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February 21st Playbook

It’s Presidents Day. Bucks County’s Red Wave. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments on congressional districts ahead of a decision. Oz, McCormick, Sands bow out of GOP debate. THON raises $13.7 million. Here is the Playbook.

PA Weather
Erie | Mostly Sunny 50
State College | Mostly Sunny 57
Scranton | Mostly Sunny 55

PA Sports
Penguins lost to Carolina, 4-3
Flyers, 76ers idle


Podcast: Masks, Schools & CRT — What Bucks County’s Red Wave Tells Us About Voters’ Moods: In the latest episode of the PoliticsPA Podcast: An in-depth discussion of Bucks County’s recent red wave.

Ups and Downs: As we round the corner and head toward President’s Weekend, we look back at the week that was. A look back at those who choose not to debate, to those who top a poll and to those who reorganize. We also acknowledge those who receive a notice from the Select Committee, a believer in the good of redistricting, judges who made their call, a newsroom in trouble, and a legislator supporting students. All this and more in our weekly Ups and Downs.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Congressional Districts: It’s a high-stakes day at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as lawyers make their cases for the justices to pick their clients’ preferred congressional map.

Benninghoff: Discard the New Maps, Reinstate the Old: House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) filed a lawsuit on Thursday that asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to discard the newly approved legislative maps and reinstate the previous maps of a decade ago.

‘Pa. Senate debate turns into game of political chicken as key candidates postpone confrontation’: PennLive reports that “what was once looked like a big night for Pennsylvania Republican voters has lost some luster as several top-tier candidates for the GOP’s nomination for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat will be missing from Monday’s scheduled debate at Villanova University.”

‘Pennsylvania high court eyes how to pick House districts map’: The Associated Press reports that “ranks of lawyers packed the courtroom of Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court on Friday, with most of them arguing for their clients’ preferred map of new congressional districts as justices weighed how to decide which one is best.”

‘Where are our kids’ state test scores? Pa. House speaker wants to know’: PennLive reports that “students soon will be sitting for this year’s Pennsylvania System of School Assessments exams and they have yet to find out how they fared on the state tests from last year. That has House Republican leaders urging the state Department of Education to publish the scores immediately.”

‘Pennsylvania GOP Senate clash: Bartos takes aim at Oz, McCormick for skipping debate’: Fox News reports that “a crowded and competitive race in battleground Pennsylvania for the Republican Senate nomination is getting more divisive as a leading contender is taking aim at two top primary rivals for being “MIA” from a debate scheduled for Monday.”

‘Pittsburgh market has seen the most ads in high-stakes Senate race’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “the Pittsburgh television market has been flooded with more campaign ads in Pennsylvania’s high-stakes U.S. Senate race than any other place in the state, according to data obtained by the Tribune-Review.”

‘Conor Lamb: Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate’: NBC10 reports that “U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, a Democrat who represents a congressional district northwest of Pittsburgh, is running for U.S. Senate this year. He talked with NBC10 reporter Lauren Mayk about why he deserves to be elected.”

‘Alison Beam, former acting Pennsylvania health secretary, hired by UPMC’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “former acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Alison Beam has been named chief government relations officer at UPMC.”

‘Pa., Norfolk Southern working on deal to add 2nd daily Amtrak trip from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “answering the prayers of Pennsylvania rail-riders, the Wolf administration and rail titan Norfolk Southern are working on an agreement to eventually add a second daily Amtrak trip between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, according to published reports and Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.”

‘Can carbon capture fit into Pennsylvania’s climate solutions?’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “Republicans think yes, Wolf is a maybe, some environmentalists are a hard no.”

‘$15M in grant funds headed to substance use disorder treatment providers for pandemic response’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “the state entity that oversees drug and alcohol abuse treat programs announced Friday that through 107 grant agreements, 375 substance use disorder treatment providers across Pennsylvania will receive funding for “pandemic-related expenses.””

‘Endorsements in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race keep stacking up.’: City & State PA “put together a list of the most current endorsements in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race compiled from a combination of press releases, social media posts and candidate websites.”

‘Some Pa. companies promote cannabis as an addiction treatment using misleading or dangerous tactics’: Spotlight PA reports that “as part of a first-of-its-kind review, Spotlight PA investigated claims made on Pennsylvania cannabis companies’ websites and found a wide range of misleading or even dangerous tactics.”

