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September 13: Taking Sides

😀 A Wonderful Wednesday. Thanks for being a subscriber to the PoliticsPA Playbook. Recommend us to a friend.

PA Weather
🌤️ Uniontown | Becoming Sunny, 71
🌤️ Bellefonte | Partly Sunny, 74
🌤️ Pottstown | Becoming Mostly Sunny, 77

PA Sports
⚾ Phillies (79-66) | Atlanta 6-7 (10) | Wed vs. Atlanta
⚾ Pirates (67-78) | Washington 5-1 | Wed vs. Washington

What We’re Hearing
“York County needs to get its act together. This isn’t a difficult issue, and York County needs to do better.” – Melissa Melewsky, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s media law counsel

The Best Political Wrap In The State
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Top Story

1. PA’s Congressional Delegation Speaks Out On Biden Impeachment Inquiry

Biden addresses crowd in Wilkes-Barre

“House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he will seek to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden based on the House GOP’s investigations of his family’s foreign business dealings and the prosecution of his son Hunter Biden.

“Today, I am directing our House committees to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,” McCarthy said in a brief statement at the Capitol on Tuesday.

What are Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators and the members of its congressional delegation saying?” (PoliticsPA)


Ex-Hedge Fund CEO McCormick To Run For Senate In Pennsylvania – Sources. “Former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick is planning to jump into the U.S. Senate race against three-time Democratic incumbent Bob Casey later this month, two sources familiar with the plans told Reuters.” (Reuters)

What Districts Could Swing The 2024 Election? The DCCC Has Their Eyes On These 33. “The campaign arm for House Democrats is targeting 33 House districts in an effort to win back the chamber in 2024 after Democrats held off a predicted “red wave” in last year’s midterms.” (USA Today)

Farm Bill Release On Hold While House Focuses On Spending. “House Agriculture Chair Glenn Thompson said Tuesday he’ll let Congress sort out a last-minute spending measure to avert a government shutdown before moving on the 2023 farm bill.” (POLITICO)

Dem Secretaries Of State Throw Cold Water On Push To Disqualify Trump From The Ballot. “The campaign to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot under constitutional grounds is not finding much reception with an audience who could quickly force a resolution: Democratic secretaries of state.” (POLITICO)

Deluzio, Fetterman Renew Calls For Action On Railway Safety Act. “Southwestern Pennsylvania lawmakers are renewing calls to bolster railway safety seven months after a train derailed near the Ohio border, causing chemicals to leak into waterways and sending a black plume of smoke into the air.” (Tribune-Review)

John Fetterman Says He’ll ‘Never Understand’ Progressives Who Refuse To Support Joe Biden. “Sen. John Fetterman has a message for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party: get in line behind President Joe Biden.” (Business Insider)



2. The First Hearing To Fix PA’s Education Funding System Showed It Will Be Tough Task

Education Report - March 2023 - Senator Argall

“The vast potential for disagreement on a commission seeking a fix for Pennsylvania’s broken education funding system became apparent Tuesday after the panel’s first witness told of a $6.2 billion “funding adequacy” gap statewide.

Sen. David Argall said adding that amount of money to the system would create “by far the largest tax increase in the history of Pennsylvania” and that “past experiences” showed funding increases don’t always make things better. Rep. MaryLouise Isaacson shot back, saying “past experiences” led the state to a court ruling that found its education funding system unconstitutional.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


Lawmakers Were Told PA Schools Need An Extra $6.2 Billion, On The First Day Of School Funding Hearings. “The analysis by Matthew Kelly, the Penn State professor who served as an expert witness for plaintiffs in the trial that led to Pennsylvania’s school funding being declared unconstitutional, puts a new — higher — price tag on the funding problem.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

What Proposed Republican Spending Cuts Would Mean For PA, According To The White House. “Federal spending reductions championed by House Republicans would mean 1,920 fewer children attending Head Start preschool in Pennsylvania; 9,700 fewer teachers, aides and other staff in schools with low-income children; and 800 fewer low-income households in the state receiving vouchers to help pay their housing costs, the White House said Tuesday.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Solomon Announces Candidacy For Attorney General. “Add another name to the list of Democratic candidates for Pennsylvania Attorney General. State Rep. Jared Solomon announced that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the position.” (PoliticsPA)

