December 11th Ups and Downs
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Republican challenge to the state’s election results, Philly passed a new construction tax, plus the 2021 race for the state’s Superior Court has begun. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Mike Kelly. Another court case, another loss. The effort by the Pennsylvania Congressman and a few other Republicans to reverse the certification of the President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the state was unsuccessful… once again. Last week, the state Supreme Court shot down their effort, but the fight continued all the way to the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday… only for it to be unanimously dismissed, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Darrell Clarke. Philadelphia City Council passed a new 1% tax on residential construction to help fund Council President Darrell Clarke’s initiative to fight poverty and increase access to affordable housing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The new tax passed by a 14-3 vote and the Inquirer credits Clarke for brokering the deal. A previous Inquirer article described this legislation as a “win” for Clarke.
Bill Peduto. A bill put forth by the Pittsburgh Mayor was unanimously approved by City Council this week. The COVID-19 paid sick leave bill, which will require Pittsburgh businesses with more than 50 employees to provide paid sick leave to workers who contract COVID-19 or who are required to quarantine because of exposure during the pandemic, was approved this week without any opposition. Peduto originally introduced the legislation on Nov. 23 and he is expected to sign it soon, according to the Tribune Review.
PPA. The Philadelphia Parking Authority isn’t already beloved in the City of Brotherly Love, due to a number of reasons over the years. A new audit released by City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart shows that although there has been “some improvements made” since 2017, problems persist at the PPA. Rhynhart said her report concluded that the “larger problems” of the PPA remain, including an “inflated workforce, salaries are too high, patronage within the organization, and lack of transparent and open process.”
Jeffrey Dutt. The Lehigh County Board of Commissioners has a new member. Dutt was appointed to represent District 5 by a 7-1 vote, according to WFMZ. The district was previously held by former Commissioner Nathan Brown, who resigned on Oct. 30.
Superior Court Race. 2021 is (almost) upon us. Although the year hasn’t ended just yet, the 2021 race for the state Superior Court began this week. Jill Beck, an attorney in Pittsburgh, and Timika Lane, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge, both announced their candidacies for the Democratic primary for the statewide position. There is plenty of time for more candidates to enter the race, but this week marks the beginning of the 2021 statewide showdown.
Linda Rovder Fleming. Fleming, who has served as a Judge on the Cambria County Court of Common Pleas since 2009, was elected chairperson of the Judicial Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, according to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
Bob Casey and Brian Fitzpatrick. “It’s official!” The bill to honor “Rosie the Riveters” was signed into law. Casey led the effort in the Senate, while Fitzpatrick led the effort in the House. KYW Newsradio reports that Mae Krier, a Levittown resident who was a teenager when she began building B-17 and B-29 war planes at a Boeing factory, had been pushing to get Rosie the Riveters awarded the Congressional Gold Medal decades ago. “President Trump signed it last week, so it’s official! Wonderful isn’t it?” Krier said to KYW.
Farm Show’s Butter Sculpture. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Pennsylvania Farm Show, slated to take place next month, was already scheduled to take place virtually. Although the show will go on, news broke this week from State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding saying that there will be no butter sculpture, the AP reports.
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— Stephen Caruso (@StephenJ_Caruso) December 10, 2020