March 25th Playbook

Dr. Rachel Levine is confirmed as the U.S. Assistant Health Secretary, while the White House announces that President Joe Biden will be visiting Pittsburgh next week. Here is the Playbook. 

Biden To Visit Pittsburgh Next Week: According to a release from the White House Press Office, President Joe Biden will visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday, March 31 to deliver remarks on his “economic vision for the future,” and the “Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to Build Back Better for the American people.”

Wolf Selects Meg Snead As Human Services Secretary, Sec. Teresa Miller To Resign April 30: Snead most recently served as Gov. Wolf’s Secretary of Policy and Planning, while Sec. Teresa Miller announced that her next role will be serving as the president and CEO of the Kansas Health Foundation.

PennLive: Regan in ‘Good Spirits’ While Recovering from Motorcycle Crash Injuries: PennLive reports that state Sen. Mike Regan (R-York) is in “good spirits” but remained at Penn State Hershey Medical Center on Wednesday as he recovers from a motorcycle accident on Sunday morning. His chief of staff, Bruce McLanahan, told PennLive that Regan is recovering from surgery to repair a fracture to his lower left leg. Regan is currently on personal leave from the state Senate, but expects to be at the Capitol when the Senate returns to session on April 19.

Philly Mag Highlight’s Shapiro’s Potential Bid for Governor: Philadelphia Magazine details Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s career in politics and his potential candidacy for Governor in 2022.  

SD22: Mastri Ends Bid, Endorses Chermak: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that Dominic Mastri, an attorney, announced that he is dropping his bid for the state Senate’s 22nd District and endorsing Lackawanna County Commissioner Chris Chermak to receive the nomination. Chermak says he has the support of state Republicans for the party nomination. Republicans will gather on Thursday evening to nominate a candidate for the special election. 

York Dispatch: Saylor Says He’ll Try To Block State Funding for Schools That Don’t Fully Open: The York Dispatch reports that state Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, issued a statement on Wednesday “threatening to try to cut state funding to schools that do not completely open to in-person education by next fiscal year.”

Thousands of Philly Republicans Switch to Dem Ahead of DA Primary: Billy Penn reports that more than 3,000 registered Republican voters in Philadelphia have switched their party affiliation to Democrat so far this year, with political leaders pointing to Republican’s opposition to the upcoming reelection bid of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. 

Joyce Introduces Bill to ‘Safeguard’ Children’s Books From ‘Cancel Culture’: CBS21 reports that Rep. John Joyce (R-Blair) has introduced the Guarding Readers’ Independence and Choice (GRINCH) Act, which would “prohibit state and local government agencies from receiving funding if they ban certain books.”

Former State Senate Candidate To Face Charges in Capitol Riot: According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, Frank Scavo, who previously was the GOP candidate for the state Senate’s 22nd District in 2020 and the state House’s 114th District in 2019, was slated to turn himself in to the FBI to face charges for his “role in the Capitol rioting” on January 6. Scavo’s lawyer, Ernie Preate Jr., told the Times-Tribune that a federal magistrate judge will arraign Scavo on four misdemeanor charges and Scavo will plead not guilty. 

Morning Call Releases Allentown Mayoral Race Debate and Forum Schedule: The Allentown Morning Call has released the upcoming schedule for debates and candidate forums for the Allentown mayoral candidates.  

Somerset County Passes Pro-Second Amendment Resolution: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that Somerset County commissioners passed a resolution, by a 3-0 vote, to express “deep commitment” to Second Amendment rights.  

Rhynhart Report Projects Philly’s Economy to Rebound by End of 2023: The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that a report from Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart’s office estimates that the city’s economy, “from its tax revenues to its unemployment, will rebound by the end of 2023.” 

Keller To Host Telephone Town Hall on March 30: Rep. Fred Keller (R-Snyder) will be hosting a telephone town hall at 5 p.m. on March 30 to discuss legislative issues, according to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.  

Allentown Officials Argue Over Campaign Contribution Limits in Future City Elections: The Allentown Morning Call reports that Allentown Councilman Joshua Siegel asked his colleagues to discuss a draft bill that imposes limits on campaign contributions to candidates running for city office. 

