Pennsylvania Perspective for Thursday, September 28, 2023

September 28, 2023


Governor Shapiro Announces Development Of Economic Development Plan

This week, Governor Shapiro announced that his administration has begun crafting a new statewide economic development plan to use as a “North Star” for future state investment and policy decisions. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Governor Shapiro’s Voter Registration Rule Change Draws Republican Ire

Governor Shapiro’s automatic voter registration executive order has drawn criticism from Republicans at the national and state level, including former President Donald Trump. The Delaware Valley Journal has more.

Governor Shapiro’s Secretary of Legislative Affairs Resigns

Pennsylvania Secretary of Legislative Affairs Mike Vereb abruptly resigned yesterday, marking the first high-profile departure from Governor Josh Shapiro’s cabinet. Governor Shapiro will appoint senior advisor Thomas Yablonski Jr. to the position. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Work on Code Bills for FY24 Budget Remains Unfinished

State legislators have yet to come to an agreement on certain code bills needed to finalize the FY24 budget, which continues to hold up hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the schools, mental health services, grant programs for homeowners, and more. Spotlight PA has more.

State House, Senate Haggle Over Criminal Justice Bills

Two criminal justice bills — one that proposes probation reform and another that would expand the existing Clean Slate act — are currently held up in the state House as legislators continue to negotiate the details of both across chambers. PennLive has more.

State House Committee Passes Xylazine Criminalization Bill

On Wednesday, the state House Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee voted 16-8 to pass legislation to criminalize xylazine, the animal tranquilizer that has compounded the challenges presented by the opioid epidemic. ABC27 has more.

Democratic State Representative Bizzarro Enters State Treasurer Race

On Tuesday, state Representative Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) declared his candidacy for state treasurer. In his announcement video, he took aim at Republican incumbent Stacy Garrity’s anti-abortion stance and denial of the results of the 2020 election. The Associated Press has more.



City Council Overrides Kenney Veto, Bans Supervised Injection Sites in Majority of Districts

On Thursday, City Council voted 14-1 to effectively ban safe injection sites throughout the majority of the city. In the announcement of his intent to veto, Mayor Jim Kenney called the legislation “troublingly anti-science and misleading.” The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Parker Outraises Oh; WFP At-Large City Council Candidates Outraise Republicans

While Democratic mayoral nominee Cherelle Parker continues to outraise her Republican opponent David Oh by large — if not altogether surprising — margins, Working Families Party (WFP) candidates have been outraising their Republican opponents for City Council’s two reserved minority party at-large seats.

Philadelphia Sees Looting, Vandalism Following Judge’s Dismissal of Charges Against Police Officer

Philadelphia has seen a rash of looting, vandalism, and other destruction throughout parts of Center City and West and Northeast Philadelphia, which was loosely organized on social media in response to the news of a Municipal Court judge’s decision to dismiss all charges against police officer Mark Dial, who shot and killed 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry during a traffic stop in August. Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford stressed that the crimes are not connected to the peaceful protests that occurred on Tuesday outside City Hall. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.

Drexel Announces Rebecca Rhynhart as New Chief Financial Officer

Former City Controller and Democratic mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart has been named Drexel University’s new Chief Financial Officer. The Philadelphia Business Journal has more.

SEPTA Rolls Out Contactless Pay

Tomorrow, SEPTA riders will be able to use contactless pay to pay fare on trains, buses, and trolleys. The agency hopes to roll out the feature for regional rail by 2024. WHYY has more.



Allegheny County Council Votes to Sue County Executive, Courts Over Juvenile Detention Contract

On Tuesday, nine members of Allegheny County Council voted to sue County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the Court of Common Pleas over their decision to contract with Latrobe-based nonprofit Adelphoi to run the former Shuman Detention Center. WESA has more.

DA Zappala to Review All of Pittsburgh’s No-Bid Contracts Dating Back to 2020

This week, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala announced his intent to review the City of Pittsburgh’s no-bid contracts back to 2020. The former Democrat is running for re-election as a Republican. WESA has more.

Pittsburgh Hits Record-Low Unemployment Rate

According to Pennsylvania’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis, Allegheny County hit a record-low 3.6% unemployment rate in August. Pittsburgh’s surrounding counties also experienced a similar effect. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has more.

Pittsburgh-Area Colleges, Universities Consider Combining Operations to Cut Costs

Five local private institutions of higher education — Robert Morris, Carlow, Chatham, and Point Park Universities and Washington & Jefferson College — are considering outsourcing back office work to a single nonprofit consortium in order to cut costs. The announcement comes amid declining enrollment among all institutions. WESA has more.



U.S. Representative Perry Seeks Certain Degree of Compromise to Avoid Federal Government Shutdown

U.S. Representative Scott Perry, who chairs the extremely conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been uncharacteristically non-confrontational amidst ongoing federal budget negotiations as he seeks compromise to avoid a shutdown. PennLive has more.

U.S. Senators, Representatives Call for Senator Menendez’s Resignation

Following New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s indictment on federal bribery charges, Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman have both called for their colleague to step down, as has Pittsburgh-area U.S. Representative Summer Lee. City & State Pennsylvania has more.

Progressive Democrat Blaine Forkner Launches 2024 Senate Campaign

Pittsburgh-area Democrat Blaine Forkner has announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. He will be running against incumbent Senator Casey in the primary. PennLive has more.

UAW Picket Lines Becoming Popular Stops for Politicians

On the same day that President Joe Biden made history as the first sitting president to join a picket line, Senator Bob Casey joined striking autoworkers in Bucks County, in a move that is seen as increasingly popular among voters. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more.


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