‘State, federal estimates of Pennsylvania deaths in overdose crisis are far apart as Shapiro points to ‘historic’ shortage of police’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “despite a big discrepancy in the latest federal and state data on overdose deaths in Pennsylvania, state leaders say the crisis is continuing and Attorney General Josh Shapiro indicated a turnaround could be hindered by a “historic” lack of police.”

‘Michael Kuhn appointed to serve remaining term of late Lebanon County Commissioner’: PennLive reports that “Michael Kuhn, selected by the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas to replace the late Commissioner Bill Ames, will be sworn in 11 a.m. Feb. 22 at the Lebanon County Courthouse.”

‘Oakmont lawmaker DelRosso was driving force behind Alzheimer’s bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “using a more centralized, targeted approach to fight what experts deem a growing public health crisis, Pennsylvania will give primary care providers the tools and information they need to better spot signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia earlier. The new bureaucratic emphasis on detecting cognitive disorders earlier now has a backbone, due to a bill championed by local state lawmaker Carrie Lewis DelRosso, R-Oakmont, that was called “historic” by the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Pennsylvania Chapter this past week.”

‘State lawmaker seeks to limit crisis centers’ patient data’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “while anti-abortion lawmakers in many states move to empower so-called crisis pregnancy centers, one representative in Harrisburg hopes to restrict the centers’ power to keep patient data.”

‘Pa. casinos landed $393M in revenues for January, state records show’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “revenues at Pennsylvania casinos continued a gradual decline last month, a trend seen across the state since the record-breaking month of November, state regulators said.”

‘IUP proposes to cut tuition by 20% for full-time Pa. undergraduate students’: PennLive reports that “Indiana University of Pennsylvania is hoping to reverse its decade-long enrollment decline and provide skilled workers who can meet its region and state’s critical needs in the workforce by cutting tuition next year.” 

‘Here’s how much money the 2022 Penn State Thon raised in its 50th year’: PennLive reports that “Thon 2022 raised a record-setting $13,756,374.50, the organizers of the 46-hour dance marathon announced at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday afternoon.”

Legislative Election Updates

‘Democratic candidates vie to represent the Gayborhood in Pa. House race’: The Philadelphia Gay News reports that “those candidates are Jonathan Lovitz, an out gay man; Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans woman; Ben Waxman, an LGBTQ ally; and business owner and committee person Will Gross. The seat is being vacated by State Rep. Brian Sims, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.”

‘Herrin says she will not run for second term’: The Daily Local News reports that “state Rep. Dianne Herrin, D-156th of West Chester decided to partially retire and not seek another term in Harrisburg.”

‘Two people announce interest in Dianne Herrin’s seat’: The Daily Local News reports that “two Democratic candidates seek Dianne Herrin’s seat as state Representative in the 156th District after news that the one term representative has decided to partially retire and not run for a second term. No Republican candidate has yet publicly announced interest in running to fill Herrin’s seat.”

‘Ryncavage seeking GOP nomination in 119th’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “the 20-year-old Plymouth borough councilman (he’ll be turning 21 before May’s primary election) had plenty of support as he officially threw his name into the ring for the 119th District, the seat of which is currently vacant after Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, announced last month that he would not be seeking reelection in November.”

‘Friel announces second run for 26th District House seat’: The Daily Local News reports that “Owen J. Roberts School Board President Paul Friel has announced a second run for the state House of Representatives.”

‘Johnstown Republican announces candidacy in 72nd District, seeks to follow in grandfather’s footsteps’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “Renae Billow would go to the Pennsylvania State Capitol to see her grandfather, Andrew Billow Jr., who served the 72nd Legislative District from 1987 to 1992. She now hopes to return to the same chamber, but this time as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. On Friday, Billow, a Republican from Johnstown, formally announced her candidacy in the 2022 race for the 72nd District seat.”

‘Kephart announces candidacy for 73rd District’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “Dallas Kephart has announced his candidacy for state representative in the 73rd District, which includes portions of Clearfield and Cambria counties. As a constitutional conservative and lifelong Republican, he is seeking the GOP nomination in the primary election.”