Morning Call: Mystery Bidder Offers $30-$40 Million to Buy The Morning Call: The Allentown Morning Call reports that an “unidentified bidder” has offered $30 million to $40 million to buy the Morning Call Media Group. 

Hanover Evening Sun Reports Which Candidates Are Running for Office in Adams County: The Hanover Evening Sun reports on the candidates in Adams County for the May primary for row offices, township, borough, and school board. 

PMHC’s Historic Sites and Museums to Reopen April 30: Pennsylvania’s state-owned historic sites and museums will begin welcoming in-person visitors back starting April 30, according to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.  

Gainey To Hold Press Conference with Detroit Mayoral Candidate: According to a press release from state Rep. Ed Gainey’s campaign for Mayor of Pittsburgh, he will be holding a joint press conference on Thursday morning with Detroit Mayoral candidate Anthony Adams to discuss crime, poverty, police reform, and justice for everyone in our communities. The press conference was originally slated to take place Wednesday afternoon, but was rescheduled.

Twardzik Appointed to House Health Committee: According to a press release from House Republicans, state Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-Schuylkill) has been appointed by Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) to serve on the House Health Committee. 

Fair Districts PA To Host Prison Gerrymandering Virtual Forum: Fair Districts PA is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, Decarcerate PA, the Abolitionist Law Center, Straight Ahead, Free the Ballot, Pennsylvania Council of Churches Advocacy and the ACLU – Pennsylvania in a series of forums about gerrymandering, prison gerrymandering and the impact of both on PA prison policy. Their second regional forum is slated to take place Thursday, March 25 from 7-8:30 p.m. for Northwest PA.  

Harrisburg & DC   
Spotlight PA: Wolf administration refuses to release details of wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses
AP: Child sex abuse lawsuit ‘window’ amendment clears Pa. House
AP: A first: US Senate confirms transgender doctor for key post
AP: Highway construction firms oppose PennDOT’s bridge toll plan 
AP: Pennsylvania nears 1 million virus cases amid vaccine push
AP: Gas driller to pay $1.9M for damage to wetlands, waterways
AP: Feds: Former Pitt official stole over 13K masks, sold online
Delaware Valley Journal: John Yudichak: A Man Without a Party, but With Plenty of Friends
Patriot News: Dr. Rachel Levine makes history, confirmed as U.S. assistant health secretary
Patriot News: Pa. Sen. Mike Regan in ‘good spirits’ while recovering from motorcycle crash injuries
Patriot News: Pa. Sen. Pat Toomey votes against confirming Rachel Levine for Biden administration post
Patriot News: Pa. House panel vets PennDOT’s bridge tolling proposal
Patriot News: Help for fire companies raising funds during pandemic 1 step closer with proposed bill
Patriot News: Bid to restore monthly cash assistance payments to nearly 12,000 of Pa.’s poor nixed by state court
Patriot News: Chesapeake agrees to pay $1.9M to settle Pa. natural gas-related stream damage litigation
Patriot News: Pennsylvania nears 1 million COVID-19 cases amid vaccine push
Patriot News: Faculty union blasts leader of Pa. state universities: ‘His job was to improve the system, not tear it down’
Patriot News: As thousands of unemployment claims expire, Pa. residents refile, wait on federal benefits
Patriot News: Pa. reports 4,667 new COVID-19 infections — the most in more than a month
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Saylor to schools: Offer in-person classes or forfeit state funding
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: ‘We all belong here’: House, Senate Dems rally against AAPI violence; call for passage of hate crimes bill
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa.’s Levine wins Senate confirmation to No. 2 job at Health & Human Services; Casey, Toomey split on vote 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Historic sites, museums around the state set reopening date
Post-Gazette: State System chancellor’s words worsen enrollment woes facing Pa.’s state universities, faculty union charges
Post-Gazette: In close vote, Senate confirms Rachel Levine to be nation’s assistant health secretary 
Morning Call: U.S. Senate confirms Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary, despite Pat Toomey voting against her
Express Times: Dr. Rachel Levine doesn’t have U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s vote for Biden administration
USA Today: Levine is confirmed by U.S. Senate to HHS post
USA Today: Pa. Human Services secretary to be second Wolf department head to leave this year
USA Today: Pa. sees record highs in racism, anti-Semitism
Philadelphia Magazine: Is This The Moment Josh Shapiro Has Been Waiting For?
PLSReporter: After administrative error, House again approves statute of limitations amendment 
PLSReporter: ‘It doesn’t have to be this way’: Lawmakers, organizers call for gun reforms to curb violence 
PLSReporter: House GOP revives COVID-19 economic ‘comeback’ package
PLSReporter: Saylor seeks to withhold funding from schools that do not return to full-time in-person learning
PLSReporter: In the wake of Atlanta shooting, Pa. lawmakers call for stronger anti-hate crime laws
City Paper: Former Pa. health secretary Rachel Levine becomes first trans cabinet official confirmed by U.S. Senate
York Daily Record: Radar for municipal police in Pennsylvania: ‘It’s time to get this done,’ chief says
Philadelphia Gay News: Two anti-LGBT bills introduced in Congress
The Hill: Senate confirms first openly transgender official, approving Levine for HHS
WESA: Pennsylvania Nears One Million Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19, But Expert Hopeful On Future
Philly Voice: Senate confirms Dr. Rachel Levine for U.S. health department post in Biden administration
Huffington Post: Dr. Rachel Levine Becomes First Transgender Official To Be Confirmed By The Senate
StateImpactPA: Chesapeake fined $1.9 million for wetland, stream violations in PA

