January 21st Playbook

Commonwealth Partners endorses Bill McSwain for Governor. Here is the Playbook. 

News

‘McSwain lands endorsement of big GOP campaign donor’: The Associated Press reports that “Bill McSwain, the chief federal prosecutor in Philadelphia under former President Donald Trump, received the endorsement a major Republican campaign donor on Wednesday in a big field of GOP candidates seeking the party’s nomination for governor.”

‘Democrats’ issue No. 1 in Senate race: Kill the filibuster’: The Associated Press reports that “getting rid of the filibuster rule in the U.S. Senate is emerging as perhaps the most important issue in Pennsylvania’s competitive Democratic primary for an open Senate seat, as the party struggles to use its majority in Washington to advance its agenda.”

‘Seize the moment’: Wolf talks about his legacy and sets table for budget speech in Pittsburgh’: WESA reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf came to Pittsburgh Thursday morning on a visit whose timing seemed prompted in part by his upcoming final budget speech, but even more by an effort to polish his legacy for his final year in office.”

‘Pa. redistricting panel enters final stretch to complete House, Senate maps’: Spotlight PA reports that “the panel charged with drawing Pennsylvania’s new legislative districts must now weigh over 6,000 comments from a month-long public feedback period before voting on final versions of the maps.”

‘Pa.’s political calendar disrupted by leg. redistricting; Lawsuit asks state court to clean it up’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “a group of Pennsylvania voters have filed a lawsuit asking state  judges to change the election calendar for state legislative candidates to get on the ballot amid delays in the redistricting process.”

‘Chairman of FishUSA announces run for 16th District of the U.S. House of Representatives’: WJET reports that “Dan Pastore is the Chairman of FishUSA and is currently running for the 16th District of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

‘From food trucks to tech startup, Bhavini Patel ready to step into big-time politics’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Bhavini Patel, a first-generation college graduate who went from working on food trucks with her mom to running a tech startup during a pandemic, is entering the crowded Democratic field running to succeed U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle in Congress.”

‘Pennsylvania Rep. Jerry Knowles announces he will not run for reelection in 2022’: The Reading Eagle reports that “state Rep. Jerry Knowles has announced he will not seek reelection in 2022.”

‘State Rep. Rosemary Brown announces plans to step down in 2022’: WFMZ reports that “state Representative Rosemary Brown, who has represented Monroe and Pike Counties in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives since her election in 2010, announced that 2022 will be her final year in the House.”

‘Pa.’s nursing loan forgiveness program’s popularity outstrips available funding’: PennLive reports that “a student loan forgiveness program offered to Pennsylvania-licensed nurses has drawn an overwhelming response. It has state policymakers calling for an increase in funding available beyond the $5 million of federal COVID-19 relief aid Gov. Tom Wolf has set aside for it.”

‘Gov. Wolf announces $15M for gun violence prevention to fund community programs’: WHYY reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf, joined by Sen. Vincent Hughes and other lawmakers in Philadelphia’s Mill Creek neighborhood, announced a more than $15 million increase in state funding to support gun violence prevention efforts.”

‘Philadelphia City Councilmember Bobby Henon resigns from office’: KYW Newsradio reports that “City Councilmember Bobby Henon has resigned his seat, one month ahead of his sentencing on federal corruption charges. Henon was convicted of bribery in November, along with labor leader John Dougherty.”

‘County GOP Head Signed ‘False Documents’ Sent To Federal Government’: Levittown Now reports that “the head of Bucks County Republican party signed an invalid election certificate that was sent to the federal government in 2020.”

‘State lawmakers mull pension reforms as PSERS remains under scrutiny’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “state lawmakers met with officials of Pennsylvania’s public pension funds Thursday to vet reform measures that have been introduced to increase transparency and oversight of the pension system.” 

‘TV personality and Senate candidate Mehmet Oz visits Old Forge’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “in his first campaign visit to Northeast Pennsylvania, Mehmet Oz spoke about how he feels the government has failed in its handling of COVID-19, the economy, supply chain disruptions and border protection.”

‘Gubernatorial candidate Corman visits Hanover Area High School’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “state Sen. Jake Corman, a Republican candidate for governor, stopped by Hanover Area High School Thursday and was greeting with a squad of cheerleaders rooting him on, the school mascot offering a fist bump, and members of the band striking up a short tune as he headed to the auditorium.”

