Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, January 11, 2024
January 11, 2024
January 11, 2024
Governor Josh Shapiro unveiled a first-of-its-kind partnership between his administration and OpenAI on Tuesday, introducing a pioneering generative artificial intelligence (AI) pilot program enabling state employees to access OpenAI tools with enhanced security and privacy features. PoliticsPA has more.
Governor Shapiro announced plans to unveil an economic development strategy — including agriculture as one of four “pillars of opportunity” — during his visit to the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show. PennLive has more.
A long-awaited report approved 8-7 by the Basic Education Funding Commission suggests that the state will need to spend at least $5.4 billion to address the funding gap between rich and poor school districts. The news comes amid ongoing debates over education policy and school funding as state lawmakers endeavor to overhaul Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional school funding formula. Additional challenges include a little-known mechanism known as “hold harmless,” which creates an equity divide between the Eastern and Western Pennsylvania school districts, and the recent diversion of $100 million in funding — initially intended to address vacancies and funding deficits in Pennsylvania’s 100 poorest school districts — to fund school construction projects instead.
This year’s elections for control of the state House — which is currently tied at 101-101— is anticipated to be highly competitive, with Pennsylvania considered a top target for Democrats at the national level.
State Representative Keith Greiner (R-Lancaster) has introduced legislation that would advance Pennsylvania’s 2028 primary from the fourth Tuesday of April to the third Tuesday of March to increase its significance in the party nominee selection process. WESA has more.
During Pennsylvania’s budget impasse last year, 12 state House lawmakers — including Representative Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland), the primary sponsor of a proposed “no budget, no pay” bill — chose not to cash at least one paycheck. The legislation proposed would suspend pay if the legislature fails to pass a main appropriations bill by the June 30 deadline and retroactively pay lawmakers when the bill passes. Spotlight PA has more.
This week, several state legislators announced their plans for the future, including Representative John Schlegel (R-Lebanon) and Senator Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), both of whom will seek reelection, and Senator Jim Brewster (D-McKeesport), who announced his retirement. Representative Nick Pisciottano (D-Allegheny) has declared his candidacy for Senator Brewster’s seat. Meanwhile, Democrat Cristian Luna has announced his candidacy for House District 13 in Harrisburg, which is currently held by Representative John Lawrence (R-Chester).
A committee will be assembled in the near future to determine the allocation of Pennsylvania’s inaugural funding for public defense, though experts have warned that the investment may not be sufficient to achieve equity in the justice system. Spotlight PA has more.
The partisan divide in the General Assembly over energy and environmental issues is expected to hinder compromise, with Republicans focusing on energy production and reliability, hydrogen hubs, and carbon capture, and Democrats prioritizing climate change solutions, joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), enforcing environmental regulations, and securing more funding for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Center Square has more.
While unemployment has decreased in Pennsylvania, a record two million people were enrolled in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program at the end of last year, with factors such as inflation and state rules expanding eligibility cited as reasons for the disparity. WESA has more.
Starting in the 2026-27 academic year, Pennsylvania will become the 25th state to require its high schools to offer personal financial literacy courses worth at least half a credit for graduation. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
Mayor Cherelle Parker has appointed deputy commissioner Pedro Rosario, the first Latino to hold the position, to head the Philadelphia Police Department’s strategy in Kensington. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
City Commissioner Omar Sabir was appointed chair of the three-member elections oversight body on Wednesday, replacing Commissioner Lisa Deeley. Commissioners Sabir and Seth Bluestein also voted for rule changes including the decentralization of power and the ability for each commissioner to hire staff and set salaries. City & State Pennsylvania has more.
Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato allocated $500,000 to a pilot program subsidizing child care, addressing what she called an “urgent crisis,” aiming to support families facing child care affordability issues and boost economic growth by preventing parents from leaving the workforce. PublicSource has more.
Pittsburgh City Council kicked off its new legislative term Monday by unanimously elected Councilmember Daniel Lavelle (District 6) as the new council president and swearing in two new members, Bob Charland (District 3) and Khari Mosley (District 9). WESA has more.
Allegheny County Controller Corey O’Connor plans to audit the $10 million in funding allocated from the state’s Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) to assess the effectiveness of existing programs aimed at preventing and alleviating homelessness. WPXI has more.
Excelitas, a global photonics technology company, is relocating its headquarters from Waltham, Massachusetts to Pittsburgh’s Strip District, with a commitment to generate a minimum 250 jobs within four years. WESA has more.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Allentown tomorrow to discuss the positive impacts of his economic agenda, emphasizing the recovery of communities, a thriving small business sector, job creation, wage growth, economic strengthening, and reduced costs for families. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania voters shows President Joe Biden narrowly leading former President Donald Trump 49% to 46%. The same poll shows U.S. Senator Bob Casey with a 10-point lead over likely Republican nominee David McCormick. Senator Casey raised $3.6 million last quarter, compared to McCormick’s $6.4 million. PennLive has more.
Democratic U.S. Representative Chris Deluzio (PA-17) is the first member of Congress to call for U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to resign due to his failure to disclose his recent hospitalization to the Biden Administration. PoliticsPA has more.
Democrat Ashley Ehasz announced her largest fundraising haul this week in her campaign for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, a seat currently held by Republican U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick. The New Hope Free Press has more.
Democrat Amanda Waldman has announced her candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Republican U.S. Representative Dan Meuser. PoliticsPA has more.
Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies, an affiliate of the international law firm Cozen O’Connor, is a bipartisan government relations practice representing clients before the federal government and in cities and states throughout the country. With offices in Washington D.C., Richmond, Albany, New York City, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Chicago, and Santa Monica, the firm’s public strategies professionals offer a full complement of government affairs services, including legislative and executive branch advocacy, policy analysis, assistance with government procurement and funding programs, and crisis management. Its client base spans multiple industries, including healthcare, transportation, hospitality, education, construction, energy, real estate, entertainment, financial services, and insurance.
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