Billy Penn: ‘Never Krasner’? Thousands of Philly Republicans switch to Democrat ahead of DA primary 
Billy Penn: Philly vaccine map shows some progress in reducing economic gap
Inquirer: Philly launches $1.5M initiative to restore pandemic-wracked businesses and cultural vitality 
Inquirer: New Jersey’s vaccine rollout is mostly working. In Pennsylvania, it’s more complicated. 
Inquirer: 1,400 dead horses, a fading sport, and huge subsidies — Pennsylvania horseracing faces a reckoning
Inquirer: Pa. counties told to expect fewer Johnson & Johnson doses; Rachel Levine becomes first openly transgender official to be confirmed by Senate
Philadelphia Business Journal: Philadelphia Controller projects city’s economy to largely rebound by end of 2023 
Philadelphia Business Journal: City partners with business leaders on $1.5M initiative to revitalize Philadelphia’s economy 
WHYY Newsworks: Comcast will invest $1B over the next decade in attempt to close digital divide 
WHYY Newsworks: Pa. coronavirus update: Philly campaigns to bring back workers, tourists; Montco urges celebrating holidays ‘separately’ 
KYW Newsradio: As COVID-19 began killing Philadelphians, mail-in voting saved lives, kept democracy running
KYW Newsradio: City initiative aims to instill confidence about reopening, returning to Philadelphia

Delco Daily Times: O’Mara and other leaders push for equal pay for women 
Delco Daily Times: Delco announces ‘Homebound Vaccination Program’ 
Bucks County Courier Times: Lawmakers: Give Bucks the vaccine to distribute 
Bucks County Courier Times: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: 9% of Bucks County fully vaccinated
Daily Local News: Deana’s Law passes first hurdle in state House 
Daily Local News: Shusterman bill aims to create jobs, revive economy
Inquirer: Pa. House passes bill to let Philly suburbs run their own mass vaccine clinics, a bipartisan rebuke of the state’s rollout 
KYW Newsradio: Suburbs are playing hand dealt by the state for vaccines, officials say
KYW Newsradio: Delco launches vaccine program for people who are homebound
Montgomery Media: Montgomery County OKs pay raises for poll workers 
Montgomery Media: Coronavirus positivity rate, hospitalization numbers ‘going the wrong way’ in Montgomery County
Bucks Local News: Senators introduce legislation named after Bucks County pilot to improve airline safety 
Bucks Local News: Pearl S. Buck International to honor U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia M. Rufe as 2021 Woman of Influence 
Bucks Local News: State senators put forward legislation to keep residents in their homes during COVID-19 crisis
Delaware Valley Journal: Finding Recovery: A Mother and Son Share Their Story on Combating Drug Addiction

