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August 24: By The Numbers

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PA Weather
⛈️ Irwin | Showers, T-storms likely, 86
☔ Pine Grove | Showers, 71
🌂 Bethlehem | Chance of showers, 73

PA Sports
⚾ Phillies (69-58) | San Francisco 6-8 (10) | Fri-Sun vs. St. Louis
⚾ Pirates (57-70) | St. Louis 4-6 | Thu-Sun vs. Cubs

What We’re Hearing
“The human beings who are supposed to be responsible for this simply abdicated their responsibility. They just pressed click and, you know, the decision was made.” – Rep. Arvind Venkat

🎂 Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Sen. Judy Ward.

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Top Story

1. F&M Poll: Optimism On Rise; Shapiro, Biden, Casey Approval Ratings Improve

Joe Biden, Josh Shapiro, Bob Casey

“Pennsylvanians approve of the job performance of Gov. Josh Shapiro according to a new poll from Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Opinion Research.

Almost half of the respondents to the survey (47%) that was conducted August 9-20 said that Shapiro was doing an “excellent” or “good” job as governor. That number is four points higher than in April (43%) and could reflect that the populace does not hold him responsible for the state’s budget situation.

In fact, just one in five (20%) registered voters thought the missed budget deadline was mostly the governor’s responsibility – equal to the number that blamed House Democrats, while nearly a third blamed Senate Republicans (32%). Nearly one in three said they trust the governor to make decisions about the state budget.” (PoliticsPA)


Here Are The Top Takeaways From The First Republican Presidential Primary Debate. “The Donald Trump vs. everybody else primary is now officially underway.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

PA Republicans React to First POTUS Debate. “One of the highlights of the first 2024 GOP presidential debate came when the two faced off against each other, but many political pros say former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy at the best performances of the night.” (DV Journal)

DeSantis In Harrisburg: Presidential Candidate Has Campaign Stop Planned For Sept. 5. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be in the Harrisburg area Sept. 5. DeSantis’s presidential campaign has booked the governor for an appearance that morning at a ticketed breakfast in the Capital City. The event will open with a VIP reception at 8 a.m., followed by the breakfast at 8:30 a.m.” (PennLive)

After Sen. Casey Ignited Investigations Into Some Medicaid Companies, His Brother-In-Law Started Lobbying For One. “Sen. Bob Casey’s brother-in-law began state-based lobbying for a Medicaid managed-care company last year, just months before a pivotal and likely damaging report on the health care company from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was poised for release.” (Broad + Liberty)

PA-16: Kramer Announces Challenge to Kelly. “Republican Tim Kramer has filed a statement of organization for a political action committee as he intends to run for the 16th Congressional District seat.” (PoliticsPA)



2. Big PA State Employee Unions Ratify New 4-Year Agreements With Shapiro Administration

Pennsylvania state employee unions begin voting on proposed contracts | News |

“Members of two large Pennsylvania state employee unions this month ratified proposed four-year contracts with Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration, with the cost of salaries and benefits projected to rise by more than 20%.

One agreement covers about 10,000 members of the Service Employees International Union Local 668 and was ratified last week. Earlier this month, about 27,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 13 ratified another agreement. The Independent Fiscal Office, a legislative agency, estimated that the AFSCME contract will increase salaries and benefits by almost $1.2 billion in the deal’s fourth year, or roughly 21%.

The terms of the contracts are identical, according to Shapiro’s administration.” (AP)


PA Could Cash In On ‘Skill Games’, But Some Just Want Them Gone. “Pennsylvania misses out on an estimated $250 million in revenue that could be collected by regulating and taxing so-called skill games that have proliferated across the commonwealth, a state Senate panel heard Wednesday. And without the oversight of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the safeguards against crime, addiction, and underage gambling it imposes on casinos and other gaming machine operators, skill games pose a risk to residents, the head of the agency said. ” (PA Capital-Star)

Schmidt Encourages Pennsylvanians To Become Poll Workers. “In honor of National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt is encouraging eligible Pennsylvanians to sign up to serve as poll workers for the November 7 election.” (PoliticsPA)