‘Trump Ally Pushes to Banish Cheney From House GOP Conference’: Bloomberg reports that “Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, on Wednesday privately argued to colleagues that Cheney essentially left the GOP when she agreed to join the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and condemned Trump and other Republicans, two GOP lawmakers who were in the meeting said.”

‘Montco-Based PA Nurses Union Endorses Josh Shapiro For Governor’: The Patch reports that “the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, based in Montgomery County, supports Josh Shapiro for PA governor.”

‘Haight to run for General Assembly’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “Frankstown resident Trish Haight has announced her candidacy for the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the 80th District.”

‘Flynn wants to allow turnpike bill payment with online apps’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “with the Pennsylvania Turnpike billing many drivers by mail through its Toll By Plate system, state Sen. Marty Flynn wants to make it easier to pay the bills. Flynn, D-22, Scranton, said he will soon introduce a bill requiring the turnpike commission to accept payments through online apps such as PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Apple Pay and Zelle as valid forms of payment for tolls accrued on the PA Turnpike.”

‘Parking revenue indicates drop-off in Farm Show attendance’: The Associated Press reports that “the Pennsylvania Farm Show returned as an in-person event this month, but parking revenue suggests many stayed away during the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic.”

‘Proposed legislation would pay retention bonuses to long term care facility employees’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “nursing homes and personal care homes statewide would receive $200 million to offer retention bonuses to direct care staff under legislation state. Rep. Bridget Malloy Kosierowski plans to introduce.”

City & State PA’s Biggest Winners & Losers This Week: City & State PA highlights the three winners and losers in Pennsylvania politics last week.

‘Legislative aide enters guilty plea after being charged with threatening critic’: WTAE reports that “an aide to state Rep. Mike Puskaric, R-Elizabeth, entered a plea deal after being accused of threatening to kill a critic of the legislator.”

‘POLITICO Playbook: Suspicious Trump weighs dual endorsements’: POLITICO reports that “in the Pennsylvania Senate race, former White House aide DINA POWELL is pushing Trump to endorse her husband, hedge fund magnate DAVID MCCORMICK. But SEAN HANNITY is urging him to back celebrity doctor MEHMET OZ.” 

‘Pennsylvania Redistricting: What Must Be Done to Avoid Court Intervention’: TalkRadio 1210 WPHT reports that “former Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives David Reed joined The Dawn Stensland Show to talk about the complexities of redistricting.”

‘Allentown police detective James Stanko honored on U.S. House floor by Susan Wild: ‘His legacy lives on’’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “when given her chance Thursday to address the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild chose to honor Allentown police Detective James Stanko.”

‘Utility settles with regulators over coal ash pollution in western Pa. streams’: StateImpactPA reports that “an electric utility has agreed to pay a $610,000 fine and build new discharge pipelines at two coal ash landfills  as part of a settlement with federal and state agencies over water pollution.” 

‘As flu cases increase, state health officials urge Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, state health officials are urging Pennsylvanians to get vaccinated – for the flu and COVID-19 – this winter.”

‘Philly City Council tackles redistricting, fire safety, and gendered language in first 2022 meeting’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “in their first session of the new year, City Council members on Thursday introduced legislation to redraw their own district boundaries, eliminate gendered language from the city Home Rule Charter, and incentivize property owners to install fire escape ladders in response to the deadly Jan. 5 Fairmount fire.”

‘A Philadelphia politician Hall of Shame’: The Philadelphia Inquirer listssome elected officials from Philadelphia who were involved in corruption cases and were convicted, or pleaded guilty or no contest. The list does not include judges.”

‘How will Bobby Henon be replaced? There’ll be a special election, and ward leaders get to pick the nominees’: Billy Penn reports that “the timing is up to Council President Clarke.”

‘Philly’s first legislative response to deadly Fairmount fire is a proposed tax credit for landlords’: WHYY reports that “a bill moving through City Council would effectively reimburse property owners and landlords who purchase and install fire-escape ladders in their apartments.”