Post-Gazette: Biden travels to Pittsburgh next week to tout COVID relief package
Post-Gazette: Former Pitt official indicted on charges of selling COVID masks on eBay  
Post-Gazette: With high-profile hearing, tech CEOs face grilling today on disinformation and extremism on social media 
Post-Gazette: Oakland rally supports Asian Americans while condemning violence
Post-Gazette: Allegheny County to get COVID-19 registration system as cases rise
WESA: Allegheny County Drops Age Requirement For Vaccinations, 1A Criteria Still Stands
WESA: Allegheny County See Nearly 500 New COVID-19 Cases
WESA: Former Pitt Official Indicted For Stealing And Selling More Than 13K Surgical Masks, N95s
KDKA: President Biden To Make Stop In Pittsburgh On ‘Help Is Here’ Tour
KDKA: Allegheny County Leaders Say People Need To Remain Safe As COVID-19 Cases, Temperatures Increase 
KDKA: Mass Shooting In Boulder Renews Debate Over Guns In America, Demand For Permits Rise Locally
KDKA: Pittsburgh Creates Website To Connect Youth And Families With Educational, Recreation Opportunities
KDKA: More Than 100 Rally In Pittsburgh To Protest Violence Against Asian Americans
KDKA: Allegheny County Opens Vaccine Clinics To Anyone In Phase 1A
KDKA: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Reports Nearly 500 More Coronavirus Cases, 10 Additional Deaths
City Paper: Former Pitt director of emergency management indicted for stealing and selling PPE supplies 
Pittsburgh Business Times: President Biden to stop in Pittsburgh to promote latest Covid-19 relief package
Pittsburgh Business Times: Cases on the rise: What Allegheny County officials advise
Tribune Review: Former Pitt employee charged with stealing over 13,000 masks at start of pandemic 
Tribune Review: Rally for Solidarity held in Pittsburgh’s Oakland section 
Tribune Review: Allegheny County to launch new vaccine registration system next week 
Tribune Review: Allegheny County adds 498 covid cases, highest total since mid-January

Altoona Mirror: Senate OKs Ward farm bill
Altoona Mirror: Candidate info sought for primary election
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Somerset County passes pro-Second Amendment resolution 
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Pa. House backs plan that would put abuse lawsuit question on ballot in 2023
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: PennDOT bridge tolling plan scrutinized by House panel
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: COVID-19 update: State, Centre, Clearfield counties surging, local counties more stable
Post-Gazette: Westmoreland official tells Pa. election committee tighter deadlines needed to apply for mail-in ballots
KDKA: Westmoreland County Commissioner Wants To Eliminate Permanent Mail-In Voting Option
KDKA: Beaver County Receives More Than $10 Million For Struggling Renters
Tribune Review: Incumbent Vandergrift mayor to face primary challenge from councilman
Beaver County Times: UPMC clinic to soon vaccinate 100 people per hour

Times-Tribune: Mastri out of Senate race
Times-Tribune: Yudichak wants state to promote tax credits tied to natural gas production
Times-Tribune: Former Old Forge school director to face charges in Capitol riot
Times-Tribune: Olyphant, Scranton and Valley View candidates withdraw from election  
Times-Tribune: New COVID-19 cases on the rise as death declines slow
Citizens Voice: Yudichak wants state to promote tax credits tied to natural gas production
Citizens Voice: Lackawanna County commissioner on tap for Republican nomination for vacant Blake Senate seat
Citizens Voice: Former Old Forge school director to face charges in Capitol riot
Citizens Voice: DA dispute settled after Wolf, county council actions
Citizens Voice: County’s new COVID-19 caseload tops 100
The Times Leader: Wolf’s move means Sanguedolce becomes Luzerne County DA
The Times Leader: 122 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Luzerne County on Wednesday

