Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, November 30, 2023

December 1, 2023

Pennsylvania

Budget Impasse Continues to Impact Community Colleges, Libraries, Nonprofits

Democrats in the state House and Republicans in the state Senate have yet to finalize code bills that authorize and direct spending for community colleges, libraries, and nonprofits across the commonwealth amid an ongoing dispute over a controversial school voucher program. Spotlight PA has more.

State House-Passed Bills on Minimum Wage, Guns, State Pensions Linger in Senate

With only three voting session days until winter recess, time is running out for the state Seante to take up House-passed bills to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, prevent gun suicide, require background checks to buy rifles and shotguns, and provide a cost-of-living adjustment to octogenarian retirees who receive a pension from the state. The Pennsylvania Capital-Star has more.

State House to Consider Expansion of Speed Camera Systems

State Representative and Chair of the House Transportation Committee Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring legislation to extend and expand the use of automated speed enforcement systems across the state. WITF has more.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg Investigating Best Practices for Hydrogen Hub Regulation

State lawmakers are looking into best practices for regulating newly announced hydrogen hubs to be located in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions. WESA has more.

Supreme Court Weighing State House’s Authority to Impeach Philadelphia DA Krasner

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is deliberating whether Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s impeachment trial, which was approved last year by the state House, should move forward. The Associated Press has more.

Pennsylvania to Combat Mail Ballot Invalidation Through Ballot Envelope, Instruction Sheet Redesign

The Pennsylvania Department of State is planning to roll out redesigned mail ballot envelopes and instruction sheets for the 2024 primary to help voters avoid mistakes that could invalidate their ballots. During the 2023 primary, about 3% of mail ballots were rejected statewide. The Associated Press has more.

State Drug Paraphernalia Laws May Impede Funding for Syringe Services Programs to Combat Opioid Crisis

Pennsylvania’s strict drug paraphernalia distribution laws may interfere with its ability to spend a portion of its $1.6 billion in opioid settlement funds on syringe services programs and other harm reduction efforts. Spotlight PA has more.

 

Philadelphia

City Council Passes Ski Mask Ban

Today, Philadelphia City Council passed a ban on the wearing of ski masks in certain public spaces in an attempt to improve public safety by a 13-2 vote. Council is also in the midst of mid-year budget transfer negotiations. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Kenney Administration Releases Progress Report on Gun Violence Prevention, Law Enforcement Efforts

The Kenney administration has released a progress report on the city’s gun violence prevention programs and law enforcement efforts, showing Philly’s homicide rate is dropping faster than the national average.

OIT Unveils Parker Administration-Aligned Strategic Plan

The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) released its strategic plan for the upcoming year this week, which intentionally centers five of Mayor-elect Parker’s stated priorities for the office. Technical.ly has more.

 

Pittsburgh

Advocates Call For Plan to Open Emergency Homeless Shelters in Allegheny County

Allegheny County’s Homeless Advisory Board is calling on local leaders to explain why winter emergency shelters haven’t opened this week despite the temperature having fallen below 25 degrees. WESA has more.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Jobless Rate Remains at Record Low

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the seven-county Pittsburgh region remains at a record-low 3.5% according to the state Department of Labor & Industry. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

North Allegheny School Board Approves Appointments Despite Criticism Over Lack of Transparency

At a special voting meeting yesterday, North Allegheny School District board members pushed through several leadership appointments, including an educational consultant agreement for retired North Allegheny Senior High School principal Lawrence Butterini, despite some public commenters’ criticism about a lack of transparency. WESA has more.

 

Federal

China Becomes Focus in Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Race

The looming threat of China to national and state economic interests have taken center stage in the race between current U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Republican candidate Dave McCormick. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

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