The Pennsylvania state legislature returned to Harrisburg for a three-day work week as we exit the month of April and head straight into the month of May.
Here are our Ups and Downs for the week that was.
Mike Kelly. The 16th congressional district representative from Butler County made the House GOP’s winning margin on its debt limit plan a little tighter than it wanted at 217-215, as the 74-year-old missed the vote. Kelly’s office said he had a medical issue that kept him away from the nation’s capital.
Shamaine Daniels. The Harrisburg City Councilwoman announced that she will run again for the 10th congressional district seat in the U.S. House currently occupied by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Dauphin/Cumberland/York). She is hopeful that with the backing of the DCCC that the challenge of making up a 13 percentage-point difference from her 2022 race against Perry can be accomplished.
Rebecca Rhynhart. The former Philadelphia city controller picked up her third endorsement for mayor from a former inhabitant of the position – this time in the person of Ed Rendell. He joined Michael Nutter and John Street as previous chief executives of the city that are throwing their weight and influence behind Rhynhart.
Independent Voters. There is a new push to open Pennsylvania primaries to independent voters if Sens. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton) and Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) get their way. The pair introduced a bill to allow voters not affiliated with the two major parties to cast ballots in party primaries. Doing so, they said, would force Democratic and Republican primary candidates to reach out to a broader swath of voters, instead of courting only the extreme right or extreme left of the electorate.
Pennsylvania Women. Women at high risk for breast cancer will soon be able to get necessary screenings covered entirely by their insurance — including their copay and deductible — that advocates say will save lives by detecting the cancer earlier. Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), a breast cancer survivor and the first woman to lead the chamber, championed the bill. She and House Speaker Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) came together with a bipartisan group of men and women donning pink ribbons — a symbol of breast cancer awareness — to celebrate the bill’s unanimous passage by the House on Wednesday. Gov. Josh Shapiro plans to sign the legislation into law.
Maj. General Mark Schindler. By a near unanimous vote, Schindler was confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate to serve as Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, becoming the second member of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Cabinet to lose “acting” before his title. Schindler was one of several Cabinet holdovers from former Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration to be nominated to serve in Shapiro’s Cabinet. He has held the position as adjutant general for more than two years.
Tom Mehaffie. The Dauphin County Republican’s constituents require Google Maps to find him at the Capitol, as his office has been relocated to the seldom-visited reaches of the building. Mehaffie was evicted from his former easier-to-find office in February for what he saw as punishment for taking bipartisan positions on procedural matters that angered his Republican colleagues.
Josh Shapiro. Pennsylvania’s Governor marked his 100th day in office on Thursday and his tenure has generated political goodwill beyond the typical honeymoon period for newly elected leaders. A common theme from lawmakers was respect for his ability to engage the people necessary to advance his priorities.
WITF. The Capital Region public-broadcasting station has been gifted LNP by the Steinman family. Steinman Communications leadership announced to staff their plans to give LNP Media Group, publisher of LNP | LancasterOnline, at no cost to WITF. The station will oversee the Lancaster media company, which will be converted to a public benefit corporation and become a subsidiary of WITF.
Michael Lamb. The former Pittsburgh City Controller picked up a big endorsement, securing the support of Rich Fitzgerald in his quest to replace the term-limited Allegheny County Executive.
Neeli Bendapudi. The president of Penn State committed an unforced error when she referred to local news coverage surrounding layoffs at her institution as “fake news.” Bendapudi said “there is no truth” to a story regarding staff layoffs, despite numerous reports to the contrary.
Brandon ‘Bam’ Margara. The “Jackass” star turned himself in to authorities in Pennsylvania after a warrant was issued for his arrest this week in connection with an alleged assault of his brother, officials said. The 43-year-old surrendered to Pennsylvania State Police in Avondale. He was preliminary arraigned and his unsecured bail was set at $50,000, police said. His next court hearing is scheduled for May 25.