Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, March 28, 2024

March 28, 2024


PA House Passes Ghost Gun Ban, Bills to Aid Inmates’ Re-Entry Into Society

On Wednesday, the state House passed legislation to ban the purchase, sale, and production of untraceable gun parts, as well as two bills intended to facilitate inmates’ reintegration into society by providing assistance in obtaining ID and allowing them to earn vocational and education credits for earlier parole eligibility.

PA House Republicans Push Vote on More Stringent Voter ID Law

Pennsylvania House Republicans are pushing for stricter voter ID laws that would require voters to present official identification every election, a move met with opposition from Democrats and advocacy groups fearing voter suppression. LancasterOnline has more.

Bipartisan Efforts to Pass Juvenile Justice Reforms Stalled Thus Far

Though lawmakers from both chambers of the General Assembly have introduced bipartisan bills to reform Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system, aiming to address issues like prolonged detention in adult jails and inappropriate treatment of young offenders, neither bill has reached a floor vote yet. WITF has more.

Democratic Auditor General Candidates Participate in Virtual Town Hall

Democratic candidates for auditor general, state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) and Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley participated in a Zoom town hall hosted by New Pennsylvania Project on Wednesday. Controller Pinsley highlighted his years of experience auditing the government, while Rep. Kenyatta opted to criticize Republican Auditor General Tim DeFoor. The DV Journal has more.

State House Candidates Debate School Funding, Crime, Minimum Wage

On Wednesday, five Democratic candidates vying to represent the 103rd state House District — currently served by state Representative Patty Kim (D-Dauphin), who is running for the 15th District state Senate seat — debated school funding, crime, and the minimum wage. The primary winner will likely face Republican Cynthia Ward in the November general election. PennLive has more.

PA’s Voter Registration, Election Management System Prepared for 2024, Says Secretary Schmidt

Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt assured the House State Government Committee that despite the delay of a new election management system, Pennsylvania’s 2024 elections will be “free, fair, safe, and secure,” with plans to issue a new request for proposals and prioritize upgrading the existing Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

New Federal Certification Deadline Adds Pressure for PA Election Officials

A new December 11 federal deadline for state election result certification may pose a challenge in Pennsylvania, where recount petitions and legal disputes led to significant delays in 2022. Votebeat Pennsylvania has more.

Appeals Court Upholds Mail-In Ballot Dating Requirement

A federal appeals court panel upheld Pennsylvania’s requirement for voters to include accurate, handwritten dates on mail-in ballot envelopes Wednesday, overturning a lower court ruling. The panel rules that this technical mandate does not violate civil rights law. The Associated Press has more.

Republicans Gaining Voter Registration Ground in Southeast PA

Republican voter registrations are on the rise in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, signaling potential demographic changes in Southeast Pennsylvania. PoliticsPA has more.

PA Dems Begin Opening Campaign Offices Across Commonwealth

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party has opened 14 offices across the Commonwealth that will focus on volunteer training and outreach efforts for down-ballot races in preparation for the upcoming primary election. Key regions include Philadelphia’s collar counties, swing counties like Bucks and Erie, and traditionally red areas such as York and Lancaster. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.



City Council Kicks Off FY25 Budget Hearings

This week, Philadelphia City Council began hearings on Mayor Cherelle Parker’s $6.3 billion FY25 budget, discussing police response to youth gun violence, lack of funding increase for the Department of Labor, and logistical questions about proposed triage centers for crime, drug use, and homelessness.

City Council Strategizes Around Getting Philadelphians Into Life Sciences Jobs

A Commerce & Economic Development Committee hearing this week focused on strategies to help Philadelphians, especially those without college degrees, access job opportunities in the growing cell and gene therapy sector. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Philadelphia Business Owner Files Lawsuit Over “Skill Games” Ban

A South Philly 7-Eleven franchise owner filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on casino-style “skill games” in convenience stores passed by City Council last week. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.



Mayor Gainey Announces Challenges to Tax-Exempt Status of 104 Nonprofit-Owned Properties

Mayor Ed Gainey announced plans Wednesday to challenge the tax-exempt status of 104 properties owned by nonprofits — 61 of which are UPMC properties — with the goal of increasing revenue and ensuring fair contribution to city services. WESA has more.

Mayor Gainey Announces New City Planning Department Leadership 

Current Urbankind Institute CEO Jamil Bey is set to succeed Karen Abrams as director of Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning, pending approval by City Council. WESA has more.



Biden Closes Polling Gap With Trump in PA

Recent polls from Susquehanna and Morning Consult indicate a shift in Pennsylvania’s presidential race, with President Joe Biden currently holding a five-point advantage over former President Donald Trump according to Susquehanna and a dead heat according to Morning Consult. PoliticsPA has more.

U.S. Sen. Casey, McCormick Air First TV Campaign Ads

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey, who is seeking a fourth term in office, has recently touted his legislative achievements in person at a recent labor event in Western Pennsylvania and on air in his first television ad of the campaign cycle. Sen. Casey’s Republican challenger David McCormick has also aired his first television ad, which focuses on his Pennsylvania roots while recalling lessons learned from his high school wrestling career.


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