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January 3rd Playbook

Gov. Tom Wolf named Leigh Chapman to be the new Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth. Here is the Playbook. 


‘Wolf taps a new election secretary for last year in office’: The Associated Press reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday said that he will have a new top election official as he enters his last year in office, naming Leigh Chapman to replace Veronica Degraffenreid atop the Department of State.”

‘Children coming from border get attention in governor’s race’: The Associated Press reports that “Lou Barletta, an illegal-immigration hawk and former congressman running for governor, said Wednesday he would take a harder line against the federal government’s yearslong practice of bringing unaccompanied minors found by the Border Patrol to various facilities in Pennsylvania and other states.”

‘Bid to help Latinos win more seats misses mark, critics say’: The Associated Press reports that “an effort to reflect the rapid growth of Pennsylvania’s Hispanic population in newly drawn districts for the state’s predominantly white state Legislature is drawing criticism that it didn’t exactly accomplish that mission.”

‘Mastriano lashes out at Breitbart after it questions use of senate campaign committee for possible gubernatorial run’: PennLive reports that “a conservative media outlet is questioning whether Sen. Doug Mastriano ran afoul of campaign finance laws by using his senate campaign committee to promote his possible candidacy for governor.”

‘Court is adjourned: Pa. Justice Tom Saylor reflects on 28-year judicial career, leaves with no regrets’: PennLive reports that “Saylor, who served as chief justice from 2015 until he voluntarily relinquished the role in April, turned 75 earlier in December, which is the mandatory retirement age for judges.”

‘Shelf life of milk, protecting seniors, attracting nurses aides: 15 laws from 2021 that could affect your life’: PennLive reports that “from protecting organ donors and grandma’s life savings to letting little Lulu operate a lemonade stand without a business permit, these were among the laws enacted in Pennsylvania in 2021, most of which have already taken effect.”

‘Hearings set on preliminary state House and Senate district maps’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvanians will have six opportunities over the next two weeks to voice their opinion about preliminary Pennsylvania House and Senate district maps.”

‘Gift ban advocates call Benninghoff the latest holdup; House GOP says it’s a ‘work in progress’’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “Santa and his helpers, organizers with March on Harrisburg, weren’t asking or figgy pudding; they were asking the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a gift ban.”

‘Capital-Star Q+A: GOP gubernatorial hopeful Guy Ciarrocchi says he can jumpstart Pa.’s economy’: Guy Ciarrocchi, who is running for the GOP nomination for Governor, talked with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star for a Q&A about his campaign. 

‘Pa. lawmakers reintroduce legislation for eating disorder awareness, resources in schools’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “it’s been seven years since Emily Rosenberg, a Pennsylvania native, spoke about her struggle with an eating disorder during a Capitol press conference, advocating for bipartisan legislation to raise awareness and help with early identification in school-aged children. And her efforts to promote a bill that would require schools to provide annual education to parents with kids in 6th through 12th grades about eating disorders and resources to help overcome them haven’t stopped.”

‘Mark Nordenberg on drawing Pennsylvania’s new legislative maps, GOP attacks, and what comes next’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “the longtime former University of Pittsburgh chancellor chairs the state’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission. We talked to him about redistricting.”

‘No Trump. No Wolf. No Toomey. Both parties can redefine themselves in Pennsylvania in 2022.’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Pennsylvania’s wide open races for Senate and governor could set the direction for both parties after the Trump presidency, and may offer clues about winning a critical battleground in 2024.”

‘The Great MAGA-Adjacent Hope?’: Puck reports that “David McCormick is the G.O.P.’s fantasy candidate of a perhaps bygone, bipartisan, pre-Q era: a swashbuckling former military hero with credentials from Princeton, McKinsey, and Bridgewater. But can he placate the Trumpists in Pennsylvania? If he does, he’ll quickly become one of the most important figures in the national party.”

‘Lancaster city Councilwoman, former state Senate candidate Janet Diaz to announce she’s running for new 50th House District seat’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster city Councilwoman Janet Diaz will announce next week she is running to represent the southern part of Lancaster city and all of Lancaster Township in the state House of Representatives.”

