Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, January 12, 2023

January 12, 2023

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Welcomes the Honorable Rodney Davis

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies is proud to welcome the Honorable Rodney Davis, formerly a five-term congressman representing Illinois’ 13th District, to the firm as a Managing Director. In this role, Davis will leverage his substantial experience in public affairs to provide strategic counsel to the firm’s government relations clients. See more at Politico and our website.



Representatives Kenyatta, Benham Begin Tenure As Co-Chairs of State LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus

State Representatives Malcolm Kenyatta and Jessica Benham — both of whom are out members of the LGBTQ community — are the new co-chairs of the state Legislature’s LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Commonwealth Court Considering Special Election

The scheduling of Pittsburgh-area special elections to fill the vacant seats left by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor-elect Austin Davis and U.S. Representative Summer Lee has been contentious, as these elections are likely to determine control of the currently near evenly divided House. Currently, a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel is considering House Republican leader Representative Bryan Cutler’s proposal to invalidate two writs scheduling the special elections for early February that had been issued by Democratic leader Representative Joanna McClinton. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

State Senate Passes Gas Tax Bill, Constitutional Amendments Omnibus Package; Future in the House Uncertain

On Wednesday, the state Senate voted 29-19 to pass a bill to undo an automatic gas tax increase this year. While the tax only applies to wholesale purchases, it is likely that the increase may trickle down to consumers at the pump if the bill is not passed before the increase goes into effect.

Senators also voted 28-20 to pass an omnibus package of constitutional amendments that included a voter ID measure, a measure giving power to legislators to block state regulations — potentially hampering Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro’s ability to craft effective statewide policy — and a statute of limitations amendment for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Democrats argued that the statute of limitations amendment should not have been lumped in with the other two. Because many of these amendments were already approved by both chambers during the last session, if approved once more by both chambers during this session, the amendments will be put to Pennsylvania voters on the next possible ballot — making these amendments a high priority for Republicans.

These pieces of legislation are now headed to the House, where a partisan power struggle has brought the chamber to a complete standstill, making the future of both uncertain.

Governor-Elect Shapiro Names Four More Members to Cabinet

Earlier today, Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro announced four more cabinet picks to serve in his administration, barring confirmation by the state Senate.

  • Current Chief of Staff to the President of Carnegie Mellon University Rick Siger will serve as the Secretary of Community and Economic Development.
  • Former state Representative Michael Carroll will serve as the Secretary of Transportation.
  • Current Managing Director of Wharton’s Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance Sarah Hammer will serve as Secretary of Banking and Securities
  • Former Republican Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee Pat Browne will serve as Secretary of Revenue

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a comprehensive list of all Shapiro administration appointments so far.



Impeachment Trial of DA Krasner Postponed Indefinitely by State Senate

The impeachment trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, which was set to begin January 18, has been postponed indefinitely by the state Senate. Though the state House had approved several articles of impeachment against DA Krasner, the Commonwealth Court deemed the articles legally insufficient in December. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

First Republican Expected to Enter Philadelphia Mayoral Race in Early February

Councilmember David Oh, one of only two Republicans currently serving on City Council, is expected to resign his at-large seat soon in order to launch his mayoral campaign, likely in early February. He would be the first Republican to enter the race. Billy Penn has more.

SEPTA Plans to Begin Rolling Out Newly Renovated Route 15 Trolleys by September

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is making progress on its multimillion dollar project to restore the iconic green route 15 trolleys that provide service from Fishtown and Port Richmond to West Philadelphia — some of which date back to the 1940s. SEPTA hopes to return about a dozen of the restored trolleys to service on Girard Avenue by September. CBS Philadelphia has more.



Pittsburgh-Area Local Governments Make Their Case for Fair Share of Federal Broadband Infrastructure Funding

As the deadline for challenges to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) address maps for improving broadband availability rapidly approaches, local governments in the Pittsburgh area are diligently working to ensure that they receive their fair share of the $42.45 billion in available funding. An estimated 36,000 homes and 15,000 businesses in the region are not connected at all, with even more operating with subpar internet download speeds. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more


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