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March 9: Budget Fallout

😎 Hello Thursday. A busy news day to recap.

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What We’re Hearing
President Biden will release his federal budget this afternoon in Philadelphia at 2:30 p.m..

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Top Story

1. Rep. Mike Zabel Resigns From House

Delaware County Rep. Mike Zabel quits amid sex harassment allegations

State Rep. Mike Zabel has submitted his resignation to Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton effective March 16.

“After conversations with leadership, Rep. Zabel has chosen to do what is best for his family, the people he represents, and the state House of Representatives,” the House Democratic Caucus said in a statement.

The announcement follows a Wednesday morning press conference in which Rep. Abby Major came forward, accusing Zabel of sexual harassment in November 2022.


State Legislator Alleges Sexual Harassment By House Colleague, Calls For Broader Ethics Rules As Zabel Resigns. “State Rep. Abby Major of Ford City said she is committed to changing the culture and the ethics rules for her colleagues in Harrisburg after relating a personal story Wednesday at a press conference that added to sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Mike Zabel of Delaware County.” (Valley News Dispatch) 

Delco State Rep Zabel To Resign After Sexual Harassment Allegations. “Hours after a Republican female lawmaker publicly accused State Rep. Mike Zabel of sexual harassment Wednesday, the Delaware County Democrat said he would resign.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • PA House Lawmaker Accused Of Sexual Harassment Says He Will Resign. (Spotlight PA)
  • Zabel Resigns Under Growing Pressure From Sexual Harassment Accusers. (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)
  • Zabel Will Resign After Rep. Abby Major Puts Her Name Behind Harassment Allegations. (Broad + Liberty)



2. Shapiro Didn’t Mention These Topics In Budget Address. Why That Matters

Shapiro unveils proposed budget stressing education funding, reserves | News |

“In showing his hand for the budget address, Pennsylvania’s new governor offered a peek at whether the prolific former prosecutor, fundraiser and campaigner might govern as moderately as pledged.

As he made his case to voters last year, Josh Shapiro positioned himself as a middle-ground hedge against the ultra-right conservativism of his GOP opponent and state Sen. Doug Mastriano. But Shapiro’s flirtation with school choice and reservations about the cap-and-tax Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative were not in the cards presented March 7.” (


PA School Allies Criticize Shapiro’s Budget Plan. “Lawyers for the districts that won a landmark school funding court case in Pennsylvania say that Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal falls short of the financial commitments that are needed to help the state’s poorest school districts.” (AP)

Advocacy Group Says Higher Ed Funding in Shapiro’s Proposed Budget Shows ‘Appalling Neglect.’ “Shapiro’s 2% increase includes neither the funding that system leaders sought to freeze tuition for a fifth straight year across the 85,000-student system, nor does it include a $112 million special request to support students pursuing careers in high-demand fields.” (Tribune-Review)

PA Senate Votes To Confirm Henry, Paris As AG, State Police Commissioner. “The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate has approved two nominations by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, confirming the state’s top prosecutor and head of State Police.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

McClinton Announces House Committee Chairs. “Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton announced the members of the House Democratic Caucus who will serve as majority chairs for the state House’s 24 standing committees for the 2023-24 legislative session.” (PoliticsPA)

NRSC Chair Daines Blasts Former Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Mastriano’s PA Senate Ambitions. “Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is dismissing future political ambitions of retired U.S. Army Colonel Doug Mastriano, concluding that he is likely to not win a race after failing to clinch the post as governor of Pennsylvania in 2022.” (Fox News)

  • Doug Mastriano, Mulling a 2024 Senate Run, Is Still Falling For Dodgy Polls Like It’s 2022. (Philadelphia Inquirer)


PA Senator Becomes 1st To Give Birth In Office, Bringing Workplace Maternity Issues To Light. “With the birth this week of her daughter, Taglia, Sen. Amanda Cappelletti has become the first person to give birth while serving in the Pennsylvania Senate. As the senator deals with something that, to many working Pennsylvanians, is a common occurrence, there is hope that the learning curve might actually help promote gender equity in the state.” (KYW NewsRadio)

