February 3rd Playbook

The PA Supreme Court steps into the fray on congressional redistricting. The State GOP Committee meets this weekend. Are there endorsements in their future? Ten laws you never knew were still on the books. Here is the Playbook. 

News

PA Supreme Court Takes On Congressional Redistricting: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will take over the congressional redistricting process after an order came down from the high court this afternoon. A lower court had been poised to select a new map from among 13 proposals this week because the normal redistricting process between the governor and state legislature had broken down.

Internal Poll Shows Fetterman in Front: The John Fetterman campaign released an internal poll that showed Fetterman with a commanding lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for the PA U.S. Senate seat.

Will Anyone Receive Endorsements at This Weekend’s GOP Meeting?: The Pennsylvania Republican State Committee will hold its annual winter meeting this Saturday, February 5, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Wyndham Lancaster Resort and Convention Center. But with a myriad of candidates battling for coveted endorsements, is it possible for the committee to reach a majority decision?

‘Gov. Wolf proposes $1.7B relief program for families, small businesses, health care and conservation’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced a sweeping $1.7 billion plan to provide relief to families and small business owners, boost the struggling health care system and expand funding for land conservation and recreation.”

‘Shapiro sets campaign cash record to start election year’: The Associated Press reports that “the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for governor of Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, headed into 2022 with $13.4 million in his campaign account, a state record for a candidate heading into an election year.”

‘Aument facing primary challenge from Ephrata Twp. man who led local protests, unapproved ‘audit’ of 2020 election’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Ryan Aument, the second-term state senator representing the northern half of Lancaster County, is expected to face a primary challenger backed by groups convinced that elected Republicans failed to do everything possible to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Pennsylvania.”

‘Lori Dumas sworn in as newest Pa. Commonwealth Court judge’: PennLive reports that “surrounded by friends, family and colleagues, Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court welcomed its newest judge as Lori Dumas was sworn in during a ceremonial session by the Honorable Kevin M. Dougherty, Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.”

‘Review slated for 5 bridges sharing design of collapsed span’: The Associated Press reports that “the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has ordered structural reviews of five other bridges with similar construction to the Pittsburgh bridge that collapsed Friday.”

‘Bipartisan coalition discuss accountability in the 2022 political cycle, tracking election deniers’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “with the 2022 political cycle underway, a bipartisan coalition of current and former state and local leaders from across the United States think there’s an opportunity to move on from conspiracy theories and baseless voter fraud claims surrounding the 2020 election by combating misinformation and holding election deniers accountable.”

‘First-term state Rep. Delrosso jumps into GOP race for Pa. lieutenant governor’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Carrie Lewis Delrosso, the first-term state lawmaker who shocked Western Pennsylvania two years ago when she booted longtime Democratic leader Frank Dermody from office, is running for lieutenant governor.”

‘Pennsylvania has second-highest amount of the country’s 43,000-plus bridges in poor condition, national study finds’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “a national study released Wednesday confirms Pennsylvania is among the leaders in bridges rated in poor condition across the country, but it is hardly alone.”

‘Lawmakers Debate Over Gas Tax Money And What Needs To Be Done To Return It For Proper Purpose’: KDKA reports that “for years now, Pennsylvanians have been paying the nation’s third-highest gas tax, believing that $7 or $8 per fill-up was going for its designated purpose of fixing our bridges and roads. But $4.2 billion of that did not go to fixing things.”

‘COVID-19 still a ‘serious’ situation, Pa. Health Secretary Klinepeter says’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “speaking from Pittsburgh Wednesday, acting state Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter joined Allegheny County officials to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic.”

‘From hunting big game to barring bingo: Here are 10 old laws still on the books in PA’: City & State PA lists “some of the zaniest laws that are still in place in Pennsylvania. You might’ve broken one without even knowing.”

‘Pennsylvania’s high-profile race for Senate begins to take shape’: The Hill reports that “top contenders are beginning to emerge from crowded primary fields on both sides of Pennsylvania’s marquee Senate race even as no indisputable front-runner materializes for either party.”

‘GOP politicians say University of Pittsburgh fetal tissue probe a ‘whitewash’ and not nearly sufficient’: Fox News reports that “the recent investigation into the University of Pittsburgh wasn’t nearly enough to address allegations of illegal and unethical activities surrounding its fetal tissue research, multiple GOP politicians have indicated.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council will vote down Wilkinsburg annexation, but it’s not over yet’: WESA reports that “Pittsburgh City Council has axed an effort to annex the Borough of Wilkinsburg.”

‘Proposed bill would protect farmers when grain brokers fail’: The Reading Eagle reports that “a Berks County lawmaker is continuing the effort to provide financial protection for grain farmers.”

‘Progressive Democrat Enters, Leaves Congressional Race’: Levittown Now reports that “a Middletown Township man who recently entered the First Congressional District Democratic primary left the race this week.” 

‘Big fund-raising by a group tied to Philly ShopRite owner Jeff Brown has jolted the race for mayor’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “new financial disclosures provide the clearest indication yet of who is serious about the 2023 mayor’s race, including several members of City Council.”

‘Wanna audit the PPD’s $727 million budget? Join this new community advisory committee’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart wants resident input on the city’s police spending.”

‘Christian school leader is first witness for Republican lawmakers in Pa. school funding trial’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “as they defend Pennsylvania against a historic lawsuit challenging the state’s education funding system, Republican legislative leaders called as their first witness Wednesday the leader of a private Christian school who said his students were succeeding, even though many live in poverty and his school spends less than most public districts.”

‘‘Poison is in the dose’: Philly aims to limit environmental hazards with new legislation’: WHYY reports that “some communities in Philadelphia deal with multiple environmental hazards, like exhaust from truck traffic, air pollution from industrial facilities, and flooding. Councilmember Helen Gym plans to introduce legislation Thursday that could protect already overburdened communities by keeping additional pollution out.”