Regional Spotlight: Southeast and Lehigh Valley
Reading Eagle: GOP gubernatorial hopeful PA Sen. Jake Corman visits Berks County
The Northeast Times: McSwain, in Mayfair, vows to oust Krasner
Morning Call: Longtime Allentown employee promoted to newly created position in the mayor’s office 
KYW Newsradio: Council to investigate Philadelphia Parking Authority finances
Morning Call: COVID-19 mitigation effort, safety ‘the highest priority’ Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong says in address 
Inquirer: The city said it’s not discarding homeless possessions. Do these AirTags tell a different story? 
Inquirer: Philadelphia police have a new unit to investigate shootings. But can it improve their success rate?
Inquirer: City Council wants to probe PPA’s $11.3 million refund to Philly School District
Billy Penn: Philly is poised to become the first U.S. city to run its own bank
Morning Call: Under new Allentown rule, some contractors would no longer qualify to work on city construction projects
Morning Call: $20 million to fix Lehigh Valley bridges, intersections will go to Race Street Bridge, spans on Route 33, 329, 611 and more
Reading Eagle: Berks election officials approve wages for poll workers, ballot questions
Delco Daily Times: Company says Mariner East 2 pipeline construction is completed; others say it’s not
Delco Daily Times: Could Radnor be the next community to regulate the use of plastic bags
Delco Daily Times: Delaware County ‘Health Department is ready to go,’ director says
Philly Voice: Philly’s five-year broadband internet plan hopes to bridge the city’s ‘digital divide’
Philly Voice: Philly offering $100 gift cards to residents who get fully vaccinated
Philadelphia Business Journal: After Philadelphia Inquirer apologizes for past ‘failings,’ NewsGuild files grievance claiming discrimination
Montgomery Media: Residents express frustration over school masking at Montgomery County commissioners’ meeting
Montgomery Media: Montgomery County Recovery Office to designate $161M in coronavirus funds
Daily Local News: Local lawmaker grills officials on proposed Chester Water Authority sale

Paul Muschick: Pennsylvania voters, candidates stuck in limbo because politics has polluted state government
Nathan Benefield: A real budget can bring prosperity to Pennsylvania
Tom Tyler: The latest push for liquor privatization is a glass half-empty. Here’s why 
Mark S. Singel: The former president is resorting to lies and Hillary-bashing to divert attention from his serious legal troubles 
Gary Duncan: The Older Adults Protective Services Act, must be enacted immediately 
Marjorie O. Rendell: Civic education is needed now more than ever 
John L. Micek: Lake Erie to benefit from $1B Great Lakes clean-up in infrastructure law | Friday Morning Coffee
Ted Evgeniadis and Tom Pelton: Pennsylvania: Pay your fair share for clean water 
Paul Muschick: They reported unemployment fraud. They never got a response. Then came the tax forms.
Joe McClure: Enslaved settlers labored on Pennsylvania’s frontier | Black History Month column
PennLive Editorial: Here’s what you can do to stop COVID-19 from killing the unborn 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Nursing shortage requires concerted response and innovative solutions  
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Lancaster County school districts are hiring students to work as janitors. It’s a creative solution to custodian shortage 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Pittsburgh City Council members are covering their official behinds
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Don’t throw out old tech. Donate it instead
Will Bunch: Right now, a U.S. toddler is starving because of Pat Toomey, Joe Manchin and 49 other Senate cowards 
Elizabeth Sinclair Hancq: There is a shortage of psychiatric beds in Pa. The effects may be showing. 
Victoria A. Brownworth: What we talk about when we talk about going back to normal
Andy Daga: Charging an electric car should be as easy and automatic as an E-ZPass 
David M. Shribman: In 1972, a presidential candidate unadapted to his habitat
Tim Hartman: Dr. Oz’s star turn | Editorial Cartoon
Chris DeRose: Pandemic creates urgency to pass Pet Safety and Protection Act

3 Responses

  1. GOP sucks as usual. So do all their candidates, which in GOP’s favored Russia they are called comrades. GOP backs Putin against Ukraine. How unAmerican is that? GOP has become the party of Trump, who is the lapdog of Putin.

  2. Bucks going red doesn’t compute if hard core Trumpers are at the top of the ticket and Trafalgar poll sure seems to be pointing that way in Gov race. Red theory ignores Atty Gen Shapiro’s success when fellow Dem Row Offices went down to defeat. Hey, if R political consultants want to pitch a good story about Bucks and ignore Shapiro’s candidacy then go for it!

  • Reader Poll: Should President Joe Biden Step Aside?

    • Yes. He should step aside because of his age, declining ability to do the job. (45%)
    • No. He should not step aside. (39%)
    • Yes. He should step aside because he can't beat Donald Trump. (15%)

    Total Voters: 231

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