PA Senate Passes TikTok Bill Ban For State-Owned Networks and Devices. “A bill prohibiting TikTok on state-owned devices and networks unanimously passed the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday, advancing to the House amid a growing trend of agencies banning the app due to security concerns.” (PennLive)

How Much Do State Government Workers Make? “From candy to cars, the price of everything is going up – and that includes government salaries.” (PennLive)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Norfolk Southern CEO Bringing Apology, Aid To Senate Hearing

Norfolk Southern CEO to apologize before Congress over East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment | Fox Business

“The chief executive of one of the nation’s largest railroads is coming to a Senate hearing with an apology and a commitment to send millions of dollars to the village on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border disrupted by a fiery derailment as senators investigate railway safety and the Biden administration’s response to the disaster.” (AP)


PA Senate Committee Advances Emergency Response Proposals. “Responding to last month’s train derailment in Ohio — just a few miles from the Pennsylvania border — a state Senate committee approved a series of bills related to emergency response and supporting commonwealth residents affected by the Feb. 3 crash.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)


Biden Will Roll Out His Budget, And A Political Marker, In Philly. President Joe Biden will roll out his budget proposal at a Northeast Philadelphia union hall Thursday, and U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle says there’s nowhere more fitting to emphasize the Democratic agenda.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Cloistered At Walter Reed, Fetterman Runs His Senate Operation From Afar. “A dozen miles from the Capitol, the first-term Democrat from Pennsylvania is keeping up with his work while being treated for severe clinical depression. ” (New York Times)

In An Ideal World, Pennsylvanians Could ‘Vote With Their Feet’ For Fair School Funding. “Philly-area economist Joel Naroff helped Massachusetts create its school-funding formula. It took political will to make it reality.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

City Councilman Ricky Burgess Is Not Running For Reelection, And a New Name Is In The County Executive Race. “Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess has decided not to seek re-election this year. The petition filings also showed a new addition to the race for Allegheny County executive: Theresa Sciulli Colaizzi, a former Pittsburgh Public Schools board member.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

McClelland Drops Out of County Executive Race. “Harrison resident and former congressional candidate Erin McClelland has ended her bid for Allegheny County executive.” (Tribune-Review)

Accuser Says Former Somerset DA Pursued Her Through ‘Creepy’ Late-Night Texts For Year Prior to Incident. “A Windber woman testified Wednesday that suspended Somerset County District Attorney Jeff Thomas sent her a relentless barrage of inappropriate images and late-night texts to “hang out” over the year before she was assaulted.” (Tribune-Democrat)



4. What They’re Saying

A glance around the Keystone State at editorials and opinions.

  • Disgraced Democrat’s Resignation Could Soon Tie Up The PA State House. (Salena Zito)
  • As Darrell L. Clarke Steps Aside, An Era Ends With An Opportunity For A Reboot. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Shapiro’s Long Budget Speech Sure Isn’t What We’re Used To. (John Baer)
  • Preventing Environmental Disasters Preferable To Cleaning Them Up. (Sharon Herald)
  • Why Do We Need a Parents’ Bill of Rights? (Stacy Whomsley)
  • Zabel Harassment Shows Common Ground And Political Division. (Tribune-Review)


1 Thing

5. 🌱Hershey Introduces Plant-Based Chocolate

Where to Find Vegan Reese's Peanut Butter Cups | PETA

Really? It’s true.

The Hershey Company announced two new options for people who have an appetite for milk chocolate but are looking for plant-based snacks.

Meet Hershey’s Plant Based Extra Creamy with Almonds and Sea Salt, as well as Reese’s Plant Based Peanut Butter Cups.

To each their own, I guess. (



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2 Responses


  • 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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