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November 18th Playbook

State Rep. Thom Welby was sworn-in as the new representative for the 113th state House District. Here is the Playbook. 


‘Welby sworn in as state representative’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Thom Welby took the oath of office Wednesday morning as the new state representative for the 113th House District.”

‘State officials, lawmakers and judges get big 2022 pay raise’: The Associated Press reports that “inflation is driving up consumer prices and will drive a big salary increase for Pennsylvania state lawmakers, judges and top executive branch officials in 2022. For many of these positions, it’s the biggest increase in three decades.”

‘Holding an active law license now required of Pa.’s district attorneys’: PennLive reports that “District attorneys in Pennsylvania now are required to have a valid license to practice law throughout their entire term of office.”

‘Lawmakers try anew to toughen penalty for repeat DUI drivers’: The Associated Press reports that “the state House of Representatives on Wednesday approved legislation aiming to increase penalties for motorists who have multiple DUI convictions to end what critics have called Pennsylvania’s “revolving door” for the most serious drunk drivers.”

‘House adds deadlines to election modernization bill for counties to report results’: PennLive reports that “counties would have a financial disincentive to delay counting votes cast in an election under a provision that was added to an election modernization bill that is before Pennsylvania’s House of Representative.”

‘Pennsylvania adds three holidays to the calendar to honor veterans, emergency responders’: PennLive reports that “Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed into law a bill that designates March 6 as Persian Gulf Veterans Day; Oct. 7 as Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day; and Sept. 27 as First Responders Day.”

‘Pennsylvania Chamber CEO to retire’: PennLive reports that “Gene Barr, who has led the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry since 2011 announced that he plans to retire.”

‘‘Do right by our children or find new jobs’: Education advocates call for fair school funding’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “under a clear fall sky, education advocates gathered on the Capitol steps Wednesday to deliver a message to Pennsylvania lawmakers: It’s raining in public schools.”

‘New interim U.S. attorney named for Pa. Middle District Court’: PennLive reports that “John C. Gruganus was named to that U.S. Middle District Court position by U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, effective Wednesday.”

‘Unions, Dems say $1T infrastructure bill a boost for region; GOP says there’s pork in there’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the $1 trillion infusion into America’s roads, bridges and infrastructure — signed into law by President Joe Biden this week — will create about 40,000 union jobs in Allegheny County over the next few years, politicians and labor leaders said Wednesday.”

‘Legislators argue pros and cons of Biden’s infrastructure bill’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Tuesday said the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will bring billions of dollars to Pennsylvania to improve roads and bridges, increase access to public transportation, build out clean energy infrastructure, expand broadband and more. Pennsylvania’s other senator, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, said while there is a need to expand and maintain the nation’s real, physical infrastructure, but the legislation is “too expensive, too expansive, too unpaid for, and too threatening to the innovative cryptocurrency economy.””

‘Pennsylvania’s former top voting official debunks misinformation in real time at election forum’: WESA reports that “voting experts defended the security of Pennsylvania’s past election results at a forum Wednesday, dismissing unfounded conspiracy theories of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. They also talked about the dangers of rampant misinformation concerning the 2020 election — a problem that unfolded in real time as the forum’s Zoom chat was peppered with false allegations of fraud in last year’s presidential contest.”

‘Some fixes are still needed for Pennsylvania’s unemployment system, committee says’: WESA reports that “an identity verification system that was put in place to stop fraudulent unemployment claims continues to be a barrier to some people who need to file legitimate claims, an advocate for unemployed workers said Wednesday.”

‘Snapshots from City & State PA’s Forty Under 40 awards’: City & State PA reports that “in a celebration of the state’s rising stars in politics, business and government, a max-capacity room filled the Level 2 venue in downtown Harrisburg Tuesday night for City & State Pennsylvania’s Forty Under 40 award event.”

‘Scavo to be sentenced Monday in federal court in Washington’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “a federal prosecutor has petitioned a Washington D.C. court to send Frank Scavo to jail for two weeks and for him to pay $5,400 in restitution for his role in the Jan. 6 riot in the nation’s capitol.”

‘Wolf Administration encouraging Pennsylvanians to carry Naloxone to combat rise in overdose deaths’: WJET reports that “on Wednesday, DDAP Secretary Jen Smith said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) are asking Pennsylvanians to keep medications like naloxone on hand in the case of an overdose.”