Dem Philadelphia State Lawmaker Joins Race For PA Attorney General. “Democratic state lawmaker Jared Solomon said Tuesday that he will run in next year’s election for Pennsylvania attorney general, an office that has played a big role in fighting drug trafficking, suing opioid makers and defending the battleground state’s 2020 presidential election.” (AP)

Disability Service Providers Hopeful About Shapiro Addressing Rate Issues. “Service providers for the disabled in Pennsylvania might get some much-asked-for relief in their pay rates – albeit not for another budget cycle – as Gov. Josh Shapiro announced Monday that he would be ordering a review of Medicaid reimbursements for intellectual disability and autism support.” (PennLive)

What to Know About The Judicial Retention Questions On The November Ballot. “Near the bottom of this year’s general election ballot, Pennsylvania voters will be asked simple questions with long-term consequences.” (Spotlight PA)

NM Gov. Uses Emergency Power to Override Gun Rights. Could PA’s Shapiro Do the Same? “When New Mexico Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declared a 30-day “public health emergency” restricting gun rights and overriding state gun laws, some Pennsylvanians wondered: Could her fellow Democrat, Gov. Josh Shapiro, use the Keystone Sate’s emergency powers laws to do the same?” (DV Journal)


Around The Commonwealth

3. Supreme Court Will Not Intervene In PA Voting Machine Dispute

Dominion Voting Systems ICP machine

“The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency bid from Republican election officials in Fulton County to freeze sanctions related to a dispute about voting equipment and the 2020 election.

The case involves actions taken by two of three Commissioners – Stuart Ulsh and Randy Bunch – who sought to have Dominion voting equipment examined by a third party after the 2020 election. They claimed they did so to consider whether to continue to use the voting machines.” (PoliticsPA)


A Judge Ruled Against The Philly Ethics Board In Its Case Against Super PAC That Supported Mayoral Candidate Jeff Brown. “Court of Common Pleas Judge Joshua Roberts ruled Tuesday that Brown did not illegally coordinate with For a Better Philadelphia, a political action committee, as the board had argued in its lawsuit against the group in April.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Allegheny County Council Approves $8,000 In Legal Fees To Defend Minimum Wage Law. “County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has challenged law in court, saying it violates county charter” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

HD-92: Almoney Announces Another Run. “Dan Almoney, a communications professional, has announced that he intends to run again for the 92th state House seat.” (PoliticsPA)

Election Board Sends Finance Report Concerns To Somerset DA’s Office. “Concerns about possible campaign finance violations by two Republican candidates for Somerset County commissioner are being directed to the Somerset County District Attorney to investigate.” (Johnstown Tribune-Democrat)

After Lengthy Legal Battle And Court Ruling, York County Dithers Over Public Records. “York County officials again are dragging their feet in providing courthouse employment records, a few months after the state Commonwealth Court ruled that the records are indeed public and provided guidance for who should release them.” (York Dispatch)

Brenton Davis Administration Posts Final 2023 Budget Online — Nine Months After It Was Adopted. “The Erie County Executive Davis administration says the late posting was due to an “oversight.” But past and present Democrats on County Council say it signals a lack of transparency.” (Erie Times-News)

County Election Official Hopeful State Could Render Decision In October On Primary Date. “Bethany Salzarulo is hopeful that state lawmakers could decide in October whether to move up the Pennsylvania primary election next spring to late March or early April.” (The Sentinel)



4. What They’re Saying


1 Thing

5. Goodbye, Self-Serve Soda

McDonald's to eliminate self-serve soda machines at U.S. locations - CBS News

McDonald’s is planning to phase out self-serve soda fountains in U.S. restaurants, Axios’ Nathan Bomey and Kelly Tyko write.

Franchisees say the pandemic raised concerns about how to keep self-serve stations clean — and theft is a problem, the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois, first reported.

🍟 Between the lines: Free refills aren’t going anywhere for sit-down diners. You’ll just have to ask someone at the counter.

The transition to a new “crew pour” system, which has already begun at some locations, won’t be finished until 2032.


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