‘Top Stories of 2021: How Pa. election misinformation helped inspire an insurrection, investigations and policies’: WITF reports that “Pennsylvania’s Republican-led legislature put the state’s election system front and center in 2021, a year that was kicked off with an attack on the U.S. Capitol by people supporting former President Donald Trump.

‘Wolf slams draft congressional map, calling process ‘disgraceful’’: City & State PA reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf has offered his first public thoughts about a new draft map of the state’s congressional districts, raising concerns about the preliminary map and calling the process used to draft the plan “disgraceful.””

‘Lamb says, ‘freedoms are under attack’ in first Senate campaign ad’: City & State PA reports that “Pennsylvanians could be seeing a lot more of U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in the very near future. The Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful is launching the first ad of his U.S. Senate campaign, which looks to cast the incumbent congressman as a Democrat uniquely-suited to win in Pennsylvania.”

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

‘‘Magic’ Weight-Loss Pills and Covid Cures: Dr. Oz Under the Microscope’: The New York Times reports that “the celebrity physician, a candidate in Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for Senate, has a long history of dispensing dubious medical advice on his daytime show and on Fox News.”

‘Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge gives first on-camera interview since suffering stroke’: WGAL talks with former Gov. Tom Ridge in an exclusive interview as “he shared his journey following a health scare over the summer.”

‘Court rules pot smell alone can’t justify warrantless search’: The Associated Press reports that “the smell of marijuana can be a factor police use to justify a search without a warrant but can’t be the sole basis for it, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.” 

‘Racial reckoning turns focus to roadside historical markers’: The Associated Press reports that “Pennsylvania had been installing historical markers for more than a century when the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 brought a fresh round of questions from the public about just whose stories were being told on the state’s roadsides — and the language used to tell them.”

‘Pennsylvanians’ access to state government information grew in 2021, but only marginally’: The Caucus reports that “Pennsylvania citizens won more access to government records and meetings this year in what legal experts describe as modest improvements to transparency.”

‘Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf: Migrant flights only ‘passed through’ Scranton ‘en route to their final destination’’: Fox News reports that “Pennsylvania’s governor says politicians inquiring about migrant “ghost flights” are getting the facts wrong.”

‘Study: Flood risk rising across Pennsylvania as climate changes’: StateImpactPA reports that “most communities across Pennsylvania will likely face higher flood risks by the end of the century due to climate change, according to research from Penn State.” 

‘Wolf Administration says it wants to improve environmental justice policy’: StateImpactPA reports that “Pennsylvania’s environmental regulator wants to be a better resource for disadvantaged communities with a historically high pollution burden.”

‘Oprah Winfrey offers first comment on Dr. Oz Senate run’: The Hill reports that “Oprah Winfrey is offering her first comments on the GOP Pennsylvania Senate bid from Mehmet Oz, a frequent guest on her former daytime television talk show.”

‘The 10 races that will decide the Senate majority’: The Hill reports that “with President Biden’s narrow victory in the state last year and the coming retirement of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Pennsylvania may well offer Democrats their best chance to pick up a new Senate seat in 2022.”

‘Philly’s new vaccine mandate starts today. Here’s what you need for indoor dining and more’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “starting Monday, a new citywide mandate will require customers at indoor restaurants and bars, sports venues, movie theaters, and other locales to show proof of vaccination. For a short period of time — Jan. 3 to Jan. 17 — the venues can also accept proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a lab within the previous 24 hours.”

‘Councilmember Derek Green hopes to create a public bank for Philadelphia. Here’s how it could work.’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “state law prevents Philadelphia from directly establishing a public bank. But Green is proposing a workaround that involves Council this year creating a new Philadelphia Public Finance Authority.”

‘The FDA updated abortion pill guidelines. What it means for Philly and Pa.’: The Hill reports that “the FDA’s recent update allowing mail-order abortion pills could go a long way toward making abortions more accessible in Pennsylvania. It could also eventually make them less costly.”

