Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, July 21, 2022

July 21, 2022


Pennsylvania State Senate Races to Watch 

High-profile races for the U.S. House and Senate and Pennsylvania Governor have captured and held the attention of the nation. But the outcome of several elections for positions in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly — and their potential impact on the future of Democratic and Republican agendas alike — is arguably just as significant. City & State Pennsylvania has more on some of the state Senate races to watch.

Legal Disputes Over Dates on Mail-in Ballots Continue in Three Counties; State Certifies May Primary Results in the Rest

Berks, Lancaster, and Fayette are the only three counties where litigation challenging certain mail-in ballots is ongoing. The dispute boils down to disagreement on whether to count those mail-in ballots lacking a handwritten date. Pennsylvania has already certified elections in all other counties. WITF has more.

Pennsylvania Insurance Department Seeks Public Input on Accessibility of Health Care Providers Within Insurance Networks

The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is seeking input from the public to inform the creation of state criteria for the availability and accessibility of health care providers within a given insurance network. The survey is geared toward Pennsylvanians with coverage through the Affordable Care Act and their employers, but feedback from anyone is welcome. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.



First Glimpse of SEPTA’s New Double-Decker Regional Rail Cars Circulates on Social Media

In 2017, before the coronavirus pandemic slashed regional rail ridership, SEPTA ordered 45 double-decker train cars in order to accommodate its near 114,000 daily passengers. This week, public transit enthusiasts were finally able to see the first images of the cars that are being manufactured in Tangshan, China. The order is expected to be delivered for testing in early 2023. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Denies Philadelphia District Attorney’s Challenge to Use-of-Force Law

Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office may not contradict the state law that determines when and how police officers are permitted to use deadly force. The context for the ruling is the murder trial of former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownall, who shot and killed 30-year-old David Jones in 2017 after stopping him for operating a motorbike recklessly. Jones was armed with an illegal firearm and had been fleeing the scene when he was shot. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia 76ers Announce Plan to Construct New Arena in Center City

The Philadelphia 76ers — whose current lease at the Wells Fargo Center is set to expire in 2031 — have been actively searching for a new home for the past few years. This morning, the franchise announced its intent to construct a new arena between 10th and 11th Streets on Market Street to be called 76 Place at Market East. The project would necessitate tearing down part of the Fashion District, which completed a major renovation project in 2019. WHYY has more.



Allegheny County Council Overrides County Executive Fitzgerald’s Fracking Bill Veto

On Tuesday, Allegheny County Council voted to override County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s veto to a bill banning fracking in county parks. This is the first time one of County Executive Fitzgerald’s vetoes has been overridden. The Tribune-Review has more. In response, Republican State Senator Gene Yaw has circulated a memo regarding his intention to introduce a bill that would prevent counties that ban fracking on county-owned land from receiving their share of revenue from the state’s tax on drilling. See the Senate memo here.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Receives $209 Million Low-Interest Loan for Drinking Water System Improvements

PennVEST, the state’s infrastructure investment authority, has announced that it is awarding $269 million in low-interest loans for 11 projects across Pennsylvania. Of this, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority will be receiving $209 million to help revamp its drinking water system. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.



Lieutenant Governor Fetterman Sits for First Media Interview Since Suffering Stroke

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate John Fetterman is officially getting back on the campaign trail after having suffered a stroke just days before the May primary election. In his first media interview in approximately two months, given to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Lieutenant Governor discussed his recovery and health. Read more here.

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