February 8th Playbook

McCullough’s map goes to the Supreme Court. The State GOP says no endorsements for you. It’s Budget Proposal day for the Governor. And could marijuana become legal in the Commonwealth? Here is the Playbook.

News

Special Master Chooses Republican Congressional Map: Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Justice Patricia McCullough, designated as a special master for the Supreme Court, today selected a congressional redistricting map approved by the Republican-held legislature to move forward. The map, referred to as HB 2146, was vetoed when it arrived on the desk of Governor Tom Wolf on January 26.

State GOP Opts Out of Endorsing Candidates: Not today. That was the message that the Republican State Committee sent to its marquee field of candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and U.S. Senate who came looking for an endorsement.

‘Assembly cash reserve hit record as spending fell last year’: The Associated Press reports that “annual spending by the Pennsylvania Legislature dropped by some $12 million in the year that ended in June, helping lawmakers’ cash reserve grow to a record $233 million, auditors reported Monday.”

‘Surpluses and electioneering set the stage for Gov. Tom Wolf’s final budget proposal’: PennLive reports that “when Gov. Tom Wolf delivers his eighth and final budget address on Tuesday, expect to hear a little bit about the Pennsylvania he dreams of mixed with a lot more about the Pennsylvania political reality he’s stuck with.” 

‘By legalizing marijuana, Pa. senator said he wants ‘tax it, regulate it and make it safe’’: PennLive reports that “it was the first legislative hearing in Harrisburg on recreational marijuana legalization and comes more than five years after the state approved its use for medicinal purposes. New Jersey and New York are now marijuana-legal states and other neighboring states are exploring the issue.”

‘John Fetterman got a lot of cash from a surprising source: snail mail’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Fetterman’s Pennsylvania Senate campaign touts his expansive network of repeat donors and the money they’re contributing as evidence of widespread grassroots support.”

‘Lou Barletta is the best-known GOP candidate for Pa. governor. Is that enough?’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Barletta’s campaign isn’t raising much money. But his advisers say that won’t matter. Here’s the bet they’re making.”

‘Pa. judge’s recommended congressional map would blow up the four-year-old “Capitol Region” district’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District was staggered once again Monday, the latest blow delivered by a Commonwealth Court judge’s designation of a General Assembly-passed, Gov. Tom Wolf-vetoed redistricting plan as her recommended choice for the layout of the state’s 17 Congressional districts for the next 10 years.”

‘See how the final Pennsylvania state House map scores in every key area’: Spotlight PA reports that “the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly lists four requirements for state House and Senate districts: compactness, contiguity, minimal splits, and equal population. Here’s how the final map stacks up on those and other measures:”

‘Pa. Senate committee OKs turnpike reform legislation’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “months after the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission reported nearly $105 million in uncollected fees since converting to all-electronic tolling, the Legislature is taking steps to keep it from happening again.”

‘Pennsylvania lawmakers advance measure supporting off-label treatments for COVID-19’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “the state House Health Committee advanced a bill Monday to let off-label drugs be used to treat COVID-19 after its sponsor said doctors and nurses are not being allowed to veer from a rigid set of treatments that have not always been effective.”

‘Group of local GOP legislators take a final shot before Gov. Wolf’s last budget speech’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “a day before Gov. Tom Wolf was to give his eighth and final state budget address, a group of Republican lawmakers in Western Pennsylvania lamented decades of policymaking in Harrisburg that they claimed has made the state uncompetitive and undesirable to businesses and residents of other states.”

‘McCormick campaigns in Jennerstown’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick, a Republican, holds a meet and greet at Coal Miner’s Diner in Jennerstown on Monday, Feb. 7, 2022.”

‘Summer Lee’s congressional run picks up key endorsements’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “continuing to consolidate support among a “who’s who” of Pittsburgh-area progressives in her run for Congress, state Rep. Summer Lee will pick up the official endorsements Monday of several officials who themselves swept to office on pledges to bring bold change and a sense of urgency to the Democratic Party.”

‘Newcomer takes lead in straw poll vote for GOP nomination to 6th Congressional District seat’: The Daily Local News reports that “a Glenmoore man who is seeking the Republican nomination for a seat in the 6th Congressional District has received a huge boost by coming out on top in a straw poll conducted late last week. There is less than a week left until the Chester County Republican Party’s endorsement convention.”

‘After a few rocky years, IBEW Local 98 has more campaign cash than ever’: WHYY reports that “it’s been a tumultuous few years for IBEW Local 98, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at the union’s campaign finance reports.”

