March 17th Playbook

President Joe Biden visited Delaware County on Tuesday, while state Rep. Jeff Pyle announced his retirement. Here is the Playbook. 

Pyle Retires Today Citing Health Issues: State Rep. Jeff Pyle announced that he is retiring from office effective March 16 due to health issues.

Corman and Cutler Named to RLCC Executive Committee: House Speaker Bryan Cutler will serve as the Finance Chair on the Executive Committee of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, while Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman will serve as one of the three Energy Chairs.

Biden Promotes COVID-19 Relief Package in Delco: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that President Joe Biden visited Chester Township in Delaware County on Tuesday to tout the benefits of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.  

Wolf Nominates Suzanne Estrella to Serve as Victim Advocate: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that Gov. Tom Wolf nominated Suzanne Estrella, an attorney, to serve as Pennsylvania’s Victim Advocate for the Office of Victim Advocate. 

Four Legislative Leaders Named to Reapportionment Commission: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre), Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia), and Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) have been appointed to serve on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, while one more member still has to be appointed. 

PA Capitol Building To Reopen on March 22: The Pennsylvania Capitol building will reopen to the public on Monday, March 22, with enhanced security protocols in place, according to PennLive. 

Jozwiak’s Bill To Bring Back Vehicle Registration Stickers Passes Committee: The Reading Eagle reports that state Rep. Barry Jozwiak’s (R-Berks) proposed legislation to require PennDOT to bring back vehicle registration stickers passed the House Transportation Committee by a 16-9 vote on Tuesday.  

Gerlach Releases ‘Economic Justice’ Plan: Allentown City Councilmember Ce-Ce Gerlach, who is seeking the Democratic Party nomination for mayor of Allentown, unveiled her “economic justice” plan on Tuesday, according to the Allentown Morning Call.   

Jones Drops Out of Allentown Mayoral Race: The Allentown Morning Call reports that Stevie Jones, a machine operator for Keystone Food Products in Easton, announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy for Allentown Mayor, the Allentown Morning Call reports. Four candidates remain in the Democratic primary: Mayor Ray O’Connell, City Councilmembers Ce-Ce Gerlach and Julio Guridy, and former economic development official Matt Tuerk, while Tim Ramos remains as the lone Republican candidate for the office. 

Fitzgerald Vetoes Allegheny County Council Paid Sick Days Bill: WESA reports that Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald vetoed a paid sick leave bill that was passed by Allegheny County Council last week. Fitzgerald cited legal concerns as the reason for the veto. 

Westmoreland County To Become a ‘Second Amendment County’: The Tribune Review reports that Westmoreland County commissioners will approve a resolution this week that will declare Westmoreland County a “Second Amendment County.” 

