Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, July 20, 2023

July 20, 2023


State Representative Innamorato Resigns; State House Tied 101-101

For the third time this year alone, House Democrats will be forced to defend their majority, as Democratic state Representative Sara Innamorato announced her resignation yesterday ahead of the November Allegheny County executive race, which she is expected to win. Her resignation will allow for a special election to take place before the General Assembly reconvenes in the fall. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

School Districts, Local Governments, Nonprofit Organizations Brace for Potential Fallout From Belated FY24 State Budget

With legislators unlikely to return to Harrisburg to finalize the FY24 budget until September, school districts, local governments, and nonprofit organizations are being forced to make contingency plans for the potential negative financial impact. While a significant impact is unlikely, institutions that are typically heavily reliant on state funding may be forced to take out loans. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Recent Commonwealth Foundation Poll Shows Support for Funding PASS Among Likely Voters

A recent poll commissioned by the Commonwealth Foundation and conducted by Act Insights shows that nearly two in three survey respondents believe Governor Josh Shapiro should “honor the deal he made” with Senate Republicans and fund the controversial Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) scholarship program, the primary sticking point in FY24 budget negotiations. PoliticsPA has more.

Senate Democrats to Introduce Abortion Protections Package

State Senators Amanda Cappelletti (D-Delaware) and Judith Schwank (D-Berks) circulated a co-sponsorship memo Tuesday for a bill package that would protect the right to abortion — for Pennsylvanians and non-Pennsylvanians alike — as well as healthcare professionals’ right to provide abortions. The legislation would officially codify an executive order issued by former Governor Tom Wolf. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Philadelphia House Democrats to Commission UBI Study

Democratic state Representatives from Philadelphia Ben Waxman, Morgan Cephas, and Chris Rabb have circulated a co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to conduct a study on universal basic income (UBI). The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Democrats Hold Voter Registration Advantage Statewide

According to the most recent voter registration data from the Pennsylvania Department of State, Democrats maintain a 480,000 advantage over Republicans. The news comes at a time when Pennsylvanians are more politically divided than ever on issues like abortion and gun control. PoliticsPA has more.\

Turnpike Commission Approves Toll Hike for 16th Consecutive Year

Beginning January 7, 2024, tolls along the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be increasing once again, marking the 16th year of consecutive annual increases. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission unanimously approved the increase on Tuesday. The Pittsburgh Union-Progress has more.



Sixers to Pay for Center City Arena Impact Study

Yesterday, the Sixers announced that they plan to pay $650,000 to fund at least two of the three impact studies commissioned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation in April on the franchise’s proposed $1.3 billion downtown arena. Billy Penn has more.

Landlord-Tenant Officer Evictions Paused After Third Shooting This Year

Shortly after the third deputy landlord-tenant officer-involved shooting in four months, Philadelphia’s landlord-tenant officer (LTO) agreed to temporarily suspend all lockouts. WHYY has more.

Philadelphia Focuses Preps Libraries, Recreation Centers to Serve as Cooling Centers for Next Heat Emergency

Emergency management officials announced that they will be deploying cooling centers primarily at libraries and recreation centers this summer and relying less on parked SEPTA buses that were utilized last year. Cooling centers will be ready to be deployed should the City declare a heat health emergency. WHYY has more.



Former Westmoreland County Commissioner Kopas to Return to Position

Former Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas has been appointed by the Common Pleas Court to complete the remaining five months of current Commissioner Gina Cerilli Thrasher’s term. Kopas, who has previously held the position, has ambitions to return to the position permanently, as he is currently running for commissioner and was a top vote-getter during the May primary. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Pittsburgh Land Bank Running Out of Time to Spend ARPA Funds as City is Set to Expand its Abilities

The Pittsburgh Land Bank is running out of time to spend all of its allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, despite its newfound momentum in the form of a new state law and pending agreement with the City to expand its abilities. PublicSource has more.



President, First Lady Pay Strategic Visits to Two Major Pennsylvania Cities

This week, both President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paid visits to Pennsylvania’s two largest cities to extol the virtues of “Bidenomics.” Dr. Biden visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday while President Biden visited Philadelphia on Thursday, both focusing broadly on infrastructure and equity. Pennsylvania will no doubt continue to play an outsize role in the 2024 presidential election cycle.

Two LGBT-Focused Projects in Pennsylvania Lose Funding Amid Partisan Turmoil in House Appropriations Committee

On Tuesday, Republicans in the House Appropriations Committee voted to strip funding for three LGBT-focused projects, including Philadelphia’s William Way LGBT Community Center and the LGBT Center of Greater Reading. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and 20 of his Republican colleagues promised to obstruct floor debate over spending bills if additional cuts are not made to future spending bills. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Dellicker to Focus on China, the Economy in Upcoming PA-7 Race

Small business owner and intelligence officer with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard Kevin Dellicker — who nearly became the Republican nominee in 2022 — is campaigning for the seat currently occupied by Democratic U.S. Representative Susan Wild in PA-7 with a strong focus on China and the economy. Lehigh Valley news has more.

Americans for Prosperity Action Endorses McCormick for U.S. Senate

On Wednesday, Americans for Prosperity Action announced its support of Dave McCormick against Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Bob Casey. McCormick, who narrowly lost the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2022, has not formally entered the race, though he is expected to. The Delaware Valley Journal has more.

Time Cover Story Documents Senator Fetterman’s Stigma-Defying Battle With Depression

Through his extremely public battle with clinical depression, U.S. Senator John Fetterman has helped reduce stigma around seeking help for mental and behavioral health challenges — all while continuing to recover from his stroke and navigating the transition to a new high-pressure job. A new Time cover story dives deep into the periods before, during, and after the senator’s treatment and unprecedented leave of absence, and how he found his way “out of the darkness.”


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