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October 1st Playbook

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Shawn’s Law on Thursday. Here is the Playbook. 

 

News

‘Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf signs law imposing tougher penalties on those who aid or encourage suicide’: PennLive reports that “on Thursday, the governor’s office announced Wolf has signed legislation that would strengthen the penalties against those convicted of aiding or encouraging a suicide.”

‘Growing GOP governor’s field puts nomination ‘up for grabs’’: The Associated Press reports that “the big field of Republicans running for governor of Pennsylvania is increasingly unsettled, with more candidates joining it, few leading party figures picking favorites and persistent talk that one of the most senior state Republican lawmakers may run.”

‘Bombshell or backlash? The nasty turn in Pa.’s GOP Senate primary leaves questions for both Jeff Bartos and Sean Parnell’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Pennsylvania Republicans are split over whether the ugly early clash has slowed Sean Parnell’s momentum after he won Donald Trump’s endorsement, or backfired on rival Jeff Bartos.”

‘Pa. reformed ‘prison gerrymandering,’ but it likely won’t matter in congressional maps’: WHYY reports that “the state lawmakers charged with redrawing Pennsylvania’s congressional and legislative districts may soon do something not seen in the commonwealth’s recent history: use two significantly different sets of data to draw state and federal election maps.”

‘Pa. plan to keep kids in schools: More bus drivers, vaccine clinics and COVID-19 tests’: PennLive reports that “with a shortage of school bus drivers, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is putting out an urgent call to find drivers. In addition, Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam is encouraging school districts to make preparations for vaccine clinics in November in anticipation of federal approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11.”

‘Pa.’s in-school COVID-19 testing program slow to take hold’: PennLive reports that “one of Pennsylvania’s mitigation strategies for keeping students in schools is providing free COVID-19 testing to school districts, but the program has drawn a lackluster response.”

‘‘Let our kids play’: Advocates rally for transgender youth at Pa. Capitol’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “the rally comes in response to a Pa. House bill seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in women’s sports.”

‘Pennsylvania state Sen. Pat Browne recovering from motorcycle crash, plans return to Senate’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “thirty days after he was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in Colorado, veteran Republican state Sen. Pat Browne is undergoing physical therapy while recovering at home and expects to make a full recovery, according to a top aide.”

‘Meet the climate candidate running for PA’s sought-after Senate seat’: City & State PA talks with Eric Orts, who is a “professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, and a professor of management at The Wharton School of Business, is a political outsider with his eyes on outgoing Sen. Pat Toomey’s seat.”

‘Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf visits Allentown’s Learning Hub, announces $30M to expand early childhood education, $655M for early childhood care providers’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf saw up close and personal Thursday the type of place a $30 million increase in state funding he recently secured will help expand early childhood education for financially struggling families.”

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

‘Paying For Pennsylvania’s Bridge Repairs With New Tolls Remains Divisive’: WESA reports that “PennDOT’s proposal to repair nine major bridges across the commonwealth met with significant resistance on Thursday during a nearly four-hour hearing of the state House transportation committee.”

‘U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken Sees Pittsburgh As Leading The Way Internationally On Job Transformation’: KDKA reports that “United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his two-day visit to Pittsburgh on Thursday. When KDKA’s Jon Delano met with Blinken, he said Pittsburgh can teach others how to make the right transition from the old to the new economy.”

‘Commerce Secretary Signals Feds Could Invest In Pittsburgh’s Bid To Become Self-Driving Powerhouse’: WESA reports that “as trade and technology talks between the U.S. and the European Union came to a close in Pittsburgh Thursday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said EU leaders left the city “blown away by what they saw.””

‘Sean Parnell previously downplayed accusations against Roy Moore, latest in string of controversial statements’: Pittsburgh City Paper reports that “Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell was part of a panel during a CNN political show in late 2017 discussing then-Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and the sexual assault allegations made against Moore. Parnell repeatedly downplayed those accusations and defended the Republican National Committee and then-President Donald Trump for supporting Moore, even after the allegations, and corroborating reporting, were made against Moore.”

‘University of Pittsburgh accused of ‘lowering the cone of silence’ with new fetal tissue probe’: Fox News reports that “the University of Pittsburgh is facing sharp backlash after it announced a D.C.-based law firm would conduct a purportedly “independent” investigation of its fetal tissue practices.”

‘Beam: No plans for vaccine requirement for state’s teachers’: The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that “Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said Thursday afternoon said there isn’t any move at the state level to require the commonwealth’s teachers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.”

‘PA Republicans Oppose IRS Plan to Monitor Bank Accounts of $600 or More’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “Pennsylvania Republicans are pushing back against a Biden administration plan for the IRS to monitor every bank account with more than $600.”

‘Craig Staudenmaier, open records advocate, receives national award’: PennLive reports that “Harrisburg attorney Craig Staudenmaier, an open records advocate, was inducted into the 2021 National Freedom of Information Coalition’s State Open Government Hall of Fame.”

‘Pa. Health Dept.: More than 4,800 new COVID-19 cases; more than 2,700 hospitalized’: The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that “the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 4,892 new cases  of COVID-19 on Thursday, up from Wednesday’s tally of 4,570 new cases,  bringing the statewide total to nearly than 1.43 million since the start of the pandemic.”

‘Political committee drops big cash for Pa. school board candidates who will fight for in-person instruction’: PennLive reports that “The Back to School PA political action committee is investing $30,000 in Dauphin County school board races to help push in-person instruction. A ceremony announcing the PAC’s investments was held at the state Capitol steps Thursday.”

‘Tolls on I-83 South Bridge? West Shore leaders want to hit the brakes as study continues’: PennLive reports that “a plan to toll the I-83 South Bridge in Harrisburg to pay for its replacement is drawing strong opposition from leaders of two West Shore communities that would be heavily impacted by it.”

