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January 27th Playbook

So many maps. So little time. The Democratic State Committee meets this weekend. Will it endorse a U.S. Senate candidate? And there is no fraud found in a drop box case. Here is the Playbook. 


Maps. So Many Maps.: The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania asked for congressional map proposals to be submitted Tuesday in a redistricting lawsuit. As always, be careful what you ask for.

Will State Dems Endorse a U.S. Senate Candidate at This Weekend’s Meeting?: The Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee (PADSC) will hold its annual winter meeting on Saturday, January 29, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel. The big question: will the committee issue an endorsement in the highly competitive U.S. Senate race?

Republicans Introduce Constitutional Amendment on Abortion: Republican state senators have introduced a bill that proposes a constitutional amendment that would clarify that there is no right to abortion or taxpayer funding of it in Pennsylvania.

‘Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoes congressional map sent to him by Republicans’: Spotlight PA reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a congressional map sent to him by Republican lawmakers, leaving the monumental job of picking Pennsylvania’s next district lines to the state courts.”

‘Pennsylvania court has a dozen congressional maps to review’: The Associated Press reports that “a statewide court has at least a dozen different proposed maps of Pennsylvania’s congressional district boundaries to consider when hearings begin Thursday, now that Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers appear hopelessly deadlocked.”

‘Lawmakers look to head off all-electric building codes’: The Associated Press reports that “Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature signaled again Wednesday that it wants to stop municipalities in the nation’s No. 2 natural gas state from adopting building codes that prohibit gas hookups, as some states, cities and counties consider all-electric building codes as a way to fight climate change.”

‘Pa. lawmakers put aside political differences over COVID-19 — however briefly — and agree hospitals need help’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania hospitals can expect to soon begin receiving $225 million toward helping them hold on to workers weary from two years of COVID-19 and recruit new ones.”

‘Pa. restaurants hope for financial aid as they struggle ‘more than they did in 2020′’: PennLive reports that “Sen. Ryan Aument, a Lancaster County Republican, continues to push for two bills he originally proposed in 2020 that would inject restaurants, bars, taverns and small businesses with financial assistance.”

‘What is your hospital’s share of $210 million in Pa. aid for staff retention, recruitment?’: PennLive lists “the House Republican Appropriations Committee’s breakdown of the estimated amount each of the state’s hospitals and health care facilities will receive:”

‘Former Pa. Treasurer Barbara Hafer’s PAC collected $2.3 million from investments, paid daughter $500K since she left office’: The Caucus reports that “since she left office, Hafer’s committee has collected $2.3 million — not from donors, but from investments that she made with her donors’ money.”

‘Trump is nowhere – and everywhere – in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race’: Reuters reports that “former President Donald Trump is nowhere to be seen in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, but he nonetheless is shaping the election as Republican candidates vie for his support and the state party considers skipping an endorsement to avoid being at odds with him.”

‘Pa. Senate candidate Jeff Bartos counts on grassroots campaign to beat high-profile competitors’: WGAL reports that “Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick are making headlines and getting airtime with political ads in the race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, but Republican Jeff Bartos is emerging as a favorite of the party faithful.”

‘Dr. Mehmet Oz stumps in Westmoreland County in quest for U.S. Senate’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Dr. Mehmet Oz enthralled a room full of potential Westmoreland County voters Wednesday as he works to make his mark in a crowded field of candidates vying to represent Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate.”

‘How PA pols are adapting their campaigns in the age of COVID’: City & State PA reports that “the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world of campaigning on its head, forcing candidates and campaigns to adapt and get creative in order to achieve the type of results they sought in pre-pandemic times.”

‘Council Rock School Board member announces candidacy for state representative’: The Bucks Local News reports that “Wrightstown resident and Council Rock graduate, Kristin Marcell, has announced her intent to run for state representative in the 178th Legislative District of Pennsylvania.”

‘DCNR outlines 2022 priorities, banks on the future of outdoor recreation in Pa.’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “the state agency in charge of Pennsylvania’s 121 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forests laid out its priorities for 2022 on Wednesday, announcing a new hire and investment initiatives to bolster outdoor recreation in the commonwealth.”

‘Four highlights from the landmark Pa. school funding trial, as plaintiffs rest their case this week’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “the trial centers on allegations that Pennsylvania’s method of funding public education is so inadequate and inequitable that it violates its constitution.”

‘$1B funding proposal to solve gun crisis gets bipartisan support in Philadelphia’: KYW Newsradio reports that “four members of Congress who represent Philadelphia gathered at a Tioga playground Wednesday — the same playground where a 15-year-old girl was shot and killed over the summer.”

‘Lawmaker cheers OSHA’s withdrawal of vaccine mandate’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “a decision by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to withdraw the vaccine mandate for many private employers drew plaudits from a local lawmaker and vocal critic of the plan.”

‘Langerholc autonomous vehicle bill clears Transportation committee’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “the Pennsylvania Senate’s transportation committee is advancing a bill by state Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-Richland, that would give a green light to enable research institutions and many companies to test and deploy Highly Automated Vehicles.”

‘Schmitt to seek third term’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “state Rep. Lou Schmitt, R-Altoona, has announced his intention to seek a third term representing the 79th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.”

‘Blair eyes gun-rights sanctuary language’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “Blair County commissioners are asking for more public comment and recommended language that will make Blair County a Second Amendment gun-rights sanctuary through an intergovernmental cooperative agreement.”

‘City learns needs for referendum’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “City Council this week learned how it will need to comply with a Second Amendment sanctuary referendum approved by Altoona voters in November.”