‘Rep. Sturla announces re-election campaign in new 96th House District in northern Lancaster city, Manheim Township and East Petersburg’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “state Rep. Mike Sturla announced his re-election campaign Saturday — his first with a significantly new district since he was first elected in 1991.”

‘As redistricting battle continues, two more candidates enter race for 29th district seat’: The Bucks County Courier Times reports that “two more Democrats have entered the primary race for the 29th district state house seat that could have new boundaries this spring.”

‘Tara Zrinski drops bid for Pa. House after new district line puts her on the wrong side of the street’: WFMZ reports that “the new districts put Zrinski in Steve Samuelson’s 135th District, and Zrinski said she will not take on her fellow Democrat in the primary election.”

‘Pennsylvania to get surge of money for abandoned mine cleanup’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Pennsylvania is eligible for a surge of funds this year from the federal infrastructure law to clean up lands and waterways damaged by abandoned coal mines, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced Monday.”

‘Feds say Pa. courts discriminate against some with opioid dependency’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “multiple Pennsylvania courts, including one in Allegheny County, were found to have discriminated against people with Opioid Use Disorder the U.S. Department of Justice said it discovered during an investigation.”

‘Philly launching 2 new efforts to address long-standing environmental inequality’: KYW Newsradio reports that “environmental justice was in the spotlight in Philadelphia last week with Mayor Jim Kenney naming the members of an Environmental Justice Advisory Commission and City Council getting new legislation on the issue.”

‘Do you work from home in Bucks or Montco for your Philadelphia-based job? You may be due a city wage tax refund’: The Bucks County Courier Times reports that “residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties who work for Philadelphia-based companies, but have shifted work to home outside of the city may be eligible for a Philadelphia city wage tax refund.”

‘Lawrence, Gale react to state election law ruling’: Montgomery Media reports that “with less than three months until the 2022 primary election, Montgomery County’s top elected officials reacted to recent legal developments to state voting laws.”

‘Mayor Ed Gainey begins to reshape the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’: WESA reports that “Mayor Ed Gainey appointed two new members to the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Monday: state Representative Sara Innamorato and Kyle Chintalapalli, who joined the administration as chief economic development officer last month.”

‘Pittsburgh Post-Gazette union members to be reimbursed for health care costs’: WESA reports that “after a years-long court battle, union members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette will be reimbursed for increased health care costs their employer refused to pay for nearly four years.”

‘The Fern Hollow Bridge “experienced a structural failure,” federal agency says’: WESA reports that “preliminary information from the National Transportation Safety Board says that the Fern Hollow Bridge “experienced a structural failure,” on the morning of Friday, Jan. 28.”

‘Pittsburgh to receive $30M for public transit in 1st infrastructure bill allocation’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “the Pittsburgh region is receiving more than $30 million in transit funding from the infrastructure law passed in November, but it remains unknown how the region’s largest transit agency will use the money.”

‘WPXI news producers to unionize with SAG-AFTRA’: Pittsburgh City Paper reports that “last week, producers at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh announced their intention to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, a union representing approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, and other entertainment and media professionals.”

‘Luzerne County Council to vote whether to fine Urban for election board appointment last year’: The Standard Speaker reports that “Luzerne County Council will vote Tuesday whether to fine Councilman Stephen J. Urban $100, as recommended by the county ethics commission, for accepting the chairmanship of the county board of elections last year in violation of the county charter.”

Opinion  
Dr. Mehmet Oz: Mask mandates harm children and America’s future
John L. Micek: Ex-Pa. House leader Reed: Supremes need to do redistricting in public | Monday Morning Coffee
Can Bahadır Yüce: Banning books, Pennsylvania, and a strange case of censorship
Inquirer Editorial Board: The city’s Washington Avenue head-fake reveals the sham of ‘community engagement’
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Addressing the teacher shortage
Dr Remick: Rebuilding bridges should also mean rebuilding our industrial base 
William Lambers: We won’t end the global pandemic until we get food to hungry people 
Tony Norman: Podcaster Joe Rogan needs a Black friend
Sirry Alang: Black women are ‘exhausted beyond measure.’ We deserve to rest. 
Madeline Bell: Cancer research is ‘deeply underfunded.’ Let’s do something about that. 
Curtis Milam: Without NATO, would Russia already be in Kyiv? Probably. 
Elizabeth Wellington: ‘We Need to Talk about Cosby’ poses tough questions to Black Gen X

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