‘Philadelphia City Council gets proposal on new boundaries for district council seats’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke submitted a plan Thursday for adjusting the boundaries of district council seats to reflect population changes in the 2020 census.”

‘Self-driving tech companies in Pittsburgh push for looser rules on vehicle testing’: WESA reports that “southwestern Pennsylvania has emerged as a hub for autonomous vehicle technology, but industry representatives said the state must loosen regulations on testing if the region is to capitalize on such innovation.”

‘Allegheny County’s Last Remaining Coal-Fired Plant Bought With Plans For Sustainable Redevelopment’: KDKA reports that “there’s a new owner and a remediation plan for the last remaining coal-fired power plant in Allegheny County.”

‘Allentown’s firetrucks, police cars and ambulances are in bad shape. But city officials can’t agree on how to fix them’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Allentown officials agree that the city vehicles are in bad shape… But not everyone agrees how to fix the problem.”

‘Berks will join lawsuit against PennDOT bridge tolling plan’: The Reading Eagle reports that “Berks County officials have begun the process of filing a legal brief in support of a lawsuit brought by three municipalities against PennDOT’s $2 billion plan to pay for the replacement of nine bridges with toll revenue.”

‘Lehigh Valley transportation projects already seeing new federal infrastructure money’: The Express-Times reports that “Lehigh Valley transportation officials are starting 2022 off with a wonderful problem to have – clambering to spend new funding as part of the federal infrastructure bill.”

‘Centre County is poised to get $1.7 million from landmark opioid settlement. Here’s what to know’: The Centre Daily Times reports that “upward of $1.7 million could flow into Centre County over the course of the next two decades as part of a settlement with the nation’s three biggest drug distribution companies and a large opioid manufacturer.”

‘No action on former Luzerne County Children and Youth director’s pension’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Luzerne County’s Retirement Board has once again tabled a decision on former county Children and Youth director Joanne Van Saun’s pension, even though she has now been sentenced for her crime.”

‘Johnstown Redevelopment Authority uses state money for blight demolition’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “state dollars are being used for the first time in the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority’s efforts to reduce blight within the city.”
Opinion  
Christopher Borick: A Pennsylvania Republican Wave – If the Party Can Ride It
Paul Muschick: Thirty-two states have finished congressional redistricting. Why is Pennsylvania not even close to finishing?
Natalie Mihalek: Legalizing crime doesn’t solve anything
Raymond Singer: Hospitals are dealing with unprecedented surge of COVID-19 patients. How you can help
John L. Micek: Pa. Health Dept. adds new free COVID-19 testing sites | Thursday Morning Coffee
Eric Webber and Howard Gensler: Should we ban sports betting ads during games? | Pro/Con
Jenice Armstrong: Thank you, Meek Mill — a phrase I never expected to say 
Stephanie King: Meek Mill, Kevin Hart, and Michael Rubin miss the point with $15 million scholarship donations 
Inquirer Editorial Board: With Henon’s resignation, a chance for Philly’s powerbrokers to move away from business as usual
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Lancaster County has 135 bridges in poor condition. The infrastructure act is much-needed.
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Patience, due diligence key in Wilkinsburg annexation
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Anne Frank case (mostly) cracked by Western Pennsylvania detective 
Fletcher McClellan: At the end of Year One, can Joe Biden build back his presidency? 
Jeffery Gerritt: Allegheny County Jail is community’s problem
Michael Stumo: President Biden should continue tariffs on solar panel imports 
Roxanne Patel Shepelavy: Ideas We Should Steal: More Trees 
Denis Devine: Climate change should be a consideration in planning massive Fishtown housing developments 
Sultan Shakir: End blood donation restrictions for gay men to help with national shortage 
Tony Norman: Marquis Campbell’s life is a rebuke to his killers
Claire Wolters: How to Start a Voter Registration Drive 
Nick Fiorellini: How to Start a Community Fridge 
Trudy Rubin: A look into the authoritarian world Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin hope to create

2 Responses

  1. The blueprint to end redistricting battles is already in place. Much like all parties agreeing to arbitration the Dems and R’s could appoint people to a panel with the tie breaker being a person appointed by a neutral 3rd party ie League of Women voters or whoever. Dems and R’s would agree to abide by the decisions of the panel. Problem solved.

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