‘Report: Pennsylvania casinos shatter record, generate $425 million in revenues’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Pennsylvania casinos generated more than $425.9 million in October, eclipsing a revenue high set in July, state regulators said.”

‘Pennsylvania House Republicans threaten to remove Lehigh County elections board unless it rescinds acceptance of undated ballots’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “top Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday threatened to remove members of the Lehigh County Board of Elections unless they rescind a decision to allow counting of mail-in ballots without dates that were submitted in the municipal election this month.”

‘Kutztown U. food service workers rally to join union’: WFMZ reports that “Kutztown University dining workers are demanding that Aramark, the university’s dining company, and Kutztown institute a fair process for recognizing their union and negotiating with them for a fair contract. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman joined the rally to stand with the workers, saying Kutztown is now the outlier in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), being the only university that doesn’t have a unionized food service workforce.”

‘Dozens of Pennsylvania police officers joined the right-wing Oath Keepers over the past decade’: WITF reports that “dozens of police officers and five current state constables in Pennsylvania joined the Oath Keepers over the past decade, according to a WITF analysis of the group’s registration data, public records and interviews with one current and several former members.”

‘November 17th Around The Table Politics 2021’: KDKA reports that “our Experts Discuss Everything From Mayor-Elect Gainey’s Plans For Police To The President’s Job Approval Ratings, Around the Table.”

‘Councilmember Bobby Henon has given up his committee chair roles following his conviction on corruption charges’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “City Councilmember Bobby Henon on Wednesday stepped down from his committee leadership roles following his conviction this week on federal corruption charges, according to a memo from Council President Darrell L. Clarke obtained by The Inquirer.” 

‘Ryan Boyer becomes first Black leader of Building Trades Council after John Dougherty’s conviction’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “labor leader Ryan Boyer became the first Black business manager of the Philadelphia Building & Construction Trades Council on Wednesday afternoon, after John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty resigned from the labor organization’s top role, days after a jury found Dougherty guilty of federal bribery charges.”

‘‘Narcan Near Me’: Philadelphia to pilot Narcan vending machines to help stop fatal overdoses’: Billy Penn reports that “two machines that automatically dispense opioid overdose reversal medication are headed to South and West Philadelphia, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. Specific locations are still being determined, officials said.”

‘The Appalachian Regional Commission grants $1.5 million to Pennsylvania to help substance users re-enter workforce’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “during a week when the nation hit a grim milestone of deaths from drug overdoses, a joint federal and state commission awarded more than $5 million in grants to Appalachian states, including four to Pennsylvania, aimed at helping those in recovery re-enter the workforce and sustain a better quality of life.”

‘Pittsburgh City Council considers ordinance to reduce traffic stops for minor violations’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “hoping to reduce violent interactions between citizens and police, the Black Political Empowerment Project wants to make it less likely drivers will be pulled over for a broken tail light or expired registration.”

‘Black Clergy of Philadelphia not satisfied with city’s Rebuild plan progress’: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that “the Black Clergy of Philadelphia held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in front of Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center to discuss concerns over the lack of progress rebuilding the cities worst recreation centers.”

‘Local Leaders Praise Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill’: KDKA reports that “with the bipartisan infrastructure bill now law, Pennsylvania is set to receive $18 billion of the money. Local leaders said Wednesday that some of that money will be used in the southwestern part of the state.”

‘Election board certifies most municipal election results, Chermak votes no’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “the Lackawanna County Election Board voted 2-1 Wednesday to certify the majority of results from the recent municipal election, with Republican Commissioner Chris Chermak voting no.”

‘Council introduces $116.9 million city budget, question positions and raises’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “City council introduced Scranton’s tentative 2022 budget Tuesday but questioned the sustainability of new personnel and benefits costs it would add.”

‘Domenick to Chermak: “Stop pointing out the obvious”’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Lackawanna County Commissioners Debi Domenick and Chris Chermak sparred Wednesday over the county’s 2022 budget, which both want to shrink before adoption Dec. 1.” 