South Central 
York Dispatch: State Rep. Stan Saylor says he’ll try to block state funding for schools that don’t fully open
York Dispatch: Republican hoping to oust Congressman Scott Perry says their party has gone too far
York Dispatch: Board approves sale of York City wastewater system; now back to council
York Dispatch: COVID cases: York County sees highest day-over-day increase since January
WJAC6: PA Congressman introduces bill to safeguard children’s books from ‘cancel culture’
Patriot News: Pa. Sen. Mike Regan in ‘good spirits’ while recovering from motorcycle crash injuries
Patriot News: Former Dauphin County GOP Chairman William Trickett Smith Sr. left a legacy of criminal convictions
Carlisle Sentinel: DOH: 53 new cases of COVID-19 for Cumberland County Wednesday
LNP | LancasterOnline: 4 key takeaways from Lancaster County Commissioner Josh Parsons on COVID-19, proposed health department
LNP | LancasterOnline: Commissioner Josh Parsons addresses county health department in live interview with LNP | LancasterOnline
LNP | LancasterOnline: Read the Franklin & Marshall College public opinion poll on a local health department [PDF]
LNP | LancasterOnline: Lancaster County hires permanent health and medical coordinator after Ed Hurston retires
Hanover Evening Sun: Primary 2021: Who is running for office in Adams County?

Lehigh Valley      
Morning Call: Allentown mayoral race: Upcoming candidate debates, forums 
Morning Call: Allentown politicians bicker over proposed campaign contribution limits in future city elections 
Morning Call: Mystery bidder offers $30 million to $40 million to buy The Morning Call 
Morning Call: $24 million in emergency COVID relief available for hamstrung Lehigh County renters
Morning Call: Pennsylvania coronavirus update: Most-ever doses of vaccine coming next week, but Northampton leads surge in cases
Reading Eagle: State Sen. Judy Schwank joins online platform to foster civic engagement
Reading Eagle: Lawyer John Fielding is running for Berks County coroner
Reading Eagle: Reading to hold a gun buyback program in April
Reading Eagle: Berks County’s COVID case surge continues
Express Times: Northampton County’s 1st large-scale COVID vaccination site will supply 3K shots this weekend
Express Times: COVID in Pa.: 4,667 new cases as climb continues; 1M mark looming; Lehigh Valley touts 100K vaccinated; 1.7M statewide fully vaccinated | Pa. COVID vaccine map (03/24/21)
WFMZ: Easton officials hear from residents on backyard chickens
WFMZ: 2020 overdose deaths highest-ever recorded in Berks

North by Northwest
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Keller to talk legislation in telephone town hall
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Group urges COVID-19, vaccine education
Centre Daily Times: March 24 update: Pa. has highest COVID-19 case total in 6 weeks; Centre County adds 89
Erie Times-News: Erie health officials watching COVID-19 numbers in nearby counties

Ben Sanchez: Let’s support these three, commonsense gun violence measures
Charlie Dent: I confess, I like earmarks
Joel Hicks: Cleaner cars will move all Pennsylvanians forward
James H. Cawley: Pennsylvania’s energy market needs restructuring
Linn Washington, Jr. and Dave Lindorff: Krasner’s stance on Mumia won’t cost him re-election. But it will stain his reputation as a reformer.
Ernest Owens: Why Is Larry Krasner Still Tight With Shaun King? 
JD Mullane: Redemption in the Bucks DA Office in the time of cancel culture
Paul Muschick: Attention, speeders: Why there may be more radar guns on Pennsylvania roads
Inquirer Editorial Board: Pa. can save lives with an easy policy change: Legalize syringe exchange state-wide now 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: More help for the jobless
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: How long, oh Lord?
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Educating flash mobsters
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Affirming human rights
John L. Micek: With the Fight for $15 in a holding pattern, do two new bills point the way to a deal? | Thursday Morning Coffee
Jessica Blatt Press: Ideas We Should Steal: Universal Child Care 
Paul Muschick: Tiny homes for Allentown homeless worth a try. Here’s why.
Vincent Schiraldi: Delco juvenile justice center should stay closed permanently 
Maria Panaritis: Working parents sweep up the broken pieces of a pandemic year as kids return to school full time
Christine Flowers: Shooting victims are all targeted by hate
Dan Simpson: A new world of three major powers

2 Responses

  1. No nazi skunk party dumbcrat is worth voting for. If they were, they would have left the dumbcrat already.

  2. CNN special report on COVID is shredding the Trump admin lies on the pandemic and showcasing their epic failure to deal with the pandemic.

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