Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, July 27, 2023

July 27, 2023


State Budget Impasse Drags on Into Fourth Week

Weeks after both chambers of the General Assembly approved a $45.5 billion spending plan for FY24, the budget has yet to be officially signed by the presiding officer of the state Senate, a simple but necessary step to get the final budget to Governor Josh Shapiro’s desk for signature. Some state funding-dependent agencies and organizations — including Pennsylvania’s state-related universities — are beginning to feel the pressure, though Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) hinted that the chamber may reconvene in August in order to avoid a delay in state payments to school districts and other entities. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Governor Shapiro Celebrates Federal Broadband Funding During Erie County Visit

During a visit to Erie County on Tuesday, Governor Shapiro celebrated the $1.16 billion in federal funding Pennsylvania will be receiving to increase broadband access to unserved and underserved communities throughout the commonwealth. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Urges Senate to Act Soon to Change 2024 Primary Date

Yesterday, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt penned a letter to Senate Pro Tempore Ward requesting that the chamber urgently consider changing the 2024 General Primary date in order to accommodate the state’s Jewish voters — many of whom will be observing the first full day of Passover on election day as currently scheduled — to allow sufficient time for county election officials to adjust accordingly. PoliticsPA has more.

State Lawmakers File Appeal in Continued Quest to Impeach Philadelphia DA

Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg who spearheaded the effort to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner have requested that the state Supreme Court overturn its previous ruling that has left the matter in limbo. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court deemed the articles of impeachment legally insufficient in January. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

State Pensions Are Insufficient to Keep up With Inflation, Some Retirees Say

Though high rates of inflation have recently made headlines across the country, there have been no cost of living adjustments made to Pennsylvania’s two public sector pension funds — the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) — since 2004, making it difficult for many retirees to cover necessary expenses. Spotlight PA has more.

Legislators Debate Climate Friendliness of Potential “Hydrogen Hubs”

As Pennsylvania competes with other states for billions of federal dollars to construct “hydrogen hubs” intended to combat climate change, a rift has formed among state legislators regarding how strictly to regulate the potential emerging industry in order to have the desired impact. Spotlight PA has more.

How Central Pennsylvania Farmers Will Use $14.3 Million in EPA Grants to Prevent Chesapeake Bay Pollution

Pennsylvania farmers will be receiving $14.3 million in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help the commonwealth meet its obligation to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution. The funding — which will be spent primarily on remediation efforts to prevent run-off from livestock operations — is part of a settlement between the state of Maryland and the EPA for the agency’s alleged failure to enforce the Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan in Pennsylvania. The York Daily Record has more.



City Sues Local Gun Stores for Sales of Firearms to “Straw Purchasers”

On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the City of Philadelphia is suing three local gun shops for allegedly selling firearms to “straw purchasers” — who purchase guns on behalf of people who are legally prohibited from doing so — knowingly. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Woman Shot by Deputy Landlord-Tenant Officer Files Lawsuit

A woman who was shot in the head during a home eviction by a deputy landlord-tenant officer in March has filed a lawsuit against the shooter, the rental company that sought her eviction, and the city’s court-appointed landlord-tenant officer. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia City Fund Awards $250,000 to 13 Local Health Equity Organizations

Yesterday, the Philadelphia City Fund awarded $250,000 worth of grants to thirteen local organizations focused on health equity. The funding, which comes courtesy of the Philadelphia Marathon, is the Fund’s first major grant effort since its recent rebrand. Billy Penn has more.

During Summer Heatwaves, Not All Neighborhoods Are Created Equal

As Philadelphia braces for another heatwave, nonprofit Climate Central explains in a recent study how temperatures can vary from neighborhood to neighborhood due to a phenomenon called the “urban heat-island effect.” WHYY has more.



Pittsburgh City Council Advances Legislation to Ease City Land Bank Transfers, Sales

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh City Council advanced an agreement to help facilitate the delivery of land bank-owned properties back into active use. The agreement includes provisions to allow Council members’ oversight on property transfers in their districts. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh City Council Approves Majority of Mayor Gainey’s Infrastructure Commission Nominees

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council approved all but one of Mayor Ed Gainey’s nominations for the Commission on Infrastructure Asset Reporting & Investment. Late last week, Mayor Gainey rescinded his nomination of former Republican state Representative and former lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Carrie DelRosso, citing concern that her political career may serve as a “distraction” from the commission’s goals. WESA has more.

Policy Intended to Address Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops Hasn’t Succeeded Yet

New data shows that an ordinance passed by Pittsburgh City Council last year that was intended to address racial disparity in traffic stops has succeeded in reducing the number of stops overall, but hasn’t changed the racial breakdown. PublicSource has more.



“Bidenomics” May Be Tougher Sell in Poorer Big Cities Like Philadelphia

President Joe Biden has been touting his economic plan, referred to as “Bidenomics,” across the county — particularly in Pennsylvania. However, some doubt that the message resonates enough in Philadelphia, the nation’s poorest big city. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Former President Trump to Hold Rally in Bellwether Erie County

Former President Donald Trump will be attending a rally this Saturday in Erie County, Pennsylvania, a key bellwether for his campaign. GoErie has more.

State Representative Mackenzie Enters U.S. House Race

On Wednesday, state Representative Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) announced his candidacy for Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democratic U.S. Representative Susan Wild. Lehigh Valley News has more.


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