‘Crowd refuses to wear masks, Pittston Area cancels meeting’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “a group of people arrived for the scheduled Pittston Area School Board Meeting Tuesday mask-less, and when Superintendent Kevin Booth asked that they either put masks on or leave, they declined on both counts. After some brief verbal wrangling the board called a recess and left the room for about 30 minutes, with Solicitor Sam Falcone returning to announce the meeting had not yet been convened and was being canceled.”

‘Bethlehem City Council postpones procedural votes on budget’: WFMZ reports that “Bethlehem City Council on Tuesday night voted to postpone procedural votes on 2022 budget ordinances after two councilmembers indicated they would be casting dissenting votes.”

‘Lancaster judge accepts write-in misspellings in Manheim Central, Warwick — changing the election’s outcome’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “the president of the Manheim Central school board has lost her race for reelection after a Lancaster County judge ruled Tuesday that a write-in candidate can claim hundreds of votes that misspelled her name.”

‘Ties in 39 races to be broken Friday in Westmoreland County’: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that “Westmoreland County election officials said 39 races on the Nov. 2 ballot ended in ties that will be broken Friday through a casting of lots, including one open seat for Jeannette city controller where 30 candidates each received one write-in vote.”

‘Mail-in ballots flip outcome of race in Antis Township’: The Altoona Mirror reports that “mail-in votes counted after Election Day have reversed the apparent election-night results for a six-year seat on the Antis Township Board of Supervisors, creating a touch of controversy that has no legitimate basis, according to a Blair County official.”

‘Dauphin County Judge Richard A. Lewis to retire at year’s end’: PennLive reports that “after 28 years on the bench, Dauphin County Judge Richard A. Lewis announced Wednesday that he will retire on Dec. 31.”

‘No increase in county 2022 real estate taxes proposed’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “area property owners will not see an increase in the amount they pay to the county in real estate taxes in 2022 if the preliminary budget, which was presented at the Lycoming County Commissioners meeting Tuesday, is approved in December. The current county real estate rate is 6.5 mills.”

McPhillips Joins Sims Campaign as Senior Adviser: POLITICO reports that “Brendan McPhillips is joining Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims’ campaign for lieutenant governor as senior adviser. He previously served as Pennsylvania state director for the Biden and Pete Buttigieg campaigns.”

‘COVID-19 hospitalizations rebound in Pa. as state also logs 150 new deaths’: PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania hospitals were caring for 3,016 COVID-19 patients as of early Wednesday — another disturbing sign the virus is gaining rather than fading.”

Jim Hertzler: It’s time for “The People’s Maps”  
Paul Muschick: How could one Pennsylvania Lottery player win big 155 times? The auditor general has a theory
JD Mullane: The journey of bestselling journalist Bob Costa, from Pennsbury to ‘Peril’ 
John L. Micek: Rules clamping down on ‘forever chemicals’ clear a key regulatory hurdle | Wednesday Morning Coffee
Joyce M. Davis: Afghan refugees are filled with gratitude at the chance to start new lives in Pennsylvania | Social Views
Chris Kelly: The Frank Scavo I Know and Jan. 6
LNP | LancasterOnline Editorial Board: Long COVID can derail your health for months. Please get vaccinated against COVID-19. 
Lloyd E. Sheaffer: 2021: Our year of irony and tragedy 
Ruqiyya Greer: I wake up every day knowing that I will have to watch another Black man take his last breath. And over what? 
Andrew Zitcer: Looking to the arts and culture community as a source of civic healing | Rebuilding Philly

4 Responses

  1. Interesting article about winning lottery tickets. I have no problem weeding out schemes in terms of the lottery but two things always need to be considered (1) some people buy lots of lottery tickets so they may win more as a result and (2) while the article makes it clear it is important to be very direct saying any questions about lottery tickets have nothing to do with the lottery itself.

  2. How many chances should the violators receive? 5, 10, 20? Of course they should be in rehab. But what if rehab doesn’t work after multiple times? Shouldn’t the public be protected from people who continuously put innocent people in harms way?
    Sometimes people need to be in jail. Just sayin’.

  3. The State House seems to think toughening already strict DUI Laws is going to make some difference in DUI cases. If someone is that unconcerned to repeatedly drive under the influence, no law is going to give them a conscience. Maybe, increasing access to mental health support would help them want to not drive under the influence.

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