February 7th Playbook

Conor Lamb joins the pod. Val Arkoosh is out. The GOP says no press and no endorsements. Maps are approved. Lanco selects a new commissioner. Here is the Playbook. 

News

Podcast: Conor Lamb, In-Depth: In the latest episode of the PoliticsPA Podcast, Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Conor Lamb opens up about a range of topics. 

Ups and Downs: Exhale. What a week! Campaign finance reports are out. Appointments are made. The state House and Senate maps are approved. The courts … oh those courts. Phil saw his shadow. And Gritty is in a better mood. All this and more … in this week’s Ups and Downs.

Commission Approves Legislative Maps That Could Alter Balance of Power: The Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved Pennsylvania’s new legislative district maps by a 4-1 vote on Friday afternoon.

Benninghoff Proposes 11th Hour Map Amendment: Earlier today, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) released an amendment he will be making to the final House map offered by the chairman of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

Arkoosh Bows Out of Senate Race: Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, has suspended her campaign for the Democratic nomination for the open Pennsylvania U.S. Senate seat.

‘What to watch for in Pennsylvania governor’s budget proposal’: The Associated Press reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf will pitch his eighth and last budget proposal to lawmakers Tuesday, as the Democrat pushes Republicans to spend more federal pandemic relief aid now and Wolf looks to cement his public school legacy by securing a big boost in state aid.”

‘Pa. GOP leaders decide not to endorse in governor, lt. governor races in a secret meeting’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania Republican leaders on Saturday declined to endorse any candidates vying in the May 17 primary to be the party’s nominee in the governor and lieutenant governor’s races amid a shroud of unprecedented secrecy.”

‘Pa.’s Republican Senate candidates battle to a wary standoff in endorsement battle’: PennLive reports that “Republican candidates seeking to succeed Pat Toomey in the U.S. Senate battled to a draw in the winter meeting of Pennsylvania’s Republican State Committee, which voted not to endorse in any of the statewide races this year.

‘Pa.’s new legislative maps could boost Democrats, reflecting a closely divided state with more voters of color’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “the new maps still slightly favor Republicans but are significantly closer to evenly split than the current maps, according to a detailed data analysis.”

‘Recreational marijuana coming to Pa.? Legislature takes first steps toward legalization’: PennLive reports that “lawmakers are set to take the first serious step toward legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.”

‘Pa. Republicans push bill to protect doctors who prescribe ivermectin for COVID-19, allow hospital patients to get it’: PennLive reports that “a Pennsylvania state House committee on Monday will consider a bill that would free doctors to prescribe off-label drugs for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

‘Final Pa. legislative district map introduces more competitive districts to Capital Region’: PennLive reports that “the Capital Region could be home to more competitive races for seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives under the map adopted by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission on Friday.”

‘GOP’s election inquiry: Courts, conspiracies and more costs’: The Associated Press reports that “a Republican inquiry into Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud has spawned several court cases as it expands into multiple courses of inquiry, grows in cost and shows signs it will drag well into 2022.”

‘Your 2022 Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race campaign finance cheat sheet’: City & State PA reports that “Pennsylvania’s 2022 U.S. Senate primaries are creeping closer, and with new campaign finance reports finally out, candidates and election-watchers alike can now catch a glimpse of who had the most cash heading into 2022.”

‘Nashville rises, Pittsburgh crashes out in 2024 GOP convention search’: POLITICO reports that “RNC members tasked with considering the finalist cities’ pitches are scheduled to visit Nashville and Milwaukee in the coming weeks, but not Pittsburgh.”

‘Pennsylvania Senate Republican race between Oz and McCormick turns ugly early’: CNN reports that “in the Pennsylvania Senate race, one candidate is accusing a rival of having “dual loyalties” to the US and a foreign country. In turn, that rival is charging his opponent with being too cozy with China.”

‘Dr. Oz focuses on pandemic during campaign stop in York, Pa.’: The York Daily Record reports that “inside a ballroom at Wisehaven Event Center in York County, the cardiothoracic surgeon turned TV doctor turned U.S. Senate candidate tried to cure the biggest ailment to his campaign: claims from opponents and critics that he pushes questionable products and junk science.”