Harrisburg & DC   
AP: In Pennsylvania, Biden showcases aid to small businesses
AP: Pennsylvania Capitol building reopening to the public
AP: FBI says Pennsylvania woman filmed inside Capitol on Jan. 6
AP: Shell: Pennsylvania ethane plant completion expected in 2022
AP: Play Ball! Little League World Series eyes possible return
WHYY Newsworks: Biden highlights Black-owned businesses during first official trip to Philly area as president
Spotlight PA: Two Pa. prisons have vaccinated more than 70% of inmates. An incentive program may be making a difference.
Inquirer: Biden says ‘help is on the way’ as he kicks off campaign to sell the $1.9 trillion stimulus outside Philly
Patriot News: Veteran Pa. legislator announces plans to retire, effective today
Patriot News: Pa. Capitol to reopen to the public on March 22
Patriot News: Retired veterinarian wins Democrats’ blessing to seek open Senate seat 
Patriot News: Pa. says 162 COVID-19-related nursing home investigations took place in February
Patriot News: Gov. Wolf taps attorney Suzanne Estrella to head Pa. Victim Advocate office
Patriot News: Radar speeding enforcement for local police gets blessing of House Transportation committee
Patriot News: COVID-19 update: Pa. reports 65 more deaths
York Daily Record: I’m vaccinated. Can I start traveling? Here’s what the COVID-19 shot means for Pennsylvanians
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Four of Pennsylvania’s legislative redistricting commissioners are confirmed. The fifth will decide who wins and loses 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. Rep. Jeff Pyle, citing health issues, announces immediate retirement 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Wolf nominates veteran attorney Suzanne Estrella to run Office of Victim Advocate 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. Capitol to reopen to the public on Monday 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: ‘More help is on the way’: In the Philly ‘burbs, Biden touts benefits of $1.9T COVID relief bill 
Morning Call: Three years into drug ‘disaster’ declaration, Pennsylvania’s 5,144 overdose deaths are third-highest total in nation
Post-Gazette: At hearing on housing, Toomey and Democrats spar over reforms to boost affordability
Post-Gazette: GOP state Rep. Jeff Pyle, citing health reasons, retires
WITF: Groups Call For Enactment Of State And Federal ‘Moral Agenda’
PLSReporter: Wolf nominates Suzanne Estrella for Victim Advocate 
PLSReporter: National Democratic group labels General Assembly as competitive ‘battleground’ in 2022 
PLSReporter: Pyle to retire after 16 years in House 
PLSReporter: House passes bill criminalizing spitting on law enforcement 
PLSReporter: Committees advance emergency proposal to create retroactive legal window for sexual abuse survivors 
PLSReporter: Capitol Building to reopen March 22
National Journal: AGAINST THE GRAIN: Senate Democrats steer clear of anointing primary favorites
The Hill: Pennsylvania lieutenant governor explains numbers tattooed on his arms
The Hill: Biden commences publicity blitz for relief bill
The Hill: Democratic super PAC launches six-figure ad buy, kicking off $100 million midterm push
The Hill: EPA finalizes rule aimed at reducing smog pollution across state lines 
Pocono Record: More vaccines to go to fewer PA providers
USA Today: Pa. state Capitol building is reopening to the public. Here’s when
Politico: Warnock win unleashes flood of Black candidates
KDKA: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Gives Remarks Leading Up To President Joe Biden’s Visit To Pennsylvania
KDKA: Pa. House Passes ‘Markie’s Law,’ A Bill Intended To Keep Violent Inmates In Prison Longer 
KDKA: Pa. Dept. Of Health: State Won’t Move Into Phase 1B Of Vaccine Plan Until All Of 1A Is Scheduled

Inquirer: Philly says ‘desperately needed’ stimulus funding will help avert painful budget cuts 
Inquirer: City offers $87K settlement to West Philly family teargassed by police during last year’s civil unrest
Inquirer: Bracing for Philly’s 17.6% water rate increase? Here’s how to be heard in the online public meetings.
Billy Penn: Meet the North Philly-raised Marine veteran who forced the city’s hand on gun violence
Philadelphia Magazine: City Map Shows Inequalities In COVID Vaccinations in Philadelphia
KYW Newsradio: As Philly’s COVID-19 infection rate ticks up again, more vaccine options open
KYW Newsradio: Pa. health officials promise to tackle COVID-19 disparities — but racial, ethnic data unreliable
Philly Voice: Philly residents can voice concerns over proposed water rate hike via online hearings this week
Philadelphia Business Journal: Philadelphia expects $1.4B in federal aid, estimates 1M residents will get stimulus checks 
Philadelphia Business Journal: Philadelphia health chief warns Pennsylvania may be reopening too quickly
WHYY Newsworks: Pa. coronavirus update: Large outdoor events on horizon in Philly

