Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, February 16, 2023

February 16, 2023


Governor Shapiro Calls for Abolition of Death Penalty in Pennsylvania

On Thursday, Governor Josh Shapiro called on his colleagues in the General Assembly to officially end the death penalty in Pennsylvania, and has vowed to continue former Governor Tom Wolf’s execution moratorium. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Governor Shapiro Pens Strongly Worded Letter to Norfolk Southern President, CEO

On Tuesday, Governor Josh Shapiro penned a strongly worded letter to the president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Corporation, the rail company responsible for the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, less than a mile from the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Governor Shapiro voiced concern regarding the company’s lack of consultation with state and local leaders and failure to prioritize the wellbeing of local residents and the environmental repercussions. WESA has more.

Is Democratic Control of the State House Enough to Overcome Gridlock?

The State House will be reconvening next week after last week’s elections finally decided control of the chamber. However, top House Republicans believe that Democrats’ one-vote majority will not be sufficient on its own to permanently solve the persistent gridlock in Harrisburg. The Associated Press has more.

Emergency Responders Ask for Solutions to Staffing, Funding Issues From State Leaders

Pennsylvania’s emergency responders are pleading with state legislators to address the severe understaffing and funding issues experienced by police, fire, and emergency medical services departments across the commonwealth. While Senate Republicans have pointed to the bills considered during the last legislative session to help resolve these problems, it is unclear whether lawmakers on either side of the aisle will be considering an increase in funding this session. WITF has more.



More Philadelphia Labor Unions Announce Mayoral Candidate Endorsements

Former Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym and Grocery Magnate Jeff Brown are continuing to rack up endorsements from some of Philadelphia’s key labor unions. Most recently, Unite Here Philly — which represents hotel and food-service workers — as well as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ District Council 47 announced their endorsement of Gym, while Teamsters Joint Council 53 — a regional council of 29 locals — announced their endorsement of Brown. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Council President Clarke’s Chief of Staff Signals Potential Run for District 5 Seat

Curtis Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, has acquired nominating petitions to run to represent the 5th Councilmanic District — the district currently represented by his boss — signaling that Council President Clarke may be planning to retire at the end of his term. Council President Clarke has served on City Council since 2000, having led the chamber for 11 years. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Instagram-Famous City Council Candidate Wants to Use Moniker on Ballot

Terrill Haigler, more widely known as Ya Fav Trashman due to his large social media following under the pseudonym, is running for an at-large seat on City Council. While name recognition is a boon, especially in local elections, the popularity of his moniker over his legal name may pose a problem when it comes to which one appears on voters’ ballots. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

TUGSA Stages Walk-Out During Third Week of Strike

On Wednesday afternoon, the Temple University Graduate Students’ Association (TUGSA) led a thousand Temple Students on a class walk-out that shut down part of Broad Street in their efforts to convince university administrators to increase their pay. The two-hour demonstration comes during the third week of the union’s strike. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Allegheny County Executive Candidates Participate in Forum

On Wednesday evening, candidates for Allegheny County Executive met at a forum — moderated by local activist Sean Meloy — in North Hills to discuss issues ranging from the annual budget and property assessment to fracking regulation and developing the regional economy. The Pittsburgh Union Progress has more.



U.S. Senator Fetterman Seeks Treatment for Clinical Depression

On Wednesday night, U.S. Senator John Fetterman voluntarily checked himself into Walter Reed National Medical Center for clinical depression inpatient treatment. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

U.S. Senators Casey, Fetterman Pen Letters to EPA, NTSB

U.S. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania sent joint letters alongside U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance of Ohio to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio, and subsequent environmental concerns. PoliticsPA has more.


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