‘Shapiro’s office: GOP elector plan not illegal, but misleading’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “that’s how the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday characterized actions by state Republicans who planned to nominate their own electors following the 2020 presidential election in which their candidate lost.”

‘GOP gubernatorial candidate cites Fern Hollow collapse in campaign email’: WESA reports that “former Congressman and current Republican candidate for governor Lou Barletta is citing last week’s Fern Hollow Bridge collapse as he seeks to build some political infrastructure of his own.”

‘Dems pick Covington as their champion in special election to complete Gainey’s state House term’: WESA reports that “members of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee have named Martell Covington as the candidate they’d like to represent their party in a special election this spring for state House District 24.”

‘Rep. Carroll not seeking re-election in 118th Legislative District’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “state Rep. Mike Carroll Friday announced he will not seek the Democratic nomination to serve the 118th Legislative District in the upcoming primary election.”

‘Meuser, Casey address ‘legitimate political discourse’ comment’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that they “asked the region’s Congressional delegation what they think of the notion that Jan. 6 was “legitimate political discourse.””

‘Dasha Pruett announces primary challenge to Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’: The Bucks County Courier Times reports that “America First candidate Dasha Pruett has announced her candidacy for the 1st Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.”

‘Lehigh Valley a flashpoint as commission approves final Pennsylvania legislative maps’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “a state commission voted 4-1 to approve a new set of House and Senate legislative maps, with the “no” vote coming from a Republican leader who said the Allentown portion of the House map was drawn to protect white Democratic incumbents at the expense of the Latino community.”

‘Lackawanna County split between two state Senate districts for first time’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Lackawanna County residents will have two state senators representing them in Harrisburg for the first time in county history.”

‘Final state legislative maps would keep Mechanicsburg whole among other adjustments for Cumberland County’: The Carlisle Sentinel reports that “final versions of the new state legislative maps approved Friday by the Pennsylvania Legislative Redistricting Commission are largely similar to the preliminary layouts released in December, although there are a few important tweaks to the layout of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that will affect Cumberland County.”

‘Yudichak ‘profoundly disappointed’ in redistricting process’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “state Sen. John Yudichak Friday said he is “profoundly disappointed” in how Luzerne County was “unfairly treated in what sadly remains a very partisan redistricting process.””

‘Opinion divided on redistricting process’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Friday was a landmark day for Pennsylvania politics, including a major announcement for one of the region’s longtime state representatives as the larger picture shifted.”

‘State House, Senate maps approved; Johnstown would switch districts’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “Cambria County will remain divided among three Pennsylvania House of Representatives districts – and entirely contained in one Senate district – over the next decade.”

‘More than 12 maps being considered for U.S. House of Representatives’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “more than a dozen statewide redistricting maps, which divide the Cambria, Somerset and Bedford region into two or even three U.S. House of Representatives districts, have been proposed by elected officials and independent organizations.”

‘Larry Krasner’s lawsuit against Josh Shapiro over the national opioid settlement was dismissed by a state court’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Friday dismissed lawsuits brought by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala against state Attorney General Josh Shapiro over a national opioid settlement that Shapiro helped negotiate — and which the two DAs have indicated they have no interest in joining.”

‘Ryan Boyer has plans to diversify Philly’s unions and rehabilitate the labor movement’s image’: Billy Penn reports that “the first Black leader of the powerful Business Trades Council is known for steady coalition building.”

‘Port of Philadelphia receives $246 million in state funding following record year’: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that “the Port of Philadelphia will receive $246 million in state funding, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday, as the administration sees it as a driving economic force for the state as well as a critical part of creating an efficient supply chain.” 

‘Md. Guv hopeful Perez taps Philly native, Shannon Sneed, as running mate’: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that “Tom Perez, Democratic candidate in the Maryland governor’s race has chosen Shannon Sneed, a former councilperson, journalist and Philadelphia native as his running mate and lieutenant governor hopeful.”

‘Houlahan legislation included in massive supply chain package’: The Daily Local News reports that “Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) has praised the passage of the bipartisan COMPETES Act, a comprehensive package that addresses supply chain issues, promotes American manufacturing, and invests in American STEM innovation.”