Delco Daily Times: Biden makes second Delco stop in Darby
Delco Daily Times: From the archives: LBJ to Bush, Delaware County has hosted sitting presidents
Inquirer: Biden says ‘help is on the way’ as he kicks off campaign to sell the $1.9 trillion stimulus outside Philly
Inquirer: The Philly suburbs will get a regional vaccine clinic, the Wolf administration says, but it’s unclear how many people it can vaccinate
WHYY Newsworks: Biden highlights Black-owned businesses during first official trip to Philly area as president
KYW Newsradio: Chester residents gather as Biden touts small business aid
KYW Newsradio: Wolf assures vaccine appointments will be scheduled within a ‘reasonable period of time’
Bucks County Courier Times: Why Bucks DA thinks Doylestown’s proposed marijuana penalty law is a bad idea
Bucks County Courier Times: Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick honors Lower Bucks Hospital worker
Montgomery Media: Montgomery County records 148 coronavirus cases, two deaths in daily report

Post-Gazette: Allegheny County Executive Fitzgerald vetoes paid sick leave bill passed by council
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh represented at international forum against anti-Semitism
Post-Gazette: Within Black community, trust in public health was needed to overcome vaccination apprehension
Post-Gazette: COVID-19 Update: State reports 3,000 new cases
WESA: Allegheny County Executive Defends Decision To Veto Paid Sick Days Bill 
WESA: McKees Rocks Sues ALCOSAN As Concern Grows Over Tunnel Plan 
Tribune Review: Fitzgerald vetoes Allegheny County paid sick leave bill 
Tribune Review: Allegheny County’s covid hospitalization number drops to October level
City Paper: Allegheny County Exec Rich Fitzgerald vetoes paid sick leave bill citing legal concerns 
KDKA: Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald Vetoes Paid Sick Days Act
KDKA: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Reports 306 More Coronavirus Cases, No Additional Deaths
Pittsburgh Business Times: Fitzgerald vetoes County Council’s paid sick leave bill

Tribune Review: State Rep. Jeff Pyle retires for health reasons, says hardest part is ‘I didn’t think I was done yet’
Tribune Review: Commissioners to declare Westmoreland a ‘Second Amendment County’ in favor of gun rights 
Beaver County Times: Beaver County saw its worst COVID spike in fall
Observer-Reporter: Stimulus adds wrinkle to some IRS tax filings
Observer-Reporter: Gov. Wolf to ease COVID-19 restrictions on bars, restaurants and crowd limits
KDKA: Shell Says Beaver County Cracker Plant Expected To Be Completed In 2022
Pittsburgh Business Times: Here’s when Shell’s long-anticipated cracker plant in Beaver County will be operational
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Uptick shown in COVID-19 cases
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: ‘Dynamic process’: State, Cambria leaders see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as availability of vaccines increases
Altoona Mirror: Wolf easing restrictions in April
Altoona Mirror: Lawmakers push bill to allow lawsuits
Altoona Mirror: Miller announces run for Altoona board
Altoona Mirror: Blair, AMED to ink deal for clinic

Times-Tribune: Lt. Gov. Fetterman sets election date to replace Sen. Blake 
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County sues Scranton to recoup $208,000 in fees paid for government center renovation 
Citizens Voice: Luzerne visitors bureau objects to bridge-tolling plan 
Citizens Voice: FBI: Swoyersville woman filmed inside Capitol on Jan. 6 
Citizens Voice: 53 new COVID-19 cases reported in county on Tuesday
The Times Leader: Automated fingerprint ID system coming to Luzerne County 
The Times Leader: Swoyersville woman charged in connection with Capitol insurrection 
The Times Leader: 53 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Luzerne County Tuesday; 4 more deaths

South Central 
LNP | LancasterOnline: Here’s how much stimulus money Lancaster County municipalities will receive 
LNP | LancasterOnline: Development, county health department underscore Manheim Twp. parties’ focus ahead of May election 
LNP | LancasterOnline: Lancaster County’s mass vaccination site inoculates 6,100 people in first week  
Patriot News: Tolling I-83 South Bridge could wind up saving people time and money: PennDOT official
Patriot News: Pa. Capitol to reopen to the public on March 22
Patriot News: Who’s running in Perry County? The list of 2021 primary election candidates
Patriot News: DJ Kathy Silcox announces bid for Cumberland County judgeship
York Dispatch: After spat with supervisors, Newberry Twp. tax collector won’t seek reelection 
York Dispatch: York County has one new death linked to COVID-19
Carlisle Sentinel: DOH: 44 cases of COVID-19 for Cumberland County Tuesday 

