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December 7: A Day That Will Live In Infamy

🕎 Good Thursday Morning. Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.

PA Weather
☁️ Monaca | Decreasing Clouds, 46
🌨️ Palmyra | Light Snow, 43
🌨️ Carbondale | Snow Showers, 34

PA Sports
🏀 Sixers (13-7) | Washington 131-126 | Fri vs. Atlanta
🏒 Penguins (11-11-3) | Tampa Bay 1-3 | Fri. vs. Arizona
🏒 Flyers (13-10-2) | Thu vs. Arizona

What We’re Hearing
“Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide.” – Gov. Josh Shapiro

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Top Story

1. Casey, Fetterman Announce $144M Grant To Expand Amtrak’s Philadelphia To Pittsburgh Service

PA by Train | Amtrak

“U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman on Wednesday announced a $143.6 million Federal Railroad Administration grant for track and safety improvements that will support expanded Amtrak passenger service between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be used to improve tracks owned by Norfolk Southern Corp. to accommodate a second daily passenger train between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian service. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will pay about 20% of the cost, according to a statement from Casey’s office.” (Penn Capital-Star)

  • Federal Grants Support Amtrak Service Expansion. “Plans to expand passenger rail service in Johnstown and Altoona got a $144,129,028 boost with two federal grants, U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman announced.” (Johnstown Tribune-Democrat)



Shapiro Rebukes Penn President Over Testimony on Antisemitism. “Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro called University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill’s congressional testimony about campus antisemitism a “failure of leadership.” (Wall Street Journal)

  • Penn Students, Donors Call For Magill To Resign As PA Gov. Shapiro Slams Testimony Before Congress. (Daily Pennsylvanian)
  • Calling For Moral Clarity On Antisemitism, PA Governor Slams UPenn’s President. (Jewish Insider)


Fulton Prosecutors List Top Trump Aides, Including Scott Perry, As Witnesses. “Fulton County prosecutors could call several senior officials who served in the Trump administration and Georgia’s top elected leaders as witnesses during the trial for their election interference case, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Rick Santorum Is Back — The ‘Patron Saint’ Of Every 2024 Long-Shot Campaign. “Rick Santorum’s ears are burning. The 2012 Republican presidential candidate who surged from single digits in November of 2011 to win the Iowa caucuses the following January is back in the conversation in the first caucus state.” (POLITICO)



2. GOP Appeals Erie Federal Judge’s Ruling On Mail-In Ballots In Case With Broad Implications

Mail-In Ballot

“The dispute over mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania is going to a higher court.

The Republican Party has appealed an Erie federal judge’s decision that mail-in ballots without accurate dates handwritten on their exterior envelopes must still be counted if they are received in time.” (Erie Times-News)


Allegheny County Man Charged With Forging On Nomination Petitions. “Attorney General Michelle Henry announced charges against an Allegheny County man for his role in forging signatures on nomination petitions to get his client on the ballot for the 2022 Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.” (PoliticsPA)

Is PA Ready to Decriminalize Marijuana? “Is the time right for Pennsylvania to decriminalize marijuana? State Senators Sharif Street and Camera Bartolotta believe so and are looking for sponsors for their bipartisan proposed legislation.” (PoliticsPA)

Roof Repairs At State Capitol Cited For Delay To PA House Voting Schedule In Early 2024. “Repairs to the State Capitol Building combined with routine scheduling of annual budget meetings could put more than three months between voting sessions in the Pennsylvania House. (CNHI News)

SD-49: Wertz to Challenge Laughlin for Erie State Senate Seat. “Jim Wertz, a former chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, announced his candidacy for the 49th District State Senate seat at a kickoff event Tuesday.” (PoliticsPA)

  • Former Democratic Party Chairman Wertz To Run For PA Senate In Hopes Of Unseating Laughlin. (Erie Times-News)


What Do Pennsylvania Judges Make? “Have you ever wondered what judges in the Pennsylvania Judicial System receive in compensation? In 2024, they will be receiving at least 3.5 percent more than this year according to the Pennsylvania Bulletin.” (PoliticsPA)

Five PA Appellate Issues to Watch in 2024. “There are a host of cases percolating in Pennsylvania’s appellate courts that have big implications for the state’s legal practitioners, with matters ranging from online contracts to venue challenges to damages caps up for possible review.” (The Legal Intelligencer)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Military Aid To Ukraine Is Boost For PA Defense Contractors

HIMARS MLRS / Photo for illustration

“Pennsylvania defense companies have received almost $1.6 billion in federal spending as the U.S. sends military equipment to Ukraine to help fend off the unprovoked Russian invasion.

That’s more than 47 other states and behind only Arizona and Arkansas, according to a newly declassified U.S. Defense Department document.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Allentown City Council Narrowly Declares No Confidence In Tuerk, Citing Alleged City Hall Discrimination. “Facing a reckoning over allegations of racism and discrimination at city hall, the firing of several city employees and a stalemate with the city’s 2024 budget, Allentown City Council on Wednesday night narrowly declared no confidence in Mayor Matt Tuerk.” (Morning Call)

A Court Sides With Rich Fitzgerald In His Fight With Lawmakers Over The Minimum Wage For County Employees. “A judge ruled this week that legislation raising the minimum wage for Allegheny County employees is “legally invalid,” a victory for outgoing Executive Rich Fitzgerald in his fight with lawmakers over the bill.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Opioid Settlement: Allegheny County Won’t Receive A $479,000 Penalty After Questions From WESA and Spotlight PA. “All of the required municipalities in Allegheny County have approved signing onto an opioid settlement deal that is expected to bring about $1 billion to Pennsylvania over 18 years, including tens of millions of dollars to Allegheny County.” (Spotlight PA)

Leaving Act 47: New Castle Survived Near Total Economic Collapse Of 2007. “After 17 years, the city will leave Act 47 during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Tuesday at The Confluence ahead of its February deadline.” (New Castle News)



4. What They’re Saying

  • Let Hanukkah Candles Be New Prayer For Peace. (Tribune-Review)
  • America’s Religious Pluralism And Tolerance Made Us Who We Are, We Must Embrace Them Again. (Michael E. DeSanctis)
  • I Disagree With John Fetterman’s Politics, But Appreciate His Willingness To Speak Out. (Matthew Gagnon)
  • Pennsylvania Can Shape Its Conservation Future By Leading On The New Farm Bill. (Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and Molly Parzen)
  • Speed Camera Program Helps Save Lives. Lawmakers Should Vote To Keep It. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • A Public School Lobby Charges Private Schools With Discrimination — For Doing What The Public Schools Do. (Ruth Ann Dailey)
  • Bob Casey’s 2024 Reelection Bid Has Elements Of His First Senate Run. (John Baer)
  • PA Senators Are Going To Bat For The Hydrogen Hubs. Treasury Needs To Listen. (Rob Bair)
  • Penn President’s Shocking Equivocation On Antisemitism. (Beth Ann Rosica)


1 Thing

5. A Headline For The Ages

Taylor Swift

“A woman from West Reading whose parents owned a Christmas tree farm has been named Time’s Person of the Year and no one is surprised.

The magazine announced Wednesday morning that Taylor Swift is the outlet’s 96th Person of the Year and its first entertainer to receive the honor.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


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