Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, May 18, 2023

May 18, 2023


Reproductive Rights a Central Issue That Propelled House Democrats to Victory in District 163

House Democrats breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday after the results of the District 163 special election confirmed that they would be maintaining control of the chamber. Many attribute Democrat Heather Boyd’s decisive victory to the looming threat to reproductive rights at the state level. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

Democrat McCaffery, Republican Carluccio to Vie for Vacant Pennsylvania Supreme Court Seat in November

In addition to the important executive and legislative races that took place at the municipal, county, and state levels earlier this week, primaries for an open Pennsylvania Supreme Court seat — left vacant by the death of Chief Justice Max Baer last year — determined that Democrat Dan McCaffery and Republican Carolyn Carluccio will face off in the general election in November. WHYY has more.

Chester Mayor Kirkland Loses Democratic Nomination, Dashing Chances for Re-Election

Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland was soundly defeated by Chester City Councilmember Stefan Roots in the mayoral primary. The City has been in dire financial straits, resulting in its filing for bankruptcy earlier this year. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Governor Shapiro’s FY24 Budget Includes Significant Increases to Municipal Assistance Program Funding

Governor Josh Shapiro’s FY24 budget includes a 266% increase in funding for the Municipal Assistance Program, a state program that incentivizes intergovernmental cooperation among the Commonwealth’s 67 counties and more than 2,500 townships, boroughs, and cities. Spotlight PA has more.

State Senators Aument, Farry to Introduce Runoff Election Legislation

State Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and Frank Farry (R-Bucks) have proposed legislation that would institute a runoff election system that would require candidates to garner support from at least 50% of primary voters before receiving their party’s nomination. ABC27 has more.

Officials Across Pennsylvania Disagree on How to Spend $1 Billion in Anticipated Opioid Settlement Funds

Pennsylvania is expected to receive $1 billion in opioid settlement money, though whether the funding is spent on increased policing or expanded treatment options will likely vary from county to county due to conflicting ideas on which approach will better address the state’s opioid crisis. Spotlight PA has more.

Pennsylvania Department of State to Publish Voter Roll Data in Five Counties as Part of Settlement

In a settlement designed to appease both conservative Judicial Watch and voting rights advocates the League of Women Voters and Common Cause, the Pennsylvania Department of State has agreed to publish ongoing voter roll clean-up efforts in Cumberland, Luzerne, Washington, Indiana, and Carbon counties annually for the next five years. The Sentinel has more.

Pennsylvania Republicans See Increase in Mail-In, Absentee Ballot Applications 

Despite the party’s previous denouncement of the practice — and though still the subject of much debate at the state level — Pennsylvania Republicans have begun to see an uptick in the number of mail-in and absentee ballot applications among their base. PennLive has more.

Death Rates Outpace Birth Rates in Pennsylvania’s Rural Counties

According to an analysis of Pennsylvania Department of Health and U.S. Census Bureau data conducted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, death rates have been increasingly outpacing birth rates in rural counties for the past decade. The Bradford Era has more.



Strong Grassroots Campaigning, Differentiation Among Crowded Field Propel Parker to Victory

Thanks to a decisive primary win on Tuesday, Cherelle Parker is poised to make history in November by becoming not only Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, but also its first ever Black female mayor. The victory is in large part due to the historic nature of her candidacy as a Black woman, strong identity as a native Philadelphian, and successful ground game. WHYY has more.

Philadelphia Progressives Fell Short During Primary, But Are “Here to Stay”

Many in Philadelphia and beyond had great expectations for the city’s progressive candidates heading into Tuesday’s primary election. However, in an election cycle where crime and public safety have been the most pressing issues, voters may have seen law and order as a weak spot among these candidates’ platforms. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Meet Three of the Likely Newcomers to Philadelphia City Council

After prevailing in a crowded primary race, the Democratic nominees for City Council At-Large, Rue Landau and Nina Ahmad, and District 5, Jeffery “Jay” Young, are likely to win their respective general elections come November. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

City Launches “Landlord Gateway Program”

This week, Philadelphia launched its new Landlord Gateway Program, an online portal designed to help the city’s landlords keep abreast of rules, regulations, and affordable housing programs. WHYY has more.



Key Progressive Primary Wins in Allegheny County May Disrupt Status Quo

Tuesday was a great night for Allegheny County progressives, who claimed key Democratic nominations for County Executive and Council At-Large. As both current State Representative Sara Innamorato and incumbent County Councilmember Bethany Hallam are expected to win their respective general elections in November, many wonder whether the tradition of cross-cutting cooperation among parties, unions, and businesses could be on the chopping block. PublicSource has more.

Pittsburgh URA Awards First Loan to Spur Conversion of Downtown Office Building Into Apartments

Cities throughout the nation have been struggling with empty downtown offices and lack of affordable housing inventory, and Pittsburgh is no exception. Now, its Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is taking aim at these dual challenges by awarding its first loan to Hullett Development Triangle for a project to convert the Triangle Building into 15 apartments. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Allegheny County Court Considers Rate Change for Public Defenders

Court officials in Allegheny County are allegedly considering raising rates for defenders of indigent clients, a move that advocates say would help create a more just court system. PublicSource has more.

Jury Selection Interviews for Synagogue Shooting Trial End

On Wednesday, jury selection interviews for the high-profile Tree of Life synagogue shooting trial officially came to an end. The trial will likely begin after Memorial Day. WESA has more.


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