Lehigh Valley      
Express Times: Despite COVID-19, 2020 was a year of economic resilience for the Lehigh Valley, report says
Express Times: Lawmaker wants Pa. to bring back license plate registration stickers
Express Times: Former Days Inn lot in Easton close to being sold to developer with big plans, mayor says
Express Times: COVID in Pa.: 3K new cases, 65 deaths; more vaccine clinics at Dorney Park, Pocono Raceway, LGBTQ center; when will Phase 1B start? | Pa. COVID vaccine updates (3/16/21)
Morning Call: Allentown mayoral race: Ce-Ce Gerlach unveils sweeping ‘economic justice’ platform
Morning Call: Allentown mayoral race: Democratic candidate Stevie Jones drops out
Morning Call: Three years into drug ‘disaster’ declaration, Pennsylvania’s 5,144 overdose deaths are third-highest total in nation
Morning Call: Berks lawmaker wants to bring back vehicle registration stickers for Pennsylvania license plates
Reading Eagle: Berks lawmaker’s bill to bring back vehicle registration stickers passes state committee
Reading Eagle: President Biden visits Pa. to tout American Rescue Plan, which could give big boost to Berks
Reading Eagle: Reading looks to update its land development ordinance
Reading Eagle: Completed COVID vaccinations pass 35,000 in Berks County
WFMZ: Berks COVID-19 task force issues report on pandemic response 
WFMZ: Bethlehem City Council makes push to fix ‘food desert’ after Ahart’s Market announces it will close
WFMZ: Lehigh Valley had two economies in pandemic year, LVEDC chief executive says
WFMZ: Emmaus to receive $1.13M in federal stimulus funding

North by Northwest
Centre Daily Times: New committee will be next step in addressing shortfalls in Centre County’s mental health system
Centre Daily Times: March 16 update: Centre County reports 64 COVID-19 cases, highest daily total in 3 weeks
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Restaurants, bars to see some pandemic limits lift in April
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Controller, RVT director comment on state’s query

Wayne D. Fontana: The history and future of mail-in voting and secure elections
Joe Sestak: Realistic diplomacy in Iran
The African American Charter School Coalition and Philadelphia Charters for Excellence: Charter schools are public schools. Why doesn’t Wolf’s budget treat them that way? 
Andy Meehan: Bucks GOP a (dysfunctional) family
Mark Pinsley: How forestry can revitalize Pennsylvania’s rural communities
Paul Muschick: Easing COVID restrictions: Why Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf’s plan makes sense
Stephen Forzato: Dr. Rachel Levine will have a positive impact as Assistant Secretary for Health
Maria Panaritis: Joe Biden came to Chester, and Chester came to see Uncle Joe  
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: City Council left out the landlords
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Gig worker or employee?
Jill McCorkel: Inmate Mental Health: The other public  health crisis in Pa.’s prisons and jails
George Dalembert: The $1.9 trillion stimulus is a prescription for health. Trust me, I’m a doctor. | Expert Opinion
Solomon Jones: Asking Trump to promote vaccines is a dangerous idea 
John L. Micek: It’s Saint Patrick’s Day in Pa. Do we toast? Or maybe just exhale a bit? | Wednesday Morning Coffee 
Tony Norman: The New Jim Crow (same as the old Jim Crow)
Janelle Crossley: Walk with Janelle: Help others live quality lives
Jobert E. Abueva: Why I’m finally done with the Catholic Church 
Will Bunch Newsletter: New GOP war on democracy targets protest rights 
Tim Whitaker: One Year Of COVID: “It Really Isn’t So Bad. Considering.” 
Helen Ubiñas: Daughter of a paralyzed gunshot survivor pens a children’s book to help families through trauma 
Trudy Rubin: Unlike Trump, Biden knows Asian allies are key to dealing firmly with China

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