‘18 months later, the Columbus statue is still standing in Marconi Plaza, inside a box’: Billy Penn reports that “as 2021 comes to a close, the statue of Christopher Columbus remains standing in Marconi Plaza. And as it has for the past year and a half, it remains entirely enclosed in a wooden box.”

‘A carbon pledge, a bag ban, a tree plan: Philly’s year in environmental news and what’s next’: WHYY reports that “in Philadelphia, 2021 was a big year for environmental news.”

‘Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney grades his performance in a year of multi-layered crises’: KYW Newsradio reports that “in 2021, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney faced a pandemic, a gun violence epidemic, battles over the 2020 election results, worker shortages and more. He takes a look back at how he handled one of the toughest years in the city’s history.”

‘2021 was Philadelphia’s deadliest year on record for homicides’: KYW Newsradio reports that “this past year, 562 people in Philadelphia were killed at the hands of another, making 2021 officially the deadliest year for homicides on record in the city.

‘Rosica Named Executive of Back To School PA’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “Back to School PA is pleased to announce that Beth Ann Rosica is the new Executive Director, effective December 1, 2021.  Rosica served as the Chief Strategy Officer since the PAC’s inception in July 2021.”

‘Ed Gainey’s mayoral inauguration to be online-only’: WESA reports that “Pittsburgh mayor-to-be Ed Gainey’s swearing-in ceremony next week will be conducted virtually, a concession to the tenacious coronavirus which already has cast a shadow over local governance for nearly two years. Gainey’s team announced Tuesday that the Jan.3 event and a prayer service the day before will be viewable by the public online “in accordance with guidance from public health officials.””

‘City council passes bill to bar minor traffic stops, while activists urge it to pump brakes’: WESA reports that “Pittsburgh City Council has passed a law to bar police from pulling drivers over for minor offenses like a lapsed inspection, obstructed window view, or a broken tail light. But during a public comment period prior to the Tuesday vote, some police accountability advocates urged a delay.”

‘In final hours of his term, Peduto wins a round in legal fight against an old foe’: WESA reports that “with days left in his tenure as mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto has won another round in a long-running court fight with former foe Darlene Harris, thanks to a Commonwealth Court ruling that upheld a campaign-finance law Peduto championed.”

‘Pittsburgh’s public safety director announces departure’: WESA reports that “Wendell Hissrich, the city of Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director since January 2016, is leaving city government — a move he announced days before a new administration is sworn in.”

‘Greene commissioners present ‘2021 State of the County’ address’: The Observer-Reporter reports that “the Greene County commissioners recently released their “2021 State of the County” address that provides updates of various local government progress and initiatives, as well as the challenges that lie ahead for area officials and residents.”

‘Blair passes budget without tax hike’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “the Blair County commissioners, meeting on Tuesday, unanimously approved the 2022 budget, listing expenditures of more than $58 million but maintaining real estate taxes at 4.097 mills — the same as this year.”

‘Donahue to lead next Scranton City Council, McAndrew to serve as VP’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Kyle Donahue will lead a new-look Scranton City Council when the five-member body reorganizes Monday.”

‘Concealed carry permits remain in high demand in Lackawanna County’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “the Lackawanna County sheriff’s office issued at least 6,673 concealed carry permits in 2021, by far the most in a single year in at least the past decade.”

‘Salavantis and Toohil to be sworn in as Luzerne County judges Wednesday’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Stefanie Salavantis and Tarah Toohil will be sworn in as Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judges in the county courthouse rotunda Wednesday afternoon.”

‘Sanguedolce takes oath as elected district attorney’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “at the same podium and same location in the Luzerne County Courthouse rotunda, Sam Sanguedolce for the second time this year took the oath of office as district attorney.”

‘Meuser: HHS discussed flights of ‘traumatized’ minors to AVP’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “following a conference call Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to discuss the recent flights to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser said the agency verified that it had organized flights transporting unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants.”

