Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Pennsylvania

Governor Shapiro Implements “Money-Back” Policy for Business That Apply for Professional Licenses

Governor Josh Shapiro has made making Pennsylvania a business-friendly state one of his administration’s top priorities, most recently creating a “money-back” guarantee that will refund professional license application fees to businesses that do not receive a response in a predetermined amount of time. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State Representative Culver Wins Special Election for Senate District 27

Republican State Representative Lynda Schlegel Culver won her special election on Tuesday in the 27th state senatorial district, which will make her the 17th current serving female state senator upon her swearing in. Official election results are due by Friday, though she currently holds a significant lead over her Democratic opponent, Patricia Lawton, with all five counties reporting. The Daily Item has more.

IFO Releases 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 January 2023. View the update here.

Governor Shapiro Appoints State Inspector General, Secretary of General Services

Governor Josh Shapiro has announced Lucas Miller as his selection for State Inspector General and Reggie McNeil as his selection for Secretary of General Services. Miller, who has been serving as Acting State Inspector General since his appointment by Governor Wolf, is a 23-year veteran of the Office of State Inspector General, while McNeil’s career in public service includes more than two decades of military leadership and experience as Chief Operating Officer of the School District of Philadelphia. PoliticsPA has more.

Altoona School District Officials Defend Reasoning Behind Arming its Officers With Semi-Automatic Rifles

Two school districts in Pennsylvania — Altoona and Pittston — now permit police officers to store and use semi-automatic rifles on school premises, with the purported intent of keeping students safe from potential school shooters. While school district officials in Altoona are defending their decision, not everyone agrees that it will have the intended effect. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

 

Philadelphia

2023 Mayoral Race Update: Campaign Finance Reports Illuminate Candidates’ Advantages, Disadvantages; Former Mayor Nutter Conducts “Job Interview” With Jeff Brown

In a historically tight race, recently filed campaign finance reports shed light on which candidates are currently best positioned to ultimately become the 100th mayor of Philadelphia. Former At-Large Councilmember Allan Domb raised the most money by a huge margin, thanks to the $5 million of his own money he was able to inject into his campaign, while grocer Jeff Brown, former At-Large Councilmember Helen Gym, and former City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart each collected more than $800,000 in campaign contributions as well.

While the reports are certainly illuminating, forums and other public appearances serve as an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their qualifications for arguably the most important job in the city. During a job interview-like event put on and moderated by the Philadelphia Citizen, former Mayor Michael Nutter, who recently dispelled rumors that he would be seeking a third term, played hardball with candidate Jeff Brown, the only mayoral candidate without a record of public service, by asking questions about the workings of city government.

Three Philadelphia Lawmakers Among 30,000 Property Reassessment Appeals 

Last year, the city announced that value of the average residential property increased 31% due to the first citywide reassessment in three years, leading to 30,000 assessment appeals as residents fear of the impact of the higher number on their property taxes. Three current lawmakers — Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and David Oh, as well as State Representative Mary Isaacson — are among those who appealed their assessment. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge Closed Due to Immediate Safety Concerns

The Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge in Oakland has been shut down to vehicles effective immediately after failing safety analysis. While walkers and cyclists will still have access to the bridge, the City of Pittsburgh has declared that the bridge is not fit to accommodate traffic until $1 to $2 million in repairs can be made. WESA has more.

State Democrats May Have Outraised Republicans in Special Election Races

Three special elections that will be held in Allegheny County this Tuesday are likely the last remaining hurdles Democrats must clear in order to restore the state House to its proper function. While of course nothing is set in stone, it appears that Democrats have outpaced Republicans in terms of fundraising for these crucial races, according to campaign finance reports. The Pittsburgh Union Progress has more.

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