Reformers Say Make State Permits More Like Pizza. “When it comes to Pennsylvania’s notoriously sluggish permitting process, reformers say the state should follow Dominos’ lead.” (The Center Square)

PA Legislators Look To Rein In AI In Health Insurance Claims. “The use of artificial intelligence has expanded, and insurance companies are now using algorithms to quickly assess claims, according to a report by the nonprofit news organization ProPublica.” (WESA)


Around The Commonwealth

3. PA School Funding: How Much Of State’s $9.6 Billion Budget Will Come To Your District?

Manheim Township School District | Our Mission: Nurture and challenge for success

Gov. Josh Shapiro signed Pennsylvania’s $45.5 billion budget into law Aug. 3. More than one out five dollars budgeted — $9.64 billion — is slated to flow to the state’s 499 active school districts in four main categories: basic education, special education, Ready to Learn block grants, and second career and technical education subsidies.

Huge dollar amounts trigger complicated formulas for apportioning funding, especially considering the state’s complex mix of large cities, suburban areas and sparsely populated rural areas. The state’s enrollment report from October of last year shows districts ranging in size from 171 students in the Austin Area district in Potter County to 118,401 students in the Philadelphia public school system.” (Morning Call)


In Letter To Biden, PA Mayors Push President To Act On Immigration. “Mayors from across Pennsylvania are calling on President Joe Biden to take executive action on immigration, imploring the president to provide legal protections to those in the country without legal permission.” (City & State)

Innamorato Lays Out Her Plan To Emphasize Workers’ Rights, Unions. “Just days after receiving endorsements from major labor unions, Sara Innamorato, the Democratic candidate for Allegheny County executive, released her plan to protect and promote workers’ rights.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

SEPTA Wants More State Sales-Tax Revenue To Avoid ‘Draconian’ Service Cuts Next Spring. “In an effort to secure desperately needed funding, SEPTA officials are lobbying for a proposal in Harrisburg that would nearly double the annual share of state sales-tax revenue devoted to paying for public transportation.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Judge Again Refuses Forensic Audit Of 2020 Presidential Election In PA County. “A Lycoming County judge stands by his opinion that two voters are not entitled to a forensic audit of the November 2020 presidential election in the county.” (PennLive)

What Is Next For Suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey Thomas. “Suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeffrey L. Thomas has requested a new trial and a modification and reconsideration of his sentence in a post-sentence motion.” (Somerset Daily American)



4. What They’re Saying

  • New PA Poll Says Lots About Shapiro And The State’s Still Divided Politics. (John Baer)
  • Yes, Debates Do Help Voters Decide – And Candidates Are Increasingly Reluctant To Participate. (Gibbs Knotts, Vince Benigni)
  • Fox News Is The Debate’s Biggest Loser. (Derek Hunter)
  • Bad Government: Once Again, The Pennsylvania Senate Fails To Come Through For Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse. (LNP)
  • Fracking Study Points to Health Costs. (Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice)
  • PA Farmers Benefit From Strong Natural Gas Industry. (Matt Espenshade)
  • Book of Virtues: More Important Now Than Ever. (Guy Ciarrocchi)
  • Moving Beyond The False Rhetoric of Legal Skill Games. (Sen. Gene Yaw)


1 Thing

5. The ‘Cutest’ Race Ever

“On your mark … get set … crawl!

That was the scene at the Elizabethtown Fair in Pennsylvania on Tuesday when 29 babies took part in the “cutest race ever.”

The competitors ranged from 6 months to 1 year old. Once the race began, rambunctious parents called for their little ones to cross the finish line.

It was an intense – albeit slow – race, with 10-month-old Althea Ruoff emerging victorious and taking home the $200 prize.” (NBC Philadelphia)


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One Response

  1. That Ramaswamy is a “top performer” at debate is the problem. He is ONLY a “performer”. All an act. Nothing real there. No soul. No truth. No integrity.


  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
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