‘Wolf’s year-in-review: Progress on education, health care, jobs, more’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “in 2022, Gov. Tom Wolf said he will continue to fight to invest in education, prevent gun violence, raise the minimum wage, improve health care quality while reducing costs and more — all aimed at improving the lives of all Pennsylvanians.”

‘Cartwright highlights funding for abandoned mine land reclamation’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright Wednesday said Pennsylvania has more unreclaimed abandoned mine land acreage than any other state in the country and represents 40.7% of the country’s reclamation costs. Cartwright, D-Moosic, said funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will support the reclamation of AML sites in Pennsylvania with nearly $3.8 billion coming directly to the Commonwealth.”

‘Tuzinski won’t serve 3rd term as Forty Fort mayor’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Borough mayor Andy Tuzinski has announced that he will decline a third term in the mayor’s office, a term that he won in November, citing a new opportunity within his job as one of his reasons for stepping away.”

‘Lebanon County Commissioner William Ames dies at 81 of COVID-19 complications’: PennLive reports that “Lebanon County Commissioner William Ames, described by friends and colleagues as a good solid citizen and strong advocate for the county, died on Tuesday morning at Good Samaritan Hospital.”

‘Lebanon County commissioner who died from COVID-19 remembered as businessman, teacher, community servant’: PennLive reports that “Lebanon County Commissioner William “Bill” Ames will be remembered by many for his 10 years of service as a devoted county elected official and three decades as a teacher but for some, it was his candor that they treasured most.”

‘5 Questions: Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott reflects on service as his term draws to a close’: The Carlisle Sentinel reports that they “gave outgoing Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott a chance to reflect on his tenure.”

‘Two Lancaster County judges retiring, leaving vacancies likely to go unfilled till next election’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “two Lancaster County judges are retiring, which will leave two vacancies on the 15-member bench — probably until the next election in two years, if the past is an indicator.”

‘Following Craig Lehman’s resignation, Lancaster County accepting applications for next county Democratic commissioner’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas is accepting applications to fill the county commissioner seat being vacated next week by Craig Lehman.”

‘As the push for full legal protection continues, Pennsylvania finds itself in the middle of the pack nationally in LGBTQ acceptance, protection’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “the state ranks 24th out of 50 states for legal protection of the LGBTQ community and public support of LGBTQ rights in a new study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.” 

‘After a combined 42 years, two longtime Lehigh Valley supervisors leave office Monday. Voters said ‘enough.’’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Palmer Township is losing 40% of its supervisors with a combined more than 40 years worth of experience. Locally elected officials come and go, and change is inevitable, but the question for Palmer is: What happened?” 

‘These Allentown projects will reshape the city in 2022, including the Lehigh riverfront’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “the city of Allentown has a number of redevelopment projects in the works for 2022, including on the Lehigh riverfront and in downtown.”

‘Should lawmakers end automatic pay raises for themselves?’: The Reading Eagle reports that “the annual cost-of-living adjustments have long been a topic of discussion around Harrisburg, with critics claiming they are unfair.”

‘Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls rise by five percent’: WFMZ reports that “tolls are increasing for drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike this year by five percent.” 

‘Republican candidate for Pa. governor alleges airline carrying illegal immigrants was secretly flown into LVIA’: WFMZ reports that “a news release from Former Congressman Lou Barletta’s campaign says a World Atlantic Airlines flight with illegal immigrants was sent by the Biden Administration to Lehigh Valley International Airport on Thursday in “the hope that no one would notice.””

‘Matt Tuerk chats with 69 News Sunrise team ahead of first day as Allentown Mayor’: WFMZ reports that “Matt Tuerk joined the 69 News Sunrise team over zoom on Saturday to talk about his plan once he becomes the new Allentown Mayor.”

‘Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper reflects on her eight years of leadership’: WJET reports that “as Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper’s second term comes to a close, JET 24 Action News sat down with Dahlkemper to discuss her eight years of leadership.”