‘A Q&A with Rabbi Michael Pollack’: Rabbi Michael Pollack talks to City & State PA for a Q&A.

‘In federal court, plaintiffs say US Steel fire, pollution control outage was a ‘complete failure’’: StateImpactPA reports that “attorneys for plaintiffs in a federal air pollution case against US Steel said the three-month loss of pollution controls at the company’s Clairton Coke Works after a 2018 fire was a ‘complete failure’ by the company to follow clean air laws, and argued the company should be charged with over 12,000 violations.”

‘Pittsburgh-Wilkinsburg match-up likely a break-up; but they’ll still be talking’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “anticipating that a vote in the coming weeks to annex Wilkinsburg into the city will fail, leaders on Pittsburgh’s City Council say they’re taking steps to ensure that the conversation doesn’t stop there.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council Hikes Pay By $16,000; City Controller Raises Concerns About Transparency’: KDKA reports that “in late December, Pittsburgh City Council members voted to give themselves a $16,000 pay raise in a move the city controller is calling wrong.”

‘Matt Tuerk gave his first State of the City address as Allentown mayor. Here’s what he had to say.’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “in his first State of the City address as Allentown mayor, Matt Tuerk conveyed optimism and ambition for the city’s future, despite its challenges.”

‘Near-unanimous criticism of proposed Council district maps at public hearing’: KYW Newsradio reports that “voters were sharply critical of the new map that Philadelphia City Council is considering for its district seats.

‘Pittsburgh Councilman Burgess: Stats show decade of warrantless stops by police vastly conducted on Black Pittsburghers’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess told his fellow council members on Wednesday that he thinks mandating police officers to indicate why they’re stopping a pedestrian without a warrant may have a “chilling effect on unnecessary stops.””

‘Around The Table: Politics 2022’: KDKA reports that their “experts discuss rising tension in the Governor and Senate races and the congressional redistricting debate on this edition of “Around The Table” moderated by Stacy Smith.”

‘Penn alumni donate $5M to establish professorship honoring outgoing President Amy Gutmann’: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that “University of Pennsylvania alumni James S. and Gail Petty Riepe donated $5 million to the university to establish a professorship honoring outgoing President Amy Gutmann.”

‘Lackawanna County DA finds no voter fraud in drop box case’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “an investigation found no reason to file a criminal charge against a man who dropped off multiple voter ballots at a downtown drop box last May, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell said.” 

‘Here are the 11 men and 2 women who applied to be Lancaster County’s next county commissioner’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “thirteen Lancaster County residents – 11 men and two women – submitted applications to fill the board of commissioners seat vacated earlier this month by Democrat Craig Lehman.”

‘A refugee activist, an orthopedic surgeon and a record store owner: Here are the 18 applicants to be Lancaster city’s next council member’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “a refugee activist, an orthopedic surgeon, a record store owner and a long-time director of public works are among the 18 applicants to fill an open seat on Lancaster city council.”

‘Here are the 11 applicants to fill the open seat on Bethlehem City Council’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “When J. William Reynolds won the mayoral election this past November, his former City Council seat opened up. On Feb. 1, his former colleagues will vote on his replacement.”

‘Receiver questions feasibility of publicly owned water system for Chester’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “the city Receiver’s Office questioned the feasibility of keeping the Chester Water Authority in public hands as CWA officials questioned the motives of the Receiver.”

‘Greene DA, county commissioners at odds over victim services position’: The Observer-Reporter reports that “the Greene County commissioners and district attorney are at odds about how a victims services position will be filled and by whom.”

‘New mayor of Monessen has vision for city’: The Observer-Reporter reports that “there are two words new Monessen Mayor Ron Moser uses to best describe his vision for the city – prosperity and equality.”

‘Pittsburgh Civil Rights Icon Alma Speed Fox Dies’: KDKA reports that “Alma Speed Fox, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement in Pittsburgh, has died at the age of 98.”

‘Olyphant mayor, longtime fire company member dies’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “a dedicated mayor of Olyphant, parishioner and fire company member, John Sedlak Jr. died Tuesday, officials said.”

Ryan Bizzarro and Pam Snyder: Protect the Pennsylvania Constitution
Rich Fitzgerald and Farnam Jahanian: Autonomous vehicle testing bill essential to regional economy
Dr. James Hanak: School choice must remain everyone’s choice
John L. Micek: With abortion amendment, Pa. GOP has given up on legislating | Wednesday Morning Coffee
Paul Muschick: How one Pennsylvania town reversed course and took away LGBTQ protections 
Alan Jennings: Why it’s time to release former Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski
Andrew R. Campanella: What Pennsylvania families should make their No. 1 goal for the next school year 
Joyce M. Davis: Doctors offer some tips for safe travel during COVID-19 | Social View
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Lancaster County GOP should not align itself with the disinformation-spreading FreePA
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Penn Hills blaze shows need for fire safety review
Josh Kruger: How Reliable Are The City’s Vaccine Statistics? 
Apratim Vidyarthi and Keith E. Whittington: Debate: Should Penn revoke tenure of controversial law professor Amy Wax for racist comments? | Pro/Con
Julie F. Kay and Kathryn Kolbert: There is no compromise on abortion 
Zachary Wright: Penn’s investments in Lea Elementary School are not enough to solve Philadelphia’s education problems 
Lloyd E. Sheaffer: Get real, Republicans. Americans elected you to work, not obstruct

  • 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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