‘Advocacy group, elected Democrats call on UPMC to raise wages, allow workers to organize’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “joined by a who’s who of Pittsburgh’s elected Democrats, a leading advocacy group took to the U.S. Steel Tower on Thursday to call on UPMC to raise wages, allow its workers to unionize and relieve medical debt for its caregivers.”

‘Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto submits $770 million preliminary budget to city council’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto submitted his preliminary 2022 budget to City Council on Thursday, outlining a fiscal plan that promises no tax increases and the disbursement of millions in pandemic relief via the American Rescue Plan.”

‘Former Cambria Judge Creany to preside over Somerset district attorney case; AG to handle separate case involving DA’s wife’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “a former Cambria County president judge will preside over a case involving rape charges against Somerset County’s top prosecutor.”

‘Allegheny County Treasurer’s Office to require employee vaccinations by Dec. 1’: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “following Wednesday’s announcement from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald that his employees must be vaccinated by Dec. 1, the county treasurer’s office has adopted the same requirement for its staff.”

‘Philly’s top cop says she and DA Krasner ‘just don’t agree’ on how to reduce shootings’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Philadelphia’s top law enforcement officials don’t agree on which crimes they should prioritize while seeking to address the city’s record-setting gun violence crisis, a notable disconnect made public yet again this week.”

‘Philadelphia set to run out of rental relief money in two weeks as it waits for federal funds’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “with thousands of people still waiting for help, Philadelphia’s emergency rental assistance program could run out of money in as little as two weeks, as the city waits to receive more funding from the U.S. Treasury.”

‘Philly’s plastic bag ban is finally here — with enforcement still to come’: WHYY reports that “after a period of pandemic-related delays, Philly’s ban on giving plastic bags to customers will take effect Friday, Oct. 1.”

‘Philly passes bill that aims to encourage affordable housing in desirable neighborhoods’: WHYY reports that “Philadelphia City Council on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill that backers hope will encourage developers to build more affordable housing units in desirable areas.”

‘New security cameras at Philly rec centers proposed in Council bill’: KYW Newsradio reports that “recent bloodshed at Philadelphia playgrounds and recreation centers has prompted City Council President Darrell Clarke to propose that the city purchase new cameras to monitor the facilities.”

‘Berks County elections director is resigning’: The Reading Eagle reports that “Ronald Rutkowski, director of the Berks County Office of Election Services, will resign from the position to take a private sector position effective next Friday. It will mark the end of his more than 16 years of service for the county, most of which was spent in the county controller’s office.”

‘Streeteries forged by pandemic could become a permanent fixture under Philly bill’: WHYY reports that “dining tables could remain in Philadelphia streets permanently under a new bill gaining traction in City Council.”

‘Superintendent Hite reshaped Philly public schools. We look at the highs and lows of his near-decade here.’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Hite — who announced this week he’s leaving the superintendency in August 2022 rather than seek a new contract — has made an impact on one of the nation’s largest school systems.”

‘Black Caucus demands Sharon Hill cops be fired’: The Delaware County Daily Times reports that “the Delaware County Black Caucus is calling for the immediate termination of three police officers involved in a shooting last month that claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl in what state Sen. Anthony Williams deemed a “gross negligent error in judgment.””

‘Chester County officials vow to fill void created by closing of Jennersville Hospital’: The Daily Local News reports that “in a joint statement, Chester County commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxell and Michelle Kichline said they will begin immediately to explore ways to bring a quality medical center back to the area.”

‘Local lawmaker working with organizations on future of Jennersville Hospital’: The Daily Local News reports that “a Chester County lawmaker said he is actively working with several organizations that have expressed an interest in the future of the Jennersville Hospital, which is set to close by the end of the year.”

‘Montco Creates New Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Position’: The Delaware Valley Journal reports that “over the objections of Republican Commissioner Joe Gale, the Montgomery County Commissioners voted to spend $127,472 annually for a director of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

‘Residents share polarized views on future of Pittsburgh’s Columbus Day Parade’: Pittsburgh City Paper reports that “about 30 community members joined a virtual community meeting on Sept. 29 to discuss Pittsburgh’s Columbus Day Parade that is scheduled for Sat., Oct. 9, in the Bloomfield neighborhood.”

 

Opinion  
Paige Cognetti: To build back the Keystone State, Congress needs to pass Biden’s domestic agenda 
John Baer: Abortion, privacy and voting rights seem on the line; place your bets on which might be diminished 
John L. Micek: Pa. House panel approves bill raising income limits for prescription drugs program | Friday Coffee 
John L. Micek: Report: Fetterman, Lamb back fracking as U.S. Senate race heats up | Thursday Morning Coffee
Roxanne Patel Shepelavy: Who Should Replace Bill Hite? 
Inquirer: Debate: Should Pa. stop electing judges? | Opinion
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Conflicts of today echo some troubled moments of America’s past
Paul Muschick: Is Allentown’s new school superintendent worth $230,000?
Jonathan Zimmerman: On American campuses, students are biting their tongues 
Youth Fostering Change: Congress must make a continued difference in the lives of youth in foster care 
Kevin Welner: Here’s why charter schools in Pa., elsewhere aren’t as ‘public’ as they claim they are 
The Rev. Daniel Brettell: Why natural herd immunity will not protect us from COVID-19 pandemic
Will Bunch: The trainwreck of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is the cost of not getting money out of politics 
Trudy Rubin: A new prison: Heroic Afghan woman escaped Taliban but hasn’t found the promised land

October 1st, 2021 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Playbook, Top Stories | No Comments

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