‘Reporting missing persons’ DNA to a national database now the law in Pennsylvania’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania now has a law in that will give future families of loved ones who go missing a little more hope of finding the answer they seek.”

‘Upper Darby faces fiscal emergency that may lead to shutdown’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “a special emergency meeting is scheduled for Monday night amid a financial crisis that some say may cause a township government shutdown while others question millions that have not yet been accounted for.”

‘Chester County’s share of opioid settlement ‘pot’ grows to $19 million’: The Daily Local News reports that “instead of the $15.5 million the county commissioners had announced the settlement would bring in for such programs, the settlement details showed the county receiving even more.” 

‘Former Chester County chief of detectives sues DA Deb Ryan’: The Daily Local News reports that “the former chief of the Chester County Detectives, the first Black person ever to hold that position, has filed a lawsuit claiming that District Attorney Deb Ryan fired him unfairly, treating him differently than his white colleagues because of his race.”

‘Mayor nominates longtime medic and administrator as public safety director’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Mayor Ed Gainey on Friday announced he nominated Lee Schmidt, a longtime paramedic and administrator, to be the new director of the Department of Public Safety.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council Votes To Amend 22% Pay Raise To 6% Increase For Council’: KDKA reports that “the Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously to retract a 22% pay raise originally included in the city budget, amending it to a 6% increase.”

‘Here’s how Pennsylvania measured up for job growth in 2021’: The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “buoyed by a recovering economy, job growth was steady in 2021. Here’s how our state fared.”

‘White supremacist group Patriot Front recruiting in Pa., targeting Lancaster County with propaganda’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Patriot Front, a white supremacist group formed in the wake of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, is actively recruiting across Pennsylvania, including in Lancaster County and the surrounding region.”

‘Elections groups claims fraud in Lancaster County, but won’t supply evidence [Lancaster Watchdog]’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Audit the Vote PA, an organization founded in the wake of the 2020 election and committed to proving widespread voter fraud plagued the last presidential election in Pennsylvania, declared last week that its volunteers found “anomalies” in Lancaster County’s 2020 election results.”

‘Judge panel chooses Lancaster Twp. engineer, executive to be the next Democratic county commissioner’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County has a new county commissioner: John Trescot, a 63-year-old retired engineer and executive who lives in Lancaster Township.”

‘The Morning Call’s 2-year fight to uncover Allentown NIZ tax money ends after Sen. Pat Browne crafts change in law’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “the Morning Call’s efforts to obtain information on some taxes paid in Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone ends after Sen. Pat Browne crafts change to law.”

‘Some Allentown employees will now have six weeks of paid family leave’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “non-union employees in Allentown will now have six weeks of paid family leave because of an ordinance passed by city council Wednesday.”

‘More than $1.5 million coming to Reading for public transportation’: The Reading Eagle reports that “more than $1.5 million is coming to Reading this year for public transportation projects as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law that was enacted last year.”

‘State lawmakers visit Second Street Learning Center to talk about funding challenges’: The Reading Eagle reports that “state Sen. Judy Schwank and Rep. Manny Guzman say they are focused on finding solutions.”

‘With $22.7M given out in pandemic relief and $3M left, some want tighter rules for business grants’: The Express-Times reports that “Northampton County Council last month approved the latest round of $22.7 million distributed in local business grants backed by federal pandemic-relief aid.”

‘Population’s declining trend troubling, officials agree’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “the City of Williamsport has lost population, as have other cities in Pennsylvania, a crisis of societal changes and the economy.”

‘Growth seen with more expected for communities along I-180 corridor’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “a few communities in eastern Lycoming County are seeing population growth, mainly those lying along the Interstate 180 corridor with a potential for more residential and commercial interest with the opening of the north section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project this year.”

‘Questions remain after Allegheny County jail investigation closes’: Pittsburgh City Paper reports that “the Allegheny County Police Department Jail Internal Affairs Section and the Allegheny County Jail administrative team say they have both completed their “separate, independent” investigations into complaints regarding out-of-cell time and use of force at the jail.”