‘Homicides, shootings begin trending down in Philly’: WHYY reports that “homicides are down along with gun violence in Philadelphia, and city officials said they are happy to see the trend going in the right direction after a record-setting 2021 for the number of people murdered.”

‘Meet the 17 Philadelphians on the city’s new Environmental Justice Advisory Commission’: WHYY reports that “the list of Philadelphia residents who will push the city to address environmental injustices like extreme heat, flooding, and air pollution includes a pediatrician, a teacher, two attorneys, a Republican ward leader, and a self-declared school abolitionist.”

‘New boundaries for district council seats receive preliminary approval’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Philadelphia City Council on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to new boundaries for district council seats after making some changes to the original redistricting bill.”

‘COVID-19 cases falling in Philly but restrictions likely to stay in place’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Philadelphia’s COVID-19 cases are plunging, but Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said it will likely be several months before the city lifts the mask mandate or other restrictions.”

‘Allegheny County Council to consider ‘resign to run’ policy again’: WESA reports that “voters could be asked once again to allow Allegheny County councilors to keep their seats while they run for other elected positions.”

‘Gainey administration introduces pilot for faster permits at a higher price’: The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “the new administration of Mayor Ed Gainey announced it is testing a new pilot for accelerated permitting. But it will cost more.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council defends proposed 15% pay raise’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Pittsburgh City Council members on Tuesday defended a proposed pay raise for themselves, but froze the proposed increase until they could further consult with the city’s legal department and other officials.”

‘Westmoreland DA Nicole Ziccarelli seeks removal of 2 elected constables’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli is seeking to remove two elected constables from office, one in Arona and another in New Kensington.”

‘Pittsburgh abortion providers, advocates work to protect access in uncertain times’: Pittsburgh City Paper reports that “on Jan. 22, abortion advocates in Pittsburgh and across the country marked the 49th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the right to an abortion. Local abortion providers and advocates wonder: will it be the last?”

‘Lackawanna County Commissioners authorize county’s participation in multistate opioid settlement’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Lackawanna County may receive up to an estimated $11.4 million as part of a $26 billion multistate settlement agreement with drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three major drug distributors over the companies’ role in the opioid crisis.”

‘Luzerne County Council will soon take over manager selection decision’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “now that Luzerne County’s manager search committee is closing in on recommending finalists for the top manager position, it will soon be time for county council to get involved.” 

‘Commissioners reveal few details about prison design phase before closing on $3 million land deal’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County commissioners remained vague about planning the design of a new prison despite voting Wednesday to close next week on the purchase of a $3 million tract for the facility.”

‘Bethlehem City Council makes history in choosing newest council member’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “in a historic move, Bethlehem City Council unanimously appointed Wandalyn Enix, a retired Broughal Middle School teacher, to be the city’s first Black council member.”

‘How safe are the Lehigh Valley’s bridges? Here’s what the most recent inspections found’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “the most recent inspections for all bridges in Lehigh and Northampton counties from the National Bridge Inventory.”

‘Berks earmarks $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds for grant program’: The Reading Eagle reports that “Berks County officials are working their way through figuring out how to spend one of the biggest financial windfalls the county has ever seen.”

‘Erie County Council votes on salary increases requested by county executive’: WJET reports that “February 1st was heavy with discussion as Erie County Council members discussed how to vote on the salary increases that County Executive Brenton Davis requested.”

‘School officials, local lawmakers, county leaders discuss solutions to mental health needs of students’: The Daily Local News reports that “Chester County’s school superintendents shared their concerns regarding the increased demand for mental health services for students with state and county elected officials at a special information session held at the Chester County Intermediate Unit this week.”

‘Shifts for magisterial districts proposed’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “a proposal to expand two magisterial district boundaries to balance workloads between four magisterial district judges is available for public review.”

Opinion  
Joseph Cullen: PGH Bridge Collapse: There’s no time to delay on new infrastructure jobs
Joyce M. Davis: A mother fears more children who misbehave could get Tased at school | Social View
Jill Sunday Bartoli: An Open Letter to the Former President—and his followers 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: They may not be as loud, but parents concerned about COVID-19 safety in Lancaster County schools deserve to be heard by school boards
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Keeping the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty
John L. Micek: Pa. gets $104M from infrastructure law to clean up abandoned wells | Wednesday Morning Coffee
Timothy Lee: Keep patent protections for a strong tech economy
Bruce Ledewitz: How the U.S. Supreme Court is inviting the Senate to scrap the filibuster 
Solomon Jones: Here’s the real danger of Trump saying the Black prosecutors investigating him are ‘racist’
Bill White: Ignorance is not bliss. Selfishness is not patriotic
Gene Therapy: Never retire Punxsutawney Phil, never, ever.
Dena Ferrara Driscoll: West Philly pool closure is a disservice to a community in need

3 Responses

  1. PA Supreme Court did OK at drawing State legislative boundaries, so give them a chance to do same with Congressional districts. End GOP shenanigans.

  2. The R State Committee vote going public is dicey. Fetterman looked very beatable for the R’s with such feeble support at State Committ. It’s a canary in the coal mine moment when you go bust at a State Committee meeting. Pa is a centrist state and R’s have a real chance at Senate. Inside Elections has Senate leaning R and Gov toss up in Pa.

    1. The Democrat state committee non endorsement was a fraud in the U $.Senate race. The dirty duo of Insiders Patton Mills and paid Zappala operative Jim Burn not only undercounted Lamb. votes but turned away Lamb voters who were authorized to vote. The Zappala grudge against the Lambs lives on.

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