‘Jeff Guaracino, CEO of Visit Philadelphia, dies of cancer at 48’: KYW Newsradio reports that “Jeff Guaracino, the CEO of Visit Philadelphia and a longtime champion of the city’s image and economic growth, died on Tuesday at his Philadelphia home. His Facebook page indicated cancer as the cause of death. He was 48.”

‘FEMA to help Pennsylvania hospitals with COVID surge’: The Associated Press reports that “Pennsylvania hospitals overwhelmed with the latest COVID-19 surge will get help from federal teams as Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration finalizes the details, Wolf’s office said Tuesday.”

John Baer: In 2022, Pa. faces a tornado of politics, including a trip to the Land of Oz
Mike Regan: Pennsylvania, leave the dark ages of prohibition and privatize sales of wines and spirits 
Madeleine Dean: I had hoped the tragedy of Jan. 6 would bring us together. I was wrong. 
Dwight Evans: Attacks on our democracy didn’t end Jan. 6. We must protect the vote 
Mark S. Singel: Jan. 6 is an ugly day in American history
Dan Meuser: An open letter to President Joe Biden
Earl Baker: Major modifications to the Mariner East 2 pipeline will reap major rewards
Becky Corbin: Energy taxes will hurt consumers and American competitiveness
Nancy Murray: Moms of disabled children have some questions for Gov. Tom Wolf 
Wendy Ross and Jonathan Gleason: People with intellectual disabilities deserve access to COVID-19 care
William Reynolds: City’s legacy of progress and promise will continue
Mike Butler: Please don’t count American oil and gas production out 
Dan Nephin: Exploring what happened Jan. 6 is hard when, locally, most aren’t talking about it
Kyle Sammin: For Republicans, ‘law and order’ must be more than a slogan 
Salena Zito: Middle of somewhere: Small town is a feeling in the Strip District
Rebecca Arden Harris, Shoshana Aronowitz, Rachel French, and David S. Mandell: It’s time for Pa. to stop allowing overdose deaths to be treated like homicides 
Mike Kirlin: I’m a Navy vet from Pa. This is what the Jan. 6 anniversary means to me 
Layy Platt: Krasner, Revealed 
PennLive Editorial Board: Gov. Wolf and the legislature must raise wages now for home workers caring for people with disabilities 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: State government transparency: 2021’s good news and ongoing frustrations  
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Lawmakers must address Pennsylvania’s still-subpar unemployment compensation system
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Trial testimony sheds more light on need for equitable funding of Pennsylvania schools 
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Some help in understanding the omicron variant, when COVID-19 seems more confusing than ever 
Inquirer Editorial Board: A chance for Pennsylvanians to speak up for fair redistricting maps 
Inquirer Editorial Board: After a failed insurrection and amid an ongoing plague, a fight for democracy’s future 
Lawrence Slade: Infrastructure projects in Pa. need more private sector collaborations 
Timothy R. Rice: A reentry program launched in federal court shows promise as a way to reduce recidivism 
Joyce M. Davis: A hospital chaplain captures the trauma of COVID-19 in his “Pandemic Diary” | Social Views
Scott Shepler: Capital Region Water is doing its part 
Charles D. Allen: As we head into 2022, let’s renew our oaths to each other and the nation 
Yuan He: In Philly, most families pay more than $10,000 per year for infant child care. This has to change.
Jonathan Zimmerman: We need to be able to talk about trans athletes without shouting each other down
Linn Washington Jr.: Lost in the critical race theory debate: the enduring value of a free press
Paul A. Offit and Michael J. Stephen: Debate: Should COVID-19 vaccine mandates include a booster shot? | Pro/Con
Angela McIver: As the year draws to a close, a call to extend a federal lifeline for small businesses 
Michael Zhang: For Asian American students, new magnet school admissions plan creates roadblocks 
Shawn Hogan and Khalil Manns: If you know the Democratic Party, you shouldn’t be surprised that Build Back Better seems doomed 
Janet White: It’s long past time to ban horse-drawn carriages in Philadelphia

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  • 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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