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January 23: Listening Tour

Speaker Mark Rozzi with media

Good Morning. Rainy days and Mondays.

PA Weather
Pittsburgh | Cloudy, Snow Showers, 34
Harrisburg | Rain Tapering, 42
Philadelphia | Rain Tapering, 42

PA Sports
Eagles | NY Giants, W 38-7 | SUN vs. San Francisco
Penguins (23-15-8) | New Jersey, L 2-1 (OT) | TUE vs. Florida
76ers (30-16) | Sacramento, W 129-127 | WED vs. Brooklyn
Flyers (20-20-7) | Winnipeg | TUE vs. Los Angeles

What We’re Hearing
“When you have a divided government, four-vote Republican margin in the House, a one-vote Democratic margin in the Senate, divided chambers — you have to negotiate. That’s what the American people elected us to do, is to work this out. So nobody should be taking the position that we’re not going to negotiate. That’s very irresponsible.” – Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker and former Rep. Bud Shuster.

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Top Story

1. As General Assembly Stalls Out, Rozzi Announces ‘Listening Tour’ Of PA

“The Pennsylvania General Assembly is at a complete halt.

The state Senate recessed last week until Feb. 27. The House has no plans to return, hasn’t set rules, or even set committee chairs as both parties struggle for power in a razor-thin majority. Instead, the new House speaker will lead a “listening tour” around the state.

And when one part of the state legislature isn’t working, none of it can.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Rozzi Turns To Public For Ideas On Ending Stalemate. “With the state House of Representatives stuck in a partisan gridlock, House Speaker Mark Rozzi has decided to launch a statewide listening tour to gather input on how to address it and deliver justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.” (PennLive)

Reader Poll: When Will The PA House Agree On The Rules? (PoliticsPA)



2. Shapiro Announces “Ethics Package” For 3,500 Commonwealth Employees

Josh Shapiro at podium during his inauguration

Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his three-part ethics package on Friday that will “ensure that the highest standards of integrity guide every action taken by the public servants, officials, and employees under the governor’s jurisdiction.”” (PoliticsPA)


Shapiro Keeps Gift Ban For Employees Stricter Than Law. “Under Shapiro’s new executive order, the roughly 80,000 executive-branch employees are banned from soliciting or accepting anything above minimal value from people seeking to influence them, such as lobbyists or government contractors.” (Associated Press)

  • Shapiro Loosens Wolf’ Notoriously Strict Gift Ban For Top Officials. (Spotlight PA)
  • Shapiro Says He’s Ready To Make Progress As Governor. (CBS Pittsburgh)


State Unemployment Rate Falls To Record Low 3.9%. “The Keystone State set a record as the 2022 calendar year concluded. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 3.9% in December, setting a record low.” (PoliticsPA)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Todd Installed As First Female Chief Justice Of PA Supreme Court

Chief Justice Debra Todd

“In a historic ceremony on Friday at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, Debra Todd was installed as the first female chief justice in the 300-year history of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The 65-year-old native of Ellwood City was installed in a ceremony before more than 600 invited guests and included a procession of more than 100 black-robed judges from across the state accompanied by bagpipes.

She expressed pride in setting an example for young women.

“Today my heart is full of joy and gratitude,” said Todd. “Joy in arriving at this moment and gratitude for all the strong and determined women who paved the way and for those who supported me throughout my journey.” (PoliticsPA)


Power Shift May Reshape Region. “More than any of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s other fresh-faced leaders, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey embodies the cold fact that after any uplifting election victory comes the slow-motion frustration of trying to steer a government. ” (Public Source)

When Politicians Climb Down The Ladder. “Local office is not a conventional career path after serving in Congress. Some turn to education or end up on cable news. Many land on K Street. A driving force behind that step is the frustration with gridlock that’s prevalent in Washington — often getting in the way of legislators delivering for their constituents. ” (POLITICO)

The Senator’s Spouse. “Gisele Fetterman loves that people talk about the way she dresses. It has nothing to do with vanity and all to do with advocacy.” (PennLive)

Gym Gets Big Endorsement From API For Philly Mayor. “Pa.’s statewide Asian American civil rights and advocacy organization is backing former Councilmember Helen Gym for Philadelphia mayor, leaders are announcing Monday.” (Billy Penn)

Dugan Calls For More Collaborative, Preventative Approach To Public Safety In Allegheny County. “Allegheny County’s chief public defender wants to switch sides. Matt Dugan, who has spent the bulk of his career climbing the ranks in the county’s public defense office, has said he’ll challenge District Attorney Stephen Zappala in this spring’s Democratic primary.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Change Coming To Montgomery County Leadership. “A new day is coming to the third-largest county in Pennsylvania and the 2023 elections hold the key.” (PoliticsPA)

State GOP Targeted Two State Rep Races In Luzerne County With $548,752. “State Republican committees saw an opportunity to flip two Democratic state House seats in Luzerne County in the Nov. 8 election and pumped $548,752 into the campaigns for the 118th and 121st Legislative Districts.” (Times-Tribune)

Erie County Democratic Party Censures County Councilman. “The Erie County Democratic Party voted unanimously Saturday to censure Democratic County Councilman Jim Winarski for repeatedly breaking ranks and siding with the council’s Republican minority.” (Erie Times-News)

Nearly 1,300 Lehigh Valley Voters Saw Mail-In Ballots Rejected. “The number — 1,296 — represents a small fraction of the approximately 73,000 mail-in ballots returned in Lehigh and Northampton counties for the Nov. 8 election. ” (Armchair Lehigh Valley)



4. What They’re Saying

A glance around the Keystone State at editorials and opinions.


1 Thing

5. Putting The Hex On

A picturesque red barn with four large matching barn stars interspersed with three windows, above two stories of doors and more windows.

If you’ve spent much time in the rural regions of central Pennsylvania, you’ve likely seen barns decorated with decorative, star-like symbols, or similar designs on decorative items sold at markets, gift shops and roadside stands.

To many, these patterns and symbols are collectively referred to as “hex signs.” The story goes that hex signs are decorations created by the Pennsylvania Dutch to ward off bad luck, or to garner good fortune. But is their truth in that legend? Were artists invoking these symbols as some sort of magical talismans? (PennLive)


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  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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