Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, March 23, 2023
March 23, 2023
March 23, 2023
On Tuesday, the state House Appropriations Committee invited leaders of four state-related institutions — Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University — to testify in a public hearing regarding the return on investment the institutions offer to Pennsylvania taxpayers. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.
Despite the historic nature of the leadership of Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward and House Speaker Joanna McClinton in their respective chambers, Pennsylvania ranks 27th nationally in terms of percentage of female representation in its legislature, with less than one-third of seats filled by women. SpotlightPA has more.
During a Senate budget hearing on Wednesday, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) promised to streamline its permitting process in order to alleviate the burden on state businesses while also ensuring the enforcement of its environmental rules. PennLive has more.
This morning, City Council unanimously approved an amendment to the City’s Home Rule Charter to create a new cabinet-level chief of public safety director position, clearing the way for it to appear on voters’ ballots along with three other questions on May 16. This is the second time in Mayor Jim Kenney’s seven years in office that City Council has voted to override a veto. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
According to a Philadelphia Inquirer analysis of more than 100 City Council members, the current cohort has fewer collective years of experience — which will only shrink next term —than any cohort since 1983. The median length of service on Council is currently 3.2 years. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.
A report released by Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research and Policy Initiative on Wednesday details how the city’s Homestead Exemption program — which deducts $80,000 from enrollees’ property values — has made the tax system progressive for homeowners and regressive for renters, with the city’s lowest-income homeowners paying the smallest effective rates and the lowest-income non-subsidized renters paying some of the highest. WHYY has more.
This week, the Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development & the Homeless heard testimony on housing voucher-based discrimination and potential legislation on rent control, during which tenants, housing providers, and local affordable housing advocates and policy leaders weighed in on existing challenges within the city’s current affordable housing system and potential solutions to improve access for low-income Philadelphians.
Last night, workers and engineers — under the direction of the Parkway Corporation — completed the painstaking process of relocating a century-old, historically protected gas station from Center City to Fairmount Park, where it will find new life as a meeting space for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Schuylkill Navy, an amateur rowing organization. The move was one of the first steps toward the construction of a new headquarters for Chubb Insurance. ABC 6 has more.
A prominent developer in Pittsburgh is challenging the city’s newly implemented fee schedule for zoning reviews, claiming that it causes undue financial burden to developers. Prior to the update, which now requires a $3 charge per $1,000 of project cost, zoning review fees were a flat fee based on the submitted application. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more.
Last year, Allegheny Country granted Pittsburgh the permission to run a syringe service program — commonly known as needle exchange — as a harm reduction measure to prevent those suffering from substance use disorders from contracting diseases from the use of non-sterilized equipment. However, a year later and seven months after the facility was initially expected to open, it still hasn’t, prompting officials to reconsider their approach. WESA has more.
Pennsylvania Representative Chris Deluzio has teamed up with his New York colleague Representative Nick LaLota to propose a rail safety bill — similar to a bill proposed in the Senate earlier this month — in response to the February Norfolk Southern train derailment. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.
Senator Bob Casey has introduced an aviation safety bill that would require all domestic commercial passenger planes to install barriers between the cabin and cockpit. PennLive has more.
President Joe Biden has long touted his connection to Pennsylvania, a politically crucial swing state. However, many residents of Scranton, the president’s birthplace, worry about the prospects of re-electing the 80 year old to the nation’s highest office. Reuters has more.
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