‘Rep. Joyce to hold telephone town hall’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District, will hold a telephone town hall at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7, with constituents from Pennsylvania’s 13th District. Joyce will provide a brief opening statement and then answer questions for the duration of the meeting.”

‘City mulls selling City Hall’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “the City of Williamsport and administration of Mayor Derek Slaughter today announced that it was requesting realtors to tour City Hall for the possibility of selling the building.”

‘Philly officials seek public input on fair housing in new online survey’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Philadelphia’s Division of Housing and Community Development wants to improve living conditions for all residents, and it wants their input in order to do that. There’s an online survey where people can weigh in.”

‘McKeesport mayor declares state of emergency after fire damages city garage and equipment’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “McKeesport’s mayor has declared a state of emergency after the city’s public works garage caught fire Sunday morning, damaging vehicles and equipment.”

Opinion  
Bryan Cutler, Kerry Benninghoff, and Stan Saylor: Helping Pennsylvanians means putting taxpayers first 
Mark S. Singel: Voters can tune out the Senate campaigns until candidates start spouting the truth
Emily Kinkead: Time for criminal justice overhaul
Salena Zito: Philly to Fayette: Opioid woes a symptom of mental health crisis
Lamont McClure: We will continue to preserve farmland and open space to combat warehouse proliferation 
Phillips Armstrong: Let’s show the nation what true nonpartisanship cooperation can do 
Melissa L. Reed: We must protect abortion access in Pennsylvania
Paul Muschick: Why the sick and disabled would not be forgotten if Pennsylvania gets rid of its mail balloting law 
Paul Muschick: Whoopi’s blunder shows challenge of contending with racism. Why the Lehigh Valley may be up to the task
Scott Elias: Solar means business in America: Here’s what that looks like in Pennsylvania
Colleen Hroncich: Education Choice Can Prevent Fights Over Covid Policies 
Renee Chenault Fattah: Race awareness is not race discrimination, even when it comes to the Supreme Court 
John L. Micek: That vetoed Republican gun preemption bill is part of a larger GOP strategy | Friday Morning Coffee
Gerry O’Donnell: A City a County, and a People Working Together
Karl Qualls: Ukraine Build-Up: Why It’s time to worry, but not panic, about Russia
Fletcher McClellan: What the assault on elections in the U.S., Hong Kong have in common 
Laura Johnson: Fair school funding means fair funding for every Pa. student. Not just a few
Salena Zito: The covenant between the Main Street consumer and big corporations is collapsing 
PennLive Editorial Board: Gov. Wolf and lawmakers pledged to stop sending kids to adult prisons, but they haven’t proposed a single law to do it 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Republicans liked Pennsylvania’s 2019 voting reform law when they passed it in 2019. Then Trump lost. 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Cyber charter school funding must change
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Annexation vote delay is the right decision
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: No need to protect small WPIAL schools
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Steelers can take lead in NFL racial justice controversy
Chris Kelly: Mayor taking fight to blight
Sozi Pedro Tulante: Philly’s elite high schools have an equity problem. A controversial new admissions policy makes it worse. 
Will Bunch: Police killing of Amir Locke leaves blood on the hands of a do-nothing Congress 
John Cole: For sale, one U.S. Senate seat, gently used. Personal fortune preferred | Editorial Cartoon 
David M. Shribman: Why aren’t we happy?
Ruth Ann Dailey: Liberty and forgiveness the antidote to wokeness
Brandon McGinley: When the kids start clamoring for ‘Netfwix,’ it’s time to consider disconnecting the TV
Jeffery Gerritt: Black history has defined American culture
Tony Norman: Brian Flores’ lawsuit against the NFL reminds us that football is far from inclusive

One Response

  1. Mark Single’s column in the clips makes a lot of sense. US Senate candidates are posturing and preening listening to media advisors with nothing much being said. My two cents in addition to Mark Single’s thoughts—I would add LT Gov Fetterman does not seem to be a strong debater and does not appear popular with the Dem Party workers (Dem State Committee vote)which gives R’s hope as well as Rep Conor Lamb.

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