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January 12th Playbook

State Rep. Curt Sonney announces his plans to retire at the end of his current term, while Democrats pick a candidate to run for a special election in the state Senate’s 5th District. Here is the Playbook. 


‘Wolf: Vaccine is strategy to fight COVID-19, not shutdowns’: The Associated Press reports that “its pandemic authority weakened, the Wolf administration said Tuesday it has no plans to pursue another COVID-19 emergency declaration, or attempt to impose new statewide restrictions or vaccine mandates, in response to the highly contagious omicron variant that is spreading quickly and overloading Pennsylvania’s hospitals.”

‘Dems pick ward leader Dillon for Senate special election’: The Northeast Times reports that “Democrats on Monday night nominated ward leader Shawn Dillon as their nominee in the 5th Senatorial District special election on May 17.”

‘Rep. Sonney announces retirement’: WJET reports that “Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie) has announced plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 Legislative Session.”

‘Lawmaker returns home for first time since October car wreck’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “state Rep. Matt Dowling, R-Uniontown, has returned home for the first time since he suffered serious injuries in October during a single-vehicle accident in Lancaster County.”

‘Dillsburg independent announces run for 10th Congressional District seat’: The Carlisle Sentinel reports that “Steven D. Long, a member of the Independent American Party, will run as an independent for the district, currently held by Republican Rep. Scott Perry.”

‘Fetterman calls for ban on congressional stock trading’: The Hill reports that “Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on Tuesday urged Congress to ban lawmakers, their spouses and their senior staffers from trading stocks.”

‘McCormick MAGA-proofs his Senate campaign after dissing Trump’: POLITICO reports that “as McCormick prepares to imminently enter Pennsylvania’s Republican contest for the Senate — a race in which candidates are outdoing each other to prove their loyalty to Trump — he is already making moves to inoculate himself from the all-but-certain primary attacks that he is insufficiently MAGA.”

‘Pennsylvanians divided over 2020 election fairness, level of trust in electoral process, Muhlenberg College poll shows’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “as Pennsylvania is expected to loom large in upcoming midterm elections, its residents who voted in the 2020 election are still sharply divided over how fairly that election was conducted and how trustworthy the process is, according to a recent poll conducted by the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion and Keep Our Republic.”

‘Pa. House Speaker Bryan Cutler ‘in contact’ with congressional Jan. 6 committee’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler has been in touch with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.”

‘With latest veto, Gov. Wolf keeps key climate change initiative breathing. Why should you care?’: PennLive provides an update on “where things stand in one state’s battle against climate change.”

‘If the I-83/South Bridge is tolled, ‘growth would be stalled’: Dauphin County officials’: PennLive reports that “Dauphin County commissioners do not support the idea of tolling the I-83 South Bridge to pay for its replacement.”

‘Pa. health secretary got COVID-19 booster while pregnant, hopes to set example’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania’s acting health secretary said she received a COVID-19 vaccine booster after learning she is pregnant. Keara Klinepeter said she revealed her decision to help overcome vaccine hesitancy in other pregnant women.”

‘Are Venmo and PayPal the future of turnpike tolling?’: City & State PA reports that “the use of physical money is less and less these days, and one Democratic Senator wants to help the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission keep up with the times.”

‘’We can get there’: Casey says he’s still hopeful on Democrats’ massive social spending investments’: WESA reports that “the social safety net expansions President Biden has proposed are stalled in the U.S. Senate, held up by Republican opposition and conservative Democrats like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. But Pennsylvania’s senior U.S. Senator Bob Casey said in an interview with WESA on Monday that he is hopeful at least some parts of the president’s Build Back Better agenda will move forward, though he said the legislative path isn’t clear now.”

‘Hearing officer blocks Allegheny County’s new coke oven regulations for US Steel’: StateImpactPA reports that “a hearing officer has sided with US Steel in the company’s challenge to Allegheny County’s proposed coke oven regulations.” 

AFP-Pennsylvania Releases 2021 Midsession Legislative Scorecard: On Monday, Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania (AFP-PA) released the group’s “midsession legislative scorecard for the year.”

‘Lehigh County Controller faces criticism after using word ‘ghetto’ when talking about redistricting’: WFMZ reports that “Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley used the word “ghetto” when expressing his concerns about packing Allentown and Bethlehem into one district. He says the word is being used out of context, but others, including members of his own party, say it was offensive.”

‘Neighbors — and a city councilmember — clash over latest push to revive a Germantown landmark’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “the episode highlights the city’s struggles to preserve historic buildings and to bolster Black- and brown-owned development firms.”

‘Philly Council will have 3 weeks to approve new district maps when it reconvenes’: KYW Newsradio reports that “the election watchdog group Committee of Seventy is offering advice to Philadelphia City Council, based on dozens of workshops and community input meetings, as it redraws district boundaries to reflect the 2020 U.S. Census.”

