which now moves to the Senate. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

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