‘More state school funding key to helping students excel, Hite testifies in court’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Philadelphia’s schools superintendent testified Tuesday that with more resources, more district students would graduate ready for careers or college.”

‘Chester partnership has helped curb violence in city, officials say’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “state and local officials visited the city Tuesday for a roundtable discussion about the ongoing success of a 2020 program aimed at reducing gun violence and improving public safety.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council Hears Public Input About Proposed Annexation Of Wilkinsburg’: KDKA reports that “Pittsburgh City Council heard arguments about the idea of Wilkinsburg merging with Pittsburgh during a meeting on Tuesday.”

‘Restoring Pittsburgh’s vacant land to use just got a little bit easier’: WESA reports that “The Pittsburgh Land Bank and Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority have created a process to clear unpaid water and sewage bills on the city’s more than 30,000 distressed properties.”

‘For Pittsburgh Public Schools redistricting effort, a long road ends with a familiar map’: WESA reports that “a commission charged with drawing a new map for electing members of the Pittsburgh Public Schools board districts has spent the past few months looking at a number of radical changes — but the map it passed Monday night is very similar to the one the city school district already had.”

‘Scranton to extend pandemic-prompted fee reductions, permit procedures to support businesses’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “the city will extend several temporary fee reductions and accommodations to assist Scranton businesses, vendors and venues through 2022 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.”

‘Luzerne County Council advances possible ballot question on hiring solicitor’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Luzerne County Council advanced a proposed May 17 primary election ballot question Tuesday that would ask voters if council can have its own solicitor instead of relying on the county’s law office.”

‘Proposed Luzerne County lease criticized by former council member’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Linda McClosky Houck is urging Luzerne County Council to reject a revised lease proposed since she left council earlier this month.”

‘Manheim Township disbands police advisory committee 18 months after it was formed [update]’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “the Manheim Township Board of Commissioners on Monday disbanded a police advisory committee created just 18 months ago, with the new GOP board president saying the panel wasn’t needed and harmed officer morale.”

‘Lancaster city councilman Xavier Garcia-Molina to resign, citing mental health and graduate school responsibilities’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster city Councilmember Xavier Garcia-Molina said Monday he plans to resign following Tuesday night’s council meeting.”

‘Former Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez gets a new job, also in the public sector’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure has appointed Donchez deputy director of human resources. His first day on the job is scheduled to be Jan. 18, according to a county news release Tuesday.”

‘Berks commissioners restart prison project’: The Reading Eagle reports that “after being placed on hold for nearly two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, plans to build a new Berks County Prison are back in motion.”

‘Senator Dan Laughlin opposes natural gas ban proposed by New York governor’: WJET reports that “a push to ban natural gas hook-ups in New York State is being criticized by State Senator Dan Laughlin.”

‘Pa. Insurance Dept. hits UPMC with $250K penalty for Affordable Care Act violations’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “one of Pennsylvania’s largest health care providers has been ordered to pay a penalty and take corrective action for Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Unfair Insurance Practices Act violations, according to a release issued by Pennsylvania insurance officials last month.”

‘Statue celebrating Harriet Tubman displayed at Philadelphia City Hall’: KYW Newsradio reports that “there’s a new statue outside of Philadelphia City Hall, as the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy celebrates the life of Harriet Tubman with the artwork.”

‘6ABC picks Jim Gardner’s replacement for Action News at 11 p.m.’: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that “Rick Williams, who has been an Action News staple since 1988, will take over at 11 p.m. beginning Wednesday.”

Pat Toomey: Voting rights bills will undermine the rights Democrats claim to protect 
Dave Reed: Pennsylvania’s redistricting process should involve all of us
Meg Snead: Investments in human services industries are an investment in our future
Henry Olsen: How do we know Trump’s election fraud claims are bogus? Take a look at Pennsylvania.
John L. Micek: Can nice win you the GOP nomination? Jeff Coleman is trying to find out | Tuesday Morning Coffee
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Benefits of hosting Republican convention outweigh perils
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Growing Pennsylvania
Paul Muschick: How schools should teach about Jan. 6 storming of U.S. Capitol
Russell Zerbo: We Can Breathe Cleaner Air 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: We need COVID-19 tests to be readily available — and preferably free — if we’re going to slow omicron’s spread
Tim Potts: Rep. Meuser, you should be ashamed of yourself
Paul Muschick: Lehigh Valley school district could charge fans to watch football games online. Why others should follow.
Quinn O’Callaghan: The Future Of Violence Is Digital 
Efrat R. Kean: Philly ER doctor: Omicron wave threatens to overpower exhausted health-care workers | Expert Opinion
Laura Boyce: Kids on the supposed ‘McDonald’s track’ are living in a rigged system 
Michael Coard: From the grave, MLK’s telling white folks ‘Stop it, just stop 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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